An Accurate Assessment of the 50's and 60's in America

Decent Essays

Many people inaccurately assess the 1950s and 1960s. Historians, in particular, tend to describe the 1950s as a decade of prosperity and the 1960s as one of turbulence. According to most, peace and harmony defined the 50s while violence and protest conjured the 60s. This isn't true because controversy existed in the fifties, many achievements occurred in the sixties, and both decades had its political ups and downs. With all the criticism surrounding it, the 1960s remains one of the most controversial decades in American history.
Although prosperity filled the 50s, controversy and dissatisfaction surrounded it also. As the picture "Senator McCarthy Extinguishes the Torch of Liberty" conveys, McCarthyism hushed the freedom of speech. (Kennedy, Cohen, and Bailey A127)The man who gave McCarthyism a name, Joseph McCarthy, ruined many lives by accusing tons of Americas of being Communists for about 5 years. The post-cold war paranoia about spies and infiltrates in the American government escalated the allegations to a whole other level, despite the lack of evidence. Many people lost their jobs, went to jail, or became shunned by the public. Senator McCarthy conducted countless numbers of speeches, investigations, and hearings. His actions proved to be so terrifying that very few spoke out against him. Only when taking the claims to the military did the people finally take a stand. Weeks afterward, the Senate condemned McCarthy for “practicing conduct unfit for a member.”

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