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U.S. HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY CHAPTER 14. * Despite worrying about unemployment & a recession after the war, the economy continued to grow as consumers increased.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY CHAPTER 14. * Despite worrying about unemployment & a recession after the war, the economy continued to grow as consumers increased."— Presentation transcript:


2 * Despite worrying about unemployment & a recession after the war, the economy continued to grow as consumers increased spending. Demand for goods did lead to higher prices resulting in an increase in inflation. Cost of living will increase & industrial workers will demand better pay & go on strike for it. * Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill): provide funds to help veterans establish businesses, buy homes, & attend college. This aided in boosting the economy. * Republicans used this opportunity in the 1946 Congressional elections & get control of both houses of Congress (1 st time since 1930).


4 * Passed by the Republican controlled Congress. This law banned closed shops, allowed states to pass right-to-work laws which outlawed union shops, prohibited featherbedding, or limiting work output in order to create more jobs, & banned using union money to support political campaigns. Truman vetoed the bill & Congress overrode his veto.



7 * After Truman’s reelection he would propose domestic measures to continue the world of some New Deal programs * Proposals included: expanding Social Security, raising minimum wage, public housing, employment through federal spending & investment, national health insurance, environmental & public works planning. * February 1948: Truman proposed a civil rights bill that would protect the right to vote, abolish poll taxes, & making lynching a federal crime. * Executive order barred discrimination in federal employment & ended segregation in the armed forces. * Many legislative initiatives will fail in the Republic controlled Congress

8 * Many saw Truman’s reelection as having very little success due to fractures in the Democratic Party. Southern Democrats will form the States’ Rights (“Dixiecrat”) Party as they were angry at Truman’s support of civil rights – candidate = Strom Thurmond – SC Governor. Liberal Democrats will form the Progressive Party as they were frustrated at Truman’s ineffective domestic policies and his anti-Soviet foreign policy – candidate = Henry A. Wallace. * Republicans nominated Thomas Dewey, NY Governor. * Truman campaigned focusing on the Republican Congress’ failings calling it the “do-nothing, good-for-nothing” Congress. Even though this Congress will enact many legislative initiatives (i.e. Marshall Plan, Department of Defense, National Security Council, CIA, etc.), Truman was able to make the phrase “stick” as none of these measures impacted Americans overall. * Truman won a narrow but stunning victory over Dewey


10 * Truman’s legislative initiatives became known as the “Fair Deal” where Truman believed that every American should expect the same from the government. * Congress supported the following initiatives from the “Fair Deal”: * Minimum wage to $.75 an hour * Increased Social Security by 75% & extended them to 10 million additional people * National Housing Act of 1949 – provided construction of low0income housing & long-term rent subsidies * Congress refused the following initiatives from the “Fair Deal”: * National Health insurance * Aid to farmers or schools * Civil Rights legislation where conservative Republicans & Dixiecrats took the lead opposing


12 In a Herblock Takeoff on "The Charge of the Light Brigade," a Beleaguered Harry Truman Charges Against Opponents Washington Post, February 23, 1948

13 * Republican Party will have Dwight D. Eisenhower run for the presidency against Democrat hopeful Adlai Stevenson. * Republicans used the slogan “It’s time for change!” & “I Like Ike” to assist in Eisenhower’s landslide victory. * Republicans gained an 8-seat majority in the house with the Senate evenly divided


15 * “Middle of the Road” described Eisenhower’s political beliefs * “Dynamic conservatism” meant balancing economic conservatism with activism that benefited the country * Eisenhower: * Ended government price & rent controls * Vetoed a school construction bill * Slashed aid to public housing & the Tennessee Valley Authority * Abolished the Reconstruction Finance Corporation * Eisenhower pushed for: * Federal Highway Act - $25 billion for 10-year project to build more than 40k miles of interstate highways. Largest public works program * St. Lawrence Seaway – series of locks along St. Lawrence River that connected the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean



18 * Eisenhower will extend social security benefits to an additional 10 million people, unemployment payments to 4 million more citizens, raised the minimum wage, & still provided some government aid to farmers * Nation’s economy shifted back to a peacetime economy successfully before Eisenhower’s second term in 1956 began.

19 * 1950s will become a decade of prosperity as Americans will have more disposable income than previously to spend on new consumer goods. * Advertising will help fuel the spending spree & become the nation’s fastest-growing industry. Manufacturers will use new marketing techniques to create consumer demand for their products * John Kenneth Galbraith published a book called The Affluent Society where he discusses the nation’s postwar prosperity & called it a new phenomenon as in the past we had an “economy of scarcity” but now we had the abundance – an “economy of abundance”


21 * Mass production of suburbs would continue, appealing to many Americans who were looking for a better way of life, to escape the crime & congestion of the city, & to live where it was more affordable * GI Bill, tax deductions, & low property taxes made home ownership attractive to many Americans * Levittown, NY was one of the earliest mass- produced suburbs with hundreds of simple, similar- looking homes



