The 1960s: From Cool to Chaotic

1960s America has been described as a decade for the youth and as a turbulent turn in American political culture.  Like a reverse spring, it came in like a lamb and left like a lion.  John F. Kennedy defines the early decade.  He evokes cool at 43 years young when he is elected president in November 1960 with his younger and very pretty bilingual wife, Jacquelyn Kennedy.  Their two children, Carolyn and John, are picture perfect.  Kennedy proclaims “Ich bin ein Berliner,” initiates the idealistic Peace Corps, staves off nuclear disaster with Cuba, and holds very popular news conferences with a fawning White House press corps that looks the other way from his private life.   In November 1963 the dreams for the American decade die with the assassinated president.  LBJ takes office and is challenged by JFK’s younger brother, Bobby Kennedy, who is also assassinated in June 1968 after winning the California Democratic Primary, two months after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee.  In the summer of 1969 America is heavily involved in Vietnam but manages to fulfill a JFK dream to put a man safely on the moon. There’s so much turmoil by the end of this decade that one song helps people to forget their troubles.  It’s the top rated song of the year:  Sugar, Sugar by The Archies

One thought on “The 1960s: From Cool to Chaotic

  1. JFK gave people a hopeful future and the civil rights movement reached its height, although those who encouraged people were always assassinated. There were also tense situations like the Cuba crisis and the Vietnam war. In this time, American society seemed to be full of energy for better or worse. As a student of American culture, it is interesting to see this time because of the famous people and the memorable events and I have read about these facts in my text. However, this is my first time to hear about the song, Sugar, Sugar. The trend song is very simple and peaceful. It means that people in the latter part of the decades really need simple and happy things to forget any negative incidents. Trend songs reflect the times.

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