September 21, 2005 History 1672



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September 21, 2005

History 1672



Setting the Stage: Long Range Social, Political, and Economic Changes since 1945


  • United States as a Superpower: bipolar world emerging

  • Economic prosperity is absolutely critical

    • GNP increases about 250% before 60’s and notion that this economic growth will continue

  • Cold War the arms race… One of the dominant factors in understanding economic growth and influences domestic and foreign policy

  • (Politics begins to confront racial ideologies… beginning of civil rights movement in the 1950’s, bubbling up and starting to break up conformity)

  • Baby boom… demographic change vast rush into family and child bearing which helps to create cadres for the student movements

    • Burgeoning youth culture… radio, rock music… lots of people listening to this

  • Suburbanization  reshaping the American landscape and helping to shape a sort of national culture


The Affluent Society, 1945 – 1960


  • Economy

    • Unprecendented and widespread affluence

      • Extraordinary growth, lasts till late 60’s, early 70’s

    • “America’s Golden Age”

    • Per capita income in 1960 is 45% higher than it had been in 1945

    • In 13 years between 1947 and 1960, the real income increased more than it had in the preceding 50 years

    • More and more Americans

    • Why? New areas of demand

      • Consumption

        • Pent up demand during the war and depression, leads to a vast new boom such as automobile sales and buildings

      • Foreign trade

        • Word War II left US in a dominant position in world markets

        • B 1950, US manufacturing 27% of world goods… PAX AMERICANA, the US banks providing background of world economy

      • Military defense

        • Cold War… Rising tensions with USSR shapes military industrial complex

        • Spiraling arms race… contracts from the department of defense from 1950 to 1960 equal 228 billion dollars… enormous growth

        • All industries are growing, but not as fast as defense

        • B 1962, defense is the nations largest business

    • Structural Changes in the economy

      • Sense of growth creates sense of optimism for the future

      • Despite the problems for poverty, sense of a growing pie… there is more to go around

      • Shift in the kind of jobs workers are doing

      • US goes from a dominant blue collar work force to a white collar workforce in 1956

      • Large corporations with increasing number of white collar workers

      • Sociologist William Whyte: Organization Man… society geared not toward building character… new kind of middle class that is a threat to the old ways of individuality and self-reliance

  • Sburbanization

    • Growth of suburbs

      • Vast boom encouraged by government subsidies and boom in building

      • 13 million new homes built, 11 million of them built in the suburbs

      • from 1930 to 1970, 38% live in the suburbs… by 1980 50% live in suburban developments, now majority of Americans live in suburban developments

      • Declining tax bases in the cities

    • How they reshaped American culture and the American landscape

      • Dominant exodus of white Americans (white flight) to suburbs, and African Americans inheriting decreasing tax bases for the cities and increase in the inner city

      • By 1960, half of blacks live in the cities compared to only a third of whites

      • In the 60’s, whites outnumber blacks 35 to 1

      • Exclusion of blacks by Home Associations, etc.

      • GI Bill that provides loans for GI’s without any down payment at all.. and FHA helps GIs secure homeowners

        • This helps many people become homeowners for the first time

      • Levittown  b/c of prefabrication technique, its incredibly cheap to buy these places… very inexpensive…

      • New sense of national culture in the suburbs… protestant, jews, catholics living next to each other.. watching same tv shows, social critics argue that there is a very strong sense of conformity

      • Lack of communal space however, each house has its own enclosed yard… role of the Mall, privatized communal space

      • Strong sense of achievement and communal life often was the case

      • Suburbs become part of America’s self-image

      • Mass media contributing this homogenous view of American culture

      • By 1950s, programs emphasizing ethnicity disappear and replaced by television programs emphasizing conformity… “Father knows Best”

        • Portrayal of suburban life as American life

      • America’s self-image: husband working, mother staying home raising the kids… Americas dream

    • Factors contributing to growth: rush to marriage and family (demographic trends

      • Massive baby boom, women are marrying at a younger age… women marrying at average age of 20

      • 70% of women are married by age 24

      • By mid 60’s, more than 4 million babies are born each year

      • Population rises to 179 million by 1965

      • Increasing number of college students double in the 50’s and does so again in the 1960’s

      • Why this rush into marriage and the family?

