Chapter 27 Notes


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This presentation is a summary of Chapter 27 from your U.S. History textbook. View the presentation and then answer the questions in your assignment.

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Chapter 27 Notes

  1. 1. The Postwar Years at Home 1945-1960
  2. 2. Postwar Changes in the USA <ul><li>Economic prosperity in the years after World War II brought many changes to American life: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shift from blue-collar to white-collar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Credit cards, televisions, fast-food </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nuclear power for energy, faster automobiles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suburbs, rock-n-roll, “beatniks”, “baby boom” </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The Postwar Economy <ul><li>In the postwar years, the economy prospered - more jobs were available and people were earning more money. The average annual income per person nearly doubled from 1945-1960. </li></ul><ul><li>Businesses also prospered, and a few large corporations dominated many industries. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EX: GM, Ford, Chrysler, General Electric, Westinghouse </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Great Depression made people afraid to invest all of their assets in one business, though, so many corporations formed conglomerates (corporations of smaller unrelated businesses) to protect themselves from economic downturns. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EX: Int’l Telephone and Telegraph purchased Avis Rent-a-car, Sheraton Hotels, Hartford Fire Insurance, and Continental Baking. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Business Expansion <ul><li>Another type of business expansion came in the form of the franchise (a business that contracts to offer certain goods and services from a larger parent company) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EX: McDonald’s (first fast-food restaurant in 1954) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less risk involved than in opening your own original business, because owners sell a product that is usually well-known </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fast-food restaurants, clothing stores, and other franchises began popping up </li></ul></ul>
  5. 6. Technology Transforms Life <ul><li>Advances in technology, such as television , computers , transistors , and nuclear power also spurred industrial growth as businesses met demands for new technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>All of these new technologies (like dishwashers and gas-powered lawnmowers) helped Americans save time, but also quickened the pace of life. </li></ul>
  6. 7. Impact of Television <ul><li>One of the greatest symbols of prosperity during the 1950s. </li></ul><ul><li>This was the “Golden Age” of Television </li></ul><ul><li>Children grew up watching Howdy Doody and The Mickey Mouse Club ; teenagers danced to rock-n-roll on American Bandstand ; and other viewers followed comedies like I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best. </li></ul>
  7. 9. 1946  7,000 TV sets in the U. S. 1950  50,000,000 TV sets in the U. S. Television became a powerful medium for advertisers, allowing them to reach millions of viewers. Commercial interruption is a practice that obviously continues today.
  8. 10. Computers <ul><li>With the development of the transistor (a tiny circuit device that amplifies, controls, and generates electrical signals), machines that once filled entire rooms could now fit on a desk. Calculations that had taken hours could be performed in fractions of a second. </li></ul>
  9. 12. Nuclear Power <ul><li>The use of atomic energy to produce heat that could generate steam and drive electrical turbines also changed the U.S. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The first nuclear power plant opened in 1957. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 14. Medicine and Social Ideas <ul><li>Medicine also took giant leaps in the 1950s </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Jonas Salk – new vaccine for Polio virtually eliminated that dreaded disease (which previously had killed 20,000 children in the U.S. each year) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Benjamin Spock – new book detailing raising children – advocated that women should “stay at home” with the kids – NOT work outside the home </li></ul>
