The United States in the Twentieth Century

 

King's College History Department

20th Century Resource Site Home Page

 

 

The United States of America

      

 

 

| The 20th Century | The Wright Brothers | Henry Ford | Eleanor Roosevelt |The Atomic Bomb |

| Rock 'n' Roll | McCarthyism | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. | Moon  Landing | Watergate

  | The Personal Computer

 

The 20th Century

Since the beginning of the twentieth century the United States has transformed itself from a nation adamant about proclaiming its isolationist and neutrality principles to the world’s largest superpower. Changes in science, technology, society, economics, and politics marked the United States’ rise to power. Hundreds of influential citizens, innovations, and other events around the globe impacted the United States throughout the twentieth century almost as much as the changes in the United States have impacted the rest of the world.

At the turn of the century, the United States was in the middle of a booming period of industrialization. It was the time for big businesses and organized labor. Unions mobilized to fight for better working conditions, improved wages, and benefits. Sufficient capital, a large labor supply (from both immigration and emigration), plentiful raw materials (i.e., coal, iron ore, petroleum, and lumber), and improved transportation via the railroad contributed significantly to the nation’s overall shift from a rural to an urban society. New innovations were introduced to improve the quality of life and make manufacturing easier and more efficient. One such innovation was the assembly line used by Henry Ford to mass-produce the automobile. This ultimately resulted in lower prices and faster production of many commercial goods.

Economically, the United States was experiencing a soar in stock and bond investments, which further stimulated the economy. This economic prosperity continued through a period known as the Roaring Twenties. Life changed dramatically during this period as more and more features of today’s modern living, such as the electric washing machine, telephone, radio, and automobile became commonplace in households throughout the country.

The expansion of city life was synonymous with the increased desire for entertainment. Movies, plays, sporting events, and musicals became more and more popular as Americans now had more money to spend on their entertainment. Women, taking a greater role in society during the 1920s, found jobs outside the home and were guaranteed the right to vote by the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920.

This "roaring" society came to an end on October 24, 1929, when stock prices plunged. A weak farm economy, overproduction of durable goods (as a result of World War I), excessive use of credit, a laissez-faire economy, and speculation were causes of the fall of the economy. The gross national product plunged while the rate of unemployment rose nearly 400% during the years of the Great Depression. President Herbert Hoover hesitated for legislative action because he was fearful that government assistance to individuals would destroy their self-reliance. However, Hoover was wrong and consequently lost the election of 1932 to Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal philosophy.

Financial recovery programs such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Emergency Banking Relief Act, programs for the unemployed (Public Works Administration), and industrial recovery programs (National Recovery Administration) were significant changes brought about by Roosevelt’s New Deal. The introduction of the Social Security Act in 1935 affected (and still affects) the lives of nearly all Americans as it created a federal insurance program based upon the automatic collection of taxes from employers and employees.

By 1939 the United States began to fully recover from the Great Depression when World War II began in Europe. Military spending during the War years drew the United States out of its final stages of economic hardship, as fighting nations sought American-made goods. A second economic boom had occurred.

World War II dramatically changed the United States from an isolationist nation into a military superpower and the leader in world affairs. Nationally, the United States experienced a (baby) boom in the population and saw movement to the suburbs and Sunbelt States. Military spending during the Cold War helped finance the shift of people, industry, and ultimately political power to the United States.

Dominating foreign relations from the late 1940s until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Cold War exemplified the rivalry between two superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1947, President Harry S. Truman implemented a containment policy to prevent further Communist aggression. The mutual distrust and suspicion of the Communist nation among the Allies spawned the idea of third world war. Fears rose in the United States of Communist spies and were further exacerbated by Senator Joseph  McCarthy and his accusations.

Through the 1960s and 1970s Americans saw a variety of new technological advances and social changes become part of everyday life. The first man set foot on the moon and thousands of hippies gathered at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. The introduction of the birth control pill combined with new antibiotics for venereal diseases sparked a sexual revolution in the 1960s. Politically, this time period was marked by scandals such as the Watergate scandal involving President Richard M. Nixon. Soviet-American relations changed during the 1960s as both agreed to international inspection and production controls of nuclear armaments.

The advent of the computer in 1971 began an age of technology for the United States that is still continuing today. The Internet and the cell phone have become part of daily life as they link people and information around the world. Manufacturers are constantly vying to be the first to market new products in order to participate in the nation’s race for fame and fortune.

