Excess Of Democracy

“People no longer felt the same obligation to obey those whom they had previously considered superior to themselves in age, rank, status, expertise, character, or talents.”

Samuel Huntington was a part of the group called “The Trilateral Commission” and contributed by writing about problems he has noticed in America, discussing the topic, “The 1960’s witnessed a dramatic upsurge of democratic fervor in America.” Samuel Huntington was a very intelligent man who was a political science professor at Harvard University and a long-time consultant to the White House on the war in Vietnam.

Huntington observed how there was a huge growth of civil participation, however overtime there has been a drastic decrease of government authority, which worried him deeply. Howard Zinn mentions this because during this time, the President needed the public in order to win the election. Meanwhile, the authority of the President was decreasing. Huntington made brave statements about how the position and role of the President wasn’t as strong since many other cooperated and incorporated their ideas, therefore the United States was being governed by anyone. During this time period, there was an extension of democracy. Samuel Huntington even suggested “desirable limits to the extension of political democracy.”
This was very important because throughout the 1960’s, the authority of government continued to drecrease. “The great demands in the sixties for equality had transformed the federal budget.” The fact that the population was spending more and more on foreign affairs as time went by concerned Huntington.

Throughout the 1960s, there was a democratic wave. This effected the power of people who influence others. The authority of the government was at stake. The democratic surge played a role in different forms effecting families, the business world, public and private associations, the governmental bureaucracy, and the military services.

During this time period, Huntington served as a primary force of assistance to bringing back the authority that the government needed to have. He tried  several ways in order to create a more powerful force, and attempted to create change in many ways. He made a brilliant point of how bringing non-partisan soldiers, Republican bankers, and Wall Street lawyers into his force would help. He also got assistance from Eisenhower and Kennedy who also tried teaming up and getting in touch with similar authority figures.The proper solution, according to the Trilateral Commission, was that a tie between the relations of United States, Europe and Japan was necessary.

Women Pushing For Change!

“Just what was the problem that has no name? What were the words women used when they tried o express it? Sometimes a woman would say “I feel empty somehow… incomplete.” Or she would say, “I feel as if I don’t exist.” Sometimes… “A tired feeling… I get so angry with the children it scares me… I feel like crying without any reason.”

 By the 1960s, women felt that they were misrepresented in society and had an urge to take charge to have a bigger voice. They were tired of their role as the inferior in the household. This quote is from the book The Feminine Mystique written by the inspirational, Betty Friedman. Betty Friedman was one of the many women that started speaking up and expressing their thoughts and opinions regarding their treatment. Betty spoke about what it was like to be a middle-class housewife, giving an overview of what other women in the same position as her were dealing with. She expressed how every woman felt a sense of yearning and dissatisfaction. They had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right and they all wanted to spend their lives doing something more in order to fill fulfilled and not just be a housewife. Howard Zinn includes Betty Friedman because she was a role model to other women during the time period. Betty influenced them to speak up and realize they deserve better in their life. She made a point that women were living through their husband and children instead of having their own path and journey to take upon. Betty Friedman was a strong woman who knew from the start that change was necessary. Women during the 1960s and 1970s were trapped in a world where they only contributed by being mothers and housewives, feeling isolated and deprived of their freedom. Betty Friedman, being a white middle-class housewife, faced the same struggled that other females were going through and in her book, the “mystique” symbolized the lack of rights and power that woman had, not living their own independent lives. “The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.” What Friedman stated in her book was proven to be accurate and true since there was a strike against men shortly after in the summer of 1964. Women were tired of being forced by men to constantly do housework while they they had their freedom. Once Betty Friedman spoke up such as Margaret Benston who also wrote about how women who weren’t working and were housewives were technically like peasants. Women all over the world felt that they needed to stand up for their rights in order to get the change that they want to see.
“I organized this neighborhood organization, two men and six ladies started it. That was a hard pull. A lot of people joined in later. For about five months we had meetings pretty near every night. We learned how to work with other people…. A lot of people were afraid to really do anything. You were afraid to go to the city hall or ask for anything. You didn’t even ask the landlord for anything, you were afraid of him. Then we had meetings and then we weren’t afraid so much anymore…. The way we got this playground: we blocked off the street, wouldn’t let anything come through. We wouldn’t let the trolley bus come through. The whole neighborhood was in it. Took record players and danced; it went on for a week. We didn’t get arrested, they was too many of us. So then the city put up this playground for the kids…”
As difficult of a struggle it was for white women to gain their place in society, it was even more challenging for African American women to find happiness. In order to take a step further in fixing the problems women were facing, services were started in order to unite and become a stronger pact. During the mid 1960s, many African American people living in a neighborhood in Atlanta (up to ten thousand) joined together in order to help each other. They did this by creating a thrift shop, nursery, medical clinic, monthly family suppers, a newspaper, a family, and a counseling service. This quote was from Helen Howard, who was an organizer behind this movement. Helen Howard was a significant person since she supported and put in effort and action in order to push for social change. Howard Zinn included her since she was the main person behind this neighborhood event, organizing it herself. In such quiet protests, women made sure to not be a threat to their locals and used such an intelligent method that provides ways that can actually create a positive effect. Such a method is a good representation showing how women have what it takes to take upon roles in society other than housework. If they were to push for change by rebelling or in an aggressive matter, the outcome would not be one they would hope for since people would assume women would create issues in the society. Helen Howard was seen as an influential and remarkable woman who was strong enough to advocate and stand up for what she believed in, supported by her community. If it wasn’t for her, there would have been no solution to the problems the many woman that looked up to her looking for advice. She was seen as a smart and fearless woman by many.

Populist Party Platform (1892)

“We believe that the power of government– in other words, of the people– should be expanded as rapidly and as far as the good sense of an intelligent people and the teaching of experience shall justify, to the end that oppression, injustice, and poverty shall eventually case in the land…”

 The Populist Party was the first movement to announce prepositions that called for reform. As proved in their Preamble, the common people were denied many rights and were treated inferior to others. They suffered through unfair circumstances. They got very little pay while working for many hours. They had to pay high rent while living in poor housing. For more than a quarter of a century, The Populist party has witnessed turmoil between the two major political parties and they demanded change to occur. They believed that the people in charge of the parties were at fault for allowing this to continue without putting an end to such harsh conditions. The Populist Party consisted mostly of farmers who advocated for change. These farmers didn’t have much money and the business expanding caused them to have to pay more while not having access to jobs or opportunities that would guarantee them an ability to be able to pay off such raised fees and  high income taxes. Some of their proposals included the demand for a graduated income tax, free and unlimited coinage, and a government- owned railroad operating in the interest of the people. Because of rising inflation, free coinage of silver would prevent the farmers from having to worry about paying more. The Populist Party has owned up to the fact that the government is to blame for the corrupted system they have been enduring. This quote reflects how The Populist Party expected their demands to be finally heard and their needs to be met. They expected the government to respond accordingly. They were relieved to finally be able to finally have their voices heard.