American History

AMERICAN HISTORY 7

AmericanHistory

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AmericanHistory

TheEmergence of America’s ‘Great Society’

Thehistory of America has been defined in many ways by politicaloccurrences and influences(Finkelman, 2009).Each and every decade is defined with some happenings that influencethe future of the American people. This is also the same case in the1960s, where the country was to start the decade by holding anelection. The campaigns went underway early enough to choose a newpresident. The presidential candidates, as usual, promised a lot tothe electorates. President John F. Kennedy was not left behind. Hehad promised one of the most ambitions programs on the domesticagenda dubbed ‘New Frontier’.

Thispackage consisted reforms and laws which were expected to eliminateinequalities and injustices in the American society. However, the newdeal started off with problems. The Congressional majority did allwhat they could, to block the proposed reforms. They depended on ateam from the Southerners, to ensure that the plan nevermaterialized.

Therebellion towards these plans continued and more protests wereorganized across the country. It was after 1964, when John Kennedywas shot that the president, Lyndon Johnson, declared that he woulddo all what was in his power to enact reforms in a very expansiveprogram. This is the year that the president assured the people ofAmerica that he would make America a ‘Great Society’. A ‘GreatSociety’ meant that there would be no more poverty in the Americansociety and social injustices had no place in his government. To keepto his word, the president started new programs that were intended togive the poor people in the society a ‘hand up’ instead of ‘handouts’.

Theset of programs included Medicare services, which were seen to targetthe elderly and also low-income Americans, by paying Medicare billsfor them. It also included ‘Head Start’, a program that preparedthe young children for school and also a ‘Job Corps’. The latterset of programs involved training the unskilled workers for theavailable jobs and trying to de-industrializing the American economy.He also established a model called ‘Model Cities’, whoseintention was to offer subsidies to the federal government for thecommunity projects and urban redevelopment. At the same time, thepresident’s Office of Economic Opportunity encouraged thedisadvantaged people in the society to participate in designing andin the implementation of these programs, which were intended toassist them.

Thecivil rights struggle in America, went a notch higher, after fourstudents, who were black, went to join white students in a lunchcounter which was only set aside for the whites in Greensboro, NorthCarolina(Kellogg, 2003)..This was in February 1960, where the four students refused to leave.It was followed by major demonstrations and more and more protestorswent back to the same counter. Many demonstrators occupiedrestaurants and shopping places especially in the Upper South. Ittherefore forced the authorities to pay attention to theirgrievances. Among the issues that were raised included brutality,injustices and also capriciousness, which characterized Jim Crow.

Thepresident, through Congress, pushed for the enactment of Civil RightsAct, which prohibited any social discrimination in the public places.The act gave powers to the Justice Department, to sue any state thatviolated the rights of minority and women. It promised to give equalopportunities to all Americas in workplaces. The Voting Act Rightswas also passed the following year, which eliminated taxes which werecharged during polls. It also did away with the literacy requirementsand any other tools that whites had put in place to discriminateagainst the blacks(Ayres, 2004).However, these measures did not entirely solve the issue of povertyand racism or improving the conditions of the blacks in the society.

Therewas increased number of groups that joined the black people in fightagainst social injustices. Most of these groups were impatient withthe increased reforms which were not being implemented by thegovernment. They include student activists, who led massivedemonstrations.

However,one thing that proved to be challenging was the cost of the war inVietnam. The government was convinced that wining the Vietnam War wasimpossible. There was a fragmented Democratic Party and Johnsondropped his re-election bid. Peaceful demonstrations were carried outin 1969, to spread the love and antiwar campaigns, which formed partof the American history.

Thehistory of the New York City

Thehistory of the New York City is very long. It started when theBritish took New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664. The population ofthe city continued to develop tremendously in the next century. Thiswas due to the immigrants who were coming from mostly Europeannations and the slaves from Africa. The city worked as a militarybase for the British until 1783.

NewYork was amongst the cities that were affected by the continued war,but it quickly recovered. The New York City played an imperative partin the economic growth, as it was used as the entry point to theAmerica markets. A lot of infrastructural developments were carriedout, that contributed to its growth in the nineteenth century.

Theincreased number of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe in1950s changed the image of the New York City. The immigrants startedtheir own business, joined trade unions, settled in very distinctneighborhoods, build social clubs and churches and also formedpolitical organizations.

TheNew York City was turned to the city we know today in the 20thcentury. In late 19thcentury, the residents of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and StatenIsland voted to be merged with Manhattan and form what was popularlyknown as ‘Greater New York’(Foner,1997).. This development made the city to expand and its population toincrease. However just as many other American cities, New Yorkstruggled in the 20thcentury, especially after the World War II, where many affluentpeople left(Cobbs et al, 2012)..This problem was later to be solved by the Hart-Cellar Immigrationand Nationality Act in 1965 that made it easy for the immigrants fromAfrica Latin America, Asia and Caribbean to come to the U.S. Many ofthese, settled in the city, which made it revitalized.

Thenew millennium had its own share in the New York’s history,especially from the terrorist attacks in the World Trade Center, in2001, where close to 3,000 people lost their lives. The population ofthe city is estimated to be around 8 million people.

TheCurrent Issue in the U.S

Americanshave been caught in a debate of freeing the Taliban detainees withexchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The deal which is headed by thestate department has raised public criticism. The department ofdefense has come out to say that the negotiations had notmaterialized and that they did not include an exchange of a prisoner.This is according to a letter forwarded to the president. However,the president said that he is not apologetic of the release, since hewas concerned about saving the life of any American.

References

Ayres,T. (2004). That`snot in my American history book: A compilation of little-known eventsand forgotten heroes.Dallas, Tex: Taylor Pub.

Cobbs,H. E., Blum, E. J., &amp Gjerde, J. (2012). Majorproblems in American history: Documents and essays / edited byElizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, Edward J. Blum, Jon Gjerde.Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Finkelman,P. (2009). Encyclopediaof African American history, 1896 to the present: From the age ofsegregation to the twenty-first century.New York: Oxford University Press.

Foner,E. (1997). Thenew American history.Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

Kellogg,W. O. (2003). Americanhistory: The easy way.Hauppauge (N.Y.: Barron`s.