This was initially produced for the IB Diploma Programme course ‘Democratic States: Challenges and Responses (1953-1974)’ so there is some general information on democracies and comparison with other countries.
Note that there is a separate page for the Civil Rights Movement.

General Resources

Information from a range of resources held by the Library of Congress:

History: 1945 – Present
Government, Politics and Law (Constitution; Executive, Legislative, Judicial branches; Elections; Civil Rights)
Topic Index

History Learning Site: A good range of topics on American Politics and Civil Rights


Electoral College explained (CNN)

‘Things better left unwritten’ – US vs UK Constitutions

Longish, academic text but a good account.

UK Constitution: short explanation by University College London

US Conventions (the unwritten Constitution):

Political Parties:



Pressure Groups:

NRA: Charlton Heston (famous speech to NRA in 2000 before Presidential election),_dead_hands

Military-industrial complex

Coined in Eisenhower’s farewell address, 17 Jan 1961:

The fight against ‘Big Tobacco’

Civil Rights (Part Pressure Group / Part Domestic Policy – massive area!) overview, links & bibliography

US Civil Rights Acts in the 1950s and 1960s

  • Civil Rights Act of 1957, establishing the Civil Rights Commission, sought to increase registration of African-Americans beyond the then 20%. While states had the right to enact registration legislation, it claimed Federal oversight for Federal positions (President and Congress).
  • Civil Rights Act of 1960, establishing federal inspection of local voter registration polls and penalties for obstruction of registration.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin by federal and state governments as well as some public places.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965 abolished poll tax and established Federal oversight and enforcement of voter registration.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act, prohibiting discrimination in sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, creed, and national origin.

Women’s Movement

(as for civil rights – and a subset of civil rights! – Pressure Group and Domestic Policy,

but probably more useful as a pressure group example) excellent overview, plus further links and bibliography. From Iran!! : Shorter, OK

Great Society speech

USA Domestic Policy – from Eisenhower to Nixon

and a summary of it, courtesy of Claudia, Laura, Adam, Maesya & Paula 2012