Course title

History of the 1960s



Course description

Course Syllabus for History of the 1960s


As a social studies teacher; I am fully aware that in a typical survey course in U.S. History; there is simply not enough time in the school year to visit many topics in detail. Quite often; I have found; that many students become fascinated with history when they are able investigate a topic in detail.


The course content covers the period from 1960 until the end of 1969 and will focus on the following main topics:

" Historical Events (JFK; RFK; MLK Assassinations)
" The Space Race (Mercury 7; Moon Landing; Russia)
" The Vietnam War (Origins; Warfare; Demonstrations)
" Kennedy and Johnson
" The Cold War (U-2 Affair; Berlin Wall; Khrushchev; Cuban Missile Crisis)
" The Civil Rights Movement (NAACP; Sit-ins; Freedom Riders)
" Social Change
" Popular Culture
" Television and Advertising

Course Outline

A. Events of the 1960s - a chronology
a. Introduction to the Sixties
b. A sampling of the events of the decade

B. Vietnam War

1. The French in Indochina
a. French Imperialism
b. Ho Chi Minh
c. Geneva Accords (1954)
2. Beginnings of U. S. Involvement
a. Advisors
b. Domino theory
c. Diem regime
d. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
e. Operation Rolling Thunder
f. Escalation of American involvement
3. War Tactics
a. Guerrilla warfare
b. U.S. airstrikes; napalm; Agent Orange
4. Major Events
a. Tet Offensive
b. My Lai Massacre
5. Battles
a. Ia Drang
b. Khe Sanh
c. Hue
d. Saigon
6. Antiwar Protests
a. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)
b. Teach-ins
c. Marches on Washington
d. Democratic National Convention in Chicago
e. Pentagon Papers
7. American Withdrawal
a. Nixon's plan to end war
b. Expansion into Cambodia
c. Kent State
d. Saigon evacuation
e. Peace Treaty

C. The Space Race

1. Early rocket development
2. First artificial satellites
a. Sputnik
b. American reaction
3. First humans in space
a. Russians
b. Americans
4. Race to the moon
a. Mercury Project
b. Gemini Project
c. Apollo Project
d. Moon Landing

D. Social Change

1. Sociological issues
a. Non-violence movement
b. Student activism
c. Women's rights
d. Sexual revolution
e. Youthful disillusionment (Counterculture)
f. Vietnam War
g. Attitudes toward law enforcement
2. Movements
a. Civil rights (will be a separate topic)
b. Free speech
c. Anti-war
d. Anti-nuclear
e. Feminism
f. Environmentalism
g. Feminism
h. Gay liberation (Stonewall)
3. Lifestyles
a. Hippies
i. Human be-in
ii. Haight-Ashbury
iii. Summer of Love
b. Reaction to the counterculture
4. Drug culture
a. Marijuana and LSD
b. Timothy Leary
c. Ken Kesey
5. Sexual revolution
6. Music
a. Beatles and Stone
b. British invasion
c. Newport Folk Festival
7. Film
a. Bonnie and Clyde
b. Easy Rider

E. The Cold War

1. Reasons for the Impasse
a. WW II relations
b. U.S. policy of containment
c. Red scare of the 1950s
d. Differences between U.S. and USSR
2. Events of the Cold War
a. Arms race
b. Formation of NATO and Warsaw Pact
c. U-2 Spy Incident
d. Bay of Pigs
e. Berlin Wall
f. Cuban Missile Crisis

F. Civil Rights Movement

1. Background
a. Slavery
b. Jim Crow Laws
c. Military segregation
d. De facto segregation
e. Southern segregation
f. Brown v. Board of Education
g. Montgomery Bus boycott
h. Formation of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
2. Major events of the 1960s
a. Sit-ins
b. Freedom Riders
c. Voter registration
d. Malcolm X
e. James Meredith and Ole Miss
f. Birmingham Campaign; 1963
g. March on Washington ("I have a dream speech)
h. Mississippi Freedom Summer (Mississippi Burning)
i. Civil Rights Act of 1964
j. Selma Marches
k. MLK assassination
l. Race riots
i. Harlem
ii. Watts
iii. Detroit
iv. Long Hot Summer of 1967
3. Rise of black power
a. Cultural pride
b. Rise of Black Panther Party

G. Popular Culture

1. Movies about the 60s
a. The Right Stuff
b. Born on the Fourth of July
c. Mississippi Burning
d. JFK
e. Platoon
f. 61
g. Good Morning; Vietnam
h. Malcolm X
i. We Were Soldiers
j. The Help
k. Taking Woodstock
l. Dreamgirls
m. Forrest Gump
n. The Deer Hunter
o. American Graffiti
p. Hair
q. Hairspray
r. Across the Universe
s. Bobby
t. The Graduate
u. Thirteen Days

2. Literature
a. Jack Kerouac
b. Ken Kesey
c. Robert Heinlein
d. The Beat movement
e. Rachel Carson
f. Betty Friedan
3. Music
a. Beatles
b. British Invasion
c. Rock and roll
d. Folk music
e. Bob Dylan
f. Beach Boys
g. Songs of protest
4. Fashion
a. Influence of Jackie Kennedy
b. Mini-skirt
c. British mods
d. Hippie look
e. Hairstyles
5. Sports
a. Professional and college
i. Football
ii. Baseball
iii. Basketball
iv. Olympics
v. Soccer
b. Lifetime sports
c. Popular games
i. Stratego
ii. Twister
iii. Operation
iv. Mousetrap
d. Popular toys
i. Plastic models
ii. Barbie
iii. G.I. Joe
iv. Pinball machines
v. Electric race cars
vi. Troll dolls

H. Television and Advertising
a. Television
b. Influence of television
c. Educational television
d. Most popular shows
i. Today Show
ii. Sesame Street
iii. Perry Mason
iv. General Hospital
v. Gunsmoke
vi. Andy Griffith Show
vii. The Twilight Zone
viii. Bonanza
ix. Beverly Hillbillies
x. Gilligan's Island
xi. Ed Sullivan Show
xii. Many more
e. Advertising
i. Newspaper advertising
ii. Magazines
iii. Billboards
iv. Television

I. Kennedy and Johnson
a. Kennedy
i. Early history and war years
ii. Election of 1960; Inaugural Address
iii. Camelot
iv. Bay of Pigs
v. Cuban Missile Crisis
vi. Assassination and legacy
b. Johnson
i. Years as a Senator
ii. Taking over from Kennedy
iii. Great Society
iv. War on Poverty
v. Civil Rights work
vi. Space accomplishments
vii. Vietnam War and Johnson

School country

United States

School state


School city


High school

San Miguel High School

School / district Address

6601 S. San Fernando Rd.

School zip code


Requested competency code

Social Science

Date submitted



Approved competency code

  • AMHS
  • 1 year of US History
  • SSCI
  • 1 year of other Social Science

Approved date

Online / Virtual