  11. 15. Workplace Shift <ul><li>The postwar years also saw changes in the work force </li></ul><ul><li>Before 1950s, more Americans worked in blue-collar jobs (manual labor), but because of machinery and the purchase of new “advanced” products, more Americans shifted to white-collar jobs (professional and service-related jobs – managers, technicians, salespeople, clerical duties) </li></ul>
  12. 16. GI Bill of Rights (1944) <ul><li>Unlike WWI vets, WWII veterans were able to expand their economic opportunities with the help of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill of Rights) </li></ul><ul><li>This law gave veterans low-interest mortgages to purchase new homes and also provided $$ for them to go to college or graduate school. It helped push more people into white-collar jobs </li></ul>
  13. 17. BABY BOOM!!! <ul><li>A growing economy (more $$) and more affluence (extra $$) also helped increase the birthrate, causing a “baby boom” in the 1950s and 1960s. </li></ul><ul><li>From 1945 to 1961, more than 65 million babies were born in the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>This extreme growth of families also pushed families away from crowded downtown areas outward into the suburbs </li></ul>
  14. 19. William J. Levitt <ul><li>Because most Americans saved their money during the war (by choice and rationing), Americans could afford to buy their own homes. </li></ul><ul><li>One developer used mass production techniques for the mass building of what he later called Levittowns (communities). He bought precut and preassembled materials and built houses in weeks instead on months (resulted in “cookie cutter” developments in the suburbs). </li></ul>
  15. 21. Cars and Highways <ul><li>These Levittowns led to a rise in shopping centers (businesses followed their customers to the suburbs) and the demand for automobiles (to get people to and from the city). </li></ul><ul><li>The increase in cars also sparked the passing of the Interstate Highway Act of 1956 ( which created over 40,000 miles of interstate highways and made traveling easier ). </li></ul>
  16. 22. <ul><li>Eager to cash in, gasoline companies began offering credit cards . </li></ul><ul><li>The Diner’s Club (1950) picked up on this idea of credit and by the end of the decade, American Express and later Visa would appear – all encouraging consumers to buy beyond their means . </li></ul><ul><li>Because of this, consumer credit debt rose from $8 billion (1946) to $56 billion (1960). </li></ul><ul><li>Americans used their credit to purchase washing machines, vacuums, and TVs. This was the beginning of America’s “affluent society”. </li></ul>Credit Cards and Debt
  17. 23. The Word is CONFORMITY <ul><li>During the 1950s, many Americans lived comfortable lives – after the Depression and WWII, people valued security and comfort over individuality . This led to ideas of conformity (people followed the rules and did as others did). </li></ul><ul><li>The young people, called the “silent generation”, were content to enjoy their parents’ affluence rather than become involved in world affairs. They didn’t have to work to support their families, could stay in school, and have fun. </li></ul>
  18. 24. Youth Culture <ul><li>Smart businesses seized the opportunity to sell products to this new youth culture and more teenagers had money to spend (guys – part-time jobs, girls – baby-sitting) </li></ul><ul><li>Magazines and TV shows tried to stress conformity (bobby socks, poodle skirts, letter sweaters, leather jackets) but many of the youth began to rebel against conformity </li></ul>
  19. 26. Resurgence in Religion <ul><li>The 1950s comfort and security also sparked a resurgence in religion as many flocked back to churches (Billy Graham) </li></ul><ul><li>Some of this was in response to the struggle with “godless communism” and some looked to religion to find hope during the threat of nuclear war </li></ul>
  20. 27. Resurgence in Religion <ul><li>“ In God We Trust” was required to appear on all money </li></ul><ul><li>“ under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance </li></ul><ul><li>By 1960, 95% said they felt connected to a formal religious group </li></ul>
  21. 28. Traditional Roles <ul><li>Conformity to traditional roles was the norm </li></ul><ul><li>Men were supposed to go to school, find jobs and wives, and support their families </li></ul><ul><li>Women were expected to play a supporting role in their husbands’ lives – keep house, cook meals, and raise children </li></ul>
