United States of America, Cold War and Civil Rights era

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Summary

The United States of America (USA or U.S.A.), commonly referred to as the United States (US or U.S.), America, and sometimes the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states and a federal district. The 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.71 million square miles (9.62 million km2) a

Details

After World War II the United States and the Soviet Union jockeyed for power during what is known as the Cold War, driven by an ideological divide between capitalism and communism. They dominated the military affairs of Europe, with the U.S. and its NATO allies on one side and the USSR and its Warsaw Pact allies on the other. The U.S. developed a policy of "containment" toward Soviet bloc expansion. While they engaged in proxy wars and developed powerful nuclear arsenals, the two countries avoided direct military conflict. The U.S. often opposed Third World left-wing movements that it viewed as Soviet-sponsored. American troops fought Communist Chinese and North Korean forces in the Korean War of 1950–53. The Soviet Union's 1957 launch of the first artificial satellite and its 1961 launch of the first manned spaceflight initiated a "Space Race" in which the United States became the first to land a man on the moon in 1969. A proxy war was expanded in Southeast Asia with the Vietnam War.

At home, the U.S. experienced sustained economic expansion and a rapid growth of its population and middle class. Construction of an interstate highway system transformed the nation’s infrastructure over the following decades. Millions moved from farms and inner cities to large suburban housing developments. A growing Civil Rights movement used nonviolence to confront segregation and discrimination, with Martin Luther King Jr. becoming a prominent leader and figurehead. A combination of court decisions and legislation, culminating in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sought to end racial discrimination. Meanwhile, a counterculture movement grew which was fueled by opposition to the Vietnam war, black nationalism, and the sexual revolution. The launch of a "War on Poverty" expanded entitlement and welfare spending.

The 1970s and early 1980s saw the onset of stagflation. After his election in 1980, President Ronald Reagan responded to economic stagnation with free-market oriented reforms. Following the collapse of détente, he abandoned "containment" and initiated the more aggressive "rollback" strategy towards the USSR. After a surge in female labor participation over the previous decade, by 1985 a majority of women age 16 and over were employed. The late 1980s brought a "thaw" in relations with the USSR, and its collapse in 1991 finally ended the Cold War.

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External Links

  • WikipediaUnited StatesKey Development Forecasts for the United StatesOfficial U.S. Government Web PortalHouseSenateWhite House

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