24 * 1945 – 1961 where more than 65 million children are born in the U.S. * Many had put off getting married or having children during WWII & Korean War would begin their families & government encouraged the growth of families with the generous benefits from the GI bill. * Popular culture of the time celebrated pregnancy, parenthood, & large families

25 * Many Americans who worked in offices (white-collar jobs) became known as white-collar workers for the white collar shirts & ties they wore. Whereas workers who worked as laborers or in factories (blue-collar jobs) became known as blue-collar workers representing the blue denim shirts they typically wore. * Many corporations become multinational corporations as they expanded overseas new raw materials & cheap labor. Some corporations allowed for franchises to be purchased & run by another person. These franchises were expected to conform to the uniform look &style of the corporation itself. * Conformity would be expected by employers as well. The idea of conformity would extend into the home life of individuals as well, no longer judging themselves on their own values & esteem of their families.


27 * 1947: transistor, tiny electric generator that made radios smaller & portable * 1946: ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator & Computer) used to make military calculations. A few years later, UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer) would process business data & started the computer revolution * Aviation: Designers would use more plastics, light metals, swept-back wings, & jet engines allowing the planes to fly farther on the same amount of fuel. These technological advances would aid in making flying more affordable to Americans.

28 Electronic Numerical Integrator & Computer

29 Universal Automatic Computer

30 * Cancer: radiation & chemotherapy helped many cancer patients survive * 1950: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) helped many survive heart attacks. 1952: pacemakers & artificial valves would replace worn out ones * Tuberculosis: blood test to detect & new antibiotics helped deal with this contagious lung disease & in 1956 it would fall from the top 10 list of fatal diseases * Polio: Jonas Salk developed an injectable polio vaccine which was available to public in 1955. Albert Sabin developed an oral polio vaccine.

31 * Television sets were expensive. 1946 – 8k owned by 1957 more than 40 million sets & 80% of families had at least 1 TV * Early TV programs were comedies, variety shows, & action programs. * I Love Lucy, comedy, was the most popular TV show of the time. Other shows included comedy starring Bob Hope & Jack Benny (adapted from radio), Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town (variety show), The $64,000 Question (quiz show), The Long Ranger & Gunsmoke (westerns), Dragnet (police show).

32 From left, Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance, Desi Arnaz and William Frawley

33 * As television’s popularity grew, movies lost views & theaters began to close. * Cinemascope would save the movie industry as it allowed for films to be shown on large panoramic screens. Full-color movies like The Robe & Around the World in 80 Days will be expensive but draw the crowds back to the theaters.


35 * Even though TV would adapt many shows from radio, the radio industry continued to thrive as commuters in their car, traveling from the suburbs into the cities, would listen to the radios for news & entertainment

36 * 50s Teens were able to separate from the ideals of their parents as they had disposable income to spend & the mass media meant that teens around the country could hear the same music & TV shows * Rock ‘n’ Roll music is adapted from rhythm-and-blues music. The music became wildly popular among young people. Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley & the Comets, & Elvis Presley would be among the popular entertainers of 1950s. * Rock ‘n’ Roll allowed the teenagers to create a generation gap, cultural separation, between them & their parents

37 * White writers & artists will highlight the values gap of the era & criticize American culture for its sterility, conformity, & emptiness. This movement will be small but laid the foundations for the youth cultural rebellion in the 1960s

38 * African American entertainers will struggle to find acceptance but many rock ‘n’ roll singers like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Ray Charles, the Shirelles, the Ronettes will all find popularity & record hit songs.

39 * The minimum income necessary to support a family was the imaginary marker set up by the government to determine the poverty line in America. Approx. 30 million people lived below this line. * Poverty was predominant in the nation’s urban centers as middle class residents’ tax dollars went to suburbs instead of cities. * Cities were no longer able to provide adequate public transportations, housing, & other services. Urban renewal programs would be initiated to try to eliminate poverty only to create other problems (i.e. violence)



42 * African Americans: Long-standing patterns of racial discrimination kept many African Americans poor. A Raisin in the Sun, 1959 play written by Lorraine Hansberry, told the story of a working class African American family struggling against poverty & racism * Hispanics: struggled with poverty as well. 5 million Mexicans came to work through the Bracero Program but these were temporary contracts for work. Many returned home with approx. 350k settling permanently facing many conditions that were often unbearable for little pay * Native Americans: Poorest ethnic group in the nation with them making up less than 1% of population. Termination policy was the attempt by the federal government to mainstream Native Americans by withdrawing all official recognition of the Native American groups as legal entities & made them subject to the same laws as white citizens

43 * Juvenile delinquency, antisocial or criminal behavior of young people saw a 45% rise in juvenile crime rates in 1948 to 1953. * Americans disagreed on what was to blame. Going from television, movies, music, racism, busy parents, rising divorce, lack of religion, rebelling against conformity, & a lack of discipline as some of the reasons why this was occurring. Others pointed to teen violence, poverty, gangs, & drugs.


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