  22. 30. Dr. Benjamin Spock <ul><li>Many parents turned to pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock for advice – advocated that women should “stay at home” with the kids – NOT work outside the home </li></ul><ul><li>And many women followed this advice and stayed at home raising the families and supporting their husbands </li></ul>
  23. 31. The Feminine Mystique <ul><li>But there was a major portion of women following WW II that did NOT want to give up the independence and money there were earning. </li></ul><ul><li>Betty Friedan , in 1936, wrote The Feminine Mystique , a novel critical of the culture that made it difficult for women to choose alternative roles </li></ul>
  24. 32. Youthful Rebellion <ul><li>Even with conformity being challenged, most women still worked as secretaries, teachers, nurses, and sales clerks - NOT professional jobs </li></ul><ul><li>There was also a youthful rebellion of conformity as those young people felt confined and looked for a style all their own -- James Dean, Elvis Presley, and ROCK-N-ROLL </li></ul>
  25. 34. Rock-and-Roll <ul><li>Many of those youths turned to music to express their rebellion, becoming fans of rock-and-roll music, especially the songs of Elvis Presley , the Beatles, and The Rolling Stones </li></ul><ul><li>Most adults hated this music, believing it would cause immorality, drug use, and that it was listened to by both blacks and whites – these adults were still comfortable with segregation. </li></ul>
  26. 35. “ Beat Generation” -- Beatniks <ul><li>Members of the “ Beat Generation ” launched a different challenge to conformity – these Beatniks (writers, artists, etc) promoted the idea of spontaneity – acting at a moment’s notice without planning </li></ul><ul><li>They stressed spirituality – release from a world of money and property </li></ul><ul><li>They were anti-materialistic in a very materialistic time period. </li></ul>
  27. 36. Beatniks – Jack Kerouac <ul><li>These beatniks challenged traditional patterns of respectability and shocked most Americans with their very open sexuality and their prolific use of illegal drugs </li></ul><ul><li>Author Jack Kerouac , considered the leader of this movement, wrote books detailing his ideas and experiences of a spontaneous life of freedom and openness </li></ul>
  28. 37. The 1950s Mood – Summary <ul><li>The 1950s saw a major change in the attitudes and moods of Americans </li></ul><ul><li>More free time to pursue “fun” stuff </li></ul><ul><li>Prosperity and security – leads to conformity and importance of religion </li></ul><ul><li>Conformity leads to rebellion – Rock-and-Roll </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional roles for women/men </li></ul>
  29. 38. Truman and the Economy <ul><li>Becoming President just as WWII was ending, Harry S. Truman faced the challenge of America’s reconversion – the transition from a wartime to a peacetime economy </li></ul><ul><li>While America was at war, the people had limited access to consumer goods, but when the war was over, the people wanted the stuff and they wanted it quick </li></ul>
  30. 40. Truman and Labor Strikes <ul><li>Prices soared (because the demand for goods was high), but wages did NOT – the people still couldn’t afford the “stuff”, and many workers went on strike for higher wages. </li></ul><ul><li>Truman was upset at the demands of unions and workers. He felt that higher wages would lead prices up even more, and he actually proposed drafting striking railroad workers into the Army (1946). </li></ul>
  31. 41. Taft-Hartley <ul><li>Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 which gave the President powers to force the workers back to work (those in very important industries) </li></ul><ul><li>It also required union leaders to sign loyalty oaths stating that they weren’t Communists. </li></ul><ul><li>Truman vetoed the law, but Congress passed it over Truman’s veto </li></ul>
  32. 42. The “Fair Deal” <ul><li>Like FDR, Truman wanted to extend the New Deal’s goals – “ The Fair Deal ” – this govt-sponsored program included more benefits for workers, national health insurance, and control over atomic energy </li></ul><ul><li>The Fair Deal (and Truman) ran into serious opposition from Congress (even within his own Democratic party) who rejected most of the Fair Deal. </li></ul>
  33. 43. End to Army Segregation <ul><li>Truman also moved to increase civil rights for African Americans by ordering the US armed forces to end segregation in 1948 and by banning racial discrimination in the hiring of federal employees </li></ul><ul><li>His beliefs on racial issues hurt Truman’s support with both parties (Democrats/Republicans) </li></ul>
