A DIVIDED UNION? THE USA 1945-1970 (key issue 4)

  • Created by: Laura
  • Created on: 31-12-12 14:21

Why did the student movement emerge?

  • The legacy of the 1950's e.g. formation of gangs.
  • Elvis Presley was very infulential.
  • The 'Swinging Sixties' - wanted gretaer freedom in everything: music, clothes and social life.
  • Universities - wanted greater say in education.
  • Protest singers e.g. Bob Dylan.
  • The death of JFK.
  • The influence of Martin Luther King.
  • The worldwide phenomena.
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What was the importance of the conflict in Vietnam

  • Opposition the war united the student movement.
  • Reasons for opposition:
    • Many students were called up through draft system.
    • Opposition grew with number of casualties.
    • Students questioned the right of the USA to be in Vietnam.
    • US methods of warfare brought even greater opposition.
    • The media did a lot to whip up the student opposition.
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How did the students campaign?

  • Involvement with civil rights.
    • Many were appalled at the racism and were determined to expose racists in their own colleges.
  • The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)
    • Set up in 1959 by univeristy students Tom Hayden.
    • 'Anti-anti-Communism'.
    • Formed groups in 150 colleges and universities.
  • Opposition the war in Vietnam.
    • 100 demonstrations against the war.
    • They burnt draft cards or, more seriously, US flags.
    • Kent State University - violent clashes with police, police open fired and 4 people were killed. 400 colleges were closed as two million students went on strike to protest.
  • The 'Hippy' movement.
    • 'Dropped out' of society and became hippies.
    • Refused to work, experimented with drugs, were from middle-class backgrounds.
  • Student radicalism.
    • Later 1960s - student movement views became more radical.
    • Began to support violence to achieve their aims.
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Why was the student movement important?


  • Youth culture:
    • Profound changes in lifestyle of the young.
    • Greater sexual permissiveness.
  • Vietnam:
    • Helped to force a shift in government policy and make withdrawal from Vietnam more likely.
  • Racism:
    • Provided greater publicity for the racism.
    • The support of white students for black civil rights strengthened the whole movement.
    • American youths would no longer tolerate discrimination or segregation.
  • Middle-class origins:
    • Bulk of students were middle-class.
    • To oppose the government was vitually unheard of and shook the older, more conservative generation.
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The impact of the Second World War on women.

In some aspects, the position of women improved:

  • Could do male-dominated jobs.
  • 4 US states made equal pay compulsory.
  • Protection from discrimination.
  • 1940 - 19% of workforce was women.
  • 1950 - 28.8% of workforce.
  • Joined armed forces.

However at the end of the war:

  • Women willingly gave up their wartime jobs to return to their traditional roles.
  • Women were generally excluded from the top, well-paid jobs.
  • On average, earned 50-60% that men earned for doing the same job.
  • Women could still be dismissed from their job when they married.
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How did the women's movement emerge?

Position of women, 1945-60:

  • Progress in WW2 did not continue for most women.
  • Media encouraged them to go back to their traditional role.
  • Women who went to work were treated with suspicion from society and were blamed for many of the social problems of the 1950s.

The 1950s:

  • Middle-class background began to challenge traditional roles.
  • Women much better educated.
  • Women in employment continued to increase (1950 - 29% of work force, 1960 - 50%)

The 1960s:

  • 'Swinging Sixties' led to greater freedom.
  • Contraceptive pill gave females more choice.
  • 1966 - Betty Friedan set up the National Organization for Women (NOW).
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How did the women's movement develop?

  • Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM):
    • Known as feminists, more extremist than NOW.
    • All signs of male supremacy to be removed.
    • Stopped wearing make-up, burnt bras.
    • Activities did more harm than good as they brought the wrong sort of publicity.
  • Campaign to legalise abortion:
    • Feminists argued it was wrong to force women to have babies they didn’t want.
    • Estelle Griswold case (1965) encouraged further cases
  • Opposition to the women’s movement:
    • NOW dominated by white, middle-class females.
    • Objected to extreme demands of WLM.
    • Some women accepted traditional roles.
    • Some women were anti-abortion.
    • Not seen to be doing enough for poor women.
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