How The Vietnam War Changed America

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“No event in the past half-century of American history has commanded a morep rominent place in the public consciousness than the Vietnam War” (Hall xi), a rightfully said statement. Lasting from 1960-1975, it is America’s longest war and changed the United States politically, socially, and culturally during that period. In the early 1970s, the voting age was lowered to 18, largely because of the war. Also, Vietnam was one of the first wars in which African Americans largely participated. Lastly, Vietnam changed America culturally by causing mistrust in government. In the 1960s through early ‘70s, the Vietnam War changed America in ways that nothing had ever done before. Perhaps one of the biggest changes Vietnam made in America…show more content…
While African Americans were allowed in the armed forces they still faced racism, and some thought that the draft laws were favoring middle and upper class whites. Although the draft laws were not intended to be racist, they made it significantly harder for blacks to be exempt from service. For example, “…eligible men from the middle and upper class could normally find ways of avoiding service, or at least service in Vietnam, meaning the burden of the draft fell on working class whites and minorities. Consequently, African Americans were drafted in disproportionately higher numbers than were whites” (Hall 150). However, after their enlistments were up, more than two thirds of eligible African Americans chose to re-enlist while only around 12 percent of whites chose to remain in the armed forces. Yet, as much as blacks reenlisted in the military, many thought that they were the last to receive promotions. Lionel Anderson wrote to the Black Panther, “Black people are the last to be promoted, as far as rank goes” (Hall 159). In reality, the number of blacks in the officer corps in Vietnam was small, only about 5 percent. Yet, the Vietnam War offered African Americans opportunities they had never had before and used them to change the military in a way not done previously. The Vietnam
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