What Is Considered Contemporary American History?

Contemporary American history refers to the events that have taken place in the United States since the end of World War II. This period has witnessed significant social, cultural, and political changes in America.

The Cold War and Political Realignment

One of the defining features of contemporary American history is the Cold War. This period saw a global power struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, which lasted from 1947 to 1991. The Cold War shaped US foreign policy, as well as domestic politics, including McCarthyism, which led to a wave of anti-communist hysteria in America.

The 1960s also marked a significant period of political realignment in America. The Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., challenged racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans. The feminist movement also gained momentum during this period, calling for equal rights for women.

Cultural Revolution

The post-World War II era also saw a significant cultural revolution in America. Rock and roll music emerged as a new form of popular culture that challenged traditional values and norms. Artists such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry became household names during this period.

The 1960s witnessed the emergence of counterculture movements such as the Hippie movement, which rejected mainstream values in favor of peace, love, and personal freedom. This period also saw a rise in drug use among young people.

Technological Advancements

Contemporary American history has been characterized by rapid technological advancements that have transformed society. The invention of computers revolutionized communication and transformed industries such as finance and healthcare.

The internet emerged as a new form of communication that connected people across borders and facilitated global trade. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have transformed how people communicate with each other.

Terrorism Threats

In recent years, terrorism has become a significant threat to national security in America. The 9/11 attacks in 2001 marked a turning point in contemporary American history, which led to the War on Terror.

The War on Terror has had significant political and economic implications for America, as well as social and cultural impacts. It has led to debates about issues such as immigration, civil liberties, and the use of military force.


Contemporary American history is a complex and dynamic period that has witnessed significant changes in society, politics, culture, and technology. Understanding this period is crucial for comprehending the challenges and opportunities facing America today.