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Contrasting Cultures: The “Fifties” and the “Sixties”. -Key Concepts-. I. The “Fifties”: Affluence and Anxiety. A. Life in the Suburbs. Optimism and pessimism both characterized the 50’s Explosion of homebuilding during the decade Levittown Ease of financing for new homes

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Contrasting cultures the fifties and the sixties l.jpg

Contrasting Cultures: The “Fifties” and the “Sixties”

-Key Concepts-


I the fifties affluence and anxiety l.jpg

I. The “Fifties”: Affluence and Anxiety


A life in the suburbs l.jpg

A. Life in the Suburbs

  • Optimism and pessimism both characterized the 50’s

  • Explosion of homebuilding during the decade

  • Levittown

  • Ease of financing for new homes

  • Levittown “uniformity”


A life in the suburbs cont l.jpg

A. Life in the Suburbs (cont.)

  • Diversity under the surface at Levittown

  • Post-war growth of American suburbs

  • Dramatic population growth in the “Sunbelt”

  • Increased mobility in the American population in general

  • American “car culture”


A life in the suburbs cont5 l.jpg

A. Life in the Suburbs (cont.)

  • Post-War “Baby Boom”

  • A new “Consumer Revolution”

  • Origins of Fifties economic growth

  • Real economic growth crossed class lines


A life in the suburbs cont6 l.jpg

A. Life in the Suburbs (cont.)

  • Age of the credit card arrived

  • Leisure hours increased

  • Growth of the “middle class” white-collar sector

  • Big business kept getting bigger


A life in the suburbs cont7 l.jpg

A. Life in the Suburbs (cont.)

  • Changes in American shopping patterns

  • Concerns with growing materialism

  • The crucial role of advertising

  • Doubts about the strength of national character


B life in the home l.jpg

B. Life in the Home

  • Home became the focus of activities

  • “Togetherness”

  • Television image of family togetherness

  • No encouragement of feminism after WWII

  • Life’s “ideal” middle-class woman (1956)


B life in the home cont l.jpg

B. Life in the Home (cont.)

  • The advice of baby doctor Benjamin Spock

    --The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946)

  • Number of working women doubled between 1940-1960

    --40% of all women and 33% of all married women worked outside of the home by 1960


C religion and the media l.jpg

C. Religion and the Media

  • Organized religion flourished in the 50’s

    -- “Church shopping”

  • The Power of Positive Thinking (1952)

  • Fifties preaching avoided condemnation and controversy

  • Symbols of 50’s Religious Enthusiasm

    -- “In God We Trust”


C religion and the media cont l.jpg

C. Religion and the Media (cont.)

  • Religion and the Cold War

  • Religion on television

  • “Neo-orthodoxy” and critics of 50’s religious culture

  • Educational controversy during the decade


C religion and the media cont12 l.jpg

C. Religion and the Media (cont.)

  • Television became the largest growth area for an expanding American media

    --1946: 7,000 sets

    --1960: 50 million sets

  • TV’s impact on culture

  • Advertising on TV

  • Fifties television programming


D the politics of the 1950 s l.jpg

D. The Politics of the 1950’s


1 the election of 1952 l.jpg

(1) The Election of 1952

  • Competition for the Republican nomination

  • Democrats nominated Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois

  • The Campaign and Results

    -- “I Like Ike”

  • Republicans failed to control Congress in the 50’s


2 dynamic conservatism the eisenhower presidency l.jpg

(2) “Dynamic Conservatism”: The Eisenhower Presidency

  • Eisenhower’s background and personality

  • Eisenhower’s controversial cabinet

  • Eisenhower’s priority of budget cutting

  • Extending the reach of the “New Deal”


2 dynamic conservatism cont l.jpg

(2) “Dynamic Conservatism” (cont.)

  • Eisenhower’s heart attack and the election of 1956

  • Second Term “problems”

  • Second Term “accomplishments”

    --Hawaii and Alaska statehood (1959)

  • Eisenhower’s “Farewell Address”

    -- “military-industrial” complex


E an underlying anxiety l.jpg

E. An Underlying Anxiety


1 critics of consumer society l.jpg

(1) Critics of Consumer Society

  • Abundance of self-criticism in the 1950’s

  • David Riesman’s The Lonely Crowd (1950)

    -- “inner-directed” vs. “outer-directed”

  • Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (1949)

  • Other literary critiques of the 1950’s


1 critics of consumer society cont l.jpg

(1) Critics of Consumer Society (cont.)

