What were the purposes and strategies of Johnson’s Great Society programs?

  1. What were the purposes and strategies of Johnson’s Great Society programs?

After his outstanding 1964 victory, Johnson outlined a proposal aimed at cleaning governmental actions to encourage public overall well-being since the New Delhi.  The initiatives termed as the Great Society endorsed in 1966- 67, Medicare and Medicaid programs provided health services to the elderly and poor  and poured federal funds into urban development and education. The initiative saw the creation of new agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and national public broadcasting network, concurrently it helped establish new cabinet premises for the government (Foner 972-74).
The federal government’s powers through these initiatives greatly increased.  However, unlike the New Delhi, the Great Society was not a depressing response but a prosperity response.  This mid 1960s period was characterized by rapid economic growth, propelled by increased governmental tax and spending cuts on businesses and individuals initially enacted in 1964 and initiated by Kennedy. Foner maintains that the economic development for the democratic liberals and “Johnson” were believed to be able to “improve the quality of life” and fund ambitious new government programs (975- 978).

  1. How did the Vietnam War transform American Politics and culture?

The American society was, greatly impacted by the Vietnam War. The conflict transformed how people see the media, government, and their statutory rights. Due to this change in outlook, the country was divided yet it remained together in a new and exciting ways. The controversies of the Vietnam War spurred a great many sources of complaints, against the government use of power and the extent of how people can take their freedom of expression rights, and mainly against the war violence. Within a society, these changes in behavior have left a lasting impression on people’s views and the demand for information, since that historical period of social upheavals. In addition, the conflict “offered” a controversial issue that created a “catalyst” for a social framework just ready to be triggered (Foner 983-984)
Once, the media made the American public know of the dire situation at hand, it was only a matter of time before reactions and actions ensued. The media was instrumental in the sway empowerment of the public. A new dimension was included to the way people perceived information with the inclusion of television journalism, since there was an element of added truth to what they saw.  People were “uniting and rising” in protests, and the government-imposed censorships violation by journalist started stretching the extent of how people can extend their rights of free expression (Foner 986-987).

  1. What were the sources and significance of the rights revolution of the late 1960s?

The sources of the 1960s rights revolution can be traced back to the anti-establishment cultural phenomenon that started in USA and spread globally mainly between the 1960 and 70s. Several factors that helped with this process included the post-world war II baby boom. Post-war affluence changed the mindset of the counterculture generation to move from their depression-era parents. Social tension developed that seemed to follow generational lines in relation to the woman’s rights, Vietnam War, humanity, music, sexuality, traditional authority models, and different American dream interpretations. In an overview, Foner identifies the counterculture push experienced in the 1960s as having “developed” from a confluence of events, people, issues, technology, and circumstances that served as “social and intellectual instigators” for the exceptionally rapid change experienced during the period (998-993).
Significance of the 1960s rights revolution includes making the blacks aware that regardless of the freedom claim during the civil war they were still not equal to the whites. This was evident since the blacks still had different bathrooms, drinking fountains and had to sit separate in public transport, had different schools and had restricted movement. The 1960s period helped change all that mainly due to the sit-ins, peace rally’s, protests and boycotts significant to that era. From all that the blacks can now sit in the same place, go to same schools and go anywhere they want without any restrictions from the whites. That “significant” period directly “helped” make America what it is currently (Foner 996-1001).

Ch.26 the Triumph of Conservation (1969 – 1988).

  1. What were the major policies of the Nixon Administration of Social and economic issues?

The American economy during the late 1960s was in much trouble. One of the most-significant economic problems at the time was inflation mainly the increase in price. This inflation came because of the increasing Vietnam War costs. Nixon, as the then president worked to hold down the inflation rates, but his policies had little effect on establishing a consensus.  As the president, he rallied for a stringent money policy. Through this, there would be less spending money. Interest’s rates were increased to achieve this initiative; the policy helped stop people borrowing money in addition, unemployment rose and business cutbacks increased. President Nixon on 1971 August stated a policy that involved a 90-day price and wages freeze. Although this plan was against the free enterprise beliefs held by Nixon, it however did succeed in slowing the inflation. The measures however, “did not” lower unemployment, slow the inflation, nor help the economy (Foner, 1009).
New Federalism was also an economic policy Nixon proposed. It meant that the federal government would lessen their overall influence on the economy by returning all the controls to the local and state governments. To help the funds reach the appropriate state programs, the president believed in revenue sharing. In that, the federal 50 states would receive the allocated funds, and they would decide on what to do with it themselves. Foner, notes that the program received many “opponents” and people still believed that the federal government “under this plan” was not going to help them under this plan (1009- 1015).