  34. 44. Discontent over Truman <ul><li>The public also picked up on the discontent with Harry, with slogans such as “To err is Truman” </li></ul><ul><li>Truman’s support fell from 87% approval in 1945 to 32% in 1946, and would drop below 25% in 1948-52 </li></ul><ul><li>The result of midterm elections in 1946 (Senate, House) was that Truman was not seen as an effective leader </li></ul>
  35. 45. Election of 1948 <ul><li>Truman decided to run again in 1948 </li></ul><ul><li>He had no reason to expect victory, especially since his own party split apart – with southern Democrats forming the Dixiecrat Party and nominating Strom Thurmond (S.C.) and liberal Democrats going to the Progressive Party and nominating Henry Wallace </li></ul><ul><li>Republicans ran Thomas E. Dewey as their candidate. </li></ul>
  36. 46. Election of 1948 <ul><li>Truman began whistle-stop campaign across the nation (he crisscrossed the country by train) and was seen as the “peoples’ man” – a friend of the commoners </li></ul><ul><li>Even with increasing support, no one believed Truman could/would win </li></ul><ul><li>But he did, and Democrats gained control of Congress as well. </li></ul>
  37. 48. 22 nd Amendment <ul><li>Republicans, long out of the White House, began to argue that there should be term-limits on the Presidency (FDR had served 4 terms) </li></ul><ul><li>They pushed for a constitutional amendment, which passed easily. </li></ul><ul><li>22 nd Amendment, adopted in 1951, limited a President to serving two (2) terms, or ten (10) years </li></ul>
  38. 49. Election of 1952 <ul><li>Truman could have run again in 1952, but decided against it, Dems choose Adlai Stevenson, governor of Illinois </li></ul><ul><li>Republicans get Dwight Eisenhower , IKE , along with VP choice Richard Nixon to run in 1952. </li></ul>
  39. 51. Dwight D. Eisenhower (IKE) <ul><li>This “War Hero” – man of “action” became the man of the people as popular support for IKE was helped by the first television political commercials </li></ul><ul><li>Eisenhower’s candidacy hit a snag in Sept 1952, when newspapers found that VP choice, Richard Nixon , had a special fund ($$), set up by rich supporters </li></ul>
  40. 53. <ul><li>Nixon came under attack for accepting “gifts” from businesspeople </li></ul><ul><li>Nixon went on radio/TV and insisted they were legit funds – but did say he had kept one gift – a cocker spaniel puppy named “Checkers” – The “Checkers” speech helped save Nixon !! </li></ul><ul><li>Ike wins by more than 6 million votes </li></ul>
  41. 55. Ike and Modern Republicanism <ul><li>Ike used “hidden hand” presidency – directed the action from the side and delegated much power and authority – Cabinet members held great authority </li></ul><ul><li>Ike began to promote Modern Republicanism that included cutting spending, reducing taxes, and balancing the budget </li></ul><ul><li>Ike, like other Republicans, favored big business </li></ul>
  42. 56. Modern Republicanism <ul><li>Modern Republicanism sought to encourage and support corporate America </li></ul><ul><li>Ike was unsuccessful at balancing the budget, and his cuts in govt spending caused the economy to slump </li></ul><ul><li>This caused revenues (tax $$) to drop and increased deficit spending (national debt). </li></ul>
  43. 57. Election of 1956 and Beyond <ul><li>Ike was re-elected in 1956, but the economy continued to go south, with 3 recessions in ‘53, ‘57, and ’60 </li></ul><ul><li>Despite economic troubles, Ike helped the country maintain a mood of stability and continued to support the economic (job) security of Americans (New Deal – Social Security) </li></ul>
  44. 58. NASA <ul><li>With the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957, Ike responded by creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as an independent agency for space exploration </li></ul>
  45. 59. <ul><li>Ike and Congress also signed the National Defense Education Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The NDEA was designed to improve science and math instruction in schools so that the US could meet the challenge from the Soviets and train the next generation of scientists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provided millions of $$ to college students (low-cost loans) if they would become teachers, and $$ for public schools to build science facilities </li></ul></ul>
  46. 60. Now go back to your assignment and answer the questions about this information. You can use this presentation or your textbook (Chapter 27) if you need help.