The United States of America is arguably the world’s superpower country. The history of the nation’s rise to levels of attaining a superpower status stretches back to world war I; an event that changed and shaped global politics and leadership to date. A joint military effort from the USA and the USSR saw the defeat of perhaps one of the most feared tyrants in the world called Hitler. The power vacuum left after Hitler’s defeat pitted both the United States of America and the USSR in a power control struggle that led to poor relations between the two countries. For a long time, the American history has been a struggle between the ideals of order, freedom, and equality. This paper discusses the role that each concept played in shaping the county from 1950 to 1969.
Regarding order, the American history and law are set in a manner that it is vital to persons tasked with the responsibility of leadership to adhere to the rule of law. The leadership of the day had to know that lawlessness was an ingredient for brewing a rogue society that would, in turn, make the country ungovernable. Therefore, any acts that do not follow the law of the land were regarded as criminal and the leaders under whose watch the unlawful actions took place were held responsible. In the early 1950s, Joseph McCarthy shocked the country with allegations about the alleged involvement of senior leadership of the United States of America in fueling wars and political instability in some countries across Europe (Boyer, Paul S. et al., 836).
In him, Americans had a person whose criticism of the government of the day made them change their perspective of the intention their government about matters of the international community’s concern. Increasingly, Americans became wearier of leaders who seemed to concentrate the country’s efforts in controlling other nations and overlook developing their own country. Even though McCarthy did not have any substantive evidence to back up his damning claims, he is still widely thought to have raised serious concerns that changed the political landscape in America until today (Boyer, Paul S., et al., 829).
The American society of the 1950s – 1969 is widely considered to have been anticommunist. The dominant ideology of that time in American history was social conservativeness that was predominantly materialistic. Because USSR was openly in favor of the communists’ ideology, the US felt threatened, and an ideological difference between the two countries arose. The USSR, as well as the US, sought political alliances from other European countries that subscribed to their ideologies. The situation led to the point that both the two countries threatened to wage war against one another. The period that marked the rhetoric of possible war between the two countries is famously known as the ‘cold war.’ Truman, the then united states of America president, spearheaded the anticommunists campaign that advocated for conservativeness and the need to have different ranks in power to avoid a situation like Hitler’s where the whole world fell at the mercy of one tyrant (Boyer, Paul S., et al., 818). However, Truman’s quest would not be as easy as it would initially be thought due to the growing mistrust from USSR’s Stalin who had openly confessed and demonstrated his support for a society whose dominant ideology was communism.
The quest for universal freedom has been core to the history of the USA. The end of the world war II marked the end of the reign of Hitler and brought freedom to the country and the world at large. However, the American people felt that the resultant ‘cold war’ made life and economic activities more uncertain. The living standards for the native Americans became worse as compared to past times (Boyer, Paul S., et al., 865). Matters of social equality were raised as a point of concern by the American people who thought that the campaign towards equality fought for a long time was yet to bear tangible results (Boyer, Paul S. et al., 865). Antiracists campaigns hit a peak during this periods, and black Americans came out in numbers in street protests to advocate for a right to equal treatment. Martin Luther King, Jr., led the black Americans in the struggle that changed the treatment accorded to them by their white counterparts.
Increasingly, the American leadership appeared to have failed on delivering on its domestic promises and concentrated on matters of retaining its superpower status in the world politics. During Truman’s tenure, the country witnessed a division that was so severe as a result of its activities in Vietnam (Boyer, Paul S., et al., 892). There developed a feeling that the US was meddling in democratic processes of other nations to extends that the involvement subjugated the will of the people. For example, Eisenhower (a powerful leader in Truman’s presidency), is on record admitting that were it not for the involvement of the CIA in the Vietnam electoral process, Ho Chi would have won the elections by a landslide (Boyer, Paul S. et al., 892).
From the Vietnam incident onwards, the subsequent regimes have been more careful when handling matters in other countries. There has been an increasing need to meet the international community’s threshold in managing issues that seek to restore sanity to nations that plunge into political crises. Hitherto, the discussion above points out that the American history from 1950 – 1969 revolved around issues of global power and control that was primarily pegged on ideologies. The period under scrutiny paints a country that was torn between two but equally important quests; developing the nation and retaining control over other countries of the world. Although the state has succeeded remaining at the helm, there has been a lot of friction, failure, and wasted opportunities to grow America as a country in the quest to stick to the ideals of order, freedom, and equality.