The twentieth century ended with the United States bearing the responsibility of protecting many other nations. It obligates itself to intervene in global affairs with the hope of using its influence (both politically and militarily) to maintain peace and stability around the world.

Bibliography   

Bishop, Jim. The Days of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: G. P. Putnam’s  Sons, 1971.

This book includes not only basic, well-known biographical information but also unique and specific details about King’s personal life. The author consults numerous friends and family members of King to enable the reader to get different perspectives. The format of the book is primarily in chronological order with a detailed index and bibliography in the back. The information presented is quite lengthy but fairly easy to pinpoint specifics.

Campbell-Kelly, Martin, and William Aspray. Computer: A History of the Information Machine. New York: BasicBooks, 1996.

William Aspray, Executive Director of the Computing Research Association in Washington, D.C., and Martin Campbell-Kelly, a professor of computer science at the University of Warwick in England, divide this book into four parts. The first, Before the Computer, focuses on people who did the same computational work as one would do today on the computer. The second, Creating the Computer, discusses the first computer and its beginning uses in the business world. Innovation and Expansion and Getting Personal, the third and fourth parts, discuss how the computer began to reshape society and become a part of daily life. Software advances and the Internet are also included. The general reader, although addressing a number of technical topics, can understand the book.

Cantor, Norman F. The Age of Protest. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1969.

The rise of the protest ideal during the twentieth century, significant protests movements, and the impacts they left on society are discussed in this book. The work is divided into four parts: The Emergence of Protest, Protest Against "Normalcy", Protest Against Capitalism and Imperialism, and The Era of Permanent Protest. There is much writing spent on protests occurring during the 1960s. Explicit examples are included as well as first-hand accounts.

Hart, Michael H. The 100. New York: Galahad Books, 1978.

One hundred biographies of which Hart considers the most influential people in history compose this book. The author not only lists the achievements of these persons but the reasons why he chose them for their specific ranking. Hart’s writing style of using uncomplicated language makes this book appropriate for all readers.

Hutton, Richard. Bio-Revolution: DNA and the Ethics of man-made Life. London: Mentor Books, 1978.

Co-author of many medical textbooks and scientific translations, Hutton discusses scientific breakthroughs related to the discovery of DNA. Although outdated, this book provides explanations of various arguments brought up against genetic research. The format is basically story-telling with specific examples. A glossary is provided in the back to further understand the complex wording as well as an extensive bibliography for further research. The writing is simplified enough for the general reader.

Kaiser, Charles. 1968 in America. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998.

The twelve-month span of 1968 is detailed in this book. Everything from the Tet offensive to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Bob Dylan is summarized including the impact it left on societies around the world. The book is divided into twelve chapters relating events and people by common themes (i.e., Rock of Ages). Each chapter begins with at least one quote pertaining to the era and is directed toward the average reader.

Palladino, Grace. Teenagers. New York: BasicBooks, 1996.

The development of American children through the twentieth century and their impact on society is the central theme in this book. Palladino uses events of the century as factors in influencing the teenage culture. The topics are often over-detailed in so much as to lose the reader’s focus with the main idea. Although its concern is the teenage population, the language of the book is aimed toward a reader with an established knowledge of psychology.

Read, Phyllis J., and Bernard L. Witlieb. The Book of Women’s Firsts. New York: Random House, 1992.

The first achievements and lives of women in the United States are cataloged in this five hundred and four-page book. Arranged alphabetically, summaries are provided for nearly one thousand women or associations concerning women exclusively. Although most summaries are brief, some concerning well-known subjects (i.e., Amelia Earhart) are more detailed and lengthy.

Von Braun, Wernher, Frederick I. Ordway, III, and Dave Dooling. Space Travel. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.

While providing explicit details of space exploration in the United States, this book is often difficult to understand as it relies on complex explanations of events and machinery. Based on over thirty years of involvement with NASA, the co-authors detail nearly all missions, orbiters, and shuttles up until 1985. The progress of other nations, including Japan and the Soviet Union, is also incorporated ending with projections about the future in space travel.

Ware, Susan. Letter to the World. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1998.

The lives and achievements of Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy Thompson, Margaret Meade, Katherine Hepburn, Martha Graham, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, and Marian Anderson are highlighted in this book. Ware attributes these women as having "lasting impact[s] on American culture." Each woman is addressed individually in a somewhat lengthy biography directed toward the average reader.

