Well, I personally think there isn’t the one perfect answer to the question “when was America great?” because everyone has got their own interpretation of “greatness” and depending on what social or ethnic group a person belongs to, this definition might vary.
For example, if you were a straight, white man, then sure, definitely 1950 might have been a great year for you, as you would generally belong to the upper class and live a mostly priviledged life. On the other hand, if you were black, transgender, disabled or even simply female – things might have been a lot different.
Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white public elementary school in the South, is now only 62 years old. This means, that less than 60 years ago, schools were still segregated. So come to think of it, there is no way this could have been a great time to live in America – at least not if you were black. But not so long before, slavery was still a thing. So, that leads to the question, which is worse? Not being able to attend school, or being forced to work under terrible working conditions from a young age?
But even after the slavery thing and maybe even after adopting the law that black people – and women for that matter – are allowed to vote, was America great then? Was it great for all the gay men and women that were still being discriminated against?
In 2015 same-sex marriage was legalized in all states. For some people this might definitely mark the beginning of a great country. But on the other hand, things like crime, unemployment, inequality, prison, obesity, health costs and very recently, terrorism, are still a thing.
My point is, that it always depends on what group of people a person belongs to, in order to define, when America has in fact been great. For some it has always been that, but for others, unfortunately, it might never be.