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Essay example - american history

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Pages 6 (1506 words)
The rationale for Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program was that, given the affluence that America had achieved by the 1960s, American society and the welfare of all its citizens should reflect the nation’s prosperity and a new social progressivism (Foner, 2008, 956-76)…

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In order to accomplish that goal, the administration sought to provide opportunities for all Americans, regardless of their economic background, and to eliminate inequality. To that end, Johnson put forth Medicaid/Medicare; urban development/renewal; and increased funding for education and the arts. The introduction of programs such as food stamps, and an emphasis on higher education helped reduce poverty, though many of the chronic problems the Great Society was designed to eradicate remain serious problems today.
Vietnam began the transformation of America’s concept of the Cold War and its belief in the value of direct and unilateral military intervention (Foner, 2008, 976-89). It would also have the effect of heightening domestic suspicion of government actions and motivations abroad. The
government’s tendency to reduce mass slaughter (body counts) to the level of statistics and quasi-corporate projections, along with escalating American casualties, also stirred outrage over the government’s conduct of the war. The use of napalm and President Nixon’s decision to bomb Cambodia did much to stir up popular dissent, leading to the most widespread anti-war movement in the nation’s history. Vietnam served to radicalize American politics and drove many anti-war groups (such as the Weather Underground) to adopt desperate, even violent measures to force an end to the war. Persistent anti-war protests by the SDS, the 1967 march on the Pentagon and widespread resistance to the military draft eroded the nation’s will to continue waging war (Foner, 2008, 976-89).
Another transformative phenomenon, the rights revolution, was in large measure a response to the rightist transgressions of the McCarthy years and the leverage it gave the government vis a vis civil rights. From 1953 to 1969, the Warren Court restored civil rights in a number of landmark court cases, including New York Times v. Sullivan, ...
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