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The United States in the Sixties: HIST 2900

Use this library course guide to find sources for your research papers

Assignment Prompts

Research Papers: Each student will research and write two 1200-1500 word papers (double-spaced with Chicago-style footnotes or endnotes as well as a Bibliography.

These papers are not to be a mere re-telling of an event. Use both primary and secondary sources. Present varying interpretations of the topic and analyze in a clear and critical manner these historical arguments. Each paper must show an understanding of the historiography of the subject. Suggested topics:

  1. What is the legacy of the dispute between integrationists and separatists that divided the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s?
  2. What was the actual achievement of the Kennedy Administration?  What actually got done?  Was Kennedy proactive or reactive on Civil Rights?  Do we judge Kennedy by his accomplishments or by his impact?
  3. Was Lyndon Johnson acting within the JFK legacy regarding Vietnam or did he carry the policy farther than Kennedy would have?

You may choose to develop another topic about a specific issue of the 1960s. You must, however, get Prof. Young's approval first.

Use the library tools and resources listed on the Find Background InfoFind Articles, Find Books, and Find Primary Sources tabs of this guide to find primary and secondary sources.


Critical Analysis: Write a two-page critical analysis of one of these books. Use Library Search or EZ-Borrow to find an available copy. 

  • Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., A Thousand Days
  • Robert Dallek, An Unfinished Life
  • Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power
  • Thurston Clarke, The Last Campaign
  • James Hilty, Robert Kennedy: Brother Protector
  • Evan Thomas, Robert Kennedy: His Life
  • Harris Wofford, Of Kennedys and Kings
  • Taylor Branch, Pillar of Fire
  • Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge
  • Jeffrey A. Turner, Sitting In and Speaking Out
  • Raymond Arsenault, Freedom Riders
  • Stokely Carmichael and Charles V, Hamilton, Black Power
  • Mark Lawrence, The Vietnam War
  • George Herring, America’s Longest War
  • Robert McNamara, In Retrospect
  • David Farber, The Age of Great Dreams
  • David Farber, Chicago ‘68
  • Todd Gitlin, The Sixties
  • Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization
  • Peniel Joseph, Waiting ‘til the Midnight Hour
  • Roberta Price, Huerfano
  • Van Gosse, The Movements of the New Left
  • Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture
  • Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream
  • Timothy Leary, The Psychedelic Experience
  • David Hajdu, Positively Fourth Street
  • Suze Rotolo, A Freewheelin’ Time
  • Dave Van Ronk, The Mayor of MacDougal Street


Oral History Project: Interview a person who lived through the 1960s and write a 4-page oral history based on that conversation or conversations.