Watkins, T.H. The Great Depression. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1993.

Winner of the New York Times Book Award, Watkins addresses events and important figures preceding, during, and after the Great Depression. Simplified for the average reader, the topics discussed are related to surrounding events of the time period. Numerous illustrations accompany the text. This book is basically a reiteration of already published facts with no unique details.

Weiner, Rex, and Deanne Stillman. Woodstock Census: The Nationwide Survey of the Sixties Generation. New York: Viking Press, 1979.

1005 men and women alive during the 1960s were surveyed on topics ranging from politics and feminism to drug use and sex. Statistics and personal quotes are used to support the serious issues and nostalgic dreams summarized. The direction of this book is mainly toward the adult reader because of the nature of some topics and the complex language used for explanations.

"Biotech Chronicles." The National Health Museum. 4 Feb. 2000; accessed 20 Feb. 2000 < http://www.accessexcellence.org/AB/BC/>.

Access Excellence at the National Health Museum uses this site to provide information on genetics. There are essays, research projects, biographies, and a time line. The information is credible, accurate, and accredited to a national research organization. There are writings devoted to the works of early scientists and to more recent discoveries in genetic recombination. Some of the text is technical but the site, overall, is a good research tool.

Fray, William C., and Lisa A. Spar. The Avalon Project: 20th Century Documents. 14 Sep. 1999. Yale University. accessed 20 Feb. 2000. <http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/20th.htm>.

Designed for research for the Yale Law School, this site provides copies of different agreements, acts, messages, treaties, declarations, and pacts in the 20th century. Each record is dated and referenced. The site also provides a search feature for specifics.

Literature & Culture of the American 1950s. 1997. University of Pennsylvania. accessed 20 Feb 2000 <http://dept.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/home.html>.

This site provides a very inclusive list of sites dedicated to the 1950s. Each link is summarized briefly for its main idea. Formed for the purpose of a study and research guide for English students, anyone with a specific topic pertaining the 1950s would be sure to find information here.

Madin, Mike. Academic Info: United States History Gateway. 12 Feb. 2000; accessed 20 Feb. 2000. <http://www. academicinfo.net/histus.html>.

This site contains a collection of web sites pertaining to the United States. There are indexes, reference shelves, libraries, and teaching categories with listings divided into two groups: ‘Start with" and "Continue with". Each site is annotated and the links are credible.

"Martin Luther King Jr." Seattle Times Jan. 2000; accessed 20 Feb. 2000 <http://www. seattletimes.com/mlk/ man/index.html>.

This site is part of the archives of the Seattle Times. It is divided into five sections with each having numerous links. The first section, The Man, includes of timeline of King’s life, notes taken by University of Washington Professor Charles Johnson that he later used to complete his novel, Dreamer, sound clips of King’s speeches, and a remembrance by Julian Bond. Section two, The Movement, has a timeline of the Civil Rights Movement and a "civil rights photo tour". The Legacy, contains different accounts (i.e., from poets, pastors, and professional basketball players) of King and his actions. The fourth section, The Holiday, explains how the holiday was created and different celebratory events. Section five, The Electronic Classroom, contains reflections from high school students, an interactive quiz, a study guide, and a list of other Internet links. The information is detailed and documented with sources.

Modern History Source Book. Ed. Paul Halsall. 18 Jan. 1999. Fordam University. accessed 20 Feb. 2000. <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/modsbook 41.html>.

Part of Fordam’s Internet History Sourcebooks Project, this particular page offers credible information on the Great Depression and economic problems associated with it in the United States and Europe. It includes links to other Ford ham sites and related sites from other Institutions. There is a an easy to use index for specific topics and the language used is attended for the general reader.

The Psychedelic 60s:Literary Tradition and Social Change Ed. Rector and Visitors of UVA. 17 Aug. 1999. University of Virginia. accessed 20 Feb. 2000 <http://www. dismal.com/top25/introduction.asp>.

This site is part of the Special Collections Department at the UVA Library. It details the decade of the sixties with links from its homepage to specific topics. The information is accurate and documented with a wide selection of subjects.

Rayburn, Kevin. Two Views of the 1920s. accessed 20 Feb. 2000 <http://www.louisville.edu/~kprayb01/1920s-remark-page.html>.

