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The Contender
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Were the 60s in America more negative than beneficial?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/17/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 636 times Debate No: 103017
Debate Rounds (3)
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Hi, so I have this debate for my US history class and our topic is on whether the 60s in America was actually a time of destruction. I just need help coming up with arguments. I am on the side which argues that the 60s was a bad time. Any point would be appreciated! thanks


Hello my opponent, it’s a pleasure to be debating you! I wish you the best of luck on your assignment. It sounds like you wanted help coming up with negative stuff about the decade; just ask if you still do. But in this debate, I will of course be arguing that the 60s were a beneficial time in the United States.

My argument will be divided into three categories, each titled in bold.

1. Society

In a sentence, the 1960s in the U.S. was a time of radical social change. Though our Puritan ancestors would not approve of the changes made, they were very beneficial when looked at from a contemporary lens. This may be an oversimplification, but the decade saw a shift from conformity, with power in the hands of adults, to rebellion, with power in the hands of youth. This rebellious spirit is still embedded in our society today, especially since the generation that grew up in the sixties is now going into retirement. Some might argue that conformity is a good thing, but living in a culture that valued obedience, tradition, stuffy morality, and a high salary, rather than freedom and self-expression, stifled the spirits of young Americans.

Global affairs in the decade were shaky at best, particularly in Cuba and Vietnam, but I’ll leave that for Pro to discuss if she so wishes. But I will argue that, in some ways, these diplomatic debacles helped our culture grow. Students gathered in protest against an unjust war, voicing their opinions even when police tried to stamp them out. The student demonstrations gave a sense of kinship among youth; friendships much stronger than any in our digital age were forged. Youth was more involved in politics than ever, and the growing concern caused students to actually take the time and - behold - learn about what was going on in the world!

The student protests were not merely a source of nostalgia, they led to real government change. Authorities agreed that if there was one good point the young people were making, it was this: the injustice of the fact that young people could be drafted into the military at 18, but had to wait until they were 21 to vote. Why should the government be able to make a martyr out of you if you can’t do your part in changing it? Thus, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified in the early 70s.

This decade saw the birth of the second wave of feminism. Great female intellectuals like Betty Friedan pioneered the movement towards women being treated as equals. Before this decade, American women were expected to become a faithful housewife with no aspirations of her own, but after it, they were largely free to choose their own career path, even remaining unmarried if they so wished. In 1960, the birth control pill was approved for public use. There was a renaissance of sexual openness stretching back to the twenties, but this pill took it to a whole new level. People were now free to have sex outside of marriage without worrying about pregnancy.

The final, and objectively the greatest, achievements of the 60s were in science. In particular, the moon landing. If anything, this was a great psychological triumph, to see a man walking on the moon; it reminds humanity that we have come a long way since those apes who squatted in caves all day. It also works as a symbol of the triumph of representative democracy, the greatest form of government, over communism.

2. Civil Rights

The plight of racism in the United States was horrific before the 60s, especially towards black folks in the South. It could be argued that our society is still unequal, but that decade, more than any other, was a step in the right direction. This was the age of that greatest of all civil rights activists, Martin Luther King Jr., whose nonviolent tactics helped the government to actually sympathize with his cause.

There were countless demonstrations against the despicable acts of segregation going on not only in the South, but all over the country: the lunch counter sit-ins, the March on Washington, the Freedom Rides, the Freedom Summer, the Children’s Crusade. The nation was blessed with a great president, Lyndon B. Johnson, who passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Segregation, after a while, was destroyed, and primitive laws banning interracial marriage were struck down. Whatever the problems were of the 1960s, the victories of civil rights were surely enough to make up for them.

3. Arts

The sixties were a magnificent time for the arts that, in my opinion, has gone unparalleled since then. Music has never been better, with the British Invasion bringing all kinds of good bands, like The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals, and best of all The Beatles, across the Atlantic. And yet there was still a ton of great rock out of America, with legendary artists like Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, and Jimi Hendrix. I listen to these people’s songs constantly, because in this decade, music arose again to recognition as a form of art.

The critics recognize the 60s as one of the best for film. So many genres were born that are still popular today: Night of the Living Dead created the zombie apocalypse, 2001: A Space Odyssey started modern sci-fi, and the James Bond series began. Before the 60s, all movies had the equivalent of a G rating. But when the corrupt Hays Code was scrapped, filmmakers were finally given a voice without having to worry about intervening moral guardians. In addition, the lesser art of television came of age, and so many great shows were created that are still enjoyed today: Gilligan’s Island, Star Trek, The Addams Family, The Twilight Zone, and more. Classic cartoon characters, like the Flintstones, Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, and Popeye were appearing on the small screen, and remain there. While the sixties are often characterized by drug abuse, there was plenty of good entertainment available to those who were sober.

And that concludes my argument to Round 1. I apologize, I wasn’t intending to write a novel. I await Pro’s rebuttal in Round 2.

Because this debate is based on subjective opinion, I have declined to cite any encyclopedias or statistics. My main source of general knowledge was found in CNN's excellent documentary The Sixties, which can be viewed on Netflix.

Debate Round No. 1
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Phenenas 2 years ago
I'm going to take a wild guess and say that my opponent, who was last online over a week ago, will not be posting a counter-argument within the next 2 hours and 45 minutes. This is the tenth time one of my debates will remain unfinished thanks to The Glitch. It's saddening, but I can't say I'm unused to it.
Posted by philochristos 2 years ago
Without the 60's, we would never have made it to the 70's.
Posted by philochristos 2 years ago
Without the 60's, we would never have made it to the 70's.
Posted by TheMarketLibertarian 2 years ago
relative to what?
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