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AMERICA in the ’50s. Provided college for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as GIs) THE G.I. BILL Millions of GIs bought homes, attended.

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Presentation on theme: "AMERICA in the ’50s. Provided college for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as GIs) THE G.I. BILL Millions of GIs bought homes, attended."— Presentation transcript:

1 AMERICA in the ’50s

2 Provided college for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as GIs) THE G.I. BILL Millions of GIs bought homes, attended college, started business venture, or found jobs Provided one year of unemployment compensation

3 THE G.I. BILL VA Mortgages paid for nearly 5 million new homes, by making homes affordable with low interest rates and 30 year loans. Between 1945 and 1954, the U.S. added 13 million new homes to its housing stock President Franklin Roosevelt signs the GI Bill in 1944

4 The Baby Boom From more than 65 million children were born Contributing factors: The end of wars led to more young couples getting married G.I. Bill encouraged growth of families by offering generous benefits for home purchases This period became known as the Baby Boom The American birthrate exploded after World War II. Pop culture glorified pregnancy, parenthood and large families

5 The Taft-Hartley Act The federal law that greatly restricting the activities and power of labor unions  Closed shops illegal (Businesses could hire non- union workers)  No more jurisdictional strikes and secondary boycotts.

6 Truman and Civil Rights One of the major acts Harry Truman made as president was in when 1948 Truman made an executive order Truman made as president was in when 1948 Truman made an executive order to end segregation in to end segregation in the armed forces the armed forces Truman also asked Congress to pass a civil rights bill that would make lynching a federal crime

7 ELECTION of 1948 Thomas DeweyHarry S TrumanStrom Thurmond Many people didn’t think he would be re-elected Truman angered many Southern Democrats by supporting segregation People were so sure that Truman would lose that one headline even incorrectly said that Dewey had won Historians view the Election of 1948 as the greatest election upset in American history

8  Southern Democrats leave national party in response to Truman's support for Civil Rights  Strom Thurmond – South Carolina Senator, runs for president as a Dixicrat  Dixicrats were Southern Democrats who backed racial segregation and limiting the voting rights of African Americans. The party was also known as the States Rights Party.  Thomas Dewey, New York’s Governor, runs for the Republicans  Truman appeared to lose – but appeals directly to the people, citing the “Do-nothing Republican Congress” and wins the Election ELECTION of 1948


10 Truman’s “Fair Deal” Truman said that all Americans had the right to expect a “fair deal” from the government What did the Fair Deal do?  It increased the minimum wage  Expansion of Social Security benefits  National Housing Act was passed to provide funding to build low-income housing “The buck stops here.” Harry Truman -- Harry Truman


12 Suburbs = The American Dream  Affordable single- family housing  Good schools  Friendly neighbors like themselves The New York suburb of Levittown was the first modern suburb  New highways, affordable automobiles, low gasoline prices  A safe, healthy environment for children

13 Interstate Highways Built The Federal Highway Act was passed in 1956 This was the largest public works program in American history. Law called for the building of 40,000 miles of interstate Interstate roads in DFW are I-20, I-30, I-35 and I-45

14 First McDonald’s (1955) America became a more homogeneous nation because of the automobile. Drive-In Movies Holiday Inn The Automobile Culture

15 Americans were attracted to the Sunbelt (southern and western states) because they offered new defense industry jobs. The invention of air-conditioning also made living in these states easier. However, population growth increased tensions between groups. There was also greater pollution in these areas.

16 During the postwar era, many Americans found jobs in the service sector as opposed to manufacturing. Industries that experienced growth: information, franchises. Many companies also became multinational– doing business around the world.


18 After the war, American incomes rose, leaving more money to be spent on the emerging conveniences of the time period– appliances and cars especially.

19 Families focused on unity. Women were encouraged to stay at home and raise the children, while the husband was the primary breadwinner. There was also an increased emphasis on religion and morality.

20 Birth of television Shows like I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners were the most popular TV shows of the ’50s By 1957, there were about 40 million television sets in use and TV became an important source of information

21 Pop Culture of the 1950s Father Knows Best The Ozzie and Harriet Show Leave it to Beaver

22 Birth of Rock ’n Roll In the 1950s, many teenagers rebelled against the middle-class suburban values, particularly conformity and wanted to be unique.  It was during this period that many youths turned to new and unconventional styles of music.  Soon white artists began making music that was based on African American rhythm and blues.  This form of music became known as rock ‘n’ roll and it became wildly popular with the nation’s teenagers.

23 Elvis Presley The King of Rock ’n Roll Presley’s extraordinary popularity established rock ’n’ roll as an unprecedented mass-market phenomenon His reputation as a performer endured up to his death in 1977 at the age of 42. Graceland, his home in Memphis, is now a public museum visited by upwards of 600,000 people annually.


25 The Generation Gap  Many parents viewed rock ’n’ roll as loud and dangerous.  The music was banned in some communities.  The music united teens in their own world and helped to create what became known as the generation gap.  The generation gap was the cultural separation between children and their parents.

26 The Beat Generation The major works of Beat writing are Allen Ginsberg's Howl, William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch and Jack Kerouac's On the Road Members of the Beat Generation were referred to as “beatniks” and set the stage for the rise of the counter- culture and hippies during the 1960s The Beat Generation was the cultural movement of the 1950s when young people – often writers – ditched society’s normal standards for new ways of thinking

27 The War on Poverty “America needs to build a ‘Great Society.’ I am declaring a war on poverty.” -- Lyndon B. Johnson University of Michigan, 1964 In his book The Other America, Michael Harrington showed that many Americans lived in poverty in the U.S. The book influenced the thinking of both John F. Kennedy and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, as they both made the elimination of poverty a major goal.

28 Minorities continued to face unemployment and discrimination. Mexican migrant farmers were exploited and lived in poor conditions. The U.S. gov targeted Native Americans and cut off healthcare and other services.

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