AMERICA in the ’50s. THE G.I. BILL. Provided college for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as GIs). Provided one year of unemployment compensation. Millions of GIs bought homes, attended college, started business venture, or found jobs. THE G.I. BILL.
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Provided college for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as GIs)
Provided one year of unemployment compensation
Millions of GIs bought homes, attended college, started business venture, or found jobs
VA Mortgages paid for nearly 5 million new homes, by making homes affordable with low interest rates and 30 year loans.
President Franklin Roosevelt signs the GI Bill in 1944
Between 1945 and 1954, the U.S. added 13 million new homes to its housing stock
The American birthrate exploded after World War II.
From 1945 -61 more than 65 million children were born
This period became known as the Baby Boom
The end of wars led to more young couples getting married
G.I. Bill encouraged growth of families by offering generous benefits for home purchases
Pop culture glorified pregnancy, parenthood and large families
The federal law that greatly restricting the activities and power of labor unions
One of the major acts Harry
Truman made as president was in when 1948 Truman made an executive order
to end segregation in
the armed forces
Truman also asked Congress to pass a civil rights bill that would make lynching a federal crime
Truman angered many Southern Democrats by supporting segregation
Many people didn’t think he would be re-elected
Harry S Truman
People were so sure that Truman would lose that one headline even incorrectly said that Dewey had won
Historians view the Election of 1948 as the greatest election upset in American history
Truman said that all Americans had the right to expect a “fair deal” from the government
“The buck stops here.”
-- Harry Truman
A Society on the Move
The New York suburb of Levittown was the first modern suburb
The Federal Highway Act was passed in 1956
This was the largest public works program in American history.
Law called for the building of 40,000 miles of interstate
Interstate roads in DFW are I-20, I-30, I-35 and I-45
America became a more homogeneous nation because of the automobile.
First McDonald’s (1955)
Americans were attracted to the Sunbelt (southern and western states) because they offered new defense industry jobs. The invention of air-conditioning also made living in these states easier.
However, population growth increased tensions between groups. There was also greater pollution in these areas.
During the postwar era, many Americans found jobs in the service sector as opposed to manufacturing.
Industries that experienced growth: information, franchises. Many companies also became multinational– doing business around the world.
Mass Culture and Family Life
After the war, American incomes rose, leaving more money to be spent on the emerging conveniences of the time period– appliances and cars especially.
Families focused on unity. Women were encouraged to stay at home and raise the children, while the husband was the primary breadwinner. There was also an increased emphasis on religion and morality.
By 1957, there were about 40 million television sets in use and TV became an important source of information
Shows like I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners were the most popular TV shows of the ’50s
Father Knows Best1954-1958
The Ozzie and Harriet Show1952-1966
Leave it to Beaver1957-1963
In the 1950s, many teenagers rebelled against the middle-class suburban values, particularly conformity and wanted to be unique.
The King of Rock ’n Roll
Presley’s extraordinary popularity established rock ’n’ roll as an unprecedented mass-market phenomenon
His reputation as a performer endured up to his death in 1977 at the age of 42.
Graceland, his home in Memphis, is now a public museum visited by upwards of 600,000 people annually.
Dissent and Discontent
The Beat Generation was the cultural movement of the 1950s when young people – often writers – ditched society’s normal standards for new ways of thinking
The major works of Beat writing are Allen Ginsberg's Howl, William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch and Jack Kerouac's On the Road
Members of the Beat Generation were referred to as “beatniks” and set the stage for the rise of the counter-culture and hippies during the 1960s
In his book The Other America, Michael Harrington showed that many Americans lived in poverty in the U.S.
The book influenced the thinking of both John F. Kennedy and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, as they both made the elimination of poverty a major goal.
“America needs to build a ‘Great Society.’ I am declaring a war on poverty.”
-- Lyndon B. Johnson
University of Michigan, 1964
Minorities continued to face unemployment and discrimination. Mexican migrant farmers were exploited and lived in poor conditions.
The U.S. gov targeted Native Americans and cut off healthcare and other services.