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Which of the broad topics from the 20th century (see below) has the greatest influence...

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Which of the broad topics from the 20th century (see below) has the greatest influence on us today?


We have studied several important broad topics that covered most of the 20th century (1900’s-1960’s).  Unit 1 discussed “A New Century” and focused on the growth of cities, populists and progressives of the early 1900’s through the early 20th century. Unit 2, titled “Turning Points” covered American imperialism and our involvement in World War I, ending in 1918, leading into the prosperous “Roaring Twenties”.  Unit 3 entitled “Democracy Tested” covered the Great Depression of the 1930’s and then our involvement in World War II.  Finally, Unit 4 examined the post war era including the Cold War and the Civil Rights movement, winding up with our study of the US Constitution.

Of all the topics we studied, which one(s) do you think are most relevant to us today –in other words which topics,events or people had the greatest impact on our lives today.  Explain your choice in a brief paragraph format.  IF you think none of the topics/events/people we studied during semester 2 did not impact our current times, explain why.

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I would argue that the post-World War II era has had the biggest influence on us today.  This is partly just because it is the most recent historical period, but it is also important for other reasons.  Let us look at two of these reasons.

First, we can look at economics.  The post-WWII era was the time during which the United States became the most economically powerful country in the world.  The fact that we became so affluent during this time has important consequences for us today.  It allows us to have the standard of living that we now enjoy.  It also disposes us to expect that affluence and constant economic growth is our birthright.  This clearly affects what we expect from our government.  

Second, we can look at society.  The post-war era completely changed our society, moving us away from our traditional ways and making us (for better or for worse) much more modern.  For example, this was the era in which we started to embrace the idea of minority rights.  This was also when women started to become much more equal to men.  Finally, it was a time when we moved away from our traditional, more trusting attitude towards authority and the government.

For these reasons, the most recent period is the one that affects us the most.

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