Inside America: The Rise and Fall of An Empire

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The end of the Second Wave was also a time for bold experimentation with new kinds of music. Rock and Roll with its explicit sexual themes became important to the new youth culture. Rock music had its roots in traditional black music such as the Blues, Jazz, and Gospel. This music had unusual beats that were easy to dance to. It had a liberating effect on American culture and created a " generation gap " between teenagers and their parents. When white singers like Elvis Presley and the Beatles began taking the black rhythms and making them popular with whites a new cultural revolution was started as well as a new and profitable industry.

Another new phenomena associated with Rock music began making itself felt when drugs became popular with young Americans. LSD and marijuana allowed young Americans to expand their consciousness. This was something completely new to American culture and many Americans were not happy about it. Drugs were a way to drop out of the Second Wave machine and together with Rock became a new kind of religion for young Americans unhappy with the materialist values of America.

For many young Americans, drugs became a way towards discovering new kinds of spiritual truths. The older, traditional Christian and Jewish religions in American had become less popular with many young, and also many older Americans. Eastern religions which featured yoga and meditation became more popular with some young Americans. But not with everyone in American culture.

The powerful idea of expanding one's mind, which drugs had shown some young Americans, had interesting echoes in the explorations many young Americans had with the new eastern religions. University courses in religion became very popular. Young Americans were becoming aware that there was a difference between spiritual seeking and traditional forms of religion which were often seen as simply repressive social vehicles.

The emphasis on new kinds of religion and drugs was not always a good thing. Many young Americans lost focus and became withdrawn from society. Crime began to increase as law and order began to break down. The drug business was also becoming a huge industry and it was also illegal.

Eventually, protest in any kind of form was seen as unpatriotic by many conservative Americans who were becoming very alarmed by the increasingly rapid pace of change. Many repressed and also privileged groups in American society began experimenting with new kinds of political and cultural freedoms. The dawning of the Third Wave in American society was basically a new expansion of mental horizons in many different directions.The sixties saw the birth of a new counter-culture and the Ritchie family felt the new changes.

Mara: " Oh, cool. Cousin David is here from college. "

David: " Hey, Mara what's the story? "

Mara: " Oh, I'm just going out tonight with my boyfriend. Have you been getting stoned?"

David: " Yup, I almost got busted by the cops yesterday. They were so uncool. I was jamming with my friends in the basement of the dorm and they just barged in.

Mara: " What happened? "

David: " Oh, we flushed the stash down the toilet before they came. "

Mara: " Wow, don't they have something better to do than looks for busts in a dorm? "

David: " No sweat, Mara. We made it out clean. We then went to the protest and just hung out until real late. Hey, aunt Deborah. "

Deborah: " Oh, David have you been getting into trouble again? "

David: " Me trouble, no. I'm just doing my thing and you should too. "

Deborah: " Sometimes, I think you're a bad influence on Mara. "

David: " Why? Because I tell here it's all right to be free? To just be you and do your own thing? Why can't you just dig that?"

Mara: " Mom, he's just being real. That's just the way it is. "

Deborah: "Now, Mara, I don't want you going out barefoot. If you're going to go out with Keith. At least put on your shoes. I know you think it's real hip to go out barefoot. But you could step on some glass. Then you'll just come running back to me. "

Mara: " Relax, Mom. Everything's just super-cool. "


Stoned: Getting high on drugs.
Jamming: Playing music.
Cops: Police.
Busted: To be arrested by the police.
Stash: Drugs.
Hip: Another form of cool.
Protest: Demonstration against the war in Vietnam.
Super-cool: Very Cool.
Dig: To understand.


On July 20th 1969, hundreds of millions of Americans watched Apollo 11 land on the moon. The Apollo astronauts conducted experiments on the surface of the moon and collected 45 pounds of rocks and soil samples and then returned safely to earth. The Apollo space program had cost 25 billion dollars. What was the practical significance of this giant feat? America had been caught in a space race with the Soviet Union. This space race was an extension of the nuclear arms race that both powers were caught up in. These huge space and military expenditures ultimately bankrupted the Soviet Union.

American morale had finally been restored after getting a late start in the space race. Satellites became another important by product of the space race and they would help to link the world together in the near future. But the biggest result of America's space venture was that for the first time the entire human race could see its home from a different vantage point. The earth itself became a new symbol for where all humans lived and also how fragile this symbol could be. The end of the Second Wave saw the birth of a global civilization.

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All contents of this site copyright by Michael Arthur Finberg