Antiwar Movement Essay - 850 Words
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The general consensus among American historians is that the American War in Vietnam was a “mistake,” although interpretations differ as to what exactly this means. This essay takes the view that the ‘mistake” was a product of U.S. global ambitions and misperceptions that developed in the aftermath of World War II and were compounded over time. It probes deeply into the origins and nature of the war, making it a long article for a website (about 70,000 words), with about one-third devoted to the antiwar movement at home (Part IV). A half-century of excellent scholarship on the Vietnam War is drawn together and frequently cited in this essay.
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Yet race riots in Harlem (1964) and Watts (1965) reminded people of the sage insights of World War II activists: it was one thing to sit at the counter but another to be able to afford a meal. Racism had excluded black people from the accumulation of wealth and resources, a historical reality that could not be addressed by legal protection in the present. In fact, the federal government did turn its attention to the economic question with a limited "war on poverty." What became the Economic Opportunity Act of 1965 included Head Start, work-study funding for college students, an end to the largely whites-only access to Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and Community Action Programs (CAPs) that, in theory, transferred the power of policymaking from experts to the poor themselves. These programs were radical in their reach but radically underfunded and undermined by black and white resistance from the start.