How did political life not experience a significant change in the 1960s?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Certainly, the political stakes were significant in the 1960s.  Yet, I think that one element that has remained the same within this turbulent time period is the idea that political negotiating defines modern American government.  Whether it was Kennedy seeking to artfully tiptoe around the issue of Vietnam, or the political thorny issue of Civil Rights or the Great Society, or Johnson's political capital being bartered and eventually lost by Vietnam escalation, I think that political leaders in the 1960s experienced the same level of challenge between placating elements in their own party, balancing the demands of the opposition, as well as appropriating both realities into a changing social dynamic.  This aspect of political bargaining is something that did not change in the time period.  President Kennedy had to endure it, as did President Johnson.  President Nixon demonstrated it to close the decade out.  I think that this helps to bring to light that the notion of American government, despite massive and seismic social change, is rooted in the very idea of political bargaining and negotiation.  This has not changed and did not change, even though so much did in the decade.

 

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