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America's History in the Making

Global America

Unit Overview

A Visit from the Old Mistress. 2176. dup of 2211

Following the turmoil of the 1960s and early 1970s, the conservative movement in the United States achieved its long-term goal of returning to power. The bitter divisions precipitated by the Vietnam War, the economic effects of the oil crisis, and a general malaise with the nation's standing in the world presented an opportunity for conservatives. With the victory of Richard Nixon in 1968 and his sweeping reelection in 1972, the tide began to turn against liberalism in post-Industrial America.

Conservatives expressed serious and genuine beliefs about moral corruption, a rise in the divorce rate, and disrespect for traditional authority. They also emphasized national power and the importance of the United States in playing a dominant role in world affairs. Focusing on private enterprise, "economic conservatives" sought to reduce the role of big government, lower taxes, and limit regulation that hindered business competition; "social conservatives" promoted a return to a faithbased society. Both economic and social conservatives became adept in fundraising, the use of electronic communication to mobilize supporters, and the establishment of conservative "think tanks" to provide an intellectual apparatus to strengthen the conservative agenda. Originating in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the "rights revolution" aspired to include all Americans in a fully equal citizenship. A variety of groups worked to expand their rights. The rights revolution came to embrace peoples of color, women, homosexuals, and people with disabilities.

Globalization—the accelerating phenomenon of worldwide technological, economic, political, and cultural exchange—accompanied the social integration occurring with the rights revolution. Though the changes it brought altered the world, the concept of globalization was far from new: It was created through modern communication, improved transportation, and political decision-making to expand international trade and finance.

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