Historical Context

The 1960s was one of the most prosperous decades in the history of the United States. Between 1960 and 1965, low unemployment and low inflation dominated. The average worker’s salary increased by one-fifth. People had more money and more things to spend it on. Still, there was some labor unrest, such as a short strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) against General Motors in 1964. Despite such incidents, America’s economic strength contributed to its position as a world leader. This position was sometimes difficult and lead to longterm problems. America renewed its commitment to prevent the communist insurgency in the small Asian country of Vietnam in 1964 by committing the first significant troop dispatches to aid the South in their battle against the Vietcong in the North. The U.S. also continued its stance in the thirty-year-long Cold War a power stalemate with the Soviet Union that pitted the implied threat of each country’s nuclear arsenal against the other (the term ‘‘Cold War’’ originated from the fact that while war-like conditions existed between the two countries, the fear of nuclear devastation prevented any actual fighting or significant escalation of hostilities).

For many Americans, the world was becoming a much smaller place; improved and increasingly affordable modes of transportation made travel easier both within the North American continent and abroad. Where people could not travel, television expanded knowledge of the world at large, offering a vicarious means of global expedition. Television also opened people’s eyes to the burgeoning social problems in America. This...

(The entire section is 662 words.)