In the US, why did anti-authoritarian sentiment grow only in the 1960s?

In the US, why did anti-authoritarian sentiment grow only in the 1960s?

In other words, why didn't anti-authoritarian sentiment grow after other controversies like the Civil War, or World War 1? Why so much later?

For decades, the rate of violent and property crimes in the United States had been steady and relatively low. But levels began to rise in the mid-1950s. By 1960, the crime rate was 50 percent higher than it had been in 1950; by 1970, the rate had quadrupled.
Why?
It was hard to say. So many changes were simultaneously rippling through American society in the 1960s-a population explosion, a growing anti-authoritarian sentiment, the expansion of civil rights, a wholesale shift in popular culture-that it wasn't easy to isolate the factors driving crime.

Dubner, Levitt. SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance (2009). p 100.


It helps to put the events in the context of the time in which they happened. Judging past events by current cultural norms paints a very false picture.

There have been anti-authoritarian movements in the US before the 1960's.

Given that they went against the prevailing authority, the early US labor movement beginning with the Haymarket Affair in 1886 were decidedly anti-authoritarian, widespread, and resulted in quite a bit of violent confrontations that continued for decades, until the unions were finally recognized by federal law.

The US Civil War was an attempt by several states to throw off the authority of the federal government.

And before that, an anti-authoritarian movement began around 1776, engaging in considerable violation of existing laws, that actually did prevail over the resident British authority.

Arguably, the document that emerged from that movement, the US Constitution, is somewhat anti-authoritarian in nature, especially when viewed in the context of other such documents in western nations of that time. A good deal of the Constitution limits federal powers, which was at that time a fairly new concept.


Watch the video: Chapter 26 Lecture The Cold War Abroad and at Home, 19451960