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What Effects Did the Vietnam War Have on American Society?

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What Effects Did the Vietnam War Have on American Society?

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  • April 28, 2004
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What effects did the Vietnam War have on American society?

The Vietnam War had a profound effect on American society. It changed the way we viewed our government, the media, and our Constitutional rights. Because of this shift in perspective, the country was torn apart and yet still came together in new and different ways. The Vietnam War's contraversiality spurred a great many sources of protest, against our government's use of power, how far we could stretch the rights of free expression, and primarily against the violence of the war itself. These changes in the behavior of society have left a lasting mark on our perception and the demand to be informed since that influential period of social turmoil. The war provided a controversial issue that formed a catalyst for a social structure just ready to be provoked. When the American public became aware of the situation at hand, through the recently unchained media, it was only a matter of time before there was some form of action or reaction. The media played a key role in the empowerment of the sway of the people. With the addition of television journalism, a whole new depth was added to how people perceived what they were being told, because there was an added truth to seeing it. People rising and uniting in protest, and journalists bucking the government-imposed censorship began stretching the limits to how far we would take our rights to free expression. There were said to be three stages of the antiwar movements. "The first phase (1964-1965) was idealistic. The second phase (1966-1968) was more pragmatic, a period when young people characteristically protested not on principal but out of a desire not to be drafted and killed. The third phase (1969-1972) coincided with the de-Americanization of the war"(Jeffreys-Jones, 43). In phase one, people either supported the war or thought they had a clear path on how to stop it. At this point, the...