        • Postponing because of the war… also depression before and now a sense of opportunity long delayed for many…

        • Domestic collorary of the cold war… rush to marriage is a response to emphasizing the security and fulfillment of entering into family… seeking a private haven in a cruel world.

  • Cold War

    • Domestic Containment

      • McCarthyism… narrowing of intellectual and political discourse

      • 1954, McCarthy is censured… domestic containment shapes what kind of activities the civil rights movement undertakes… people are very concerned about seeing anti-american

      • drainage out of the intensity of American intellectual life in the 1950s

    • Legitimizes post World War II state activism

      • United States must remain activist to remain strong in the world… to spur US expertise in different areas… research, etc.

      • Gov sponsors research in plastics and makes possible new consumer industry

      • Computer languages originate from gov sponsored research and spending

      • 1956 highway act argued on the basis of defense, highways going out of city in case of nuclear attack

      • 1959 national defense education act poors more federal dollars into education institutions to cultivate an intellectual and scientific elite… education is our first life of defense, “make it strong”

    • Importance of national mission/national purpose

      • Central liberalism… ensure a strong economy for a free world

      • Seize upon language... strong emphasis on the mission of the United States




  • Ideology of Liberal Centrism

    • Politics of 50s

      • Eisenhower was a republican president, but courted by democrats and republicans… difficult time deciding between the two parties… Nominated against Robert Taft old line conservative

      • Eisenhower wanted to limit spending, but expand minimum wage, etc.  willing to accept basic tenets of the New Deal

      • Ideological pragmatism in politics

    • Consensus-intellectuals

      • Scholarship… school of liberal consensus… those who see the United States in 1950s lacking any real conflict, racial conflict, etc. 50’s was definitely a time of conflict, but suppresses a lot of underlying cracks until the 1950

      • Left was languishing in political limbo

      • Narrowing of discourse and debate

      • Attempt to instill conformity

    • Nixon-Khrushchev kitchen debate

      • What makes America superior is notion of the possibility of the American dream… dream available to all Americans… one car garage, own home, etc.

      • Conflict between these statements and realities… clear that economic growth did not eradicate dividing lines, etc.

      • Divisions between blacks and whites, division between men and women…

    • 50s as decade of conformity

September 26, 2005



History 1672
Ideology of the Liberal Consensus


  • Kennedy’s methods and strategies were somewhat different from his predecessors… Kennedy dictated his foreign spending with a concern for US reputation, money was not necessarily the main issue

  • Norman Mailler: The incredible dullness reeked upon the American landscape for 8 years… triumph of the organization… With the crisis of the late 50’s the fatherly general began to resemble the undertaker… fatherly calm needed to be challenged…

  • What crisis is he referring to? Sputnik… Sputnik starts a national debate about America’s scientific prowess or lack there of… the Soviet Union launched the world’s first satellite

    • Huge scientific defeat for the Americans


John F. Kennedy, Liberalism and the new Frontier



  1. Late 1950’s-early 1960’s shift in polticial nature

    1. Sputnik – “technological Pearl Harbor”

      1. Sputnik is seen as a slap in the faith to US pride and prestige… undermines the belief that we have technological superiority

      2. Seen as a propaganda victory for the Soviet Union

      3. Victory for opponents of Eisenhower to promote their own programs…we are not doing enough to win the battle in the cold war… need to do more to demonstrate American superiority through science art, and the world of ideas

    2. Debate over national purpose

      1. New emphasis on American mission, purpose… Can the Country have great purpose and a higher destiny? The United States had no highly developed national purpose… unlike the Soviet Union with their disciplined sense of purpose

