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The Importance of History USA in John F. Kennedy's Speech

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In the era of 1965-1985, Shirley Chisholm shows the power of the individual who is fighting for social justice and individual liberties, just like FDR and Thomas Jefferson before her (p. 822). Chisholm was a woman who recognized that the country was being run by white men, and, as such, the country would work for the benefit of the leaders, and not for people like her. She successfully ran for Congress in 1968, then ran for President in 1972, declaring that “ other kinds of people can steer the ship of the state besides white men. ” (p.

822).   She cobbled together a coalition of women, the young, and people of color, as these are the groups who are not represented accurately by the current leaders who were older white men. When she ran for President, she was defeated, yet still brought the struggles of these under-represented groups to the fore. Yet, according to the textbook, Chisholm underscored that there was a need that was not being addressed  - that there were coalitions that were demanding more rights and resources, yet resources are finite, and cannot be expanded without everybody having to do with a little less.

It was also a time when the United States weakened somewhat, as far as influence and power around the globe. So, Chisholm underscored a couple of different points that were made by Kennedy – that our nation stands on the shoulders of leaders who have fought for rights, and Chisholm also illustrated that, sometimes, the nation has to deal with problems. Whether the problems are because of limited resources, or something else, like chaos and fraud, there will always be problems.

History can instruct us on how to deal with these problems. Chisholm was not alone, of course – she was but one voice in the 1960s that was speaking for the oppressed. She was joined by, among others, students around the nation who rose up in protest for their rights and freedoms, rebelling against the hierarchy of the white men who ran the universities (p. 816). Chisholm may have been one of the early pioneers as far as people who fight for social justice and equality, and Barack Obama has also carried on this tradition (p.


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