The end of the Second World War has brought so many changes in international relations, political, economical and social changes. The most important and most influential of these is the rise of two super powers in the world: the United States of America and the USSR. The emergence of these two states has brought so many political and economic changes that became influential from the past decades until the present.
The rise of the US government into power has become massive and became the indicative factor in settling international relations. The events that took place after the Second World War created massive impact on policy formations in the international arena. The Cold War for example, has been the biggest offspring of the war. Consequently, from the Cold War emerged different political and economic changes that from the past decades until now have still served their purpose, and until this era have played as decisive factors in creating foreign and domestic policies.
For the purpose of this paper, we shall be studying events that happened in the following decades: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The events that will be tackled are those events that tool place that have had great and influential changed in American policy, and those that are until now still prevalent in international relations.
1950: The Rise of the American Dream
The years from the 1950s have highlighted the growth of the American community. Central to this interval is the modernization of the American life, the development of more modernized society, and the peak of what they called the “American dream”. During these years were the improvement in technology, infrastructures, and the rise of mass cultures.
The emergence of this abrupt modernization in American society was a response to the slump that was caused by the war. This response created a boom in American economy. High consumer spending became the coping mechanism of the civilians to recover from the war, which in turn also brought in higher government spending, a booming military industrial sector, which became the offset for a prosperous economy (Leffler, 1994).
The rise of this modern industry for the American society was a fulfillment for their American dream. Every society and every individual were accountable for their own changes and emancipation. Their goal was to create a society that was free, modernized, superior and on top of every nation. Moreover, this economic boom and high consumer spending brought in the development of new innovations and quality inventions that enhanced not only the purpose that it must serve, but also took note of its aesthetic factors.
The rise of the automobile industry for instance is a good example of the general idea that this occurrence has made a strong impact on. The emergence of their automobile industry is a starting point and an important facet in the current economic trend that the US has subliminally inculcated towards the people around the globe. (McKinlay, 1993) This emergence has brought in the culture of planned obsolescence, which is now an important factor in the success of globalization and modernization, not only of the American society, but as well as to their allies that follow their trails.
1960: The Era for Civil Emancipation
Following the modernization of the American society, was the rise of the various legal fights against racial discrimination. The postwar era created an avenue for greater equality for the black Americans. This era highlighted the establishment of various associations that fought for civil rights and equality. Further, aside from the African American rights, the Latin civil society also gained consciousness towards their own civil rights.
Aside from the civil anti-segregation fight of the blacks and the latinos, their political and economic power were also empowered in the new era of southern racial relations. The rise of several personalities highlighted this fight during the era. Martin Luther King Jr., served as an influential icon in the fight for justice and equality among the blacks and the whites. And consequently, his influence became rampant that further rallies turned into crusades of trying to overpower the black discrimination. (Badger and Ward, 1996)
Following the strong movements for civil rights, John Kennedy upon the start of his term as president legalized a civil rights act. The Civil Act Right of 1964 embodied provisions that prohibited any display of discrimination by race, color, religion, sex and nationality. In addition, the Voting Acts Right of 1965, which increased black voting by a large percentage. (Branch, 1988).
This challenge of fighting racial discrimination during this era encouraged a lot of changes in the society, politics and economics. This era exemplified strong resistance of the blacks from further discrimination. However, even though the efforts were strong, nonetheless, the black community has never achieved full redemption against discrimination. Although in this contemporary era where there are black personalities that emerged triumphant and successful within the fields that they chose, today, discrimination against blacks is rampant and their economic conditions are never emancipated as most of the black population still lives in poverty.
1970: The Economic Turmoil and Political Deterioration
The 1970’s was an advent of return to conservatism. During the administration of Richard Nixon, he administered policies that were geared towards the establishment of countering running liberal programs. In contrast to liberalist programs, he favored “income strategy” which initially encouraged individual initiative, personal freedom and lessened government bureaucracy.
However, Nixon’s attempt in reversing liberal ideas became detrimental to the economy. The stagflation in the economy forced Nixon to adopt liberal remedies. This economic recession in US caused a decrease in the demand for goods, workers were laid off resulting to an increase in the unemployment rate, and manufacturers were forced to cut prices in their products and reduce wages for their workers in order to preserve profit margin. During his first term was mostly concerned with finding solutions on how to end the Vietnam War. As a whole, his first term was satisfactorily carried out. And despite the economic stagflations that US experienced during his term, the American community was nonetheless contented with his regime.
