Roger Baldwin



Ch.23,The United States and the Cold War

  1. What major ideological conflicts, security interests, and events brought about the Cold War?

  2. What were the major components of Truman’s Fair Deal? Which ones were implemented, and which ones were not?


Ideologically,the two power blocks – US and USSR – held different views of howthe world should be shaped. The USSR was all about communism, whilethe US was all about democracy and an economy that was filled withprivate corporations. From a security point of view, both nations hadlost a lot in the Great War. They simply did not want the other partyto grow too ambitious, and drag into a long drawn out war again.Then, there was the fact that they both wanted to keep peace, even ifit means using force. Unfortunately, with differing attitudes, theysimply could not see eye to eye. According to Foner (2010), &quotAmongother things, the Cold War was an ideological struggle, a battle, ina popular phrase of the 1950s, for the hearts and minds of peoplethroughout the world &quot (p. 961).

Majorcomponents of the deal included universal healthcare, socialwelfare, federal aid to education, housing reform, veteran benefitsand power reforms. Of all these, only the veteran benefits werecleared by congress. Some aspects of housing reform made it through,but the rest of them failed badly. Many of these failed because theywere against the American ideology of a free economy. A free economyis one where the government exerts little influence on how theeconomy works. These proposals almost made America look likeCommunism, and that was never going to fly. According to Foner(2010), &quotWith the end of WorldWar II, President Truman’s firstdomestic task was to preside over the transition from a wartime to apeacetime economy &quot (p. 966).

Ch.24, An Affluent Society (1953-1960)

  1. Explain the meaning of the “American standard of living” during the 1950s.

  2. Describe how the automobile transformed American communities and culture in the 1950s.


TheAmerican standard of living was one of the highest in the worldduring this time period. This probably had something to do with thefact that the entire world was still – slowly – recovering fromthe war. This decade was defined by the introduction of television.Also, the leisure industry grew significantly as travelling becameconvenient thanks to the introduction of automobiles in largenumbers. Further, with the war behind, a lot of families were lookingat settling down, which lead to large growth in the housing industryas well. Foner (2010), &quotBetween 1946 and 1960, the Americangross national product more than doubled and much of the benefitflowed to ordinary citizens in rising wages &quot (p. 991).

Gaswas cheaper than pretty much anything else during the 1950s. Thatmeant, automobiles could be owned and used by every family. Beforeautomobiles, people had to rely on public transportation. With theirown transport, they were now free to travel to their workplace everyday, at their own convenience. This meant, families were now free torelocate to the suburbs and leave the city behind. More automobilesmeant, better roads, that led to a lot of jobs being created in theroad building industry. The automobile industry was growing, theconstruction industry was doing well, and hence, the economy itselfdid well. According to Foner (2010), &quotAuto manufacturers and oilcompanies vaulted to the top ranks of corporate America. Detroit andits environs were home to immense auto factories. &quot (p. 996).

Ch.25, The Sixties (1960-1968)

  1. What were the effects of President Johnson’s Great Society and War on Poverty programs?

  2. Discuss the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on at least two other movements for social change in the 1960s.


Justas the bill had claimed, poverty rates reduced drastically a decadelater. At the time of the bill, the poverty rates were at roughly 17%, and hit a low of 11 % ten years later. However, there was aproblem with these programs, in that, they put a strong emphasis onsocial welfare. This is against the usual policy of US in that,social welfare programs are more communist in nature. While the billdid reduce the number of folks living in poverty, the economy wasalready recovering at that time, reducing poverty anyway. Foner(2010), &quotThus, theWar on Poverty did not consider the mostdirect ways of eliminating poverty—guaranteeing an annual incomefor all Americans, creating jobs for the unemployed, promoting thespread of unionization, or making it more difficult for businesses toshift production to the low-wage South or overseas &quot (p. 1049).

CivilRights Movements influenced two other movements such as “AlbanyMovement”and “St.Augustine Movement”.The Albany movement focused on desegregation in the city of Albany.The movement involved members of the African American communityoccupying sections of the city reserved for white Americans.According to Foner (2010), &quotThe civil rights revolution, soonfollowed by the rise of the New Left, inspired other Americans tovoice their grievances and claim their rights &quot (p. 1065).

Ch.26, The Triumph of Conservatism (1969-1988)

  1. What were the causes and consequences of the public’s disillusionment with the federal government in the 1970s and 1980s?

  2. Identify the groups and their agendas that combined to create the new conservative base in the 1970s and 1980s.


The1970s and 1980s were marked by the public becoming increasingly upsetwith the focus on liberalism. This led to the rise of theconservatism, which reached its peak with the Reagan administration.The factors that led to this state include:

  • Civil Rights Law – which focused on making life better for minorities.

  • Nixon – a liberal president, losing face with the Watergate incident.

  • Ford – a president who failed to improve the economy despite promises of doing so.

  • All in all, people no longer trusted liberal policies that had given them five, poorly performing presidents.

Therewere two individuals who shaped the emergence of conservatism –Barry Goldwater in the 1960s and Ronald Reagan in the 1970s. (Foner,2014). When Goldwater started his campaign in the 1960s, conservatismstill hadn’t become mainstream as people were not sure how bad itcould get. Then, by the time Reagan ran for president, conservatismwas the only way to go. The groups that supported Reagan were theones that led to the creation of the conservative base. These groupsclaimed that over two decades of liberalism had pushed the countryinto low growth. They argued that a conservative approach would putthe country back on the growth side. Foner (2010), &quotEfforts topromote greater employment opportunities for minorities also spawnedpolitically divisive legal issues. Many whites came to viewaffirmative action programs as a form of “reverse discrimination,”claiming that, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equalprotection clause, they granted minorities special advantages overwhites &quot (p. 1086).

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

  1. Describe the different visions of the U.S. role in the post-Cold War world as identified by President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton.

  2. What main issues gave rise to the Culture Wars of the 1990s?


Thevisions of each (then) potential presidents reflected their beliefs.Bush was about conservatism, while Clinton was about liberalism. Withthe Cold War, US was left standing as the only super power of theworld. Bush believed that the US should mind its own business, andnot intervene in world affairs. Clinton believed that the US shouldinterfere in the affairs of the world. He believed that US, with itssuper powers, had the responsibility to make life better for humanityitself. The people agreed with this, as the results showed andClinton became the next President. According to Foner (2010), &quotBush,by contrast, seemed out of touch with the day-to-day lives ofordinary Americans. On the wall of Democratic headquarters, Clinton’scampaign director posted the slogan, “It’s the Economy, Stupid”—areminder that the economic downturn was the Democrats’ strongestcard &quot (p. 1131).

CultureWars were “fought” because the 1990s saw a huge shift in the wayAmerica looked at different cultures. The conservative government andits President (Bush) was on his way out, and the liberal, more openPresident dominated the political scene for two consecutive terms.Hot button issues such as abortion and homosexuality were no longeropposed, at least not as much as they were in the 1980s. Further, thesupport for becoming more “open” was increasing among theAmerican public. In addition to these things, Clinton was acquittedin the infamous Lewinsky scandal. This stands as the highlight ofCulture Wars where a liberal culture had replaced the conservativeculture from before. Foner (2010), &quotBecauseof shifts in immigration, cultural and racial diversity becameincreasingly visible in the United States &quot (p. 1145).


Foner,E. (2010). Giveme liberty!: An American history.(4th ed.). New York: W.W. Norton &amp.