Protest Movements ELLA HISTOR

Notes, pictures and tables answering "Why were there so many protest movements in the 1960s and what impact did they have on US society?" - GCSE History Edexcel, Unit - USA A Divided Union?

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Why were there so many Protest Movements in the 1960s, and what impact did they have on US society?
Context
1950's suburban life was familycentred. Fathers commuted to work, mothers went shopping and the rest of life
was bounded by school, church, the park and the television set. Television encouraged the obsession of
`keeping up with the Jones's'. Life in suburbia was comfortable, but dull. Those who found life in suburbia most
suffocating were the ones who spent the most time there. Bored teenagers were the first to rebel and
housewives demanded `liberation' from the allelectric household which gave them little scope for their
education and creativity. Many felt tricked out of the independence they had enjoyed during the war by the
`happy housewife' propaganda of postwar years.
Young rebels and their causes ~
The 1940s teenagers had far more leisure time and spending money than earlier
generations. In the 1950s teenagers began to assert themselves and to worry their
parents in new ways. Mainstream culture never or rarely paid attention to big issues
at the time in America, such as Civil Rights or the Hbomb, but instead became
increasingly sugarcoated and goodygoody, creating an `allAmerican code of
values'.
Beat poets emerged in the 1950's, describing the `robot apartments' and `invisible
suburbs' of mainstream America. James Dean inspired teenagers in the film `Rebel
without a cause'. Above all, new teenagers went crazy for the rock'n'roll music,
which became a separate world of their own and in particular, Elvis Presley. In the peaceful calm of the 1950s
Elvis spelt `danger' to middleclass parents, representing a white lower class that had been forgotten by
suburban America ­ he opened a door to the world that parents preferred to ignore.
The Student Movement
Although young people's protest began in the 1950s the real protests began in the 1960's, because:
Students for a Democratic Society was set up in 1959 (SDS) by Tom Hayden with aim to get more say
for students in how their colleges/universities were run and took part in sit ins, marches, rallies
Civil Rights encouraged civil disobedience idealistic young students appalled at the injustice MLK
appealed to Students and started the SNCC ­ many dropped out to become full time activists
Growth of pop music focused attention on the younger generation and was huge increase in the influence
and popularity of the protest singer e.g. Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan whose lyrics attacked war and racism.
Antiwar concerts such as Woodstock were held at the end of 1960's.
Vietnam antiwar protest peaked between 196870
Average age of soldiers in Vietnam was 19, ½ million young Americans fighting in the war
Slogan `Hey! Hey! LBJ! How many kids have you killed today?' became widespread.
Avoided conscription, known as `draft dodgers', as they felt war was immoral and imperialistic. They
didn't want to die for something they saw as wrong
In 1969 700,000 marched in Washington DC in protest of the war. Fuelled
with passion students burnt draft cards and the American flag

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A peaceful anti war demonstration ended in tragedy as 4 students were shot dead by National
Guardsmen at Kent State University, Ohio in 1970
Joined with issue of Civil Rights as there was a disproportionate number of black soldiers
Death of Kennedy in 1963 came as great shock, especially to the young who had been inspired by his
brief presidency and who could relate to his reforms and `New Frontier'…read more

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NOW (National Organisation for WLG (Women's Liberation Group)
Women)
Set up by Betty Friedan 1966 Younger more radical feminists
40,000 members by the 1970s
Not an extreme organisation and still More extreme methods
believed in marriage and traditional Bra burning (bras symbol of male domination)
families. Picketed Miss World beauty contest in Atlantic
Used similar tactics to civil right's City in 1968 (treated women like objects ­ to
campaigners i.e.…read more

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