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2012-2013 Course Catalog

HIST 566 America in the 1960s

3 hours


This course examines perhaps the most contentious and divisive decade of the twentieth century. It begins with the confident liberal vision expressed in John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech that the United States would "pay any price" and "bear any burden" to halt the spread of communism abroad and promote reform at home.  The course goes on to account for the fate of this liberal agenda in the face of internal contradictions and external challenges, including the civil rights movement and black power, the new left, the counterculture, the rebirth of feminism, the sexual revolution, and the Vietnam war.  It ends by exploring the rise of a more conservative order at the decade's end, in response to both the emerging reality of limited national power and wealth, and rising demands for rights and opportunities.