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Culture and Society


American history has been marked by periods of sharp cultural change. Such change is almost inevitable for a nation that was, at its birth, primarily agrarian in nature, but has transformed into the most advanced, industrial nation in the world. America has seen upheaval wrought by issues ranging from slavery to women's suffrage, prohibition, and McCarthyism.

Since the 1960s, the transformation of American society has, if anything, accelerated. The civil rights movement, women's movement, gay rights movement, and others emerged as minorities began to claim rights they were previously denied. These were accompanied by other significant societal changes, like the sexual revolution and changes in what is deemed acceptable on television and in the media.

Such changes have provoked substantial debate, both in and outside of the world of public policy. Often value laden and emotionally charged, these issues are the focus of this section.

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