The aim of this site is "to serve as a guide to the best sites on the web devoted to aspects of the 1920s." Divided into two views: The Roaring Twenties and The Boring Twenties. The topics discussed are often oversimplified without much detail but the site, in general, would be useful in providing a outline for further research.

Roiz, Carmen Teresa. "The 20th Century: A Selective Look at the Past 100 Years." Vista Magazine accessed 20 Feb. 2000. <http://www.vistamagazine.com/decend.htm>.

By dividing the century into decades, this site offers detailed information in chronological order. Each decade is generally summarized then specific points are detailed according to categories such as ‘In this hemisphere’, ‘Around the world’, ‘In the US’, and ‘Science.’ Each decade contains illustrations and ends with unique aspects such as fads present during the era, popular movies, and Oscar winners.

Rubin, Alex. Cold War Homepage. accessed 20 Feb. 2000 <http://www.scsd.k12.ny. us/alex/coldwar/coldwar.htm>.

Although this site is not accredited to a particular organization or institution, the information is accurate and detailed although oversimplified at times. Rubin summarizes the Red Scare into two parts according to years and then has sections on the blacklisting that went on in the United States.

 

 

The Wright Brothers

On December 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hill, North Carolina, brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright each completed two successful flights in Flyer I, their home-built power-driven airplane. Flyer I, later known as Kitty Hawk measured 40 feet, weighed about 650 pounds, and cost less than one thousand dollars to build. Inaccurate stories by a few local newspapers marked this historic event, and it was almost five years before it was generally known throughout the United States that a manned flight had been achieved.

The Wright brothers credit their achievement to the experiences they had as the most successful glider pilots in the world, the advancements they made in wing design, the idea of a light-weight gas engine, and their ability to work together. They hoped that one day their invention would bring the world closer together by transporting people and mail. Their dreams came true as the airplane was and still is used in times of both peace and war, was the precursor of space travel, and brought to reality man’s centuries-old dream of flying.

Bibliography

Bradshaw, Gary. Wilbur and Orville Wright. 3 Mar. 2000; accessed 27 Mar 2000. <http://www.wam.umd.edu/~stwright/WrBr/Wrights.html>.

This site provides biographical information on the Wright brothers prior to their invention. The detailed information is directed toward the average reader and contains direct quotes from credible sources. This site also contains photographs of the Wrights and has links to other sources more detailed on the invention of the airplane.

Hughes, James. The Wright Brothers. Feb. 1999; accessed 26 Mar. 2000. < http://www.firstflight.org/>.

This site commemorating the works of Orville and Wilbur Wright is a work of the First   Flight Society. A ‘Photo Gallery’ and biography of the Wright Brothers. The information is clear and concise with documentation. There are separate pages for each year from 1899 to 1903 that describe the accomplishments made in aviation. Additional links and detailed information about the First Flight Society is also included.

 

Henry Ford

Henry Ford’s dream to make a small, yet sturdy automobile that would be sold at a price appealing to the average consumer resulted in the Model T, a breakthrough for the automobile industry. In order to create the Model T at a price lower than the competition, Ford developed a method of assembly. The assembly line, which consisted of a series of workers – each performing a specific task – stationed alongside a conveyor belt, cut the total assembling time nearly twelve-fold.  The inexpensive appeal of the Model T revolutionized the automobile industry as other companies quickly sought to enact similar assembling methods.  

Ford also introduced new management techniques that were unheard of at the time. He nearly doubled the minimum wage in 1914 for his employees, reduced the workday by an hour, and enacted a profit-sharing program. The introduction of these "benefits" prompted workers to flock to the Ford Motor Company for employment and set standards for other companies to measure up. Ford was one of the first major industrialists to appeal to the masses both as an employer and as a manufacturer.

Bibliography

"Henry Ford." Henry Ford Museum. 30 July 1999; accessed 29 Mar 2000.  <http://www.hfmgv. org/histories/hf/henry.html>.

Part of the archives of the Henry Ford Museum, this site provides detailed in formation on Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company. It is divided into six sections: Childhood, The Engineer, Chronology, Ford Motor Company, Quick Facts, and More Information which lists bibliographical information and other books on the Fords . Pictures are documented and detailed. The language is directed toward the average reader. A search engine is also included in this site.

