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The United States or Divided States of America?

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The United States or Divided States of America? From the end of World War II to the 1970's, America had an economic boom. It was ostensibly a time of peace, plenty, and prosperity. For those who had lived through the Great Depression, this time seemed a blessing, stimulating the country's economy and supposedly bringing the country together in peace. Many believed that this 'golden period' would stretch on forever. However, in reality, during this period a number of groups and protestors were activating at their fullest, and they seriously threatened not only the serenity of the time, but also the long held tradition of American Democracy. The way they were persecuted against the ideals of democracy and the way they furthered their own cause using the rights granted under a democracy must both be considered if we are to decide which of the groups posed the biggest threat to democracy in America. Before a study can be launched of each individual group, the basic (and more famous) rights and freedoms granted under a democracy must be listed and scrutinised. The freedom of employment, combined with the freedom of education, allows for 'The American Dream.' 'The American Dream' consists of the belief that it should be possible for anyone, no matter what their starting position in life, should be able to pull themselves up to become great doctors, lawyers, presidents of companies, and the ultimate, the president. ...read more.


During WWII, the Soviet Union (Russia) and the USA had been allies, yet after the war ended, suspicion grew between them and they became major enemies, giving rise to a period of tension known as the Cold War. During this time, the USA looked unfavourably upon the communists, and soon the tension gave rise to a movement known as McCarthyism, and led to the Red Scare. Joseph McCarthy was an American politician, who led a campaign against Communist subversion in the early 1950s. McCarthy's charges were often not well substantiated, but they did lead to mass public hysteria and a fear of Communists. Communists living at that time in America were subjected to humiliating and downright violent verbal, legal, and even physical attacks. Many were blacklisted, and many were said to be security risks, thus forcing them out of their jobs and destroying their freedom of employment. Also undermining the freedom of employment was the McCarran act, which said that no communist could work in the defence industries. The McCarran Act was a prime example of a case of unequal civil rights. Equality before the law also seemed to be completely bypassed, as the Rosenberg cases, the Alger Hiss case, and countless others were handled in a remarkably careless way, before convincing evidence could be found. Finally, their freedom of thought was shattered, as communists were harassed and persecuted simply because they were communists. ...read more.


The hippies especially were an influential group, and they used the freedom of speech and media to publicise their campaigns for peace, putting flowers in guns and having huge music festivals. They also used their freedom of movement in demonstrations in universities across the USA. Political assassinations were a worrying factor in this time of troubles and three highly influential leaders were assassinated within a short time of each other, underlining the threats to US democracy. They were John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X. The brutal assassinations all have one thing in common: hints of conspiracy by a large group rather than a single killer. These assassinations seriously undermine their and the country's freedom of thought, belief and representation. To effectively conclude which of these groups posed the largest threat to democracy, quality rather than quantity must be taken into account. From careful observation from both points of view, I believe the McCarthyism and the Red Scare episode to be the biggest threat to democracy in the USA. I have chosen this because at a certain point, it seemed as if all the rights granted under a democracy were being systematically broken with respect to communists, and the whole episode shook the country, and deeply divided it. With the fear of the USSR, the tension of the cold Warm and the threat of nuclear weapons adding to this, the McCarthyism episode must have profoundly threatened the system of democracy in the USA. Arka Pal 10E ...read more.

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