In 1964, John F. Kennedy was dead.
He had been assassinated on November 22, 1963, and Lyndon B. Johnson had been given the title of Commander-in-Chief. American involvement in Vietnam has escalated as well as the internal conflict of racial discrimination. Presidential elections would be held in November. Thus began a year of political change and unrest in the United States of America.
January 3rd-Barry Goldwater announces his candidacy for president of the United States.
March 16th-President Johnson submits a proposal to Congress to fight poverty. He helped establish federal programs still in use today, including food stamps, Head Start, Medicare and Medicaid.
May 12th-First publicized instance of “draft card” burning, protesting Vietnam.
May 22nd-Lyndon B. Johnson delivers a speech calling for the end of racial injustice and poverty, outlining his plans for the next four years.
June 21st-Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, three civil rights workers for Freedom Summer, a program to educate and register African Americans to vote, go missing in Philadelphia, Mississippi.
July 2nd-President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
July 16th-Black teenager, James Powell, is killed in Harlem, NY by an off-duty white police officer. Peaceful demonstrations escalate into violence for six days causing over $1 million in damages.
August 7th-Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, allowing President Johnson to launch war against North Vietnam without a formal declaration of war from Congress.
October 1st-Student activists at the University of California at Berkeley begin to protest perceived violations of their First Amendment rights, setting up a model that inspires other student activism around the country.
October 27th-Ronald Reagan launches his political career.
November 3rd-President Johnson wins a landslide victory over Goldwater.
All this in the span of 365 days. When we look back, we see it as a pivitol year of change. In fifty years, what will the next generation say about 2014?
January 28-President Obama delivers his State of the Union Address focusing on the country’s environmental policies, jobs, and immigration reform. Special attention is drawn to his willingness to circumvent the decisions of Congress, which critics believe would overstep his power and undermine the system of checks and balances.
Same-sex marriage is being ruled on throughout the country, with mixed results as to whether it is constitutional or not.
February 24-The Obama Administration proposes to reduce the military budget and shrink the army to levels not seen since prior to World War II.
April 3-Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi signs a bill that will allow individuals and businesses to deny service to anyone if it conflicts with their religious beliefs.
June 25-The Supreme Court, in a rare unanimous ruling, declares that police must obtain a warrant in order to search through a phone or digital device. Also, the 10th Circuit Federal Appeals Court rules against Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, becoming the first appeals court to rule in favor of same-sex unions.
July 8th-Washington becomes the second state to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana, following Colorado.
The year has not ended and I only chose facts within the United States. What of the Israeli-Gaza conflict? With ten wars and eight serious conflicts happening in our world, the next generation is sure to remember the political change and unrest in 2014, possibly as much as the year called 1964.