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Civil Rights question 4

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Introduction

Use the evidence of sources G and H and your own knowledge to explain the changes in public opinion shown in source F. In the early sixties, there were various public opinion polls taken, these shows the fears and problems that the people of America were conscience about during the time they were taken. In source F, there is a move from Prices and Inflation in 1961, War Peace and International problems in 1962, Racial Problems in 1963 and Integration in 1964. I shall try to explain way this happened using the sources and my own knowledge to answer this. The first result was probably due to the average family wanting more luxury and consumer goods, like cars, TVs, fridges... An increase in the sales of theses goods would have put a strange on the government to slow down spending and try to keep it at a reasonable level. This would mean putting up prices to deter people from buying, this would have been in everybody's daily life and so would have been a major talking point and something of concern among the public, as it could have lead into a recession which would ruin the US. ...read more.

Middle

But because of media reports about the marches and demonstrations the civil rights movement and other racial problems became a major issue in everyday life. A good example of this is the march on Washington, where MLK made his famous 'I have dream' speech. This event is almost undoubtedly wouldn't have been as well known if it hadn't had been televised. Another good example is the Birmingham protests, where the police and the fire department attacked peaceful protesters with water cannons, dogs and baton charges. Before this would have been swept aside and ignored by the public; but because of the media attention surrounding the protests, there were many cameras and reporters from all over the world. These captured and wrote own events as they happened and pictures typical of the one in source G, which shows child protesters being blasted away with fire hoses, were printed on front pages of newspapers as far away as Ethiopia. The fact that children were bore the brunt of this caused great conversancy across the world, epically in communist countries where the pictures could be used to strengthen they message against the West. ...read more.

Conclusion

This year also had the political reforms in the law which MLK had hoped for, when President Johnson, a hard-line Southerner, introduced laws which gave an end to the violence and discrimination which had been seen by the American people the year before. Most of these changes in the poll shown in source F are either due to or are heavily influenced by the media and how events were portrayed to the public. For instance the propaganda films in the sixties would show what to do in the event of a A-bomb attack, this added to fears over safety and security. And the coverage of the Civil rights protests were highlighted by the media by showing the full and unreasonable force used. This footage was seen by the public and as one history book put it, 'whites who were previously indifferent to the campaign were now sickened by this brutality'. This shows us how the media influenced a population and drove it to think about different matters in a different light. ...read more.

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