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1960s

The 1960’s – an Era of Discord

A young black man is brutally murdered for a harmless comment to a white woman. A mother distresses over the discovery of her son’s rock and roll collection. A United States soldier sits in a trench in Vietnam contemplating the reason for his sitting knee-deep in mud. The 1960’s was marked with confusion, insecurity and rebellion. It was a period of time when Americans stood up and took full advantage of liberalism in America and their God-given right to freedom of speech to create a decade bursting with social revolutions. The Civil Rights Movement, Counter Culture and the War in Vietnam were three of the most prominent events during this era and helped to define the 1960’s as arguably the most influential decade in our nation’s history. The Civil Rights Movement was marked by public uprisings against segregation and the fortitude of Black-Americans to achieve equal rights among the whites. Many young people used music, drugs, politics and alternative lifestyles in search of a better world and to rebel against the older generation to create what came to be known as counterculture. The Vietnam War further divided the country with opposing views on the situation and public disapproval of the actions of our president. However, these acts were necessary for the advancement of our nation in many aspects and helped accomplish the freedoms enjoyed today.
The Civil Rights Movement was the turning point in social equality for Black Americans. The fruit of the protestors laboring was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, guaranteeing basic civil rights for all Americans, regardless of race. However, there were many hardships and drastic events leading to this final accomplishment. The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 was led by Martin Luther King and a number of other black leaders in Montgomery, Alabama after a woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man. This was perfect ammunition for the black group to start a boycott and word was spread by ministers in their churches. Other means of transportation were developed for the blacks such as a “personal taxi service.” The boycott lasted for over a year until final concession was reached. Also dealing with public transportation were “The Freedom Rides.” This was a symbolic plan to re...

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...uth Vietnam. The North rejected. Nixon decided to resort to Vietnamization; a plan to build up South Vietnamese forces while withdrawing American troops. He reduced American troop strength by 60,000, but at the same time ordered the bombing of Cambodia, a neutral country. This brought out thousands of protestors in the states after reports of an American Massacre of Vietnamese at My Lai but Nixon continued with his policy. The bombing continued until an agreement was finally reached. North Vietnamese would gain control of large areas of the South and agreed to release American prisoners of war within 60 days. After their release, the U.S. would leave Vietnam. On March 29, 1973, after 60,000 Americans were killed and $109 billion was spent on a war that many believed should not have been fought; American combat troops left South Vietnam.
These three social revolutions were among many helping to develop the age of reform. Many men and women gave their lives for various reasons and others put themselves in very dangerous positions to help achieve what they believed to be a better nation. For better or worse, the face of the nation is changed from this de
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