    3. Democratic Gains

  2. Kennedy Election

    1. How do you examine the administration over such a short period of time? Kennedy not such a heroric figure, but a very flawed individual

    2. Kennedy was a pretty sickly man… had to take medicines all of his life

    3. Father groomed him all his life for a life of politics, became a congressman, then in the 1950’s, ran for senate against Harry Lodge…

    4. Won the Pulitzer price in 1958 for a book called Profiles in Courage, but the book was mostly ghost written by one of his staff members… the prize itself… the Pulitzer commission was pushed to give it to Kennedy

    5. Campaign

      1. Emphasis on his personal charisma… fought on PT boats during the war… Head of the Kennedy family… American royalty

      2. Contrast to his opponent, Richard Nixon, during the campaign

    6. What distinguished the candidates?

      1. Contrast to his opponent, Richard Nixon, during the campaign

      2. Nixon doesn’t have the same kind of charisma in front of the television

      3. No matter the similarity of their politics, they were polar opposites in appearance

      4. Television became a huge factor in this election… first time you see the impact in political campaigning

      5. Nixon came across as haggerty, he didn’t look good at all… Kennedy came across as cool, collected, he was relaxed… This superficiality mattered

      6. Kennedy was willing to use the state to rectify social problems in a way the republicans were not willing to

    7. JFK was much more of a cold war liberal

  3. Kennedy Administration

    1. The New Frontier

      1. The cold war was the central shaping moment of his administration, central issue of his time

      2. Freedom was in the hour of maximum danger

      3. Strong emphasis on sense of mission: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”

        1. We will oppose any foe to ensure the success of liberty

        2. Calling on nation’s youth to become part of public service… what can you do for your country?

      4. Discourse of getting out there and doing something for your country… had many ramificationsnot just cold war… but civil rights

      5. New Frontier: new policies (comes out of a guy named Emerson Tome), sense of United States mission as a bearer of freedom and democracy…fever pitch of moralism that helps to inspire a generation

      6. Peace Corps

    2. Cold War/Foreign Policy

      1. Policies that emphasized the third world… foreign aid to the third world

      2. “Alliance for Progress” – to satisfy the stomachs of these third world citizens who might be turning to communism and socialism

        1. This spending included military aid (guns) but also bread and butter

      3. Green Berets established as a counter-insurgency force… fight battles against counter-insurgents… need for quick new ability to fight in places where the cold war is being fought…

      4. Bay of Pigs invasion

        1. Castro after the revolution in 1959, was welcomed in the United States because no one knew how he would end up… Americans wanted to woo him into the American camp…

        2. US imposed a sugar embargo on Cuba after Castro nationalized the sugar industry… Castro turned to Soviet Union for aid, beginning their long alliance

        3. Secret US plan to overthrow Castro regime… 13 million dollars to overthrow… Kennedy inherits this program from Eisenhower… Kennedy kept this secret because of concern of US’s rep with other nations and United Nations

        4. Rebels invaded Cuba, and there was no popular uprising… Castro’s army defeated the invaders…

        5. American planes used in the invasion, so it was clear that there was American involvement… Kennedy took blame and it was a very embarrassing thing to happen in the beginning of your presidency

        6. 1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis brings us to the brink of war… US imposes a quarantine around Cuba… puts US at the brink of war with Soviet Union

        7. Kennedy chose a strategy with Kruschev of discussion and secret negotiations.

        8. Kennedy secretly gave up missiles in Turkey…

        9. Cuban Missile Crisis gives Kennedy a sense of assessing the lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis… learning from mistakes… “We must deal with the world as it is, and not as if the last 18 years might be different” …Make the world safe for diversity

        10. Confrontation now by proxy, cold war is fought through third world nations

      5. Building of Berlin wall

    3. Domestic Agenda/Cold War Liberalism

      1. Kennedy is not willing to push for these policies because he is so focused on the policies of the Cold War

      2. Extremely narrow election margin… Voting controversies in Illinois and Texas… Chicago’s Daly… dead people on the voting records

