The period between the end of the Second World War and 1974 was a time of division and protest in the USA. A significant number of people were divided by their age, their sex, their race and their politics. At the start of the period, many people in the USA feared a communist takeover of Europe, the USA and the world. The USA was swept up in a 'Red Scare' which resulted in the persecution of Americans who were thought to be communist.
As the period passed, more and more groups protested to change the way American society worked. Black people wanted the civil rights that they were legally entitled to, but seldom allowed to exercise. Young people thought their parents' ideas were out of date. Women wanted more equality than they had. Many people across the various divides wanted America out of the war in Vietnam. The period ended with a political scandal - Watergate. President Nixon was found to have acted illegally during his re-election campaign, then lied and tried to cover up what his staff had done.
This unit is a depth study from Paper 1, Section A and it examines the evolution of Civil Rights in the USA. The unit starts with an examination of the Red Scare and how the early Cold War influenced domestic politics in the USA. The second part of the unit analyses the struggle for Black Civil Rights in the USA. We look at the main events and key actors who influenced the movement. Lastly, we finish the unit by looking at the growth in protest movements since the early 1960s and the political fall-out from the Watergate scandal. Specific Areas of study include:
1.) McCarthyism and the Red Scare
2.) The Black Civil Rights Movement
3.) The Student Protest Movement
4.) The Women's Protest Movement
5.) Nixon and the Watergate Scandal
As this unit is a depth study, it will be assessed in the exam through four knowledge based questions which test students chronological understanding, explanation of consequence, analysis of causation and ability to form a historical argument using sources and their own knowledge.