Johnson's Great Society Programs

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The purpose of Johnson's Great Society programs was to improve the quality of life in the country. Many people in this period lived in poverty, in isolated rural areas and urban slums. Johnson created new cabinet offices and new agencies and a national public broadcasting network for this program management. He used federal funds to provide health service and medical care for poor people, for education and development of urban areas. Generally, the War on Poverty was focused on indirect methods of eliminating poverty. The government gave the opportunity for people to get education, be free to choose and create their lives and local policies. They created the job training courses, scholarship and legal services. “…the War on Poverty required that poor people play a leading part in the design and implementation of local policies”.(p.928) The main idea these programs were based on is described in the phrase “We seek...not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result".

This attempt was very important government action on the way of improving the living conditions. The sum spent on this program was huge, but not enough to introduce all the improvements, but “the War on Poverty succeeded in reducing the incidence of poverty from 22 percent to 13 percent of American families during the 1960s.”(p.929) and it was good attempt to address the government forces to poor people. 

How Did the Vietnam War Transform American Politics and Culture?

The Vietnam War greatly influenced America. The American government made people participate in the Vietnam War, and that caused the appearance of anti-war movement and important changes in the country. America supplied South Vietnam with weapon and soldiers. “By the 1968, the war had sidetracked much of the Great Society and had torn families, universities, and the Democratic Party apart.”  (p.940). The government was used to lower the voting age to 18 in 1971, because soldiers sent to Vietnam were obliged to military service, but had no voice in American Politics.

Mentioning cultural changes,  they were significant. This war resulted into an antiwar movement and appearance of “counterculture”. American people suffered from this war and suggested it unfair. “By 1967, young men were burning their draft cards of fleeing to Canada to avoid fighting in what they considered an unjust war.”(p.941)

The war destructed the people’s belief to authority and this caused the appearance of “counterculture”. Young people from different social classes openly rejected the values and behavior of the elder. The youth rejected the norms of clothes, hair cut, general appearance, behavior. This movement produced hippies, rock concerts and famous Woodstock festival. This movement represented wide freedom which meant the rejection of authority. However, also this movement caused the experiments in Arts and Literature, new wave of creativity, and produced many famous people.

“Counterculture” was the way of personal liberation and personal individualization caused by results of long involvement in the Vietnam War.

What Were the Sources and Significance of the Rights Revolution of the Late 1960s?

The rise of New Left inspired other Americans to fight for their rights. “ Many borrowed the confrontational tactics of the black movement and activists students, adopting their language of "power" and "liberation", and their rejection of traditional organizations and approaches.“(p.943)

This period is characterized by feminists’ movement wakeup, sexual liberation, Mexican-American people activism and American Indian Movement. The rights revolution followed these movements. It began at the street and achieved constitutional legitimacy through the Court, the most conservative branch of the government. 

The revolution rights are an important step on the way to equality, recognition and freedom achievement, on the way of society foundation. It transformed the fighting for freedom to the form of individual voices of grievance into the open-ended claim for equality and self-determination of all the Americans.

What Were the Major Policies of the Nixon’s Administration on Social and Economic Issues?

Nixon’s policy is the combination of liberal or conservative policies. He gained the applause of conservatives by offering federal “block grants” to spend as they saw appropriate. The purposes of financing were not managed by Washington. On the other hand, he created many new government agencies. He paid a lot of attention to ecology trying to improve the ecological situation and control it. He “required “environmental impact” statement from any project that received federal funding.”(p.959) Nixon spent lavishly on social services and environmental initiatives. He improved the food stamp program and indexed the Social Security measure to inflation – meaning that they would rise automatically, as the cost of living increased. Nixon decided to replace the Aid to Families with Dependent Children, which offered quite limited aid for poor families, with the Family Assistance Plan, which meant the guarantee of minimum income to all Americans. Following the Johnson’s program for upgrading the minority employment, Nixon required that construction contractors on federal projects hire specific number of minorities.

What Were the Roots of the Rise of Conservatism in the 1970s?

