Social Changes in America

There was significant controversy in the United Unites during the Vietnam war era from 1955 to 1977. Chalmers (2013) explains that the tensions of the Cold War ran high as America fought against the nations that embraced communism. The number of Americans who possessed televisions increased from 9% to 93% between 1950 and 1966 (Chalmers, 2013). This proliferation encouraged the news networks to provide the most dramatic, attractive, and exciting stories. Government censorship played a crucial role in ensuring that Americans did not get the adverse side of the conflict. However, the television networks presented a contrary view during the Vietnam war.

The public saw the 1968 Tet Offensive as a defeat after reports turned unfavorable towards the war effort. By 1960 the news censorship was lax, and Americans were given a more realistic glimpse into their soldiers’ lives (Chalmers, 2013). The events in the Vietnam conflict promoted division because the dramatic stories distorted the public’s perceptions about what was happening. Americans sympathized with the army, which resulted in a public opinion outcry against the conflict.

Anti-war advocates felt that the war was unnecessary and that there was no noble cause of the soldiers’ deaths (Chalmers, 2013). On the contrary, pro-war supporters thought that the anti-war marches were disloyal to the army. These disagreements caused a significant partition in the United States’ population (Chalmers, 2013). Additionally, the anti-war opinions influenced the policymakers in America. This is because individuals saw abuses such as the 1968 My Lai Massacre on televisions.

The outage due to television broadcast eventually resulted in the decision to withdrawal the American troops in 1973, which ended its involvement in the war. Chalmers (2013) calls this capitulation the end of the American century because the war period had caused adverse effects on people for long. The removal of the military instilled hope in individuals that the once peaceful state would resume (Chalmers, 2013). The reason is that most individuals felt that the country was going out of place. Many soldiers had lost lives in the Vietnam conflict, and Americans were displeased. Moreover, this era was characterized by significant activism groups such as the civil rights movements. Therefore, Americans felt that everything would go back to normalcy after the country’s capitulation from the Vietnam War.

Feminism refers to the economic, cultural, and political groups created to promote females’ equality and legal protection. The first wave, which happened from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, was concentrated on women’s rights to vote (Chalmers, 2013). Businesses and politics were dominated by men who considered women as less competitive. Females were confined in the houses and had no control over the homes as well.

Married women were their husbands’ possessions while fathers controlled the single ones. Chalmers (2013) expounds that females were not allowed to file for divorce or obtain custody of the children. Those who worked held the lowest positions, such as secretaries, and commonly worked in factories that men managed. This prompted females to fight for their liberation and disregard oppression; therefore, they connected with the abolitionist group. The first wave of feminism resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the American Constitution in 1920, which granted women’s voting rights (Chalmers, 2013). This was a significant victory and led to reforms in the workplace, healthcare, and higher education.

The second wave of feminism dates back from the 1960s to the 1980s. This was women’s reaction to returning to their responsibilities as mothers and homemakers after World War II (Chalmers, 2013). The men who had left to concentrate on the war had returned; therefore, women were fired from those positions. Females were expected to work fifty-five hours a week on house chores. However, they were hesitant to continue with the work, having worked in male-dominated areas. Therefore, the second wave of feminism focused on women’s discrimination and equality issues (Chalmers, 2013). This movement resulted in increased females’ economic benefits in the workforce.

The first and second waves of feminism made significant changes in the race and class of women. Although women of color were less involved in the first wave, the nineteenth amendment applied to all females; therefore, they were allowed to vote (Chalmers, 2013). The second wave encouraged women to work in higher positions, not considering their ethnic groups or race. This helped women to rise in power and assume respectable roles in American society.

In summary, the news broadcasted on American televisions played a significant role in the Vietnam war opposition. This is because, contrary to previous media sources, they showed the actual situation on the ground. The capitulation of America can be described as the end of its century because people had witnessed heinous actions such as massacres during the country’s involvement in the Vietnam Conflict. The first feminism wave fought for women’s voting rights, while the second concentrated on their social rights and equality. These movements positively impacted the race and class of women in society.


Chalmers, D. M. (2013). And the crooked places made straight: The struggle for social change in the 1960s. The Johns Hopkins University Press.

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