History (General)

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What have been the three most important changes in American society since the end of World War II? What evidence causes you to select these and not others?

Three of the most important changes in the United States since World War II are civil rights movements, casualization of labor, and increase in higher education.

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One of the most important changes in the United States after World War II was the dramatic expansion of higher education. In part motivated by the G.I. Bill, which paid for university education for veterans, the rise in the percentage of people with college degrees changed the nature of the United States's workforce. This responded to a gradual erosion of manufacturing jobs, which meant that middle class incomes required more advanced training. Incomes of those with and without college educations have diverged significantly over the past decades, leading to greater income inequality.

The various civil rights movements of the 1960s and subsequent decades have reshaped the nature of society. People of all ethnicities now have equal rights under the law, and segregation is no longer legal. The women's movement has changed the nature of gender roles and relationships and also led to an increase in the number of women in the workforce. Feminism, education of women, and availability of birth control have led to a decrease in average family size. The LGBTQ+ movement movement has led to more rights for gay people and gay marriage.

Another major economic shift is from a model of long-term salaried employment to an increase in the amount of contract labor. This has stressed a social services network in which benefits such as health care and pensions are tied to employment.

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