Wright, Richard A. West of Laramie. 1998; accessed Mar. 29 2000. <http://detnews.com/1998/joyrides/laramie/>.

This site contains an account of the first 100 years of the automobile in the United States. Each American-owned automobile company is outlined along with new models and economic impacts. The language is over-simplified at times but the information is accredited to the Detroit News Newspaper.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt was an inspiration to women in America and throughout the rest of the world. She was both respected and admired as a high-positioned woman who was not afraid to speak her mind. When the United States became a world power after World War I, it was Eleanor who urged her husband to return to politics after he returned from serving in the Navy; it was Eleanor who actively campaigned and adopted her own specific causes. After assuming the role of first lady to her husband Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, Eleanor became the spokesperson for the advancement of the woman’s role in society.

Through speeches and writings, she urged women to take advantage of their newly acquired right to vote and to fight for equal rights. She broke barriers that normally confined first ladies and singly hosted a press conference dealing with the impact on women from the economic crises that resulted from the Great Depression. Eleanor also showed strong personal strength as she maintained her public image while dealing with her husband’s infidelities. She was the first to travel abroad (1934) and the first former first lady to be appointed to the United Nations (1945).

She was not just influential in her own right; she served as her husband’s social conscience and influenced him to support minorities and the poor. Eleanor became the most active first lady in history and set precedents for many women to step up and fight for what they believed in.

Bibliography

              Eleanor Roosevelt. 1 Dec. 1997. College Park Library. Accessed 29 Mar. 2000. <http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Library/4142/index.html>.

This site contains a collection of photographs and biographies. It is divided into seven main sections: Childhood, Marriage, 1920s, Alone, The White House, Photo Album and Talks. There are also additional links, political cartoons, and a detailed bibliography. The language used is directed toward the average reader and is very useful for any information pertaining to the former First Lady.

The National First Ladies' Library. 1998. Stark State College of Technology. accessed 10 Apr. 2000. <http://www.firstladies.org/flmainpage.html>.

This site contains a "virtual library" dedicated to the First Ladies of the United States.  All forty-three  women are included with individual biographies along with descriptions of books, articles, manuscripts, letters, and other writings by and about the First Ladies.  Each biography contains at least one photo and an additional credible link.  The language is clear and concise and understandable.  Links to the official site of the  White House, the Library of Congress are also included.

             Modern History Source Book. Ed. Paul Halsall. 18 Jan. 1999. Fordam University. accessed 20 Feb. 2000. <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/modsbook 41.html>.

Part of Fordham’s Internet History Sourcebooks Project, this particular page offers credible information on the Great Depression and economic problems associated with it in the United States and Europe. It includes links to other Fordham sites and related sites from other credible institutions. There is an easy to use index for specific topics and the language used is attended for the general reader.

 The Atomic Bomb

The top-secret Manhattan Project, begun in 1942, resulted in the most destructive weapon to revolutionize warfare. Over two million dollars were spent to develop the atomic bomb under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer, an American physicist. The design and building of the first atomic bomb took place in a secret lab in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Although Neils Bohr drafted the first correct atomic model in 1913, it was not until 1938 that physicists discovered that useable energy is released from splitting a uranium atom. In 1939 scientists began to see the military applications of the splitting process, called nuclear fission. Six years later the Manhattan Project successfully detonated a nuclear device based on nuclear fission. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic weapon of war on Japan’s Hiroshima island. Three days later a second atomic bomb was released over the island of Nagasaki resulting in the end of World War II. Over 250,00 Japanese citizens died from the explosion and the prolonged radiation afterward.

As a result of the invention of the atomic bomb, warfare was changed forever. Nuclear arms, especially those of the Soviet Union, have prompted suspicion and aggression among nations for fear of world destruction. Today, there are enough nuclear weapons in the world to destroy it completely twelve times over.

Bibliography

Chamberlin, Gordon. The Discovery of the Atomic Bomb. Brigham Young University. accessed 29 Mar. 2000. <http://lal.cs.byr.edu/ketav/issue 2.8/atomic-theory.html>.

            This site is well-documented with endnotes and an extensive bibliography. The contents are in an outline format beginning with Greek ideology and ending with the dropping of the atomic bomb. The information is somewhat unique as it takes a more historical perspective by beginning with the ancient Greeks. Some of the text is technical but the site, overall is a good research tool.

