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MARCH 31, 2014 GFTD: Father Knows Best The Post-War World: 1945- 1959 How does the Epic Movie paint the 1950s? The new American Dream Prosperity Culture.

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Presentation on theme: "MARCH 31, 2014 GFTD: Father Knows Best The Post-War World: 1945- 1959 How does the Epic Movie paint the 1950s? The new American Dream Prosperity Culture."— Presentation transcript:

1 MARCH 31, 2014 GFTD: Father Knows Best The Post-War World: 1945- 1959 How does the Epic Movie paint the 1950s? The new American Dream Prosperity Culture of Conformity HW: None What you need: Pencil/Pen 1950s Chart

2 BIG PICTURE: The 1950s are similar to the 1920s and the Gilded Age On the surface things look great Dig deeper, things are more complex We will start by looking at what was good, the surface…

3 1950S: THE GOOD STUFF… American Dream seemed more accessible than ever. How did you achieve it in the 1950s? Own land in the new suburbs Have a perfect American nuclear family Mass Media Conform to 1950s culture Consumer Culture – own a car, own newest appliances What made this possible?

4 1950S: TIME OF PROSPERITY Booming economy Rebuilding Europe hungry for American goods Economy grew by 37% in 1950s By 1959, average American family had 30% more purchasing power than when decade began. Means more spending. 4.5% unemployment Standard of Living in U.S. is unthinkable in other parts of world

5 After years of doing without, Americans wanted goods. In addition, people had jobs (and therefore the money) to buy new goods. The auto industry produced 2 million cars in 1946 and almost two times that in 1955. By 1960- 75% of American households had at least one car. Booming Economy: Consumerism

6 In 1948 Americans bought 975,000 TV sets. By two years later, they had purchased 7.5 million sets. By 1960- 87% of all American households had a television Booming Economy: Consumerism

7 1950S TV COMMERCIALS: The increase in products like television and radio increased the mass media and conformity. Commercials reached more people and gave them the ideal to strive toward Westinghouse TV Commercial Kool Aid Commercial Coca-Cola Commercial

8 Shows called sitcoms" like The Honeymooners, Lassie, Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy were popular. How to Achieve the American Dream: Mass Media Images of Americans

9 Rock n roll became popular. Developed from a blend of Southern blues and gospel music with an added strong back beat, this type of music was popular with teenagers who were trying to break out of the mainstream conservative American middle class mold. Popular artists included Billy Haley, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. How to Live the American Dream: Music

10 How to Achieve the American Dream: 1950s style The GI Bill helped people achieve the AD…. Purpose: Gave veterans affordable access to college education. More education = higher salary Gave low-interest mortgages so more people could buy homes.

11 One developer, William Levitt had the idea to build a community of homes. How to Achieve the American Dream: 1950s style

12 He took 1,200 acres of potato farmland… How to Achieve the American Dream: 1950s style

13 And built communities in Long Island and Pennsylvania. (The picture to the right is of the concrete slabs for the floors of the homes. The picture above is an aerial view.) How to Achieve the American Dream: 1950s style

14 Each house was almost identical. The area included shopping centers, pools, parks and more. Each home in Long Island cost $7,900. Levittown became a white middle class dream… How to Achieve the American Dream: 1950s style


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