Intro What started off as the “Wild West” has turned into a place progressive ideas and a large city. From 1945 to today Colorado’s social structure and ideals have changed. Home to many old and outdated ideals, Colorado became one of the first states to take action on these things such as Gay rights, African American rights, and Women’s rights. All these things went from being socially unacceptable or socially ignored to new ideas and ways of living. Also over the years you see the growth of the middle class in Colorado and the diversity within the middle class. Colorado is home to many movements and ideas that went against the social norm to structure how Colorado is today. Without Colorado many social issues would not be the way they are today.
After hundreds of thousands of men enlisted in the army to fight in World War II the fight was finally over and the troops were finally coming home. Although this brought a lot of happiness and positive things along with it, it also brought in a lot of questions. During the war many men left for the army leaving behind many jobs and labors. While they were gone many women picked up the slack and worked these jobs. This was the first time mass amounts of women were in the labor force. Even though Colorado was one of the first states to allow women to vote, women in the workplace was not so common. For the first time women were allowed to work, so when the men came back the women lost these jobs and were sent back to being a “house wife.” This upset many woman activists who felt like they were being treated as second class citizens and started to social movement of equal rights for women.
In 1960 the state of Colorado received its first professional football team, the Denver Broncos. The state receiving a professional sports team means many things. One that the economy in Colorado is doing well enough to support the costs of building a stadium and the people of the state have money to go and spend on the team. Two that the city takes regard to professional sports teams and not just entertainment but as a part of their lives and culture. The team gained recognition for playing a mile above sea level. Giving the stadium name “Mile High Stadium.” This team changed the culture in Colorado. Although the state has many other professional sports team none of them get nearly a much attention as the Broncos. Every Sunday in Colorado more than 60% of the population is either watching or listening to the game. It has become a part of a tradition and way of life in Colorado. It is more than just a sports team.
At the beginning of the 70’s Colorado had a mass increase of people in their later twenties and early thirties. These people were a part of the “Baby Boomers” that came right after World War II. These people felt that it was time to settle down. With this large number of people needing houses and space the construction of Denver suburbs grew like crazy. Denver and its surrounding suburbs tripled in size during the 70’s. This shows not only that a mass amount of people were deciding to settle in Colorado, but that the middle class was doing well in the economy. The middle class in Colorado grew by 150% (Colorado Department of Personnel).
Before churches, restaurants, and public bathrooms were desegregated in Colorado, Colorado’s school system was. In 1974 Colorado decided to desegregate its public schools. For the first time whites and blacks were to attend the same school. Although it had caused some rioting and even a small amount of violence the desegregation changed the state forever. By desegregating the schools many people saw that blacks and whites could live as one and the acceptance for each other grew. This changed the social culture of Colorado as well helped grow the middle class in the near future. Because blacks were not allowed to go to the same schools as whites they did not receive as well of an education. This gap in education made it hard for them to learn the skills needed to gain higher end jobs and suppressing them to the lower class. This now was changed and you could see the middle and upper class becoming bigger and more diverse.
After the mass construction of the Denver suburbs of the early 70’s, Coloradans were becoming concerned that Colorado was becoming oversold. The fear that the larger population was causing severe traffic and mass pollution that brought the “brown cloud” over Denver was true. The people of Colorado were set to fight the continuation of the suburbs being built and were not welcoming to people outside of the state. They focused a lot on helping the environment and keeping Colorado a small state. The people of Colorado felt so strongly about keeping the state small that they rejected the 1976 Winter Olympics in fear that it would make Colorado too big. This shows the culture of the people in Colorado and that they wanted a small town life.
Denver International Airport brought Denver into the world of international business. With the creation of the airport in 1994 businesses outside of the United States to open and incorporate themselves within Colorado. These businesses brought more than their companies with them; they brought many of their lifestyles and ideals along with them. Within five years after the completion of D.I.A the state of Colorado saw a boom in foreign immigrants that it had not seen since the gold rush years. With all the immigrants in the state caused a huge shift in the diversity of Colorado. A state of prodomi9nately Caucasians families turned into a more diverse place especially within the Asian community. The construction of one air port forever changed the culture within Colorado.
On November 6, 2012 Colorado voted yes on Amendment 64. This amendment that was voted into the Colorado Constitution made the recreation use of marijuana legal. A 55 to 45 vote by the people of Colorado shows a social acceptance to a banned drug. Although federally this drug is illegal the people of Colorado thought it was acceptable for recreational use. This social acceptance shows how the social culture of Colorado has changed. It has become more of a liberal state which is a huge change of the very conservative state it use to be. It also shows the culture of the state to do what they feel best for the state even if it goes against laws and rules of the federal government. This vote on Amendment 64 was not so much about “getting high” as it was controlling themselves as an individual state.
Before May 1, 2013 gays and lesbians were considered second class citizens. They were not granted marriages and often times were looked down upon. Colorado’s culture from 1945 to 2000 was not accepting of gays and lesbians and thought that they were suffering from diseases or were just confused, but not actually gay. They were not allowed to be legally wed which meant that they were not granted things such as hospital or jail visitations that a spouse is granted or death benefits that spouses receive. This persecution ended in May when gays and lesbians were granted same sex unions in Colorado. This movement goes beyond what they are legally allowed to do, but a more social acceptance of the Gay and Lesbian community which is a huge shift from the previous years of suppression and intolerence.
Abbott, Carl. Colorado, a history of the Centennial State. Boulder: Colorado Associated University Press, 1976. Print.
Administration (DPA) Division of Information Technologies (DoIT)." Colorado.gov: The Official State Web Portal. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2013. <http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/history
"Denver Broncos History - The Football Database." The Football Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2013. http://www.footballdb.com/teams/nfl/denver-broncos/history.
"Historical Records Index Search." Colorado.gov: The Official State Web Portal. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2013. <http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives
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