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“America in Transition” Economic, Cultural and Social Change in the late Twentieth Century.

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Presentation on theme: "“America in Transition” Economic, Cultural and Social Change in the late Twentieth Century."— Presentation transcript:

1 “America in Transition” Economic, Cultural and Social Change in the late Twentieth Century

2 I. A Changing People

3 A. An Aging Population After 1970, lower birth rates and delayed marriages Median age of the U.S. population consequently grew The “graying of America” has proven to be both a blessing and a burden

4 B. The Rise of the Sunbelt Between , 90% of the nation’s population growth came in the South and the West 1980 Census: More people in the south and west than in the north and east

5 B. The Rise of the Sunbelt (cont.) Conservative, sunbelt coalition elects Reagan South now has a 2-party system Reasons for this demographic shift The “Gunbelt” Government spending in the space program also promoted Sunbelt growth

6 C. New Immigration After 1970, Asia and Latin America become the major source of U.S. immigrants Dramatic increase in immigration after 1880 Asian-Americans = fastest growing segment of the U.S. population The Refugee Act of 1980

7 C. New Immigration (cont.) Immigrants clustered in a handful of states and cities Rising conflict between old and new ethnic groups Irony in the fact that new immigrants were often very industrious and successful Increased Black-White tension Disappearing sense of “American community”

8 D. New Patterns of Urbanization By 1990, a majority of Americans lived in cities of a million people or more Suburbs melded into “urban corridors” “Edge Cities” rival the central cities that gave them birth

9 E. Changing Family Patterns Number of women in the work force continued to grow Women = better educated Decline in the traditional 2-parent family unit Many more people living alone—25% of U.S. households in 1990 Problems for Black males

10 II. Economic Transformations

11 A. New Technologies During the 1970’s, sales of home computers soared --Apple vs. IBM Artificial Intelligence capabilities An “Information Revolution” -- , fax machines, voice mail, World Wide Web, cellular phones

12 B. Big Business Computerized communications transformed the way of doing business forever Bank Cards, private debt and personal bankruptcies soared The ATM revolution

13 B. Big Business (cont.) Franchising and chain stores change the way consumer products are bought and sold --Chili’s and Starbucks --Sam Walton and Wal- Mart American chains expand overseas International production

14 B. Big Business (cont.) Foreign interests buy U.S. companies The “globalization” of industrial giants After 1970, postindustrial restructuring became a fact of life Union membership declines “De-skilling” of the American labor force

15 III. The Environment The “Environmental Movement” --1 st Earth Day (1970) Congressional Action during the 1970’s --The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA—1970) Environmentalism prompted heated public debate

16 III. The Environment (cont.) New standards brought some significant improvements Creation of a cleanup “Superfund” Reagan tries to reverse government environmentalism --Secretary of the Interior James Watt Environmental debates lessens in the 1990’s

17 III. The Environment (cont.) Growing focus on international ecological dangers -- “global warming” International meetings on environmental issues became frequent Concerns over U.S. dependence on fossil fuels as an energy source

18 III. The Environment (cont.) Creation of the Department of Energy (1977) The Perils of Nuclear power --Three Mile Island (1979) Battles with OPEC over the cost of oil Tapping new oil supplies and OPEC rivalries help

19 IV. Media and Culture

20 A. The Video Revolution By the 1990’s, the video screen became the symbol of the nation’s mass culture The omnipresence of the video monitor 1970’s were the last decade of dominance by the 3 major television networks

21 A. The Video Revolution (cont.) Original strategy of offering general- interest programming to attract a mass audience CBS jettisons this strategy in the 1970’s to attract viewers more likely to spend money on new products

22 A. The Video Revolution (cont.) CBS also used its comedy lineup to address more controversial programming -- “All in the Family” -- “Mary Tyler Moore Show” -- “M*A*S*H” -- “Saturday Night Live” (1975)

23 A. The Video Revolution (cont.) ABC begins to cultivate the teen audience during the 1970’s -- “Charlie’s Angels” -- “Three’s Company” -- “Kojak” -- “Happy Days” -- “Fantasy Island”

24 A. The Video Revolution (cont.) Rising Profits for the 3 major networks during the 1970’s During the 1980’s, the major networks confronted a slow, steady loss of viewers -- “The Bill Cosby Show” -- “Cheers” Independent stations begin to compete in local markets

25 A. The Video Revolution (cont.) Debut of the Fox Network (1988) -- “The Simpsons” The impact of remote- control and the VCR Cable television further fragments TV viewership --65% of U.S. homes wired for cable by Ted Turner and CNN

26 B. The Movies Ticket prices for movies rise after 1970 Hollywood focuses on producing a few blockbuster epics -- “Star Wars” (1977) -- “Rocky” (1976) Many box office duds, too

27 B. The Movies (cont.) Because of the duds, Hollywood plays it safe with story lines and special effects that have worked in the past -- “Batman” and “Jurassic Park” (1993) Video rental stores and multiplex suburban theaters in the 80’s & 90’s MTV is launched in 1981

28 C. The New Mass Culture Debate Mass culture studies at U.S. universities during the 80’s & 90’s Subculture creation by some shows Controversy over university cultural studies -- The Closing of the American Mind (1987) -- “Politically Correct”

29 C. The New Mass Culture Debate (cont.) Studies show baby- boomers wanted stronger family and religious ties in the 80’s Yet, they displayed more tolerance for cultural diversity Controversy over the NEA and the NEH The conservative attack on “secular humanism”

30 V. Social Activism and Conservative Politics Social ferment intensifies after the 1960’s The importance of the mass demonstration -- “Million Man March” (1995) -- Promise Keepers march on Washington (1997) Mass demonstrations fail to draw media attention

31 V. Social Activism and Conservative Politics (cont.) “Consciousness-raising” in the 1970’s Growing concerns among women over economic self-sufficiency and equal pay The “feminization” of poverty Diversity in the women’s movement proves to be a strength

32 V. Social Activism and Conservative Politics (cont.) Sexual harassment becomes a contemporary issue --Anita Hill -- “Tailhook” convention (1991) “Afrocentrism as a movement during the 1970’s

33 V. Social Activism and Conservative Politics (cont.) “Malcolmania” --Spike Lee Racial pride in rap and hip-hop music Reconciling Black pride with the American “melting pot” NAACP debate over integration versus separate Black schools (1997)

34 V. Social Activism and Conservative Politics (cont.) Gap between Blacks and Whites continues to a greater degree than most would like to acknowledge --O.J. Simpson Murder Trial Native Americans and gambling casinos

35 V. Social Activism and Conservative Politics (cont.) The media proclaimed the 1980’s the decade of the Hispanics Enormous diversity within this designation Diversity among Asian Americans Quotas and the “Politics of Group Identity” -- “Affirmative Action”

36 V. Social Activism and Conservative Politics (cont.) Affirmative Action sparked tremendous controversy The rise of racial and ethnic inter-marriage The “New Right” with evangelical Christian roots --Pat Robertson’s 700 Club --Rush Limbaugh


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