Affluence and anxiety
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AFFLUENCE AND ANXIETY. America: Past and Present Chapter 29. The Postwar Boom. 1945-1960--rapid economic growth 1960--fear of another depression wanes. Postwar Prosperity. Stimuli to consumer goods industry baby boom population shift to suburbia Increased defense spending

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Affluence and anxiety


America: Past and Present

Chapter 29

The postwar boom

The Postwar Boom

  • 1945-1960--rapid economic growth

  • 1960--fear of another depression wanes

Postwar prosperity

Postwar Prosperity

  • Stimuli to consumer goods industry

    • baby boom

    • population shift to suburbia

  • Increased defense spending

  • Increase in capital investments

  • Employment expands

Birthrate 1940 1970

Birthrate, 1940-1970

Postwar prosperity lingering problems

Postwar Prosperity:Lingering Problems

  • Agricultural overproduction, low prices

  • Older industrial areas decline

  • 1957-1958--recession slows decade’s economic growth

Life in the suburbs

Life in the Suburbs

  • Suburbia inhabited by middle class

  • Characteristics of suburbs

    • dependence on the automobile

    • family togetherness

  • Traditional feminism discouraged

  • Entrance of more women into workplace stimulates new feminism

The good life

The Good Life?

  • Consumerism the dominant social theme of the 1950s

  • Quality of life leaves Americans anxious and dissatisfied

Areas of greatest growth

Areas of Greatest Growth

  • Church membership

  • School attendance

  • Television watching

Critics of the consumer society

Critics of the Consumer Society

  • Social critics of suburban culture

    • John Keats

    • William Whyte

    • David Riesman

  • C. Wright Mills criticizes corporations

  • Jack Kerouac, “Beat” artists promote counterculture

The reaction to sputnik

The Reaction to Sputnik

  • 1957--Russians launch Sputnik

  • American response

    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    • National Defense Education Act--upgrade the teaching of science

  • Sense of failure, decline by 1960

Farewell to reform

Farewell to Reform

  • Spirit of reform wanes in postwar years

  • Reasons:

    • growing affluence reduces sense of grievance

    • Americans eager to enjoy their new prosperity

Truman and the fair deal

Truman and the Fair Deal

  • Fair Deal attempts to expand New Deal

  • Limited achievement

    • consolidates Roosevelt's reforms

    • sets the agenda for future attempts

Eisenhower s modern republicanism

Eisenhower's Modern Republicanism

  • Eisenhower leaves New Deal intact

  • 1954--Democrats regain Congress

  • 1956--Highway Act creates interstate highway system

    • stimulates the economy

    • shapes metropolitan growth patterns

The interstate highway system

The Interstate Highway System

The struggle over civil rights

The Struggle Over Civil Rights

  • Cold War prompts quest for American moral superiority

  • Legal discrimination against African Americans challenges U.S. self-image

Civil rights as a political issue

Civil Rights as a Political Issue

  • Truman’s civil-rights legislation fails

  • 1948--African American vote gives Truman his margin of victory

  • Civil rights made part of the liberal Democratic agenda

  • Truman integrates the armed forces

Desegregating the schools

Desegregating the Schools

  • 1954--Brown v. Board of Education

    • segregated schools unconstitutional

    • desegregate "with all deliberate speed"

  • Massive resistance in Deep South

  • 1957--Eisenhower’s actions

    • federal troops sent to Little Rock, Arkansas

    • Commission on Civil Rights established

The beginnings of black activism

The Beginnings of Black Activism

  • NAACP--press for civil rights in courts

  • 1955--Martin Luther King, Jr. leads Montgomery bus boycott

  • 1956--Southern Christian Leadership Conference directs anti-segregation

  • Sit-ins protest segregation laws

  • 1960--Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Restoring national confidence

Restoring National Confidence

  • American people more optimistic in 1960 than in 1950

  • Fear of economic depression wanes

  • Fear of Cold War continues

  • Growing recognition of incompatibility of racial injustice with American ideals

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