Despite the moral controversies and the economic downfall that US experienced during Nixon’s administration, nonetheless he still won the presidency during the next held elections. However, this triumph has caused Nixon to become complacent in running his government, and abuse of power rendered him detrimental setbacks in his governance. His second term however was battled with controversies including the Watergate scandal. He used his powers to eliminate radical counterculture – from media practitioners who criticized them to anti war activists. (Nixon Presidency).
These occurrences during the era marked certain importance in the US history. The lesson of how they dealt with the Vietnam aggression is an important benchmark in their history. It has proven significant policy changes that are currently affecting how US has played with regards to foreign aggressions.
1980: New American Influx
The 1980s was highlighted by international migration. At the peak of this era, America was occupied by “Americans” of international decent. A large percentage of America was occupied by Asian Americans, as well as Latinos which enlarged the foreign immigration.
This influx in fact prompted the government to legislate acts that shall restrain illegal migration to control the influx of foreign nationals inside the borders of the US. The Immigration and Control Act of 1986 limited and tightened border security. However, the law also provided amnesty for immigrants who arrived earlier than 1986 and allowed them to become legal residents. (Immigration and Control Act of 1986)
This event lead to the internationalization of the American community. This further opened links towards global relations, it shaped American society in such a way that they can directly create relationships amongst neighboring countries. This paved the way for an easier connection in the global world which made it easier for them to penetrate and dominate international relations. In addition, the end of the cold war became beneficial to the American community as it increased global responses in the Americanization of the world. And thus, the fall of the Soviet Union nonetheless provided a larger array of development and opportunities for political and economic domination around the globe.
1990: The New Globe
1990s was started at the height of Bill Clinton’s leadership. During his administration he focused more on domestic issues rather than following the usual internationalist trend. And during this era, America has experienced a rather powerful economic expansion, with little economic inflation. This economic rise in the country allowed them to decrease public debts and budget deficits.
Clinton pushed his leadership towards the independent states of American communities. During his leadership, he passed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The organization of NAFTA linked US closer to Canada and Mexico which provided larger trade opportunities and generated greater jobs (Remarks from President Clinton…)
These occurrences eventually lead to the strengthening of US economic and political relationship with other allies. This created a world order that is closely linked towards one another. The improved ties between countries made specific changes and opened up better opportunities for their market.
The turnouts during this era were important and delicate part of the developments that the US has gone through in the following years. The end of 1990s marked the start of the Bush era which turned out to be an offset for the start of the 19th century. The series of events that took place in the 1990s are still prevalent in the contemporary times, wherein the global community that were started in this decade eventually elevated to form a stronger link in global relations. Hence, the 1990s was a starting point for the current trend of globalization.
2000 and Beyond
The events that took place from the 1950s towards the 1990s proved to be benchmarks for the current international trend. The modernization in 1950s, the emancipation of civil rights in 1960s, the economic downfall of 1970s, the influx of international immigrants in the US during the 1980s, and the establishment of the new world order in the 1990s became integral to the emergence of US as they developed to become the international leader and authority based on economic, political and military supremacy.
These occurrences are pillars of the economic and political activities of the current US society. The continuing influence of the US over other countries shall prove their supremacy and moral ascendancy in the international relations. The 1990s most importantly had a very distinct impact on the US development and how they were able to gain world power.
Globalization as an offspring of the establishment of new world order is the most significant factor in the world domination. The US’ continuing influence in the globalized community shall always prove to be beneficial to their existence. The US policies and impositions towards their allies are so integral that these policies are geared towards further empowerment of their society. In the future, America is still seen to post political, economic and military supremacy over other countries. Although there are current aggressions against several nations posting ideologies different from that of the Americans, still, the American prevalence is still evident and their allies have been expanding and further growing in strength in the absence of a strong contender that shall challenge their world leadership.
Badger, Tony and Ward, Brian. (1996) The Making Of Martin Luther King And The Civil Rights Movement. Washington Square: New York University.
Branch, Taylor. (1988) Parting the Waters: America in the king Years, 1954-1963. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Immigration and Control Act of 1986. Retrieved November 16, 2007 from http://www.oig.lsc.gov/legis/irca86.htm
Leffler, Melvyn and Painter, David. Ed. (1994) Origins of the Cold War: An International History. London: Routledge.
‘Remarks of President Clinton in Signing of NAFTA” The White House: Office of Press Secretary. (14 September 1993) Retrieved November 16, 2007 from http://www.multied.com/Documents/Clinton/SigningNaFTA.html
McKinlay, Alan. (1993) Strategy And The Human Resource : Ford And The Search For Competitive Advantage. Oxford: Blackwell.
Nixon Presidency. Retrieved November 16, 2007 from http://nixon.archives.gov/thelife/apolitician/thepresident/index.php