      3. Expansion of minimum wage… allocation of funds for Johnson’s war on poverty… those initiatives comes from Kennedy

      4. Liberals chide Kennedy for indecisiveness… his unwillingness to commit to these policies

      5. Kennedy was concerned and upset by these bubbling moments to push for more radical and dramatic change… there is still an emphasis on the public, government being used as a force for change… the need to build up the public sector… Americans live in atmosphere of private affluence and public squalor…

      6. Gov spending should expand

      7. “The Other America” in 1962… helps to inspire the war on poverty… calling America’s attention to the 40 or 50 million Americans who live in poverty out of the eyes of middle-class America…

    4. Kennedy Legacy

      1. Would have seen a Kennedy more focused on domestic policies

      2. Would have seen a Kennedy more pressured by civil rights groups

      3. The promises cut short… there is a big push from below, and he begins to take more activist stands

      4. “Unrealized possibility”

      5. What was killed in Dallas, was not only the president, but the promise of youth… he never reached his meridian, we saw him only as a rising sun

      6. Shot down in his prime, shot down in his youth…

      7. Martyrdom force… how can you oppose the policies in the aftermath of the tragedy and martyrdom of Kennedy… This helps Johnson succeed

September 28, 2005

History 1672



Civil Rights Movement I


  • Civil Rights movement dominated national discourse in everyday life… highlight of American liberalism

  • Labeled as the second round of reconstruction

  • Jim Crow: two sets of everythings… 2 sets of bathrooms, 2 sets of parks… one for whites, one for blacks

  • Jim Crow south was no less than South Africa in Apartheid, a place marked by boundaries and race




  1. Civil Rights Movements Accomplishments

    1. End to de jure segregation

    2. Enfranchisement

      1. African Americans did hold and utilize the vote in those few years of reconstruction…and in a few states, held onto the vote into the late 19th century… Until the voting rights act of 1965, African Americans were essentially disenfranchised… political disempowerment leads to a social movement

      2. Helped to inspire a sense of rights consciousness for different groups

    3. Expansion of Democracy

      1. Led to an expansion of democracy (enfranchisement of a large minority group) and expansion of democracy in other ways… 1962, Warren Court announces: “one man, one vote”

        1. Rural districts with less numbers used to have more representation than places with urban places… often rural districts were more conservative

        2. This Supreme Court ruling led to empowerment of urban areas and minority constituency

      2. Leads to empowerment of women… the 1964 civil rights act… title 7 outlawed discrimination of employment based not only on race but also on sex, and religion

    4. Challenges to de facto segregation



  2. New Strategies of African-American Protest

    1. NAACP National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is important for building the movement and getting it going… NAACP was gradualist in its approach… important organization largely focused on legalistic change

    2. Other organizations such as Marcus Garvey’s Universal Movement stressed other changes such as a return to Africa, etc.

    3. Civil rights movement drew on these traditions of black activism but had a new conception of politics

    4. Strategies of mass disruption… Non violent protest

    5. Fundamentally moral terms

    6. Civil rights workers were not the first to create sit-ins… number of labor struggles in which workers had sit in before, nonetheless, this broad based new movement does draw on some of these earlier practices but brings something new

    7. Elite liberal policymakers saw themselves very much in favor of making things better for African-Americans, but in their model, it was an institutional reform that would bring about change… not this pragmatic system of boycotts, etc.