Dannon, Gene. Atomic Bomb: Decision. 26 Mar. 2000; accessed 29 Mar. 2000. <http://www.dannen.com/decision/index.html >.

            This site contains original documents and personal accounts regarding the decision to use the atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The documents are reproduced in full-text form. The site is credited as a source of documents for the official ABC Television website. Each document link is summarized briefly and reprinted with permission of the original writers.

Rock ‘n’ Roll

The emergence of rock ‘n’ roll in the mid-1950s promised a countless number of new opportunities for the teenage population in America. It provided a way for teenagers to escape from conventional life choices such as high school, college, and marriage and immerse themselves in a music style all their own. Thousands of teens saw rock music as their "ticket to stardom" while adults saw the same music as rebellious and indecent.

Elvis Presley, one the first rock superstars to surface in the fifties, won over tens of thousands of adoring fans with his defiant nature and suggestive movements. The increasing fame of Presley and the rise of a more rebellious teenage culture challenged boundaries surrounding the white middle class and the racially segregated African-Americans. Rock ‘n’ roll opened doors for African-Americans in popular culture as both models and rock groups were now featured in magazine cover stories; something unheard of before the 1960s. Artists such as Chuck Berry, Alan Freed, and Richard Penniman (commonly known as Little Richard) united a racially mixed group of teenagers much to the demise of adults.

Through the 1960s and 1970s, rock ‘n’ roll impacted societies all over the world, as the American-dominated musical style turned into an international phenomena. Both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are accredited with the expansion of rock music as they began performing throughout the world.

Rock music is still prevalent in the twenty-first century as it continues to unite various racial and ethnic groups under a common bond – the love of the music.

Bibliography

Literature & Culture of the American 1950s. 1997. University of Pennsylvania. accessed 20 Feb 2000 <http://dept.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/home.html>.

This site provides a very inclusive list of sites dedicated to the 1950s. Each link is summarized briefly for its main idea. Formed for the purpose of a study and research guide for English students, anyone with a specific topic pertaining the 1950s would be sure to find information here.

The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll. accessed 26 Mar 2000. < http://www.history-of-rock.com/>.

This site is an extensive provider of any and all information pertaining to rock music. Search tools are provided to find information on specific artists, songs, disc jockeys, instruments, albums, etc. The information is documented and is directed toward the average reader with simple language. The information presented is immense and, overall, this site is a good research tool for anything pertaining to music.

 

McCarthyism

For almost four years, a single man in America held hundreds of reputations in his hands – Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. From 1950 to 1954 he was responsible for destroying the careers of many politicians, journalists, professors, entertainers, and clergy.

Elected to the Senate in 1946, McCarthy gained worldwide popularity in 1950 when he gave a speech announcing that two hundred and five Communists were working for the State Department. His accusations, commonly referred to as McCarthyism, were made during the period after the Cold War when the population was in fear of the spread of Communism to free nations. Americans were also frustrated with the Korean War, the Chinese conquest of Mainland China, and the conviction of Americans serving as Soviet spies.

Democratic President Harry S. Truman denied McCarthy’s accusations but the damage was done as McCarthy gained more and more supporters. As the accused came under suspicion many lost their jobs and/or were outcast by society. Many employees were required to take oaths pledging their loyalty to the government in order to keep their jobs.

It was not until McCarthy accused the United States’ Army of Communist infiltration in 1954 that he began to loose supporters. The Army countered with accusations of improper conduct on behalf of McCarthy and with that millions began to see the untruth of McCarthyism.

Bibliography 

Literature & Culture of the American 1950s. 1997. University of Pennsylvania. accessed 20 Feb 2000 <http://dept.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/home.html>.

This site provides a very inclusive list of sites dedicated to the 1950s. Each link is summarized briefly for its main idea. Formed for the purpose of a study and research guide for English students, anyone with a specific topic pertaining the 1950s would be sure to find information here.

Rubin, Alex. Cold War Homepage. accessed 20 Feb. 2000 <http://www.scsd.k12.ny. us/alex/coldwar/ coldwar.htm>.

Although this site is not accredited to a particular organization or institution, the information is accurate and detailed although oversimplified at times. Rubin summarizes the Red Scare into two parts according to years and then has sections on the blacklisting that went on in the United States.

