What are some of the societal issues that people about 50 years ago may have experienced?

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Since most eNotes questions are posted by people from the United States, I will assume that your question is about the US.  In the US, the time that is around 50 years ago was a time of major societal upheaval.  People of the time would have experienced many issues that touched at the very heart of American life.

In 1963, which was 52 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  This means that the height of the Civil Rights Movement occurred in the time period you are asking about.  The issue of racial discrimination and whether/how to end it was one of the most important societal issues in modern US history.

Fifty-one years ago, in 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.  This law gave President Johnson the power to escalate US involvement in the Vietnam War.  Johnson did so, and issues of the war and of the nature of patriotism became a tremendous societal issue.  Many Americans opposed the war and felt that its supporters were warmongers.  Many other Americans supported the war and felt that the opponents were un-American.  They felt that true patriots supported their country’s wars no matter what.  This was a very significant societal issue at the time.

Finally, the summer of 1967 is now known as the “Summer of Love.”  This name was given to a massive influx of hippies into San Francisco, where they tried to live their hedonistic and countercultural lifestyle.  This is the final societal issue I will address.  The hippies called into question essentially everything that traditional America valued.  In particular, the hippie movement pushed at American conformism and American sexual morality.  Americans of the time experienced conflicts as they were pushed and pulled between traditional values, which supported obedience to authority and limited sexual expression, and the hippie values, which did the opposite.

All of these things helped to make the time around 50 years ago a time of great societal upheaval.

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