In the era of the 1960’s America faced problems which new to the country. Problems like antiwar rallies, civil rights movements, and assassinations of some of the greatest men that ever made an impact on society. The horror of the Vietnam War spreading through the nation from media, and the continuous fight to have equality was just too much for some. The 1960’s brought even the President of The United States to his knees. The 1960’s had many changes in the goals, the strategies, and the civil rights movement throughout America.
This era was at the very least a struggle and a heart wrenching time. With Vietnam came the demise of the draft and Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act brought major changes to America. Many men burnt and refused to accept the idea of fighting, what many thought, as an unnecessary war. With so many people against the war in Vietnam, rallies even in the nation’s capital were known.
This antiwar spark led to a new kind of political activism and political rallies that still have an impact today. The most lasting political effect was the change in the voting age from 21 to 18. This allowed soldiers being drafted in Vietnam to have a say in the way the government they were fighting for was run. Though hard to see, the war not only powered the sixties, but the civil rights movement. As the Vietnam War sparked, this brought about a change in Civil Rights more than anything. With African American leaders such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X fighting for civil rights for African Americans, this small group started to become more equal citizens in the eyes of the government. The Civil Rights movement came to a head during the 1960’s, after much work in the 1950’s, and the effects are still being felt today. In Document A from the SNCC in April of 1960, the idea of nonviolence was the main source of progress.
“Through nonviolence, courage displaces fear; love transforms hate.” This idea of fighting with no violence was pushed by Martin Luther King, a leader that even John F. Kennedy respected. Kennedy, in a television and radio report told fellow Americans: “Next week I shall ask the Congress of the United States to act, to make a commitment it has not fully made in this century…” This act to change what had for years frightened American was beginning to change. As Martin Luther King wrote from the Birmingham jail in 1963, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He was a minister above being a leader, and this lead him to greatness; a greatness that ended all too quickly. 1968, this was the year that brought the simmering decade to a fire.
Although Civil Rights legislation was passed, the non-violent Civil Rights movement was becoming more violent by 1968. Americans were speechless as they listened, and watched President Johnson announce his refusal to accept nomination for re-election. This refusal was interpreted by most Americans as ‘throwing in the towel’, and giving up. This caused much political anxiety in the country, and across the world in Vietnam. 1968 is also remembered as the year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy; two Americans that had set out to help raise the country that was close to its crumbling point. In the 1968 election, Richard Nixon seemed to be the solution in times that needed a savior; he beat out the completion of both the Democratic and Independent party.
The heart wrenching moments that make up the year of 1968 were coming to an end. The 1960’s had a rollercoaster of changes. Americans seemed to forget what they were fighting for. These ten years haunt and hang over the American people in every way. The many that endured what seemed like countless years of fighting in Vietnam, only to come home to an unthankful people; the ones that stood up for equality and civil rights, only to get pushed back down, those many and few are the 1960’s. Those many and few show the goals, the strategies, and the support of this era. Those Americans are the heart break and the stories of the past.