Postwar America at Home, 1945 1960
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  • 1. 1950S: AMERICA AT HOME United States Studies
  • 2. The Ideal wife???
  • 3. Economic Boom
  • 4. The Thriving Peacetime Economy
    • 1950s—one of the longest sustained economic expansions in US history (no war depression—many entered Middle Class)
    • G.I. Bill helped ($500/year for college; low-interest home loans)
    • Car industry played a key role: many produced; interstate system built
  • 5.  
  • 6. Car Culture
    • 1945-60: From 26 to 60 million cars
    • Led to:
      • Suburbs
      • Drive-In Movies
      • Car Hops
      • Malls
  • 7.  
  • 8. Changing Work Patterns
    • United States stopped being primarily a goods producer and began a new path as a service provider (examples)
    • People enjoyed the leisure resulting from work which was characterized by conformity and “belongingness.”
    • White-collar and blue-collar workers enjoyed a higher standard of living than ever before
  • 9.  
  • 10. Franchises Franchise: Company distributes a business model through local retailers owned by independent operators
  • 11. Failed McDonald’s Menu Items
    • The Arch Deluxe: supposed to appeal to adult tastes with a secret mustard-mayonnaise sauce
  • 12. Failed McDonald’s Menu Items
    • The “McLean Deluxe“: Designed for people watching their weight. It contained Seaweed and water as a replacement for the fat content
  • 13. Failed McDonald’s Menu Items
    • McPizza
  • 14. Failed McDonald’s Menu Items
    • The “Hula Burger" -- grilled pineapple with cheese on a bun
  • 15. Demographic & Technology Shifts
  • 16. Population Growth
    • During the Great Depression, the birthrate had dropped to an all-time low
    • The birth rate exploded as millions of postwar Americans began families (Baby Boom—peak: baby born every 7 seconds)
    • From 1940 to 1955: U.S. population went from 130 to 165 million
    • The death rate was also declining due to peacetime and new medical breakthroughs (Dr. Salk—polio vaccine)
  • 17.  
  • 18. Movement West
    • More mobile than ever before; most headed west and south
    • Cities throughout the Sunbelt South and West coast saw enormous growth.
    • Air conditioning allowed living in these areas.
    • Areas are still growing today
    • Population also shifted away from the traditional city centers to outlying suburbs where housing was cheaper
  • 19.  
  • 20.  
  • 21.  
  • 22. Suburbs—Why?
    • Urban housing shortage
    • Cities became crowded
    • Cheaper, mass-produced housing (Levittown: $52.00 month
    • FHA Loans
    • Interstates—could live farther away from work
  • 23. Levittown
  • 24. American Dream
  • 25. Technology
    • The WWII research efforts of the Atomic Commission turned to creating consumer goods (improve transportation, satellites, radios, TVs)
    • New field of computers also reflected the technology of the era; tiny transistors would help miniaturize computers for use in many items from ovens to vacuum cleaners
  • 26.  
  • 27. Consensus and Conformity
  • 28. Traditional Roles for Men &Women
    • The necessities of World War II had interrupted the natural progression of social roles for men and women
    • Postwar, men and women had different expectations: education and business for men and homemaking and childrearing for women
    • Slow change during the decade reestablished the working patterns of the war: women found more entry points into corporate America
  • 29. Youth Culture
  • 30. Teenagers
    • A new concept
    • No longer have to work
    • High school became the norm
    • Youth “culture” develops
    • Media targeted to teens
    • Music:
      • Old
      • New: Elvis
      • New: Ray Charles
  • 31. Politics
  • 32. Truman’s Presidency
    • Lots of strikes (RR strike—seized them; threatened to draft workers)
    • Taft-Hartley Act (outlawed closed shop—Truman veto)
    • Integrated military—helped Civil Rights Movement
    • Fair Deal (extension of New Deal—not passed because of Republican Congress)
  • 33. Eisenhower Administration
    • Courted by both Dems & Reps
    • Was a moderate (neither Liberal or Conservative)
    • Interstate Highway System
    • 1957 Civil Rights Act
    • Little Rock 9