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Henry Luce's American Century

Henry Luce's American Century
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   1  Final Paper American Civilization  The 20 th  is maybe the most important century in American history regarding the United Sates involvement in foreign affairs. But the country also had to deal with many important domestic affairs. In 1941, American journalist Henry Luce said that the 20 th  century would be the “American Century”. However, this statement raised many questions throughout the American people. What does Henry Luce mean by “American Century”? Why did not he explain in a deeper way his views regarding his statement? And how could there ever be an “American Century”?   In this essay, I will try to explain Henry Luce’s visions by answering the following question: To what extend may we talk about Henry Luce’s  American Century  as the cornerstone of the American history? I will first talk about the national effect by mentioning events that occurred that marked a turning point in the outline of the American Century. I will as well mention the sociological evolution in the country that helped changing minds and encouraged decisions taken in the  political sphere. Then I will discuss about the international impact of the American Century and how this century represents the opening of the United Sates to the world and marks the end of U.S. isolationism. I will also talk   2 about the creation of international organizations and the evolution of the international law. Henry Luce may have talked about the American Century in 1941,  but we can say that it began a little earlier in the country. Indeed, in 1929, the Wall Street stock market experienced an economic crack that led the country to the biggest crisis known in history. As a consequence, the government was forced to reorganize the economic and social horizon of the country. For a decade, the Unites Sates faced a major crisis. To get the country out of this, President Roosevelt proposed the New Deal plan, to reconstruct the economy of the country. However, the country saw a real reconstruction during the Second World War. Indeed, the war industry needed people to work in the factories. As a consequence, the war saved the United States economically and allowed the people to get money back. Economically and sociologically speaking, the United Sates really rose in its post-war era. First of all, the war gave people the means to live and change their way of life. The biggest example of this evolution is the rush of middle-class  people to the suburbs. Indeed, in the 1950s and 1960s, middle-class  people were looking for a comfortable way of life out of the cities but not to outlying from it, for many people were still working in the cities.   3 Following this exodus in the suburbs, the economy of the country experienced a boom when the society evolved into a mass consumerism society. People were buying many more things that they could afford  before the war. They were also taking loans to buy more and more. In about two decades, the US economy went booming. Until the end of the 20 th  century, the economy of the United-Sates went  prosper, and the Americanization of societies outside the US helped to maintain this economy. The Equal Rights Movement marks the sociological movements that the country experienced and changed deeply the way citizens behaved with other citizens. Indeed, the United Sates has always been known as  being a segregationist country. It is deeply impregned in people’s minds since the Civil War and before the 1960s, the African Americans were nor really considered and endured a lot of discrimination. But, the emergence of the African-American movements and the fights that followed showed that the American people are capable of going through major opinion changes. The country saw many other movements rising, such as the Women ’s movements, the students’ movements or even the energy movements. All those movements were extremely important to first understand the way people thought but also how they changed people’s opinions.  During the Vietnam War, the US experienced the biggest gathering in its 20 th  century history. Indeed, during the twenty years of war, people   4  protested against the war, as they considered that its only purpose was to kill US soldiers. When the first US soldiers came back from the war and told what they witnessed in the Vietnamese forests, many more  people gathered to protest against the war. These gatherings show how the citizens of the United States can be united. However, the government took measures during the war that did not  please the people, especially when they hid documents from the public known as the Pentagon Papers. Facing these government decisions, the Americans wondered if they could trust their own government. The country also was shaken by the Watergate political scandal, in which President Nixon was accused to spy on his opponent during the 1966 presidential elections. This political scandal parted the country in two sides: those who supported Nixon, and those who turned their backs on him and rallied to the republicans. Consequently, we can say that the US changed a lot on the economical, sociological and political field throughout the 20 th  century especially since the end of the Second World War that marks the beginning of the  big evolution. Throughout all those considerable events, we can see how there was an American Century. Before 1941, the United Sates and the rest of the world, especially Europe, already were involved in a major event: The First World War. As a consequence of its involvement in the war on the French side in 1917, the Unites States gained the Allies’ trust.     5 With such alliances, the United Sates made sure to build, with other nations, international laws to maintain order throughout the world. By definition, international means relations between nations, so by establishing a dialogue with other nations, the United States gets out of its previous isolationist politic. The international impact of the American Century already started in January 1920 with the creation of the League of Nations, created by President Woodrow Wilson a couple of years after the end of the First World War. However, this League did handle the pressure of the German threat during the Second World War. At the end of the war, the United States gathered with other victorious nations of the war to create the United Nations charter. The two main goals of this charter are that  peace is established in every nations of the world and to prevent the threats of conflicts. The creation of the UN was even more important as the Soviet bloc grew bigger in Eastern Europe. Although the UN was effective since its creation, the United States and its allies felt like it was not enough to simply maintain peace with diplomacy. On April 1949, the North Atlantic Organization Treaty was launched and was formed as a military alliance that operates all over the world in crisis events or in emergency cases. It gathered North America and the Western countries of Europe.
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