  1.  What were the major roots of the rise of conservatism in the 1970s?

During the 1970s, a combination of international and domestic dislocations offered a new-political opportunity for the conservatives while creating a widespread sense of anxiety among the Americans. Escalation of economic problems heightened the appeal for reduced government regulations, lowered taxes, and cuts in social spending to spur business investments. Worries on the global decline of the American power led to the calls for a Cold war renewal. The sexual and civil rights revolutions at the time produced resentments that undermined the democratic coalitions. Urban crime rates increase helped reestablish the initial demand for the establishment of law and order and courts initially considered too lenient towards offenders. Due to these issues, new converts joined the new conservative’s cause. According to Foner the progression of the 1970s, conservatives shifted to racial justice abandoning the overt opposition for the black struggle (1029).
The direct and fierce rhetoric confrontation tactics of the leaders were succeeded by freedom of association, resistance to federal government power and local control appeals. This message of individual control was felt national, and it appealed especially to the increasing, suburban white populations that were leaving the cities identifying the suburbs as a conservative stronghold. Conservatives also, organized at the grass roots like their labor and civil rights movement predecessors. In addition, even when they stood no chance of winning they nominated a candidate for office “to spread their conservative doctrines” they also worked to change local institutions, policies, and planning commissions (Foner 1031).

  1. How did the Reagan presidency affect Americans both at home and abroad?

Among the 20th-century presidents, no one by contrast had more enduring and positive influence than Ronal Reagan. He revived the American economy, won the Cold War, and was successful both abroad and at home. As the president, he brought back the patriotic feeling to the American people; he made the people recognize the fact that anyone can become the president. In addition, during his tenure he inspired the people to be proud of their country once again. Politically his greatest achievement is in the lowering of taxes for the individual working person, which greatly directly affected the gross domestic economy. In addition, Foner maintains Regan “facilitated” the Soviet Union “downfall” through the increased defense spending and this positively affected Americans both locally and abroad (1020-27).
Reagan’s term showed the conflicts within the modern conservatives. Initially, he aimed at addressing the religious rights concerns as a way of strengthening local communities and traditional families.  However, the Regan revolution somehow undermined the very same institutions and values held dear by conservatives. Initially aimed at discouraging reliance on government handouts, his policies sparked a frenzy that benefited a few, while leaving many other devastated communities and jobless people. In all his leadership, nothing undermined his sense of shared national purpose than the ever-increasing gap between the poor and rich (Foner, 1033).

Ch. 27, Globalization and its Discontents (1989- 2000)

  1. What were the major international initiatives of the Clinton administration in the aftermath of the Cold War?

Clinton’s main political interests like his predecessor majorly focused on domestic issues as compared to foreign affairs. With the position of the US as a global dominant power, Clinton took initiatives to promote the long-standing settlement of international conflicts and tried to raise to a central position the support for human rights in international relations. Like former presidents, he found it hard to balance the human rights concerns with economic and strategic interests and to create explicit stipulations internationally for humanitarian interventions (Foner, 1049) .During his term, human rights played an integral role within the global affairs. The main agenda during the 1990s period of international human rights organizations expanded to include woman’s rights, access to health care, and the indigenous people’s rights. As a justification in matters once thought of as sovereign nations internal affairs, human rights emerged as concerns for intervention. Foner maintains that America “during this period” often dispatched their troops to far places to aid in global missions of protecting civilians (1049).

  1. What forces drove the economic resurgence of the 1990s?

Popularity of Clinton as the president partially lay on the American economy remarkable performance during the mid and late 1990s. After the 1990-91 economic recession recovery, the economic expansions continued for the rest of the decade. Unemployment by end of 2000 stood below 4 percent, a new record since the 1960s. This decade also experienced the boom that became the longest economic expansion period in the nations history. Due to the ground, work lay by his predecessors Clinton, not only balanced the budget during his second term but also produced budget surpluses. Other factors independent of government influence also had an impact during this period. The internet and personal computers matured, bringing with it a revolution in the information process efficiency and making workers more efficient. Lastly “decline of oil prices” and the international “rapid growth of trade” mainly due to the lack of wars during this time all helped improve this period (Foner 1056- 1061).

  1. What cultural conflicts emerged in the 1990s?

With the end of the war, many people hoped and waited for a new era characterized by global unity and harmony. Instead, what followed has been termed by observers as a particularism rebellion, characterized by renewed stress on insistent demand for group power, recognition and group identity racked the global arenas during the 1990s period. In the 19 and 20 the centuries, nationalism and socialism had united people of different cultures in pursuit of a common goal. Now the decline of movements globally based on socialism and the receding power of national-states arising from globalization seemed to trigger long-suppressed religious and ethical antagonisms. Partially in responding to the international spread of secular culture based on mass entertainment and consumption, intense religious movements attracted increasing number of followers internationally. Foner, states that the US like other nations, “experienced divisions” arising from the intensification of racial and ethical identities and religious fundamentalism, although in a far less extreme way (1964-1077).

Work cited
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An American History, Vol 2 New York: W.W. Norton & Co, p     972- 1077. 2009. Print.