American Empire is one of the most compelling urban histories published in the last few decades. Joshua Freeman sets out to undermine this exceptionalist view in his synthesis of American history after World War Two. American Empire is comprehensive in its sweep, but returns to three major themes such as firstly, extraordinary economic growth, especially in the quarter-century following World War Two; secondly, the proliferation of mass movements to bring the promise of democracy to fruition on the home front; thirdly, the dramatic expansion of American power in the world. furthermore, Befitting his interests, he emphasizes the economics dimension of the recent American past and highlights the certainly of social movements ( organized labor and Civil rights, particularly) in remarking the internal politics of the United States. On the third dimension, American foreign policy, Freeman is the most conventional. He assumes that American is an empire rather than defining exactly what that means. and unlike many of the most recent social and cultural historians writing on the subject, he leaves empire’s subjects mostly voiceless and, by implication, powerless.
In addition to this book tells the story of the United States during those years. it examines the political and economic structures of the country, daily life, regional and national culture, and the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world. Writer Freeman tells in doing so, it tries to explain why the United States took the particular path of development it did.
In the decades after World War Two, Americans rarely spoke of empire or imperialism, especially in relation to their society. Once common terms, widely used by both supporters and critics of policies meant to achieve control over foreign lands by the mid-twentieth century they had come to be seem as archaic and irrelevant to a world of decolonization and cold war.until the turn on of the new millennium, only on the political left during the vietnam era did imperialism get revived as a way of understanding the United States.
American Empire; Cold War 1970….. Chapter 8
” The ERA was one of two strategies during the decade after World War II for improving the status of women”
Women rights has always been an issue they felt that they wasnt treated equally to men. the Equal Rights Amendment was proposed in 1923. This amendment declared equality of rights under the law on the account of gender, and was a nice attempt for women to gain equal rights. The support for the ERA begin to die but some people who supported women economic rights pushed for something to be done. Congrees passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, which forbade pay differences between men and women doing identical jobs. The Equal Pay Act had little effect because back then women and men rarely had the same jobs or did the same type of work.
“In 1964, Mississippi civil rights groups decided to bring northern white students to spend the summer working on a voter registration drive and help run “Freedom Schools ,” calculating that their presence would bring national publicity and perhaps federal protection to the effort, knowing from bitter experience how little ripple occurred when local blacks were the victims of violence.”
Freeman mentions the “Freedom Summer” civil rights movement in order to emphasize the fight for liberal activism in all fields. He also uses the civil rights movement as a turning point in the growth of a more militant liberal activism. The increase in aggression was necessary at the time to stand up to violent Ku Klux clan groups. Freeman stresses the increase in extreme thoughts and actions; young white activists expected violence (even death), but knew their suffering would bring about widespread attention to their cause (national publicity). The death of the three project members on June 21 was a tragedy, but more importantly (from the greater aspect of things) a success in accomplishing what they set out to do.
During the mid-1960s, political change took place with rapidity and on a scale unseen in the United States since New Deal. Post -New Deal liberalism reached its high-water mark with a flood of federal legislation and a series of Supreme Court decisions that bolstered democratic rights and ex-paned the role of government in promoting social well-being. Further how it happened in that time? Mr. Savio spoke to a crowd of over a thousand students and their supporters protesting a ban on political activity on the University of California-Berkeley campus. Just before the protestors sat down inside main campus administration building , Savio told them, “There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.”
This paragraph indicates how incredible terrible situation was consisted in…….
“Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), put forth a sweeping indictment for American Society for racism, inequality, complacency, and bureaucracy. But it’s suggested remedies- federal initiatives in the areas of civil rights, poverty, housing, and economic development and a realignment of the Democratic Party into a national party of liberalism- went only a bit beyond Fair Deal- New Frontier liberalism.” ( Freeman, pg.193)
The S.D.S. was one of the main representatives of the New Left during the mid 1960s. These were a group of people who were against the two active political parties, Cold War policies, nuclear war, the arms race and much more. These group members were both black and white, they were aiming for change, mostly in democracy. They were pushing for changes in the government in all aspects. They wanted more involvement by all groups of people in the government and an economic system that would favor more of the working class. All though they were not a large group, they had made an entrance onto the national political stage. Freeman found this group essential in the time of change during the 1960s. Many new young groups war being formed in the face of reform and change. Freeman is directing the message that many were not elated with the government and many groups were forming such as the S.D.S. to propel something new.