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Recognized nationally as the leader of the civil rights movement (1955-1968), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., committed himself to nonviolent protests against segregation. Dr. King was the leader of one of the largest and most successful demonstrations in history as he and over two hundred thousand Americans peacefully participated in the March on Washington to support the civil rights bill in August 1963.

Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his leadership in nonviolent protests and, although, he sometimes settled for less than he asked for, he was able to gain more for his people than they had in centuries. His ultimate goal was social acceptance of all African-Americans in America. He preached for equal pay for equal skills, voting rights for everyone, the annihilation of ghettos, and overall equality.

In response to the protests led by Dr. King, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in public places and called for equal opportunity in employment and education. The following year the Voting Rights Act was passed eliminating all barriers surrounding the African-Americans’ right to vote.

People throughout the world mourned the death of Dr. King as he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. His achievements will not be forgotten as the words on his tombstone summarize his works and dreams: "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last."

Bibliography

Brown, Mitchell. Timeline of Events in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Life. 30 May 1999. Louisiana State University. accessed 27 Mar 2000. <http://www.lib.lsu.edu/lib/ chem/display/srs216.html>.

Part of the LSU Libraries’ Chronologies, this site contains a detailed timeline of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This site is easy to use and is directed toward readers of all ages. The language is clear and concise, yet the site contains unique details. This site a good research tool as it provides brief accounts of the Dr. King’s life. Links to additional credible sites are included

Martin Luther King Jr." Seattle Times Jan. 2000; accessed 20 Feb. 2000 <http://www. seattletimes.com/mlk/ man/index.html>.

This site is part of the archives of the Seattle Times. It is divided into five sections with each having numerous links. The first section, The Man, includes of timeline of King’s life, notes taken by University of Washington Professor Charles Johnson that he later used to complete his novel, Dreamer, sound clips of King’s speeches, and a remembrance by Julian Bond. Section two, The Movement, has a timeline of the Civil Rights Movement and a "civil rights photo tour". The Legacy, contains different accounts (i.e., from poets, pastors, and professional basketball players) of King and his actions. The fourth section, The Holiday, explains how the holiday was created and different celebratory events. Section five, The Electronic Classroom, contains reflections from high school students, an interactive quiz, a study guide, and a list of other Internet links. The information is detailed and documented with sources.

 

Moon Landing

At precisely 10:56:20 p.m. (EDT) on July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil A. Armstrong made history as he stepped out on a lunar surface. Armstrong’s steps on the moon marked the greatest technological triumph in history. Eighteen minutes later a second man from the Apollo 11 crew, Edwin E. Aldrin, set foot on the moon.

After planting an American flag on the surface, Armstrong and Aldrin had three principle tasks to accomplish before leaving. First they photographed and inspected their lunar module (code-named "Eagle") to make sure no damage was done, they then collected rock and soil samples, and finally conducted three scientific experiments to collect as much operational and scientific data as possible.

Live television coverage captured this monumental event as millions of viewers worldwide paused their daily lives to witness men actually walking on the moon. Ironically, the third crewmember, Michael Collins, who remained in the command module (Columbia), was only able to hear this historical event since the module was not equipped with a television receiver.

This event, followed by a series of other successes for the U.S. space program, enabled the United States to overcome the technological setback of the Soviet Union’s launching of Sputnik I and Sputnik II in 1957. Walking on the moon restored the world’s faith in the science and technology developed in the United States.

Bibliography

Dismukes, Kim. NASA Human Spaceflight. 27 Mar 2000. NASA. accessed 27 Mar 2000. < http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/index-m.html>.

Updated daily, this site provides the latest space news, the current time at the Space Station, a countdown to the next launch, and press releases. There is also a search engine that allows the user to access any specific topics. This site is accredited to NASA and is a primary source of information. The language is simplified enough so that the average reader can understand. Pictures and "Space Facts" are also included.

Hettinger, Eric. The National Frontier of Space. 23 Feb. 2000; accessed 27 Mar 2000. < http://www.transport.com/~marvhett/>.

The National Space Data Center has established this site to provide the user in-depth information on outer space. It is divided into five main sections. International Space Station, Astronauts, Space Exploration, Space News, and Space Links. Each section contains sub-topics and related links. The language is simple enough for the average reader and color pictures are used for details. There is also a search engine to find specifics.

