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THE POSTWAR BOOM THE AMERICAN DREAM IN THE 1950S.

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Presentation on theme: "THE POSTWAR BOOM THE AMERICAN DREAM IN THE 1950S."— Presentation transcript:

1

2 THE POSTWAR BOOM THE AMERICAN DREAM IN THE 1950S

3 Chapter 19.1 Essential Questions What economic and social problems faced Americans after World War II? How did the desire for stability lead to political conservatism? What were causes and effects of social unrest in the postwar period? How was Truman’s domestic policy different from Eisenhower’s?

4 SECTION 1: POSTWAR AMERICA After WWII, returning vets faced a severe housing shortage In response to the crisis, developers used assembly-line methods to mass-produce houses Developer William Levitt bragged that his company could build a home in 16 minutes for $7,000 Suburbs were born With the help of low-interest loans from the GI Bill, many veterans moved into suburbs

5 REDEFINING THE FAMILY A return to traditional roles after the war was the norm Men were expected to work, while women were expected to stay home and care for the children Conflict emerged as many women wanted to stay in the workforce Divorce rates surged but were highly frowned upon

6 REMARKABLE ECONOMIC RECOVERY Experts who predicted a postwar depression were proved wrong as they failed to consider the $135 billion in savings Americans had accumulated from defense work, service pay, and investments in war bonds Americans were ready to buy consumer goods

7 DESPITE GROWTH, ISSUES PERSIST One persistent postwar issue involved labor strikes In 1946 alone, 4.5 million discontented workers, including Steelworkers, coal miners and railroad workers went on strike

8 TRUMAN TOUGH ON STRIKERS Truman refused to let strikes cripple the nation He threatened to draft the striking workers and then order them as soldiers to return to work The strategy worked as strikers returned to their jobs

9 SOCIAL UNREST PERSISTS African Americans felt they deserved equal rights, especially after hundreds of thousands served in WWII Truman took action in 1948 by desegregating the armed forces Additionally, Truman ordered an end to discrimination in the hiring of governmental employees

10 THE 1948 ELECTION The Democrats nominated President Truman in 1948 The Republicans nominated New York Governor Thomas Dewey Polls showed Dewey held a comfortable lead going into election day Dewey

11 TRUMAN WINS IN A STUNNING UPSET Truman’s “Give ‘em hell, Harry” campaign worked Truman won a very close race against Dewey Truman holds a now infamous Chicago Tribune announcing (incorrectly) Dewey’s victory

12 To protest Truman’s emphasis on Civil Rights, Southern Democrats, or “Dixiecrats”, opted to run a third candidate, South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond

13 Truman’s “Fair Deal” Truman proposed an ambitious economic program- it was supposed to be an extension of FDR’s “New Deal” He proposed: A nationwide system of compulsory health insurance (can anyone say Obamacare?) (Def) A crop-subsidy system for farmers (Def) Raising the minimum wage (P) Extending Social Security to more people (P) Initiating flood control and irrigation projects (P) Secured federal funding for low-income housing

14 REPUBLICANS PLAN FOR 1952 ELECTION By 1951 Truman’s approval rating sank to an all-time low of just 23% Why? Korean War, rising tide of McCarthyism, and a general impression of ineffectiveness Truman decides not to run again The Republicans (right) were chomping at the bit in the ’52 election

15 STEVENSON VS. IKE 1952 ELECTION The Democrats nominated intellectual Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson while the Republicans nominated war hero Dwight David Eisenhower Stevenson Ike

16 “I LIKE IKE” Eisenhower used the slogan, “I Like Ike” for his presidential campaign Republicans used Ike’s strong military background to emphasize his ability to combat Communism worldwide

17 IKE’S VP SLIP-UP One potential disaster for Ike was his running mate’s alleged “slush fund” Richard Nixon responded by going on T.V. and delivering an emotional speech denying charges but admitting to accepting one gift for his children – a dog named Checkers The “Checkers speech” saved the ticket; notice again the power of TV! Nixon and his dog Checkers

18 IKE WINS 1952 ELECTION

19 Ike’s Hit’s and Misses… Pressed hard to bring about a balanced budget and tax cuts Raised the minimum wage Extended Social Security and unemployment benefits Increased funding for public housing Backed the creation of the Interstate Highway System Tried to avoid controversy. Was forced to intervene in the Little Rock (AR) Central HS crisis Brown v. Board of Education ruling took place in 1954 Rosa Parks/Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 Ike did not press for an end to segregation

20 Ike Walks the Middle of the Road… Ike’s approach to politics- “Dynamic Conservatism” (also known as modern Republicanism) He wanted government to be “conservative when it comes to money and liberal when it comes to human beings.”