This book tells the story of the United States during those years. It examines the political and economic structures of the country, daily life, regional and national culture and relationship between the United States and the rest of the world. Also, in the decades after world war two, Americans rarely spoke of empire or imperialism, especially in relation to their own society. Once common terms, widely used by both supporters and critics of policies meant to achieve control over foreign lands by the mid-twentieth century they had come to be seen as archaic and irrelevant to a world of decolonization and cold war. Furthermore, World War Two, the United States did not seek to conquer territory or establish colonies, one reason its citizens rarely thought of it as an empire. But through treaties and alliances, investment and trade, Coca-Cola and rock and roll, Peace Corps volunteers and CIA agents as well as bombers and infantry, the United States established itself as the most powerful human force on the planet. The American empire shaped the flow of history far from the borders of the United States, just as empire shaped history within them. Immigration had brought unprecedented diversity to the population. Technology had changed the way people lived, worked, and entertained themselves. it is important to know that within enduring social and legal structures as a continuous constitutional government, the United States has few peers in longevity- America has always been an extraordinarily dynamic society. France, Germany, Russia and China underwent multiple revolutions. Between World War Two and twenty first century, the country was shaped and reshaped by the militarization of American life that came with the cold war; the democratization of society set in motion by the African American freedom struggle; the cultural changes that rippled forward from the 1960s; the redefinition of gender roles; the corporate restructuring of the economy in the 1970s and 1980s; and the rise of political conservatism that began at the same time.
One of the great stories of U.S. history, and a framing theme of this book, is the long period of sustained economics growth after World War Two. when the war ended, the country, though rich by historical and world measures, had a standard of living far below what it would be a few a few decades later. Most families had little discretion in how they lived or spent their money, needing all their income and energy to get from one week to the next. limited resources and parochial cultures meant circumscribed lives, rooted in local social worlds, with minimal interaction with people and places even a modest distance away.
“At Berkeley, the country’s most politically active campus, left-leaning students and their more moderate allies captured the student government (only to be maneuvered out of office by the college administration); protested compulsory participation in ROTC (a common requirement at state universities); and demonstrated against the HUAC when it held hearings in San Francisco in 1960 (marking an end to the fear and deference the committee long had commanded).” p. 192
Berkeley became the face of student movement in the 1960s. From Free Speech Movement to Vietnam War protests, student activism at Berkeley affected universities throughout the country and played and important role in bolstering the liberal movement. As educational system expanded and more colleges modeled themselves on Berkeley, coming of age youth began to dissociate from parents and embrace the rebellious culture of rock ‘n’ roll and liberal sentiment. Young activists enjoyed the new found freedom and directed their attention to critical issues of the time. The sheer size and cohesiveness of the student movement forever made “youth” relevant in the sphere of politics.
” Writer Joan Didion, who attended Berkeley in the early150s, recalled that “we were the last generation to identify with adults.” (Pg. 190)
In the 1950’s, adolescents and young adults began to distant themselves from adulthood, and identifying themselves as teenagers. Companies designed clothes and music specially for them. For example , rock and roll musician Chuck Berry in his 30s, was popular among teens because his music targeted specifically adolescents by rejecting the adult world.
“On June 21, three project members, James Chaney, an African American from Meridian, Mississippi, Andrew Goodman, a white student from New York City, and Michael Schwerner, another white New Yorker and the oldest of the group at twenty four, on their way from investigating a church burning, were arrested by a deputy sherrif in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and then released on a deserted road into a Ku Klux Klan ambush. Klan members killed all three and hid their bodies.”
– Joshua Freeman, Pg. 193
The killings of these three “Freedom Summer” volunteers by the Ku Klux Klan members represents a time in American history where there were growing differences between the youth and older generations. It showed how the divide resulted in violent clashes that unfortunately cost the lives of these individuals. As more groups such as the “Freedom Summer” emerged, made up of young teenage college students, there was a greater push from the older generation to regain order and ban such institutions. Joshua Freeman likely referenced such a forgettable moment in history to demonstrate how serious the problem of generational divide was beyond what people heard of or saw.
“In a surprise move, Ways and Means chairman Wilbur Mills incorporated these proposals into the administration-backed bill, ending up with a three-tiered program, far broader than proponents of any of the plans had envisioned.” (pg 207)
Lyndon Baines Johnson was the 36th President of the United States from the Democratic Party, and his plan was to create the Great Society program to help the poor and eliminate racial unfairness. Establishing the Medicare-Medicaid bill was one of the most important element of achieving the program, but the Republicans and some others had opposed it. However, Wilbur Mills supported Johnson, so the Medicare bill was enacted. This establishment was one of the most significant governmental accomplishment of social reform by Johnson and a liberalist at the time.