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Great Society Burning

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Jarod Roll

on 9 November 2016

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Transcript of Great Society Burning

Great Society Burning

HIS 106
Dr. Roll
President Eisenhower's warning, 1961:

The best that could be expected from the Cold War arms race was "a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the people of this earth. Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
Containment in southeast Asia:
--1954 take French position in support of south Vietnamese government
--1955 cancel national unification elections in Vietnam because Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the north, would win
--1960 start sending large numbers of military advisors to the south; over 20,000 there by 1963
--1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
--1965 over 180,000 soldiers in country
--1965 Operation Rolling Thunder
American civilian and military leaders committed to war in order to maintain US credibility
--525,000 soldiers in country in 1968
--the draft (Selective Service Act)
--80% from poor or working class families
--31% African American
TET offensive, 1968
Student Protest against the War:
--Free Speech Movement, Univ. of California, 1964
--Students for a Democratic Society
Feminist movement, energized by social change, Civil Rights Act:
--Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1963)
--birth control pill (1960)
--1965 Griswold v. Connecticut (right to privacy, birth control)
--NOW: National Organization for Women (1966)
1964: Harlem uprising
Malcolm X
1965: Watts, Los Angeles: police violence, but also failure of antidiscrimination housing bill late 1964
James Meredith, March Against Fear, 1966
--Memphis to Jackson
--protest continued white intimidation and violence
--encourage African Americans to push civil rights legislation
Meredith shot in Hernando
March Against Fear:
all major civil rights groups mobilize for the last time together
Greenville, summer of 1966:
--Stokely Carmichael, SNCC, calls for "Black Power"

Lowndes County Freedom Organization, or Black Panther Party, 1966
Federal Military Industrial Complex creates the Sunbelt:
--military spending after 1945-- industry, research and development, military bases -- focused in the southern tier of states, from South Carolina to southern California
--pulls other investment along with it: factories start to relocate to take advantage of government spending (highways, universities, airports) but also lower wages of workforce
As growth moves south and west, older industrial cities in the midwest suffer:
--lose jobs, and people
--many can't leave: lack of money, effects of residential and employment discrimination
--by late 1960s, inner cities increasingly defined by high poverty, mostly non-white populations
--city governments respond with police power
1967: Detroit
Political response:
--LBJ signs Law Enforcement Assistance Act, 1965
--federal support to local police
--Civil Rights Act of 1968
--makes racial discrimination in housing illegal
--Safe Streets Act, 1968
--surplus military hardware to local police, eg, machine guns, tanks, helicopters (most of which had been in use in Vietnam)
--Johnson declares won't run again in 1968; response to Tet Offensive

1968: An Election Year of Violence
--MLK assassinated in Memphis, April
--urban uprisings throughout the nation (more than 10 major cities); US troops called out
--Robert F. Kennedy assassinated in June
--Democratic National Convention in Chicago beset by protestors, Chicago police respond with brutal attacks

Richard Nixon (R) and George Wallace (I) both run on 'law and order' campaigns, trying to pull white voters away from the Democratic Party: appeal to 'silent majority'
Civil Rights Act, 1964
--outlawed discrimination in public services relating to interstate commerce, education, voting, employment
--race and gender
--southern Democrats 54 day filibuster defeated to pass it
--New Deal coalition torn apart
Full transcript