Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Essay

Hugh Wheeler
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Perkins is a professor of American and English literature and film. In this essay, Perkins examines the historical context of the play.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, America's new, vibrant, young president, encouraged Americans in 1961 to "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country," which prompted many to turn away from the materialism and apathy of the previous decade. When President Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 so that young Americans could offer assistance and goodwill to struggling countries, 13,000 applications were received in the first year. Other Americans supported this new public spirit by becoming active in domestic social programs and fighting for equal rights for minorities and women.

The idealism Americans adopted in the 1960s, a decade heralded as "The New Frontier" by John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was crushed, however, by a series of events in the 1970s that would throw...

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This section contains 1,440 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.