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The Vietnam War & The 1960's Fthe Political Changes To The Civil Rights Movement.

3497 words - 14 pages

Vietnam War and the 1960sThe decade of the 1960s was a very violent and socially changing time in the United States. From the political changes, brought about by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the Counterculture movement and to the Civil Rights Movement.In 1960 Kennedy was one of the many Democratic aspirants for the party's presidential nomination. He put together, however, a well-financed, highly organized campaign and won on the first ballot. As a northerner and a Roman Catholic, he recognized his lack of strength in the South and chose Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas as his running mate. Kennedy also preformed well in a series of unprecedented television debates with his Republican opponent, Vice-President Richard M. Nixon.The assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, elevated Johnson to the White House, where he quickly proved a masterly, reassuring leader in the realm of domestic affairs. In 1964, Congress passed a tax-reduction law that promised to promote economic growth and the Economic Opportunity Act, which launched the program called the War On Poverty. Johnson was especially skillful in securing a strong Civil Rights Act in 1964. In the years to come it proved to be a vital source of legal authority against racial and sexual discrimination.In 1964 the Republicans nominated Senator Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona as their presidential nominee. Goldwater was an extreme conservative in domestic policy and an advocate of strong military action to protect American interests in Vietnam. Johnson had increased the number of U.S. military personnel there from 16,000 at the time of Kennedy's assassination to nearly 25,000 a year later. Contrasted to Goldwater, however, he seemed a model of restraint. Johnson, with Hubert H. Humphrey as his running mate, ran a low-key campaign and overwhelmed Goldwater in the election. The Arizonan won only his home state and five others in the Deep South.Johnson's triumph in 1964 gave him a mandate for the Great Society, as he called his domestic program. Congress responded by passing the Medicare program, which provided health services to the elderly, approving federal aid to elementary and secondary education, supplementing the War on Poverty, and creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It also passed another important civil rights law--the Voting Rights Act of 1965.At this point Johnson began the rapid deepening of U.S. involvement in Vietnam; as early as February 1965, U.S. planes began to bomb North Vietnam. American troop strength in Vietnam increased to more than 180,000 by the end of the year and to 500,000 by 1968. Many influences led Johnson to such a policy. Among them were personal factors such as his temperamental activism, faith in U.S. military power, and staunch anticommunism. These qualities also led him to intervene militarily in the Dominican Republic--allegedly to stop a Communist takeover--in April 1965. Like many Americans who recalled the...

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