60s essay - We tend to equate the idealism of the 1960s...

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We tend to equate the idealism of the 1960s with the student movements and the counterculture that offered the most dramatic challenges to American policies and conventions. Johnson, the United States Congress, and the 43 million people (61% of the voters) that gave Johnson an enormous mandate in 1964 believed that they were creating a new America. Perhaps no period in American history has been filled with such an expansive and ambitious sense of possibilities—such a grand, inspiring sense of what Americans could achieve. In 1961, John Kennedy coupled his presidential oath of office with an announcement that the torch of American idealism had been passed to a new generation. But student protestors did contribute to the end of the war in Vietnam, they did advance civil rights, and they did transform the culture of American colleges. Critics argue that the era created the welfare state, bred a culture of immorality and self- indulgence, and bequeathed to America’s taxpayers an enormous burden.
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