This essay has a total of 2485 words and 11 pages.
Why were the sixties a importance to our country's history? The
sixties were an exciting, revolutionary, turbulent time of great social and
technological change: assassination, unforgettable fashion, new musical
styles, Camelot, civil rights, women's liberation, a controversial and decisive
war in Vietnam, the anti-war protest to go along with the war, space
exploration and the space race, peace marches, flower power, great TV and
film and sexual freedom, and of course the great babyboomers. The sixties
also showed Communism coming into the Western hemisphere and thus
coming to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Movements towards the end to poverty,
helping the environment, and the women's rights all came to be in the
sixties. Medical breakthroughs were important in the sixties. This essay
explains the events and people of the sixties from 1960 to 1970.
One thing in the sixties was the years of the American Camelot. In
1960 a president was elected by the slimmest measure of margin since 1884,
"John Fitzgerald Kennedy is elected president by just over 100,000
votes"(Turbulent Years 23). Some say that John's father bought the election,
but the truth is unknown. This election was the first election that was on
radio and television. Kennedy and Nixon engaged in the first televised
campaign debates. President Kennedy was the youngest man to become
president and the youngest president to die in office. President Kennedy
was also the first and only Roman Catholic President in history.
During President Kennedy's Presidency, he had to make many
decisions about the relationship between the United States and the Soviet
Union. In the sixties the "Cold War" was heating up. Before President
Kennedy came into office, a U-2 plane was shot down in the Soviet Union
while spying on the Soviet Union, thus cutting all Diplomatic ties between
the Soviet Union and the United States. Amongst other problems President
Kennedy faced with the Soviet Union, no other was more serious than the
Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1960, Soviet Premier Khrushchev supplied Cuba with
nuclear missiles that would put the eastern United States within range of
nuclear missile attack. During the summer of 1962, U. S. spy planes flying
over Cuba photographed Soviet-managed construction sites and spotted the
first missile on October 14. Kennedy consulted with advisors for seven days ,
discussing the possible means of action. On October 22, Kennedy told the
nation about the discovery of the missiles and demanded that the Soviet
Union remove the missiles, he also declared the waters around Cuba a
For several tense days, Soviet vessels en route to Cuba avoided the
quarantine zone, while Khrushchev and Kennedy discussed the issue through
diplomatic channels. Khrushchev, realizing his weak military position, sent a
message to Kennedy in which he agreed to remove the missiles. The
following day, before the United States could respond to the first note a
second note was sent by Khrushchev to try and negotiate terms. Kennedy
responded to the first message and an agreement was met for the Soviet
missiles to be dismantled and removed from Cuba. In return Kennedy
secretly promised not to invade Cuba and to remove older missiles from
Turkey. These decisions were perhaps Kennedy's greatest moment as
president. Many feel that because of Kennedy's aggression that perhaps
WWIII or a Nuclear war was avoided.
Kennedy was also a strong supporter of civil rights. He was strongly
against segregation. President Kennedy helped Dr. Martin Luther King with
his fight for civil rights. Many Black leaders had sided with Kennedy in the
presidential race because Kennedy claimed to be a strong believer in civil
rights. In the beginning President Kennedy ignored his claims for civil rights
but in his later presidency he changed and began trying to pass laws against
November 22, 1963, President and Mrs. Kennedy were in Dallas, Texas.
As the motorcade approached an underpass, two shots were fired in rapid
succession. One bullet passed through Kennedy's neck, and the other bullet
hit the president in the head. At 1:00PM, he was pronounced dead; he had
never regained consciousness. Ninety minutes after Kennedy was fatally
shot, Vice-president Johnson was sworn in as president on Air Force One.
That afternoon, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and charged with murder.
"On November 24, a Dallas Man, Jack Ruby, shot and killed Oswald before
there was a chance to put him on trial." (www.thinkquest.com). John F.
Kennedy was survived by his wife and his two children. Kennedy's death was
the fall of the American Camelot.
During the sixties, the Civil Rights Movement was in full force. With
leaders like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, the Civil Rights Movement
grew to be one of the most important movement in the sixties. The
movement was started in the fifties-- and it hit it's peek with Dr. Martin
Luther King. Dr. Martin Luther King was a civil rights activist who sought and
fought for civil rights without violence. He lead marches and spoke to
millions of people. His most famous speech was titled "I have a Dream." He
lead sit-ins and marches as means of peaceful protests. He won awards like
the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Sadly his life came to an end by a
bullet from his assen, James Earl Ray, on April 4, 1968.
Important events in the movement involved the many sit-ins, riots, and
the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 passed. Starting in 1960 sit-ins began
all around the south, the people were fighting for the end of segregation.
Although most sit-ins were peaceful, they started to send out a very powerful
message. In 1962, the Klu Klux Klan began to lash out and bombed four
black churches in Georgia Towns. That same year, James Meridith, a black
college student, enters the University of Mississippi as the first black person
to enter the college after he was rejected three times because of the color of
his skin. Rioting breaks out in Detroit killing people and injuring many in
1965. In 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which
prohibits discrimination in all public places and creates the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission. In 1968, congress passed the Civil
Rights Act of 1968. The Black Panther Party is formed in 1966 by Huey
Newton and Bobby Seale. Thurgood Marshall was the first black to be
nominated for the Supreme Court in 1967. This movement proved to be a big
impact on our country's history.
The War on Poverty was also another movement important to the
sixties. In March of 1964, President Johnson declares war on poverty. He
signs an Economic Opportunity Act in August and appoints R. Sargent
Shriver, to head the new Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). Johnson
tried throughout his presidency to get people back on their feet
economically and end the poverty in the United States.
Another movement that started in the sixties, was the environmental
movement. "It started in 1962 with the publishing of Rachel Carson's book
Silent Spring." (Holland 127). Her book attacked the use of chemical
pesticides. Her book caused such an uproar, "President Kennedy ordered
the Science Advisory Committee to study the effects of pesticides."
(www.onlineethnics.org). The pesticide that was causing such an uproar was
called DDT which was later banned because it was proved to be very
harmful to the environment.
The Women's Movement to flight in the sixties also. It also began by
the publishing of a book. The book was The Feminie Mystique, by Betty
Friedans. The book explained how women were being mistreated and what
women can to do to be equal to men. "As the sixties unfolded, women
began to meet together to compare experiences." (Cayton 846). In 1966,
women formed the National Organization for Women. A movement was
needed because of the unfairness and discrimination by sex in th
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