Inside America: The Rise and Fall of An Empire

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At the start of the 1960's America was at peace. Life was good for many Americans. Many people made a good living and families were happy and moving all over the country. Mobility was in the air. The automobile and hundreds of highways made it easy for Americans to travel wherever they wanted to go.

Many Americans no longer lived in the big cities, but even fewer lived in the country. A great migration to the suburbs had been going on for the last fifteen years. The suburbs are areas away from big towns, but not quite out in the countryside. Many Americans with there families lived in the suburbs because life was less crowded. Families lived in big homes and many family members commuted to the city to work. This is why suburbs were called bedroom communities.

Most middle class families in America consisted of a wife and husband and usually three children. The husband went to work in the morning and the mother stayed at home to take care of the children and do household chores. Let us drop in on one such family. The Ritchie family of San Jose, California.

Mr. Chad Ritchie worked for a computer company and wrote software programs for big computers. At the time small computers did not exist. Most Americans didn't know much about computers and didn't care about them either. Deborah Ritchie is Chad's wife. She is a very good looking lady with long blonde hair and deep blue eyes. Deborah is also the mother of the Ritchie's two children. Mara and Harvey. Mara is twelve years old and goes to junior high school. Harvey is eight years old and likes playing baseball.

Chad: " So where do you want to go on vacation this summer? " He asks the family.

Harvey yells: " Let's go to the national park. I like climbing the big trees. It's a lot of fun. "

Mara yells back: " No. I want to go to the new shopping mall that just opened up a few miles away. I want to go see the stores and hang around with my friends. I don't feel like seeing a bunch of stupid trees "

Chad: " can't you be a little more enthusiastic, Mara? If we don't go to the national park. I will just work in the garage with my new power tools and listen to the baseball game on my new hi-fi radio. "

Deborah interrupts the conversation. " Mara, don't you want to meet some new people? We don't get to meet too many people here you know. We just moved to California from Chicago and most of the family is still over there. "

Mara: " Who cares about them. I like my new friends here and the shopping center is so much better than going to parks or visiting relatives. I want to see the new kind of jeans they are selling at the clothes store. "

Chad: " Life is not just about shopping for clothes. Didn't you see the new spaceship lift-off on television yesterday? It was so exciting. America is the strongest and richest nation in the world. "

" Yeah, it was so neat seeing the spaceship take-off. " Yells Harvey. " When I grow up I want to be an astronaut too and go fly out in Space. "

" Don't worry, you will one day. " Responds Deborah. " But first you have to finish school and learn to be a really good boy. "

" Hey, champ. Do you want to go out in the backyard and catch some balls. " Chad urges Harvey as he points to the back of the house.

" Yeah, Dad. Let's go catch some balls. " Yells Harvey.

It was the big spring-time of the Second Wave. Just what is the Second Wave you are probably wondering. Well, most societies until a few hundred years ago were very different compared to America in the 1960's. Most people in these societies lived in the country and grew their food in farms. Some people sometimes call this kind of civilization a First Wave civilization.

But America because of industrialization rapidly became one of the first Second Wave civilizations in history. A civilization based on factories and machines and big cities where most of the population lived. By the 1960's America was the most powerful Second Wave civilization on Earth.

Radio and Television were important forms of communication in Second Wave America. Most Americans received most of there news this way. Politics, sports, and entertainment were seen and heard by millions of Americans through these new media and all kinds of news spread quickly. When President John F. Kennedy was killed within one hour most Americans knew about it. Six hours later almost everyone had heard the news. More than half cried and nearly that many had trouble getting to sleep that night. For three days the entire country sat next to the television watching until President Kennedy was finally laid to rest.

No one knew it at the time, but the Second Wave had just ended and a new period of national troubles and changes had just begun.


In 1966 a popular new show had just started airing on national television. It was a strange new show based on science fiction. It had been developed by a man named Gene Roddenbery. It was called STAR TREK. For its time STAR TREK was a very visionary television series. It was a television show based on ideas about the future. The television series revolved around the spaceship the USS Enterprise with its crew of the future.

The human race had finally solved all of the social and economic problems troubling the planet earth. The earth was also part of a federation of planets which had rules governing all voyages into outer space and the exploration of all new and unknown civilizations.

The technology of the USS Enterprise was amazing. Humans could de-materialize their bodies and teleport then from the ship down onto the surface of any planet. The USS enterprise could travel faster than the speed of light and there were strict rules about observing newly discovered civilizations especially if they were less advanced than human ones.

The technology for creating the television series was also pioneering and new special effects made STAR TREK a historic piece of American culture. STAR TREK became a cult which was followed by millions of delighted fans.

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All contents of this site copyright by Michael Arthur Finberg