Am Waking From The Dreamerica In The 60’S The presidential election 1960 was between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. The race was close-so close that no one could give even an educated guess of who would win, that is until the televised debated came out. After the debated Kennedy took the lead. This may have been the 1st time America voted mostly on appearance. On January 20, 1961 John F.
Kennedy gave his Inaugural address-which was dedicated to the teens of the time. Kennedy believed in the teens and the rest of America started doing the same. Advertisers realized that teens were the ones they should be targeting. By making teens and children believe they “needed” a product was the way to bring in the big bucks. Game shows and many other TV programs (such as the Andy Griffith show) came out during this time. On November 22, 1963, the nation came together and was united in sorrow and grief.
This was the day that president Kennedy was assassinated and the country started to fall apart. Vietnam was full of deception for the people of the United States. The people were led to believe by the government that we were winning the war when in reality things were falling apart. Kennedy believed that we should move slowly into Vietnam but after he was murdered Lyndon Johnson took the Presidential role and our forces went into combat. Vietnam split the country into two. There were those who supported the war and the ones who were against it. The Anti-war movement began as early as 1964 when several draft men refused to register with the draft and came up with the slogan “hell no we won’t go.” October 15-16,1965, marked the 1st nationwide march in protest of the war.
Meanwhile in Vietnam things were getting pretty ugly. At times certain areas were labeled as “free fire zones”-which meant that if you lived there no matter what your age, sex, of physical condition you were assumed to be an enemy. And most of the people who lived in these zones were willing to kill Americans to get foreigners out. Johnson also started the “Great Society” program which only deepened out gap of credibility to the point of no return-and helped set the U.S. up for the budget crisis of the 80’s. Life on the battle field was pretty much hell. Young men with little training and no concept of war didn’t know how to respond.
Most were model soldiers who knew somebody had to defend their country while others turned to drugs, alcohol, and sex. The worst documented atrocity took place on March 16, 1968, when a group of American soldiers rounded up the occupants of MyLai-infants to old-lined them up and shot them. In 1968 Richard Nixon became the next President of the U.S. He was elected by the silent majority-those who wanted the peace and quiet of the good ol’ days. In his first year of office Nixon initiated a draft.
Once a month the unlucky members were picked. In June 1968 Vietnam was categorized as the longest war in American History. Richard Nixon claimed that he would bring the country together but at the end of the 60’s our nation was still very far apart. The 60’s was also a time when the Blacks fought for equality. At the end of civil war salves were told they were free-but after a hundred years of liberty they were still facing discrimination. Southern governors and mayors had only one opinion-“Negroes” know their place and they had better stay there.” Blacks started protesting by staging sit-ins and marches.
The case of James Meredith showed that Civil Rights might be possible-but only Federal intervention. One of the biggest acts included a sit-in that was to last until the bill was passed by Congress. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech here and dreamt for the day when his children “wouldn’t be judged by the color of their skins but by the content of their character.” The Ghettos erupted in the 60’s causing millions and millions of dollars in damage across the U.S. The causes of this were said to be “White racism” and more specifically “persuasive discrimination and segregation in employment, education, and housing.” Despite all this King stayed with his nonviolent acts and on April 3, 1968, Martin Luther King delivered his last speech before he was assassinated. By the end of the decade blacks were beginning to make a place for themselves among the American society.
Though what they did may have been right or wrong they made the government hear them. The Hippie movement was at its height in the 60’s. America’s teens became two nations. One was the kind that would go to work after school while the other ran away from home to became a hippie. The government needed to know that young people’s ideas and actions were valid even if the older generation didn’t agree.
LSD and other drugs became the way of life for a hippie. LSD was known as the psychedelic drug. The phrase of the era was “tune in, turn on, and drop out”. The government became worried about the popularity of drugs and they started becoming illegal more and more but the use of them kept increasing. As the Hippie movement grew their needs kept being fulfilled. Stores opened and sold “hippie” clothes and drug paraphernalia. Police looked the other way and went for the “big-time” dealers instead of those who sold paraphernalia and lava lamps to enhance drug experiences.
One of the most remembered events about the hippie movement was Woodstock. Over 400,000 people (mostly hippies) gathered to enjoy peace, love and music. Woodstock reversed many people view of the hippies. Police officers described the massive group as “the most courteous, considerate, and well-behaved group of kids they had come in contact with”. As well as the anti-war movement and the black movement students and women also wanted America to change. Students realized that the government was not infallible and they wanted more from life than a good job and a nice home.
They wanted a better society “we would replace power rooted in possession, privilege, or circumstance by power and uniqueness rooted in love reflection, reason and creativity.” Women also wanted a change. When the men were at war the women took over their jobs and proved that they could do the same hard work that the men did-but when the men returned the women were expected to give up their jobs and go back to being a housewives. Women of all cultures wanted changes and they banned together to get it done. When the men would refuse to include them in a decision-making meeting the women would hold their own meetings. Women were not willing to be considered as sex objects any more.
At the end of the 60’s women were endlessly fighting to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. This amendment would change their lives completely. As well as women, Puerto Ricans and American Indians were also fighting for equality. The 60’s was a growing time for America. Besides the movements many other things were happening in America and in the rest of the world.
Cuba was going through Castro’s reign. The U.S. tried to help but failed. The Soviet Union disagreed with our nation but we didn’t clash very much over it. They did however clash over the Berlin Wall.
In 1961 the wall went up-we didn’t like it but it wasn’t worth war. More than any of this there was a “race for space” so to speak. The Soviets were in lead with the Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin. The main focus then became the moon-it was America’s dream. President Kennedy committed himself to this dream, and on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong declared “The Eagle has landed”, and then he left the first human footprints on the moon.
“That’s one small step for man one large step for mankind”, and America’s space dream came true. I found this book to be interesting. It was one that I could actually sit down and read and understand. I like the way it supports democracy. It really show that people do have the power to get the changes that they want if they are willing to stick with it and fight for it.
Like the women and blacks and students etc., they made the government listen to them . Whether what they did was right or wrong they made the government listen to them and their ideas. They forced Congress to pass laws and acts which I think is totally cool that a group of people can do that and I think that more people should do that instead of just complain about how terrible things are. To me this book shows pretty much every aspect of life in the 60’s and our governments response to crisis and that people. History.