American Politics and Society Since Vietnam

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.