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Chapter 27 - Postwar America
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Chapter 27 - Postwar America


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  • 1. Chapter 27
  • 2. Return to a Peacetime Economy
    • Economy increases = increased consumer spending
    • GI Bill –loans to veterans
    • Increased spending = increased prices (inflation)
    • Workers go on strike for higher wages
    • Taft-Hartley Act
      • Outlawed the closed shop
      • Outlawed featherbedding
      • Allowed states to pass right-to-work laws outlawing union shops
  • 3. Truman’s Domestic Policy
    • Truman has little success
      • Congress gets in the way
    • Truman labels Congress a “Do-Nothing Congress”
    • Mid-term elections see the Democrats win majorities in Congress
    • “ Fair Deal”
      • Minimum wage increased
      • Social Security expanded
  • 4. The Eisenhower Years
    • Eisenhower - midway between conservative and liberal
    • Dynamic conservatism
      • balancing of economic conservatism with some activism
    • Conservative Side:
      • Ended price and rent controls
      • Cut aid for public housing
      • Supported tax reductions
    • Activist Side:
      • Federal Highway Act – created 40,000 miles of interstate highways
      • Provided $25 billion for the construction of these roadways
    • Wartime to peacetime economy
  • 5. American Abundance
    • John Kenneth Galbraith – The Affluent Society:
      • New business techniques and improved technology
    • White-collared jobs (sales, management, services) begin to outnumber blue-collared jobs (physical labor industry)
    • Multinational corporations – located near raw materials, and cheap labor
    • Increase in franchises
    • Conform to company standards.
    • Advertising: fastest growing industries
    • Suburbs: Levittown, NY: become the symbol of the American dream – example of American conformity
  • 6. The 1950s Family
    • Families grow larger and women enter the workforce
    • 1941-1965 – baby boom – more than 65 million children born in the United States
    • Popular culture embraced and encouraged large families
    • Women expected to stay home, but many enter the workforce
  • 7. Technological Breakthroughs
    • ENIAC and UNIVAC – 1 st computers developed in the US – useful for business data
    • Development of antibiotics; drugs for arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease; and advances in surgical techniques
    • Jonas Salk – invented the polio vaccine
    • Commercial planes made smoother and faster
  • 8. New Mass Media
    • Television popularity – advertising and sporting events
    • Comedy, action and adventure, variety shows, and quiz shows
      • 21 – Cheating scandal
    • Movie industry losses viewers – innovation of the cinemascope and 3-d glasses
      • Stereotypical roles
    • Radios expanded their programming: Music, news, talk shows, weather, and public service programming
  • 9. New Youth Culture
    • Young Americans look to break from conformity
    • Alan Freed plays rock ‘n’ roll for the 1 st time on the radio
    • Elvis Presley becomes a hero to teenagers – parents fear music’s influence
    • Generation gap – cultural separation between children and parents
    • Beats – group of artists who highlighted the generation gap in the US
    • Jack Kerouac – On The Road
  • 10. African American Entertainers
    • Found acceptance as music performers
    • Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Little Richard
    • Women’s groups – The Crystals, the Chiffons, the Shirelles
  • 11. Poverty Amidst Prosperity
    • 1950s – 1 in 5 Americans lived below the poverty line
    • Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
      • Single mothers, elderly, minority immigrants, rural Americans, Appalachians, and Native Americans
    • Americans move to suburbs, urban areas become home to poorer, less educated minority groups
    • Urban renewal programs – tore down slums, built high-rise projects
  • 12. Minority Ethnic Groups in the 50s
    • African American salaries were 51% of white salaries
    • NAACP and Congress on Racial Equality push for equality, but have little success
    • Bracero program – 5 million Mexican immigrants to come to the US for agricultural needs – struggle with poverty and poor working conditions
    • Native Americans the poorest group in the country
    • Termination policy – US government withdraws recognition of Native Americans as legal entities
  • 13. Juvenile Delinquency
    • Rise in anti-social or criminal behavior amongst youths
    • Youths were stereotyped if they did not conform to social norms
    • As baby boomers enter school, schools suffer building and teacher shortages
    • Schools criticized for lack of technical education – improvement made in math and science education