21 Ch.19.2 Essential Questions How did changes in business affect workers? What was the suburban lifestyle like in the 1950s? What were the causes and effects in the automobile industry boom? Why was there an increase in consumerism in the 1950s?

22 SECTION 2: THE AMERICAN DREAM IN THE FIFTIES After WWII ended, Americans turned their attention to their families and jobs New businesses and technology created opportunities for many By the end of the 1950s, Americans were enjoying the highest standard of living in the world Ozzie and Harriet reflected the perfect American family

23 THE ORGANIZATION AND THE ORGANIZATION MAN During the 1950s, businesses expanded rapidly More and more people held “white-collar” jobs - clerical, management, or professional jobs The fields of sales, advertising, insurance and communications exploded White Collar jobs expanded greatly in the 1950s

24 SOCIAL CONFORMITY American workers found themselves becoming standardized Called the “Organization Man,” the modern worker struggled with a loss of individualism Businesses did not want creative thinkers, rebels or anyone that would “rock the boat”

25 Despite their success, some workers questioned whether pursuing the American dream exacted too high a price, as conformity replaced individuality

26 CONGLOMERATES EMERGE Conglomerates, major corporations that include a number of smaller companies in unrelated fields, emerged in the 1950s One conglomerate, International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), bought rental car companies and hotel chains

27 FRANCHISES EMERGE Another strategy for business expansion was franchising A franchise is a company that offers similar services in many locations Fast food restaurants developed the first franchises in America McDonald’s is one of the leading franchises in the world

28 THE SUBURBAN LIFESTYLE Most Americans worked in cities, but fewer and fewer of them lived there New highways and the affordability of cars and gasoline made commuting possible Of the 13 million homes built in the 1950s, 85% were built in suburbs For many, the suburbs were the American Dream The American Dream complete with a white picket fence

29 THE BABY BOOM During the late 1940s and through the early 1960s the birthrate in the U.S. soared At its height in 1957, a baby was born in America every 7 seconds (over 4.3 million babies in ’57 alone) Baby boomers represent the largest generation in the nation’s history

30 What are the official years of the Baby Boom Generation? 1946 - 1964 saw a marked increase in the number of births in North America. How did the birthrate rise and fall during the baby boom years in the US? 19402,559,000 births per year 19463,311,000 births per year 19554,097,000 births per year 19574,300,000 births per year 19644,027,000 births per year 1974 3,160,000 births per year

31 WHY SO MANY BABIES? Why did the baby boom occur when it did? Husbands returning from war Decreasing marriage age Desirability of large families Confidence in economy Advances in medicine

32 WHAT IT WILL MEAN TO YOU Your generation will be supporting an increasingly aging American population

33 ADVANCES IN MEDICINE AND CHILDCARE Advances in the treatment of childhood diseases included drugs to combat typhoid fever and polio (Jonas Salk) Dr. Salk was instrumental in the eradication of polio

34 DR. SPOCK ADVISES PARENTS Many parents raised their children according to the guidelines of pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock He thought children should be allowed to express themselves and parents should never physically punish their kids Dr. Spock’s book sold 10 million copies in the 1950s

35 IMPACT OF BABY BOOM As a result of the baby boom 10 million students entered elementary schools in the 1950s California built a new school every 7 days in the late ’50s Toy sales reached an all-time high in 1958 when $1.25 billion in toys were sold

36 Symbols of the Baby Boom in Suburbia 19501960 Hot Dog Production (millions of lbs)7501050 Potato Chip Production (millions of lbs)320532 Sales of lawn and porch furniture (millions of dollars)53.6145.2 Sales of power mowers (millions of dollars)1.03.8 Sales of floor polishers (millions of dollars)0.241.0 Sales of Encyclopaedia (millions of dollars)72300 Number of Children age 5-1424.335.5 Number of baseball Little Leagues7765,700

