The Affect of the Vietnam War on American Life


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The United States had entered the Vietnam War as one of the worlds super powers but managed to be defeated by the Vietcong with casualties reaching above fifty thousand. However, the consequences of the war did not end at the casualties, they expanded into American Life. The war affected things from the American Economy to Changes in American foreign policy. Some of these changes in American life continue to affect us today.

The Vietnam War had cost the United States one hundred and sixty-eight billion dollars but the cost to the United states economy was greater than that. Once President Johnson had succeeded President Kennedy, he had declared what was called “The War on Poverty” while the war was still going in Vietnam. Without much of an increase in taxes, financing the war in Vietnam and the war on poverty caused the inflation rate to increase greatly in the 1970s. These large spending eventually lead to an international monetary crisis and threatened the United states gold reserves.

After many young American men had been enlisted through the draft and deployed in Vietnam the draft began to lose support and even so as the death toll would increase. The resistance of the draft was especially strong among the lower class since they were the ones targeted with the draft and increased their resistance to the Vietnam war effort and the draft. In 1973 the draft would end the United States military would become a fully volunteer but the draft still exists as a back up plan in times of war. After being drafted and risking their lives at such a young age, young men realized how unfair it was to be forced to risk your life in a war but not have the ability to vote. So, in 1971 the 26th amendment was passed which protected the right of citizens who are eighteen and over to vote without being discriminated because of their age.

The Vietnam war lead to several changes in the American way of life. The lack of support for the draft lead to an abolition of it but keeping it as an emergency plan for future wars. The economy went pretty downhill after spending billions on the war and the war on poverty. Which then lead to an international money crisis threatening the gold reserves. The Vietnam war was a very impactful time for the United States of America and their way of life.

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