The American Way of Life 1945-1968

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The American Way of Life 1945-1968

  1. 1. USA & the Wider World 1945- 1989 • The American Way of Life
  2. 2. Affluence • WW2 brought full employment •Wages were high – • 1940 - $754 • 1944 - $1,289 •After WW2 incomes continued to rise - • 1950 - $3,319 • 1968 - $8,000 •‘the economy of abundance’
  3. 3. Immigration • With the baby boom – immigration contributed to the dramatic rise in population • WW2 Refugees • 17,000 Korean war brides and their children • Immigrants from Eastern Europe • 275,000 Mexicans became US citizens – farm labourers in California, Arizona and Texas
  4. 4. • From rural to urban areas • The middle classes moved from the cities to the suburbs • Black Americans moved from the South to the North (and west) Migration
  5. 5. • 1940 – 130 million • 1955 – 165 million • 1960 – 179 million • 1989 – 250 million Population
  6. 6. The New Rich • The ‘old rich’ retained and expanded their wealth • The Rockefellers • The Vanderbilts • By 1960 – 100,000 millionaires • The ‘new rich’ made their money from oil, financial services and property • 1988 – 1.3 million millionaires
  7. 7. The Consumer Society • Vast increase in range of goods • Between 1945-1950 – 20 million fridges – 5.5 million cookers – 21.4 million cars • By end 1950s – 225,000 dishwashers per year • By 1960 half of American homes had a TV • Advertising
  8. 8. The Car Culture • Mass movement to suburbs • Poor public transport • 1945 – 26 million cars • 1975 – 130 million cars • The country was changed to facilitate car ownership – motorways, car parks, drive- ins, drive through’s etc • Important for image and status • Petrol was cheap.
  9. 9. The Cadillac
  10. 10. Buy Now, Pay Later • Instalment buying – hire purchase • Retailers offered consumers attractive conditions with low interest rates • General Motors ‘buy now, pay later’ • Banks and department stores began issuing credit cards • During 1950s – private debt went from $105 billion to $263 billion • By 1970s over 600 million credit cards for 150 million adult Americans
  11. 11. Little Boxes • Malvina Reynolds Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of ticky tacky, Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes all the same. There's a green one and a pink one And a blue one and a yellow one, And they're all made out of ticky tacky And they all look just the same.
  12. 12. • Presentation prepared by: • Dominic Haugh • St. Particks Comprehensive School • Shannon • Co. Clare • Presentation can be used for educational purposes only – all rights remain with author

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