Describe the zeitgeist of change in the 1960s regarding Civil Rights.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The zeitgeist of change in the 1960s in the United States extended far beyond the Civil Rights Movement.  The movement was but one manifestation of the overall spirit of that decade.

In the 1960s, change was everywhere in the United States.  Gender roles were changing.  As the decade wore on, attitudes towards morality were changing.  Ideas about patriotism and the respect that should be given to authority were changing as well.  The Civil Rights Movement came about in part because of this zeitgeist but also helped to contribute to it.

With regard to civil rights, the major change in attitude was one that brought about more support for African American rights.  Traditionally, African Americans had been held in positions of subjugation.  However, for a variety of reasons including the influences of the Cold War and of World War II, African Americans were now pushing for more rights.  As they did so, they helped to weaken the belief that Americans in general had in the traditional ways.  As people came to believe that tradition and authority were wrong on the issue of civil rights, they also came to believe that it was wrong in other ways.

Thus, the zeitgeist of the 1960s was one of change and this spirit affected civil rights as well as many other areas of society.