History

When Was America Greatest?  

Jacob Shelton
5.2k votes 636 voters 23.4k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up the periods of U.S. history when you reckon America was at its greatest.

Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again,” but what does that even mean? Depending on who you are, when you were born, and which socio-economic class you lucked into, the time period when America was great could be anywhere from the Revolutionary era to the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s. Even the greatest eras in American history were marred by ugliness and misfortune. Booming economic times shared space with terrorist attacks and the displacement of indigenous people. Put on your thinking cap and vote up the times when was America great.

From the Civil Rights movement to the waves of feminism that date back to the first great awakening, every era has had something going for it. But when was America last great? What era can you look back on and place a demarcation saying there’s been a steady decline in greatness ever since? Have we hit that moment in history yet? According to Donald Trump, the answer is yes, but what era do you think we should return to? What era do you think we should try to emulate?

Vote up the periods of U.S history to which you think “Make America Great Again” refers.

The Post-WWII Boom is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list When Was America Greatest?
Photo:  girlart39/Pixabay/CC0 1.0
1
The Post-WWII Boom

What made it great: Massive economic prosperity, malt shops, The Catcher in the Rye

What made it not so great: Institutionalized racism, the threat of atomic annihilation, Atlas Shrugged

Was this the greatest era?
The Space Race is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list When Was America Greatest?
Photo: jurvetson/flickr/CC-BY 2.0
2
The Space Race

What made it great: Neo-futurism, we went to the moon, a massive jump in technology.

What made it not so great: Sending animals into space to die, rocket development, finding exactly zero space aliens

Was this the greatest era?
The Revolutionary Era is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list When Was America Greatest?
Photo: Daniel Mennerich/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
3
The Revolutionary Era

What made it great: America winning its independence, no cell phones, people still loved poetry.

What made it not so great: All that fife music, slavery, no indoor plumbing

Was this the greatest era?
The Grungey '90s is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list When Was America Greatest?
Photo:  ljb2/Pixabay/CC0 1.0
4
The Grungey '90s

What made it great: America making all the money, the nation beginning its love affair with Dave Grohl, chain coffee shops on every corner

What made it not so great: Neoconservatism, the Gulf War, the Oklahoma City bombing

Was this the greatest era?