37 Fads of the Baby Boomers Hula Hoops Frozen Foods Poodle Skirts and Saddle Shoes Panty Raids Barbie and GI Joe Dolls Bikinis Frisbees Yo-yos Ouija Boards Dune Buggies What celebrity deaths have most affected the Baby Boomers? John F. Kennedy Marilyn Monroe Martin Luther King John Lennon

38 WOMEN’S ROLES IN THE 1950S During the 1950s, the role of homemaker and mother was glorified in popular magazines, movies and television

39 WOMEN AT WORK Those women who did work were finding job opportunities limited to fields such as nursing, teaching and office support Women earned far less than man for comparable jobs

40 LEISURE IN THE 1950s Americans experienced shorter work weeks and more vacation time than ever before Leisure time activities became a multi-billion dollar industry Labor-saving devices added more spare time Labor-saving devices provided more leisure time for Americans

41 POPULAR LEISURE ACTIVITES In 1953 alone Americans spent $30 billion on leisure Popular activities included fishing, bowling, hunting and golf Americans attended, or watched on T.V., football, baseball and basketball games Bowling remains one of the top leisure activities in the U.S.

42 THE AUTOMOBILE CULTURE After the rationing of WWII, inexpensive and plentiful fuel and easy credit led many to buy cars By 1960, over 60 million Americans owned autos

43 INTERSTATE HIGHWAY ACT 1956 In 1956 Ike authorized a nationwide highway network – 41,000 miles of road linking America

44 THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM “Automania” spurred the construction of roads linking major cities while connecting schools, shopping centers and workplaces to residential suburbs

45 IMPACT OF THE HIGHWAY The Interstate Highway system resulted in: More trucking Less railroad More suburbs, further away Trucking is the #1 means of moving cargo in the United States today

46 HIGHWAYS “HOMOGENIZE” AMERICA Another effect of the highway system was that the scenery of America began to look the same Restaurants, motels, highway billboards, gas stations, etc. all began to look similar The nation had become “homogenized” Anytown, USA

47 “Our new roads, with their ancillaries, the motels, filling stations, and restaurants advertising eats, have made it possible for you to drive from Brooklyn to Los Angeles without a change of diet, scenery, or culture.” John Keats, The Insolent Chariots 1958

48 DOWNSIDE TO MOBILITY While the car industry boom stimulated production, jobs, shopping centers, and the restaurant industry, it also had negative effects Noise Pollution Accidents Traffic Jams Stress Decline of public transportation

49 RISE OF CONSUMERISM By the mid-1950s, nearly 60% of Americans were members of the middle class Consumerism (buying material goods) came to be equated with success and status “Keeping up with the Jones’s”

50 NEW PRODUCTS One new product after another appeared in the marketplace Appliances, electronics, and other household goods were especially popular The first credit card (Diner’s Club) appeared in 1950 and American Express was introduced in 1958 Personal debt increased nearly 3x in the 1950s

51 THE ADVERTISING AGE The advertising industry capitalized on runaway consumerism by encouraging more spending Ads were everywhere Ad agencies increased their spending 50% during the 1950s Advertising is everywhere today in America

52 Ch.19.3 Essential Questions: How did television programs in the 1950s reflect middle-class values? How did the beat movement and rock ‘n’ roll music clash with middle- class values? How did African-American entertainers help to integrate the media in the 1950s?

53 SECTION 3: POPULAR CULTURE A new era of mass media led by television emerged in the 1950s In 1948, only 9% of homes had T.V In 1950, 55% of homes had T.V. By 1960, 90% of American homes had T.V.

54 THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION Mass media- the means of communication that reach large audiences The 1950s was known as the “Golden Age of Television” Comedies were the main attraction as Milton Berle, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were very popular Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball starred in I Love Lucy

55 TELEVISION EXPERIMENTS WITH VARIOUS FORMATS The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) did its best to regulate television and radio Television innovations like on-the-scene-news reporting, interviews, westerns and sporting events offered the viewer a variety of shows Kids’ shows like The Howdy Doody Show and The Mickey Mouse Club were extremely popular

56 TV ADS, TV GUIDES AND TV DINNERS EXPAND TV advertising soared from $170 million in 1950 to nearly $2 billion in 1960 TV Guide magazine quickly became the best selling magazine Frozen TV dinners were introduced in 1954 – these complete ready-to-heat meals on disposable aluminum trays made it easy for people to eat without missing their favorite shows

