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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 39
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Explain the Kennedy administration's vigorous activism in the Cold War, both against the Russians and against Third World communists. The emphasis might be on the contrast between relative success dealing with the Russians (for example, the Cuban missile crisis) versus frustration in the Third World (for example, the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam).



    REFERENCE: James N. Giglio, The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (1991).

  • Examine the black movements of the sixties, from civil rights to black power, perhaps focusing on the fact that the nonviolent movement's great successes in integration and voting rights were not considered adequate by those trapped in northern black ghettos.

    REFERENCE: Harvard Sitkoff, The Struggle for Black Equality, 1954-1980 (1981).

  • Describe the escalation of the Vietnam War. Explain the political as well as the military side of the war (for example, the constant fear that the Saigon government would collapse if the United States did not provide greater support).

    REFERENCE: Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (1983); Marilyn B. Young, The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990 (1991).

  • Consider the domestic political and social turmoil of the sixties, brought on by social and cultural upheavals as well as Vietnam. Point out the deep polarization of American society, as evidenced by the turbulent events of 1968.

    REFERENCE: Allen Matusow, The Unraveling of America (1984); Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (2000).



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