2 discussion questions

Background: When the First World War began, African-American leaders pressed the government to provide black men the right to go to combat to prove their devotion to their country. Hoping that their service would lay a stake on citizenship that the nation would have no choice but to honor, the “New Negro” of the 1920s adopted a more militant stance toward civil rights. The civil rights struggle envisioned at the time, however, made few concrete gains. Discrimination and disenfranchisement persisted.

African-American leaders responded to the Second World War much as they had to the First, offering their services while expecting recognition in return. They intended to fight a “Double-V Campaign” against fascism abroad and racism at home. They helped to kill fascism abroad; racist policies at home survived, but only for a time. Less than a decade after the war ended, the Brown case struck down the principle of “separate but equal” in schools. A grass-roots movement emerged to challenge discrimination elsewhere. By 1965, nonviolent means had murdered Jim Crow. Yet, the 60s were nothing if not a violent decade, marred by war, riots, and assassinations. By the end of the decade, Americans were as divided in some ways as they had ever been, and hopes for integration into a single American nation largely gave way to an emphasis on the unique needs and interests of different groups within the nation.

Resources: When writing your response, draw from material in the following video:

  1. Beacham, T. Gilmartin, B., Grobman, S, Ling, C., & Rhee, V. (Producers), Libretto, J. (Director). (2004).  Let freedom ring: Moments from the civil rights movement, 1954-1965 [News program]. New York, NY: NBC Universal. Retrieved from http://digital.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=40565&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref=

Also in your response, draw from at least TWO of the documents listed below:


  1. (1962).  “The bottom of the economic totem pole”: African American women in the workplaceRetrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6472
  2. (1962). The Port Huron statement of the students for a democratic society. Retrieved from http://www.h-net.org/~hst306/documents/huron.html
  3. (1969).  “The cycle of poverty”: Mexican-American migrant farmworkers testify before Congress. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/7024  
  4. (1970).  “We must destroy the capitalistic system which enslaves us”: Stokely Carmichael advocates black revolution. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6461 
  5. (1976).  “Self determination of free peoples”: Founding documents of the American Indian Movement (AIM). Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6897 
  6. Steinem, G. (1970).  “All our problems stem from the same sex based myths”: Gloria Steinem delineates American gender myths during ERA hearings. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/7025 
  7. Truscott, L. (1969, July 3).  Gay power comes to Sheridan Square. The Village Voice. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/stonewall-village-voice/ 

Instructions: After reviewing your Instructor’s Guidance and completing the weekly reading assignments (including those in the resource section below), please post a substantive discussion post of at least 200 words that analyzes the development and success of the Civil Rights Movement using the following questions as the basis of your analysis: 


  • What precisely did the Civil Right Movement gain? 
  • What objectives did it fail to achieve? 
  • How were the approaches of Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcom X to Civil Rights different? How were they the same? 
  • Why did so many new movements emerge by the end of the 1960s? (i.e. regarding Native Americans, Women, Chicanos, etc) 
  • Was the nation more or less divided in 1970 than it had been in 1950?

Second assignment

Background: After the Second World War, the US embarked on what came to be known as the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Although the two sides never fought against each other directly, the Cold War nonetheless erupted into violence at times in places like Vietnam, Korea, and Afghanistan. As the US grew more activist and interventionist in its foreign policy, the domestic government also grew in power and in its role in the people’s lives.

Resources: When responding to these prompts, draw from the material in ONE of the following videos:

  1. Hawksworth, R., Hogan, H., & Spencer, S. (Writers).  The post-war years [Television series episode]. In R. Hawksworth (Executive producer), America in the 20th Century. Chicago, IL: Media Rich Communications, LLC. Available from http://digital.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=47585&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref=
  2.  Isbouts, J., & Johnson, B. D. (Writers), & Johnson, B. D. (Director). (1999). Superpowers collide [Television series episode]. In J. Florescu, J. Isbouts, & B. D. Johnson (Executive producers), Inside the Cold War with Sir David Frost. Los Angeles, CA: Porchlight Entertainment. Available from http://digital.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=8397&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref=
  3. Wattenberg, B. (Writer). (2000).  1930-1960 [Television series episode]. In A. Walworth (Executive producer), The First Measured Century: The Other Way of Looking at American History. Arlington, VA: PBS. Available from http://digital.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=44378&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref=

Also, draw from the material in TWO of the following documents:

  1. Byrne, M. (Ed.). (2000).  Electronic briefing book no. 28: The secret CIA history of the Iran coup, 1953 Retrieved from http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/
  2. Eisenhower, D. (1961, Jan. 17).  Farewell address Retrieved from http://www.vlib.us/amdocs/texts/ddefarew.html
  3. Herberg, W. (n.d.)  Protestant-Catholic-Jew: An essay in American religious sociology (1960) [Excerpt]. Retrieved from http://personal.ashland.edu/~jmoser1/herberg.htm
  4. Johnson, L. (1964, Aug, 5).  The Tonkin Gulf incident; 1964 Retrieved from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/tonkin-g.asp
  5. Kennedy, J. (1962, Oct. 22).  Address on the Cuban crisis October 22, 1962. Modern History Sourcebook. Retrieved from http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1962kennedy-cuba.html
  6. Kissinger, H. (1969, March 8).  March 9th memo from Kissinger to Nixon. Retrieved from http://www.historycentral.com/Vietnam/Documents/Kiss.html
  7. Nixon, R. (1974, Aug. 8).  Richard Nixon’s resignation. Retrieved from http://customers.hbci.com/~tgort/resign.htm
  8. Potter, P. (1965).  SDS Vietnam anti-war speech. Retrieved from http://www.hippy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=130
  9. Schlesinger, A. M. (1949). The vital center: The politics of freedom [Excerpt]. Retrieved from http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/vital-center.html
  10. United States Congress. (1973, Nov. 7). The war powers act. Retrieved from http://customers.hbci.com/~tgort/wpa.htm

Instructions: After reviewing your Instructor’s Guidance and completing the weekly reading assignments (including those in the resource section below), please post a substantive discussion post of at least 200 words that analyzes BOTH U.S. Cold War Policy AND the impact that the Cold War had on U.S. society, using the following questions as the basis of your analysis:

  • Why did the Cold War start and how did it develop over its first three decades?
  • How did different presidential administrations, from Truman to Nixon handle Cold War affairs?
  • How did these approaches affect foreign policy?
  • How did the Cold War lead to changes within American society and culture?


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