Unit 15: Post Cold War Era

Essential Questions

  • How did the Cold War affect the lives of people in the United States?
  • How did the United States deal with the assassination of one president and the resignation of another?
  • How has the fall of communism changed the balance of power in the world?
  • What will be the role of the United States in the 21st century?


A . Changing patterns of production and consumption resulted in economic expansion

  1. Increased productivity, a result of improving technology and rising consumer demand, led to higher wages and declining unemployment
  2. Number of service jobs, women in the workforce increased
  3. Poverty continued to exist in the midst of plenty

B. Families and communities underwent significant changes

  1. Postwar baby boom had major effects on social and economic decisions made by families
  2. Growth of suburbs paralleled by movement from major cities
  3. Effect of automobiles reflected in interstate highway system, shopping centers, increased commuting to work

C. Civil rights movement placed focus on equality and democracy

  1. Important executive and judicial decisions supported equal rights
  2. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) overturned legal basis of segregation
  3. Activists and leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. developed strategies to secure civil rights for African-Americans
  4. Women, Native American Indians, and others also sought greater equality
  5. Supreme Court moved to protect individual rights: Miranda v. Arizona (1966) Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969)

D. Self-confidence of early postwar years eroded by series of events

  1. Assassinations of major leaders: Kennedy, King
  2. Nation split over involvement in Vietnam War
  3. Groups in society turn to violence to reach their goals
  4. Resignation of President Nixon
  5. Oil crisis and skyrocketing inflation

E. The United States competes in a world economy

  1. Competition from Europe, Asia, rest of Western Hemisphere
  2. Effects on economy of the United States

F. Federal and state governments reevaluate their roles

  1. Fiscal and monetary policies: taxation, regulation, deregulation
  2. Social programs: health, welfare, education

G. Technology changes: the home and the workplace

H. Old and new problems must be addressed

  1. Violent crime and substance abuse
  2. Protection of the environment
  3. Growing number of elderly Americans
  4. The continuing struggle for economic and social justice for all citizens
  5. Balancing the ideals of national unity with growing cultural diversity
  6. Civic and legal responsibilities of citizenship