57 A Downside to TV??? Critics objected to its effects on children (exposure to violence) Women appeared in stereotypical roles Male characters outnumbered female by 3 to 1 African-Americans and Latinos rarely appeared in television programs at all 1950s television portrayed an idealized white America, with no references to poverty, diversity or contemporary conflicts

58 Would the Birth of Television Lead to the Death of Radio and the Movies? Radio and movies survived because they adapted and evolved. Radio stations now offered news, weather, and more importantly- rock ‘n’ roll Movie theatres also had some advantages over TV- size, color, and sound James Dean, a teenage idol, died at the age of 24 in a car accident.

59 A SUBCULTURE EMERGES Although mass media and television were wildly popular in the 1950s, dissenting voices emerged The “Beat Movement” in literature, art and poetry celebrated a nonconformist lifestyle and attitude Rock n’ roll clashed with tidy suburban views of life and was originally called “race music”.

60 BEATNIKS FOLLOW OWN PATH Centered in San Francisco, L.A. and New York’s Greenwich Village, the Beat Movement expressed social nonconformity Followers, called “beatniks”, tended to shun work and sought understanding through Zen Buddhism, music, and sometimes drugs Beatniks often performed poetry or music in coffeehouses or bars

61 MUSIC IN THE 1950s Musicians in the 1950s added electronic instruments to traditional blues music, creating rhythm and blues Cleveland DJ Alan Freed was the first to play this music in 1951– he called it “rock and roll” First called “race music”- the early performers were mostly black, but the audience was mostly white FREED

62 ROCK N’ ROLL In the early and mid-fifties, Richard Penniman, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and the Comets, and especially Elvis Presley brought rock and roll to the forefront The driving rhythm and lyrics featuring love, cars, and problems of being young --- captivated teenagers across the country

63 THE KING OF ROCK AND ROLL Presley’s rebellious style captured young audiences Girls screamed and fainted, and boys tried to imitate him

64 SECTION 4: THE OTHER AMERICA In 1962, nearly one out of every four Americans was living below the poverty level Most of these poor were the elderly, single women and their children, and/or minorities

65 WHITE FLIGHT In the 1950s, millions of middle-class white Americans left the cities for the suburbs At the same time millions of African American rural poor migrated to the cities The so-called “White Flight” drained cities of valuable resources, money and taxes

66 Urban Renewal Most African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos in the cities had to live in dirty, crowded slums. One proposed solution was “urban renewal”. The National Housing Act of 1949 called for the tearing down of rundown neighborhoods and constructing low-income housing Although the tearing down did occur, parking lots, shopping centers, highways, parks and factories were constructed on much of the cleared land Urban renewal simply became “urban removal” as many people simply had to move from one ghetto to another. Dodger Stadium- An example of urban renewal

67 Poverty Leads to Activism… When the United States entered WWII, a shortage of agricultural workers spurred the government to initiate a program in which Mexican braceros, or hired hands, were allowed into the U.S. to harvest crops from 1942-1947 They were expected to return to Mexico once their employment ended; but many remained in the U.S. illegally to escape the poor economic conditions in Mexico. As a result, prejudice against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans rose dramatically

68 The Longoria Incident Felix Longoria was a Mexican- American WWII hero who had been killed in the Philippines. The only undertaker in his Texas hometown refused to provide his family with funeral services Outraged Mexican Americans stepped up their efforts to stamp out discrimination by creating the G.I. Forum and the Unity League of California Both were designed to register Mexican American voters and to promote candidates who would represent their interests.

69 Native Americans Continue Their Struggle… From 1887 to 1934, the government policy towards Native Americans was one of “Americanization” and assimilation. In 1953 the federal government announced it would give up its responsibility for Native American tribes. The new approach, known as the “termination policy” eliminated federal economic support, discontinued the reservation system, and redistributed tribal lands to individual Native Americans. Native Americans were encouraged to resettle in cities. The policy was a dismal failure. Most couldn’t find jobs because of poor training and racial prejudice. In 1963, the termination policy was abandoned The National Congress of American Indians was formed to 1) Ensure civil rights for Native Americans and 2) enable Indians on reservations to retain their own customs


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