• After World War II, soldiers came home, married and had many children. The birth of so many new children was called the baby boom.
• In the 1950s, many families moved to the suburbs. Because the economy was prosperous (strong), families could afford to buy their own houses there. The interstate highway system was built, allowing people to easily drive from the suburbs to jobs in the cities.
Fighting Segregation in the Supreme Court
• In the South, blacks had faced segregation since the 1896 Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which declared that “separate but equal” facilities were legal.
• The NAACP and other activist groups filed lawsuits to fight for blacks’ rights.
• In 1954, the Supreme Court decided the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka which said that public school segregation was unconstitutional and had to end.
• President Dwight D. Eisenhower had to send troops to Arkansas to enforce this decision.
Civil Rights Movement
• Court battles were a part of the Civil Rights Movement.
• The major goal of the Civil Rights Movement was to end racial segregation.
• Rosa Parks helped spark the movement by refusing to move on a segregated bus. Her arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, organized by Martin Luther King, Jr.
• King believed in nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience.
• Civil disobedience is the refusal to follow laws that you consider unjust. King encouraged protestors to break laws and accept arrest. King was often arrested.
Results of the Civil Rights Movement
• The Civil Rights Movement led to laws outlawing poll taxes, literacy tests, and Jim Crow laws.
• Affirmative action programs were designed to provide equal opportunities for minorities.
Nixon and Watergate
• In addition to his Cold War policy of détente, Nixon is remembered for Watergate.
• In the Watergate scandal, Nixon knowingly approved a break-in of his opponent’s campaign headquarters. Then he lied about his involvement in the burglary.
• He resigned from the presidency just before he was to be impeached for his crimes.
Women’s Rights Movement and Native American Rights Movement
• Women fought for equal rights in the 1960s and 1970s during the feminist movement.
• Native Americans have recently fought for the return of lands taken from them by the government earlier in U.S. history.
• In the past 30 years, the U.S. has had a foreign trade deficit. This means that it imports more from other countries than it exports to other countries.
• In 1991, the U.S. fought the Persian Gulf War to end Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and to protect America’s oil supply. In 2003, the U.S. began the current war in Iraq, overthrowing Saddam Hussein and installing a democratic government there.
• On 9/11/2001, al-Qaeda terrorists led by Osama bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In response, the U.S. attacked Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda organized the attacks.
• Industrialization has caused pollution, and the government has been criticized for not doing enough to stop it.