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Chapter 29 AFFLUENCE AND ANXIETY America Past & Present.

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1 Chapter 29 AFFLUENCE AND ANXIETY America Past & Present

2 The Postwar Boom  1950s ~ Characterized by a new affluence & economic good times  1960 ~ Fear of another depression wanes p.841

3 Postwar Prosperity  Stimuli to consumer goods industry Baby boom Population shift to suburbia 1950 ~ Americans bought more than 6M cars  Increased defense spending  Increase in capital investments  Employment expands p.841-842

4 Birthrate, 1940–1970 p.841

5 Postwar Prosperity: Some Minor Problems  Agricultural overproduction, low prices  Newer industries (aircraft, electronics) continued to flourish, but older industries (steel) & farmers failed to keep up with national growth  Despite the boom, unemployment rose to over 7% in a shape recession that hit the country in the fall of 1957 & lasted thru the summer of 1958  None of this disguised the fact that the nation was prospering to an extent few had imagined p.842

6 Life in the Suburbs  Suburbia inhabited by middle class  1956 ~ First fully enclosed “mall” in Minneapolis  Characteristics of suburbs Dependence on the automobile Family togetherness  Traditional feminism discouraged  Entrance of more women into workplace stimulated new feminism p.842-843

7 The Good Life?  Consumerism the dominant social theme of the 1950s  Quality of life left Americans anxious & dissatisfied Areas of Greatest Growth  Church membership  School attendance  Television watching p.843-845

8 Critics of the Consumer Society Books by social critics of suburban culture  John Keats “Tract homes…spreading like gangrene”  C. Wright Mills ~ Corps were the villians “Rows of blank counters, w/ blank-looking girls, w/ blank folders in their blank hands…”  Jack Kerouac ~ Novelist (On the Road) who set the tone of the beat generation Beatniks: Poetry, drugs, coffeehouses Set the stage for the counterculture of the 1960s p.845-848

9 The Reaction to Sputnik  1957: Soviets launched Sputnik  American response National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) National Defense Education Act—upgrade the teaching of science Duck & cover  Sense of failure, declined by 1960 p.846-847

10 Farewell to Reform  Spirit of reform waned in postwar yrs A turning away from federal regulation & welfare programs  Reasons: Growing affluence reduced sense of grievance Americans eager to enjoy their new prosperity p.848

11 Truman & the Fair Deal  Fair Deal attempted to expand New Deal Medical Insurance for all Americans Revived & strengthened Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) Federal aid to education  Truman’s “Fair Deal” was never enacted Doctor’s lobby convinced people that an insurance plan would be “socialized medicine” Southerners opposed FEPC & aid to education  Truman’s achievements Consolidated Roosevelt's reforms Set the agenda for future attempts to expand New Deal p.348-349

12 Eisenhower's Modern Republicanism  Eisenhower left New Deal intact Raised minimum wage and expanded Social Security Created Department of Health, Education, and Welfare  1954 ~ Democrats regained Congress  1956 ~ Highway Act created the Interstate Highway System Justified on grounds of National defense Stimulated the economy Shaped metropolitan growth patterns  Overall, Ike’s political perspective is characterized as “Moderate Republicanism” p.849-851

13 The Interstate Highway System p.850

14 The Election of 1956

15 The Struggle Over Civil Rights  Cold War prompted quest for American moral superiority We criticized the Soviets for their human rights violations yet still treated Af Ams as second class citizens  Legal discrimination (segregation) against African Americans was rampant Separate restaurants, drinking fountains, restrooms, waiting rooms, phone booths  African-Americans expected more in postwar America p.851

16 Civil Rights as a Political Issue  Truman’s civil-rights legislation failed  1948 ~ African American vote gave Truman his margin of victory  Civil rights made part of the liberal Democratic agenda  Truman integrated the armed forces Certainly much more than society at large p.851-852

17 Desegregating the Schools  1954 ~ Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Segregated schools unconstitutional Desegregate "with all deliberate speed"  Massive resistance in Deep South  1957 ~ Gov Orville Faubus: ARNG Ike sends federal troops to Little Rock, AR  Commission on Civil Rights p.852-853

18 The Beginnings of Black Activism  1955 ~ Rosa Parks refuses to “move to the back of the bus” in Montgomery, AL  ML King, Jr. led Montgomery bus boycott 1956 ~ Founded Southern Christian Ldrsp Conf directed at anti-segregation  Sit-ins protested segregation laws 1960 ~ Successful sit-ins led to the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee SCLC & SNCC began using the direct, nonviolent, passive resistance p.853-856

19 Restoring National Confidence  American people more optimistic in 1960 than in 1950  Fear of economic depression waned  Fear of Cold War continued  Growing recognition of incompatibility of racial injustice with American ideals p.856

20 Chapter 29 AFFLUENCE AND ANXIETY America Past & Present End

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