American History Since 1865

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The international and domestic challenges faced in the second half of the 20th century was enormous in American life. The United States advanced, for the good and bad, during this period. Advocates and believers in the doctrine of laissez-faire encouraged a climate resistant to government intervention on behalf of underprivileged workers and victims of racial and gender discrimination. The Cold War began after WW2. The tensions between the US and Soviet Union were highlighted early before WW2 was over, because of an aggressive ruling that the Soviet Union wanted a free ruling. While the US and Soviet Union were dividing up Germany after their defeat, they each were put in control of different parts; each country had opposing ideas about how Germany should be run.

The Soviet Union believed they should rule strictly and fully, while the US believed they should leave them alone and be hands-off. Then the disagreement between how the world should be run; by either democracy or communism; led to the Cold War which was just a competition between the Soviet Union and the United States with proxy wars and conflicts; to see who could have the most influence over the world. There were a few foreign policies that affected how the US handled the spread of communism. The Truman Doctrine which gave aid to any country threatened by communism, the Marshall Plan which offered money to European countries for restoration at the end of the war if the country denied communism, The containment policy; that stated that we must stop the spread of communism, and the NSC-68; which was a secret document stating that America must stop the spread of communism anywhere and eventually we got into the Vietnam and Korean War.

The International Tensions affected domestic issues in America. McCarthyism occurred which was an inquisition to purge communists from in American government. The Red Scare occurred due to the fear of communism where people would accuse random people of being communist if they seemed “”un-American.” This developed the House of Un-American Activities which investigated these claims and investigated Hollywood writers accused of communism named the Hollywood Ten. Americans would try to be as “”American”” as they could and conform to the pressures of society to not stick out and be accused as a communist. The idea of the 1960s was to be clean cut and morally sound, but the youth culture strayed from that and it was reflected in forms of music such as Rock n’ Roll.

Sovereignty, Territory, military forces, weapons, trade, and sailing the seas were all values at stake during that era. According to “The Atlantic Charter 1941” Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston S. Churchill worked together to put these rules in place to prevent another war and “Base their hopes for a better future for the world.” In other words, if a country followed points one-eight; all countries would be treated equally no matter the size or power they hold, no country should try to steal land for expansion of their own, should have the right to trade with each other, should be able to sail the seas without hindrance and all countries should take part In disarmament; to help shape our nations into a better place and According to “The Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam 1945.”

iberty, equality, fraternity, economics, and taxes were values also at stake during World War II. “All men are born free and with equal rights and must always remain free and have equal rights,” and “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” In essence these two documents were created to say how men should be equal to each other and have a right to life and freedom, but the French have done numerous things from; forcing drugs giving them alcohol, dividing them, stealing from them, impoverishing them, made unreasonable taxes, and so many other things just to destroy them; however after 2 million deaths Vietnam still finds the strength to fight for their liberty and independence; while the U.S fight to become a better nation.

Americans interpreted the communist threat with paranoia, hostility, and force also called the Red Scare; that led to a range of actions that had a profound and enduring effect on the U.S. government and society. Federal employees were analyzed to determine whether they were sufficiently loyal to the government, and the House Un-American Activities Committee, as well as U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy; investigated allegations of subversive elements in the government, and the Hollywood film industry. The climate of fear and repression linked to the Red Scare finally began to ease by the late 1950s. The response of communism was that of containment; which was a strategy to keep communism from spreading into the US; The US under Joe McCarthy led an internal hunt for communists in the government and military.

According to the National Security Council-68” For us the role of military power is to serve the national purpose by deterring an attack upon us while we seek by other means to create an environment in which our free society can flourish, and by fighting, if necessary, to defend the integrity and vitality of our free society and to defeat any aggressor.” In essence, the NSC wanted to increase military, economic, and social power to put a stop to the spread of communism even though McCarthy was accusing our military and economic power of being communist; we still had to be a powerful force to fight against the soviets to contain it. The Truman doctrine helped people resisting communist takeover and helped contain the communist threat whereas the Marshall plan also functioned as a form of containment; The Soviet domination in Eastern Europe and the communist takeover of China shocked the American public; Americans feared communists on the home front were loyal to the Soviet Union.

According to the article by Joseph McCarthy on Communism “It has not been the less fortunate or members of minority groups who have been selling this nation out, but rather those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer — the finest homes, the finest college education, and the finest jobs in government we can give.” In essence, McCarthy claimed that he had a list of communists in the American gov’t, but really no hard evidence to prove it; as he also states in the article; “I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy.” McCarthy didn’t know what he was talking about; he destroyed the lives of hundreds of innocent officials and citizens, while taking advantage of the fears of communism post WWII to become incredibly influential.