  3. Factors contributing to movement growth

    1. World War II and early postwar movement

      1. Black soldiers fought in WWII and came back as veterans

      2. Charles Payne: fought for American democracy and freedom abroad, after risking their lives for the country, would come back to the south and were treated as second class citizens

      3. Veterans return home and try to register (for school, for example) under the GI Bill and segregation prevented them

        1. Specific veteran who tries to register for college, but college is a white college… ends up being arrested for stealing $25 of corn and is put in jail for 7 years

      4. Gunnar Myrdal 1944: The American Dilemna, Problem in American Democracies… seeing prejudice as contradicting

      5. Truman supports elimination of poll tax, supports civil rights commission, issues executive order to end discrimination in the armed forces… Truman retreats from some of his promises after the election

    2. Brown v. Board of Education

      1. Ended the Plessey system… separate but equal no longer is law of the land

      2. Beginning of a movement to make this decision real… African-Americans wanted to see these changes in government policy made real

    3. African-American migration

      1. Demographic factor… movement of blacks out of the south and into urban communities

      2. Massive migration after WWII north… both to escape segregation but also for jobs

      3. More than 4.5 million blacks moved away from the South… they are making real differences in swing states… become an important constituency

      4. Moving into northern industry… there are about a million black union members, and these members helped push for change… United Auto Workers, for example, sent money to the civil rights movement

    4. Urbanization

      1. In deep south, blacks were dependent on whites who owned the land

      2. Urban communities created more of a possibility for action…

      3. Changed social structure of African-American communities, allowed for blacks to develop their own community leadership

      4. New black middle class… and this middle class fed up with the promises of American democracy… urbanization boosts up churches

      5. Significance and meaning of black church as a center

        1. Churches worked under the banner of christianity… although there were bombings, churches allowed blacks to come together

      6. NAACP vastly increased its membership during these years of urbanization

    5. Cold War

      1. Contributed to shaping the movement

      2. McCarthyism put a damper on liberal reform movements in the 50’s

        1. Notion of US as a beacon of freedom gave blacks a language on which they could build the civil rights movement

      3. International aspect of the cold war… Americans did not want to be embarrassed as they advocate democracy and freedom

      4. How is this reflecting internationally, in Africa for example…

        1. African-Americans inspired by national movements in Africa where white colonizers are thrown off… Mao-Mao movement in Kenya (although not admiring the tactics, which are very bloody)

  4. Dynamics of movement insurgency

    1. Montgomery Bus Boycott

      1. Not first bus boycott (there was one in Baton Rouge, ended in compromise)

      2. 12/1 of 1955, Rosa Parks sat on the first row of the colored section of the bus, but white section was filled, and Parks was asked to give up her seat, she refused

        1. “Somewhere in the universe, a gear shifted”

        2. Story was a bit more complicated: Rosa Parks was an organizer in the movement, she was an integral part of an organization since the 1940s… not the first time she had refused to give up her seat

        3. She had been secretary of her local chapter of NAACP

      3. Wanted to use her case to organize people into boycott… they were looking for a case in which to do so… but the political council did not want to use earlier people who had refused to get off bus (one woman, for example, was an unwed single mother…)

      4. Nixon and Womans political council decided to mobilize around Parks… organized meeting in dexter church, which was the church of King.

      5. King was relatively uknown and very young… the leadership of the struggle would be with the black church… King was elected the leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association, to lead the struggle….

      6. King had amazing oratorical skills… this enabled him to become a prominent national leader

      7. The boycott was a stunning success… Buses from the first day of the boycott went along their routes empty… lasted over 300 days

        1. Didn’t call for an end to segregation, just called for a flexible line (so if more blacks were on the bus, line would move up)… but because of the stuborness of white officials, decided that nothing short of integration would be accepted)

    2. Formation of SCLC

      1. Southern Christian Leadership Conference

        1. Spoke the language of black masses… and evangelical quality of the civil rights movement

        2. Less open to attack (but still in under attack)

      2. Ella Baker is first director of SCLC

      3. Student non-violent group is central… relies on King as a central figure of the movement

    3. Sit-Ins

    4. SNCC

    5. Core and Freedom Rides

October 3, 2005



History 1672



  1. Movement Organization

    1. SCLC

    2. SNCC

      1. Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee – initial period of organizing to get students out there and face white mobs…

