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Modern Era (1946 - present)

"That's one small step for man... and one giant leap for mankind," said Neil Armstrong as he walked on the moon, July 20, 1969 - Credit: Armstrong, Neil. "Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., Lunar Module Pilot of the First Lunar Landing Mission, Poses for a Photograph beside the Deployed United States Flag during an Apollo 11 Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on the Lunar Surface." July 20, 1969 courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The development and growth of the United States during this era was influenced by helping Europe recover from World War II and U.S. involvement in other wars--mainly the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the Vietnam and Korean Wars. (The Cold War was not a real war with the Soviet Union; this term refers to the chilly relations the U.S. had with the formerly communist nation, which, since its breakup, is called Russia.)

In the States, the "Red Scare" of communism of 1950 resulted in the McCarthy hearings. Senator Joseph McCarthy accused many Americans of being communists, which led to loss of employment for many artists, teachers, and government employees.

Several prominent figures, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., John Kennedy, and Richard Nixon, helped shape America's modern era. During this time, Americans went to the moon, ushered in the civil rights movement and the fight for equal rights for women, established relations with China, and witnessed the fall of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe.

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