The combination of domestic and international dislocations during the 1970s created a wide spread sense of anxiety among Americans, and offered conservatives new political opportunities. Economic situation also needed changes. Americans demanded lower taxes, reduced government regulation and cuts in social spending for business investments. In addition, America faced international problems. Fears about a decline of America power in the world lead to calls for a renewal of Cold War. There was a disagreement in Democratic Coalition caused by civil rights and sexual revolution. The urban crime rates rose. Court and law agencies were suggested too lenient towards criminals. In addition, “the rise of religious to fundamentalism during 1970s expended conservatism’s popular base”(p. 979).

All these resulted in the rise of conservatism in the 1970s.

How Did the Reagan’s Presidency Affect Americans Both at Home and Abroad?

Reagan introduced the Tax reform Act which reduced the rate on the wealthiest Americans to 28 percent. That meant that the wealthy should pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than other citizens. His economic program relied on high interest rates to curb the inflation and lower tax rates, especially for rich Americans, to stimulate private investments. “This policy assumed that cutting taxes would inspire Americans to work harder, since they would keep more of the money they earned.”(p.988) However, people spent money not on the productive investments, but on luxury goods, real-estate speculations, and corporate buyouts that often led to plant closing as operations were consolidated. The income of middle class stagnated while that of the poorest one-fifth of the population declined. There appeared a lot of homeless people in the streets.

Reagan advocated a “return to spiritual values” as a way to strengthen the local community and traditional families. However, Reagan’s Revolution undetermined such values. “Intended to discourage reliance on government handouts by rewarding honest work and business initiative, Reagan’s policies inspired a speculative frenzy that enriched architects of corporate takeovers and investors in the stock market while leaving in their wake plant closing, job losses and devastated communities.” (p.994) Nothing can damage the family stability and local traditions than deindustrialization, relentless downward pressure on wages and insecurity about employment.

What Were the Major International Initiatives of the Clinton Administration in the Aftermath of the Cold War?

The United States became the world’s dominant power. Clinton took steps to encourage the settlement of long-ending international conflicts, and tried to elevate support for human rights to the central place in international relations. Clinton tried to set up peaceful relations of Palestinian land and Israel, but he didn’t succeed. He didn’t want America to be involved in military conflict, but he took measures to keep the peace between the countries. A good example is the situation when tribal massacres attacked Rwanda. The Clinton’s government did nothing but arranged the peaceful return to power of Haiti’s elected president. American troops landed on the islands not to occupy it, but to assist an elected government to keep the peace. Americans also were peacekeepers in the ethnic conflicts among new countries which were created after Yugoslavia had collapsed.

Human rights paled very important role in Clinton’s international policy. He created the international organization that monitored how the government treated their citizens. Human rights emerged as a justification to intervention in matters once considered to be the internal affairs of sovereign nations. “The United States dispatched the military distant parts of the world to assist in international missions to protect civilians. “(p.1006)

What Forces Drove the Economic Resurgence of the 1990s?

The computer revolution took place in America. Computers became smaller, faster and less expensive than they had been before and people started to use them for home use and business. Large and small investors poured their funds into the stocks, which were spurred by the increase of online and discount firms that aggressively advertised and charged the lower fees than international brokers. Investors were especially attracted to the companies that conducted business through the Internet and seemed to symbolize the promise of new economy.

The era of technologies began and the economics was greatly influenced by them. For the first time since the early 1970s, average real wages and family incomes began to grow significantly. Nevertheless, in the last two decades of the twenties century, the poor and the middle-class people became worse off, while the rich became significantly richer. The United States became the most unequal society in the developed world.

What Cultural Conflicts Emerged in the 1990s?

Renewed emphasis of the group identity and insistent demands for group recognition and power racked the international arena during the 1990s. Socialism and nationalism had entitled people of different backgrounds in pursuit of the common goals.

Because of shifts in immigration, cultural and racial diversity became increasingly visible in the United States. The largest minority group was Latinos. Asian-Americans also became increasingly visible.

Cultural diversity also caused cultural conflicts. Some Americans didn’t suggest the increased number of immigrants as a celebration of pluralism, but as an alarm over the perceived cultural fragmentation. There were debates on educational policy for immigrant children. These issues affected California the most dramatically, because “the voters in 1994 approved the Prepositions 187, which denied illegal immigrants and their children access to the welfare, education and health services”. Some people argue that non-white immigration posed a threat to the country’s historical and cultural identity, and should be curtailed.  In California, Republicans’ anti-immigrant campaigns inspired political mobilization and offended many white Americans.

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