 

Watergate

Watergate, the largest political scandal in U.S. history, was originally designed to help Republican President Richard M. Nixon win reelection in 1972. On June 17, 1972, five men hired by Nixon’s reelection committee were caught (and found guilty of) breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C. The President and his aides repeatedly denied involvement in the break-in and attempted bugging, but the press (especially the Washington Post) found evidence in 1973 that directly linked the White House to the planning and financing of the break-in.

Nixon’s refusal (executive privilege) to supply investigators with presumably incriminating taped conversations in the Oval Office outraged many Americans. Finally, in 1974 Nixon was forced to turn over the tapes and was charged with three articles of impeachment: obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. Transcripts of the tapes clearly implicated Nixon’s involvement in the scandal and cover-up and, when faced with an impending impeachment trial, he resigned on August 9, 1974.

The Watergate scandal paralyzed the political system in the United States at a time of crisis both at home and abroad (i.e., the Vietnam War, Cambodia bombings, and the oil embargo). Although Watergate proved that the constitutional system of checks and balances worked, faith was lost in the federal government.

 

Bibliography

"Watergate." The Washington Post. 1997; accessed 29 Mar. 2000. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/watergate/front.htm>.

The Washington Post devised this site to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Watergate Scandal. The easy-to-use site contains a chronology, biographies of key people involved, political reforms as a result of it, and articles printed in The Washington Post. The information presented is detailed (and often directly quoted), yet directed toward the average reader with simple language and many pictures. This site is a good research tool for anyone dealing with aspects of the Watergate scandal.

"Exhibit: Nixon and Watergate." 1996. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. accessed 15 July 2009.<http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/american_originals/nixon.html>.

As part of American Orignals collections the National Archives and Records Administration, this site offers a few primary sources about President Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal.

" 22 "The Watergate Affair." April 2009. Surveillance-VideoCom: Do-it-yourself Surveillance. accessed 15 July 2009.<http://www.surveillance-video.com/watergate-april-2009.html>.

Provides links to various other sites with information on Nixon and Watergate.

 

  The Personal Computer

The personal computer emerged on the consumer market in April of 1977 at the West Coast Computer Fair when the Apple II and the Commodore PET were introduced. Both self-contained units included a 10" screen, keyboard, cassette tape for program storage, and a BASIC programming system. In contrast, the PET was marketed at a lower price but unlike the Apple II, it offered no room for expansions such as printers or floppy disks.

The response to the personal computer was greater than the industrialists expected. New companies began to form rapidly to take part in this booming new market. The IBM personal computer appeared in August 1981 and almost instantly became the leader in computer sales. Companies felt confident with allowing the steadfast IBM Corporation into their offices while households said that they trusted the IBM name.

The invention of the personal computer revolutionized the act of sharing and transporting information quickly. Every year was marked with additional technological advances of new software and increasing power and options. Today, personal computers are over 400 times faster, 3,000 times lighter, several million dollars cheaper, and produced in sizes that are less than the size of their predecessors. Experts predict that the future of the computers will be centered on the development of biochips, protein molecules sandwiched between glass and metal, that would have a vastly greater storage capacity than current technology allows. The personal computer has become part of daily life throughout the world as millions of people transfer ideas and information, make purchases, conduct business, or simply enjoy "surfing the net."

Bibliography

Beard, Jason, Francois Beaune, and Zac Pradel. Computer Chronicles: From Stone to Silicon. 1998; accessed 25 Mar 2000. <http://library.thinkquest.org/22522/>.

This extremely user-friendly site contains timelines related to different computing inventions. There are credible sources, documented photographs and notable quotes pertaining to almost every year in computer history. This site is directed toward the average reader of any age with colorful graphics and easy language.

White, Stephen. A Brief History of Computing. 28 Mar 2000; accessed 29 Mar 2000. < http://ox.compsoc.net/~swhite/timeline.html>.

This site presents an extensive outline of the invention of the computer. It is inclusive from 500 B. C. to February 17, 2000, and is very detailed. The text is often complex at times and directed toward a reader with a knowledgeable computer background. Separate histories for Hardware, Windows, and the Internet, a bibliography and related links are included.

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URL: http://departments.kings.edu/history/20c/topic
Text Copyright MM by Megan Minor
Site built, maintained and Copyright MM by Brian A. Pavlac
First posted:  2000 April 11
Last Revision:  2009 July 15
Questions, Suggestions, Comments? e-mail bapavlacATkings.edu