It was a lot of injustice going on, so many people decided to come together and fight for what they believed in from the civil rights movement that fought to bring an end to political, economic, and social practices that discriminated against African Americans, the student movement; which wanted greater student power According the Hopewell Va. newspaper article ‘Business as usual.’ “Colleges will suspend classes Wednesday in observance of the moratorium,” The students wanted to stand up for what was right, and to show that even though they may have been young that they care and wanted to be a part of what was going on in their nation; it was a way to show their respects and to honor the protest of the war, the Anti-Vietnam war movement; protested Americans involvement in the war, the women’s movement; fought to bring full equality to American women. According to the National Origination for Women “Statement of Purpose” “The purpose of NOW is to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all the privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.” In essence, they created a group for women fighting for civil rights, because everyone was fighting for something but the rights of women; they were tired of being oppressed, they wanted more opportunities and to be equal to men, so they came together and fought for their beliefs. The gay rights movement; tried to end bias and laws against homosexuals, and the environmental movement; fought to change conditions with manmade pollution, pollution growth and misuse of natural resources.

A lot of people were fighting to change government policies; while these movements changed everyday living. Americans marched, petitioned, rallied and so much more just to make a difference. Television contributed to the social reform, it allowed others to see what was going on around the world. Economic prosperity had a major impact; with individuals wondering why people were still in poverty, but it was all because of the discrimination that was still going on. According to Lyndon Johnson in the “Howard University commencement address” 1965 “You do not take a person who; for years has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, “you are free to compete with all the others,” and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.” In essence, it shows that he wanted to end poverty and injustice, he wanted everyone to have civil rights and to really be free, so he made sure he fought for just that and felt that he owed at least that to Kennedy; since he could not see his bill be passed.

Anti-feminists rallied against the Equal Rights Amendment and the eroding traditional family unit. Many ordinary Americans were shocked by the sexual permissiveness found in films and magazines. According to the “Statements from the Parents Music Resource Center.” “Our primary purpose is to educate and inform parents about this alarming trend as well as to ask the industry to exercise self-restraint.” In essence, they wanted a rating system for music and other explicit content so parents wouldn’t have to worry about their children getting exposed to all the bad behaviors being spoken or acted out. Those who believed homosexuality was sinful criticized the newly vocal gay rights movement. As the divorce and crime rates rose, an increasing number of Americans began to blame the liberal welfare establishment for social diseases. According to the “Statements of Aids Patients” 1963. “I know a number of people who refuse to identify themselves to their community, even to their family, as having the syndrome, because there is such tremendous stigma and isolation attached to it.”

In essence, this affects our nation as a whole; the lack of consideration, is hurting everyone just based off of one person not telling the next that they are positive; It’s something that could have been prevented; if more people are to open up. Jerry Falwell formed the Moral Majority organization; this group and hundreds of others raised money to defeat liberal senators, representatives, and governors. They sought to control school boards on the local level to advance their conservative agenda, they were against abortions and homosexuality as he states in the article “Homosexual Revolution” “Please remember, that homosexuals do not reproduce! They recruit!” In essence, evolutionary studies shows that homosexuals do not recruit people; they are simply born that way, and everyone sins, so we cannot talk down on someone else cause that simply is a sin in itself, so if only god can judge us why do everyone judge homosexuals on the way they live; we are all free to love and be who we want. Ronald Reagan freely accepted contributions from the New Right on his way to the Presidency in 1980.

According to Reagan in his first Inaugural Address “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” In essence, he believed; the government was becoming too strong and causing a disruption in the nation, he felt that if we cannot govern ourselves then neither can the government, he wanted to cut the government down and increase military power and the Ultra-libertarian militia groups that formed in many states were dedicated to attacking the American government, that they believed had become far too invasive. Like most movements, the New Right contained an extremist element. The racial hatred group; the Ku Klux Klan joined the outcry against American moral decline; everyone has their views on right and wrong and everyone’s morals are different, therefore the nation will forever have hatred groups but its up to us to fight to try to break them.

With all the international and domestic challenges the united states faced with other countries; we fought and still came out on top, the U.S may have a lot of work to do but if they keep on working together to keep making changes and fighting for what’s right the nation will only get stronger and many of the wars, social and economic problems will be ceased to a certain extinct the nation will not be perfect but it could be close to what other nations would like to be like. According to Winston Churchill in the Lyndon Johnson commencement address “It is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” In essence, fighting for what you believe in is the only way a change can be made, sitting and waiting for others to do something; will get nothing done be the change you want to see in the world.

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American History Since 1865. (2020, Jan 01). Retrieved from

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