Presentation on theme: "The Postwar Years at Home. The Postwar Economy Business Reorganizes Economic Boom –GNP--$212B in 1945; $504B in 1960 –Income--$1526 to $2,788 Conglomerates."— Presentation transcript:
The Postwar Years at Home
The Postwar Economy
Business Reorganizes Economic Boom –GNP--$212B in 1945; $504B in 1960 –Income--$1526 to $2,788 Conglomerates –Businesses diversified to avoid mistakes of the 1920s
Life Changing Technology Dishwashers Gas powered lawn mowers Television –1955 Average family watched 5hrs / day Computers –Developed for the war –Became available for business use. –Bell Telephone Labs invented the Transistor.
Nuclear Power –Technology was used to generate electricity. –Seen as cheap energy source Medicine –1954--Polio Vaccine –1944--Penicillin and other antibiotics were bing produced
The Work Force Historically Americans were blue collar workers (produced tangible goods) White Collar jobs emerged (services not manufacturing)
The Baby Boom Began during WWII Birth rate had fell to 19 births/1000 people during the depression births / 1000 (peak)
Suburbs Growing families left the cities Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill) gave low interest mortgages to veterans. Mass production techniques were applied to housing development.
Cars and Highways Americans depended more on cars than public transit Interstate Highway Act –$26 Billion to build 40K miles –Designed for military purposes Quick evacuation after nuclear strike Run way system (every 5th mi straight) Quick troop movement. –New businesses emerged b/c of the new “car culture”
Consumer Credit Gas companies offered credit cards Americans willingly went into debt to purchase products
The Mood of the ‘50s
Comfort and Security Society emphasized conformity Emergence of the “Youth Culture” –Young people had more leisure –Companies marketed products to younger Americans.
Resurgence of Religion –Caused in Part by the Cold War and the nuclear threat. – “Under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance – “In God We Trust” was placed on our currency –Billy Graham Key figure Southern Baptist minister Preached large scale crusades Frequent guest at the White House
Roles of Men and Women Men –Expected to work and provide for the family. Women –Expected to play a supportive role in the home The Feminine Mystique –Betty Friedan –Attacked the cultural denial of creative roles to women
Challenges to Conformity Emergence of Rock and Roll “Beat Generation” Beatniks –Stressed spontaneity and spirituality –Challenged traditional patterns of respectability –Open sexuality and drug use.
Domestic Politics and Policy
Economic Reconversion Was Truman’s 1st priority Economic controls were lifted and prices soared 25% Strikes –Hit the auto, steel, electrical, coal, and railroad industries. –4.6 million struck in 1946 –1947 Taft Hartley Act Allowed the President to declare an 80 day cooling off period
Truman’s Fair Deal –21 new programs that extended the New Deal –Included: Programs to bring full employment Higher minimum wage Greater unemployment compensation Housing assistance National Health Insurance program Atomic Energy control –Faced Opposition from Conservative Dem’s and Rep’s
Election of 1948 Truman’s support was weakening, even among Democrats. –“You just sor of forget about Harry until he makes another mistake.” –“To err is Truman” Republican Thomas E. Dewey opposed him.
Truman campaigned by train against the Republican Congress –“Do nothing 80th Congress” –“If you send another Republican Congress to Washington, you’re a bigger bunch of suckers than I think you are.” Republican Thomas E. Dewey opposed him. Poles and Experts picked Dewey to win. Truman won an astounding upset
Eisenhower and the Republican Approach 1952 Election –Rep. Dwight D. Eisenhower “Ike” ran against Dem. Adlai Stevension –“I Like Ike” –Ike promised: To end the Korean War A tough approach to the Communists
–Checkers Speech Sept Ike’s VP candidate--Richard Nixon--was accused by the NY Post of having a special fund set up by rich Republicans. Nixon had done nothing wrong, but the accusation was hard to shake. Many wanted Ike to dump him. Sept 23 Nixon went on TV and: –Denied any wrong doing –Admitted taking one gift: “We did get something, a gift, after the election... It was a little cocker spaniel dog... And you know, the kids, like all kids, loved the dog, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we are going to keep it.” p. 782 –Appealed to the American people to contact the Eisenhower campaign and express their opinion. –Ike kept Nixon on the ticket and won the election
Eisenhower Presidency –Served 2 terms –Modern Republicanism Worked to slow the growth of government Cut spending Reduced taxes Worked to balance the budget Sought to encourage and support corporate America. –Maintained a mood of stability
Demands for Civil Rights
Gains for Equality Truman’s Actions –1948 banned discrimination in the hiring of federal employees –1948 ended segregation in the military. Jackie Robinson –1st African American to break the color line in MLB
Brown v. Bd. of Ed. Topeka, Kansas Plessy v. Ferguson 1896 had upheld “separate but equal” segregation Oliver Brown sued Topeka Bd. of Ed. To allow his 8 yr. old daughter attend an all white school. Thurgood Marshall argued the case. May 17, 1954 US Supreme Court declared unanimously that “separate facilities are inherently unequal.”
The Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955 Rosa Parks (sec. of the NAACP) refused to give up her seat in the middle section of the bus for a white man. Was arrested for violating segregation laws.
Boycott –African Americans refused to use the bus system until the segregation policy was dropped. –26 year old Martin Luther King, Jr. became the spokesman for the protest. –50K African Americans in Montgomery walked, rode bicycles, or carpooled for a year –The bus company refused to change, but the US Supreme Court ruled bus segregation illegal.
The Little Rock 9 Central High School was to be integrated 1957 Gov. Orval Faubus delcared he couldn’t face integration. Ike federalized the National Guard to protect the students. The school year was grueling, but all 9 made it through.