Time Capsule of American Culture


Once this time capsule is opened and examined in 2055, the culture of the United States is to be realized through the indication of several values that have remained embedded throughout history and the highlighting of major events that support these values. The values chosen to be signified through this capsule will be as follows: Freedom, Equal opportunity, and Material Comfort.


Webster's dictionary defines freedom as 1. the quality or state of being free, and 2. a political right. The fact alone that it is defined as a right begins to explain the American appreciation of freedom. Throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 90s, many events have occurred to further this appreciation, as will be explained throughout this section of the time capsule.

the civil rights movement (60s)

The Civil Rights Movement (a movement in which people protested for equal rights for all Americans) was finally put to an end in this era with the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Signed into law by president Lyndon B. Johnson, this act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (ex. restrooms).

the rise of liberalism (70s)

This Era saw the rise of Liberalism, which is a political philosophy centered around the unalienable rights of the individual and his freedoms. Many ideas accompanied the rise of Liberalism, such as deregulation and peaceful protest.

United States v. Eichman (90s)

This US Supreme Court case invalidated a federal law against flag desecration (burning of the US flag) as a violative of free speech under the first amendment of the constitution. This was a hugely important case, for it furthered the freedom of the individual instead of allowing even more power to a representative piece of cloth.


Science has always been a core value for Americans, as will be illustrated through this section of the time capsule.

the creation of the atom bomb (40s)

While the concepts that led to the splitting of the atom came from scientists all over the world, the conversion of these ideas into reality was in the United States. On July 16, 1945 at Trinity Site near Alamogordo, New Mexico, scientists of the Manhattan Project readied themselves to watch the detonation of the world's first atomic bomb. The two atom bombs that were dropped were code-named "Fat Man" and "Little Boy".

the space race (1957-1975)

The space race was a Cold War standoff between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in which the two nations fought for supremacy in Space-related scientific discovery.

the start of the fight against aids (80s)

June of 1981 marked the beginning of the emergence of the HIV/AIDS virus. In the United States, stigma around the virus quickly became eclipsing the danger that this epidemic presented. For a short time, the new disease was called gay-related immunodeficiency (GRIDS), but by September of 1982, the CDC had published a case definition that used the term AIDS to describe the virus, and it was adopted by researchers.

equal opportunity

When the United States was first emerging as a country, only white men were considered citizens deserving of equal opportunity. Fortunately, since then, we have come a long way and have included men and women of all races.

women's suffrage (20s)

Women's suffrage in the United States, the legal right of women to vote, was established over the course of several decades, first in various states and localities, sometimes on a limited basis, and then nationally in 1920, through the 19th amendment.

civil rights act (60s)

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was what allowed African Americans the same rights as everyone else. This act ended a long and dramatic movement with figures that are still recognized today such as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Established on July 2, 1965 (although it is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) by President LBJ, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. This ensures the American value of equal opportunity.

works cited

  • "The Fight for Women’s Suffrage." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
  • "EEOC Home Page." EEOC Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
  • "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission." National Archives. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
  • "The Space Race." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
  • "The Atomic Bomb Aka The Manhattan Project." About.com Inventors. About.com, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
  • "Liberalism in the United States." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
  • "United States v. Eichman." LII / Legal Information Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.