      2. Getting encouragement from older African-Americans, but at same time getting cigarette butts thrown in their faces, muster gas, etc…

      3. Imagine allowing your 14 year old into that situation…

    3. CORE – (Congress of Racial Equality)

      1. Northern-based organizations, wants to insert itself in the movement, comes up with the idea of “Freedom Rides

      2. Met with screaming mobs with pipes and chains… when they entered Alabama, mob attacked bus and bus exploded into flames

      3. Bull Conor gave the klan 15 minutes to attack before his forces would step in

      4. Eventually CORE discontinues the rides because of the violence, but SNCC wants to continue no matter what

  2. JFK and Civil Rights

    1. Freedom Rides, 1961

    2. Integrating Ole Miss

      1. University of Mississippi, had fought with the Air Force, seeking education… inspired by Kennedy’s address that education would be possible, that racial justice could be achieved. His application is rejected, federal court finds that he cannot be denied admission on the basis of race.

      2. Gov Arnett would uphold the customs of the south and block Meredith’s attempts to register

      3. Faced with this extreme obstruction, Kennedy was forced to act. Even when accompanied by federal agents, he was denied the opportunity to register

      4. Arnett finally backs down, and Meredith begins life at the university protected by 500 marshals

      5. A few months after, a mob approaches the dorm that Meredith is staying in is surrounded, 100+ marshals are wounded, 2 passerbys dead… 5,000 national guard troops ordered

      6. Struggle with Ole Miss pushes a kind of change into Kennedy’s attitudes

    3. Birmingham, 63… Very racially divided… between 1957 and 1963, there were 18 bombings of black institutions, over 50 cross burnings

      1. Bull Connor, police commissioner… Connor unleashed dogs, fire hoses… classic photos of these young kids facing down these major high pressure fire hoses as well as attack dogs…

      2. Television has increased its coverage from about 15 minutes to 30 minutes, helps to shift nation’s sympathies in civil rights…

      3. Strategic decision that high school kids should be involved in the desegregation struggle… if they are arrested, won’t be economic disruption, like adults who might lose their jobs, etc.

      4. Northern companies would turn to their southern counterparts and tell them to fix the problem because they didn’t want the publicity or the economic downturn

    4. Kennedy gives a national address on June 11, 1963… nation confronted a national issue… the nation could no longer be content to tell African-Americans to be patient… Kennedy asked congress to explore legislation to give broad voting rights

    5. African-Americans are pushing for rights within Washington DC. Randolph organizes the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

      1. August 28, 1963… calls for the change now… bring 200,000 together, and really represented the high point of the integrationist phase of the movement… evolution of black protest from the sit-ins and efforts to desegregate the cities into national demands for congress to act

    6. When is this? Beginning of Kennedy administration? Eisenhower and Nixon don know what to do, do nothing  King is arrested and thrown into jail for 4 months… Kennedy uses this opportunity to make a gesture in favor of civil rights.

      1. New African-American voting blocs… Kennedy calls Coretta Scott King; Robert Kennedy calls the local judge, King released on technicality. Kennedy raises expectations… something expected

      2. But Kennedy doesn’t want civil rights to take away from his concerns of foreign policy. To get any of his legislation through, he has to satisfy white southern democrats

      3. Very mixed record on civil rights during his first two years in office

    7. Riders go into South, Kennedy bargains that if there is no violence, federal government will not interfere with arrests, etc.

    8. Kennedy is working behind the scenes, to put caps on the destruction of the movement…

  3. Dynamics of Struggle: Non-violent Direct Action

    1. ML King and the philosophical roots of non-violence

    2. Non-violence as a political strategy

      1. This tradition comes from many places… Christian roots… turn the other cheek

      2. Comes from the spirit of Ghandi

      3. Only through non-violence, can the goal be obtained… notion of building the beloved community

    3. Tensions within the movement

      1. TV screens did not show the violence…

      2. Tension within the movement, real anger with King

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