  • Critique of American business in the 50’s

  • The art of Edward Hopper

  • Art becomes increasingly abstract

  • The subculture of the “Beatniks”

  • Beatniks pursue personal versus social solutions to their anxieties


1 critics of consumer society cont20 l.jpg

(1) Critics of Consumer Society (cont.)

  • Beat poet Allen Ginsberg

    -- “Howl” (1956)

  • William Burroughs

    -- Naked Lunch (1959)

  • Jack Kerouac

    -- On the Road (1957)

  • Contrast with the Hippies

  • Anti-authority movies

  • The Elvis “Revolution”


2 the second red scare l.jpg

(2) The Second “Red Scare”

  • House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)

  • Presidential loyalty oaths (1947)

  • The Alger Hiss affair (1948)

  • The climate for “McCarthyism”

    --Ethel and Julius Rosenberg


2 the second red scare cont l.jpg

(2) The Second “Red Scare” (cont.)

  • “Communists in the State Department” (February of 1950)

  • McCarthy’s tactics

  • Growing fear of McCarthy in Washington, D.C.

  • McCarthy’s attack on “subversive” books

  • McCarthy and Eisenhower


2 the second red scare cont23 l.jpg

(2) The Second “Red Scare” (cont.)

  • The Army-McCarthy Hearings (1954)

    --Army counsel Joseph Welch

  • McCarthy’s demise

  • Spirit of McCarthyism lived on

  • “Frozen dissent” during the 1950’s


3 reaction to sputnik l.jpg

(3) Reaction to Sputnik

  • Soviets launch “Sputnik” (October, 1957)

  • American reaction to Sputnik

  • NASA created (1958)

  • “Project Apollo” and the race to the moon

  • National Defense Education Act (1958)

  • Commission on National Goals


Ii the sixties protest and reaction l.jpg

II. The “Sixties”: Protest and Reaction


A the politics of the 1960 s l.jpg

A. The Politics of the 1960’s


1 the election of 1960 l.jpg

(1) The Election of 1960

  • Richard Nixon (R-Ca) vs. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass)

  • The Kennedy family and political ambition

    -- Profiles in Courage (1956)

  • Campaign issues and strategies

  • Election Results


2 the new frontier under kennedy l.jpg

(2) The “New Frontier” Under Kennedy

  • Kennedy youthfulness and Cabinet appointments

    --Robert McNamara

  • The “Kennedy” Style

  • Difficulties in launching a domestic program

    --The Peace Corps (1961)

  • Kennedy’s assassination (November 22, 1963)

    --The “Camelot” mystique


B important supreme court decisions of the 1960 s l.jpg

B. Important Supreme Court Decisions of the 1960’s

  • Warren Court decisions continue to be controversial

  • Prohibition of school prayer (1962)

  • Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

  • Escobedo v. Illinois (1964)

  • Miranda v. Arizona (1966)


C life on college campuses l.jpg

C. Life on College Campuses

  • Boom in college enrollments

  • A new “adversarial” culture attacking materialism

  • “Students for a Democratic Society” (SDS)

    -- “participatory democracy”

    --Founder: Tom Hayden

    -- “The New Left”


C life on college campuses cont l.jpg

C. Life on College Campuses (cont.)

  • Growth of the SDS

  • Increasing radicalism and violence

  • The “Weathermen”

  • By 1971, the “New Left” was dead

  • SDS as a symbol of youth in the 60’s

  • Still, SDS was a minority symbol of the era


D student revolt l.jpg

D. Student Revolt

  • Roots of student protest

  • The Free Speech Movement (1964)

    --Berkeley student leader Mario Savio

  • Causes of campus unrest

    -- “Don’t trust anyone over thirty!”

  • First student teach-ins at the University of Michigan (1965)


D student revolt cont l.jpg

D. Student Revolt (cont.)

  • Growing threat of the draft to college men

  • Draft resistance and evasion

  • Mass student protests at Central Park and the Pentagon (1967)

  • Sit-ins at Columbia University (April, 1968)

  • Major gains of the protest were educational


E the cultural revolution l.jpg

E. The Cultural Revolution

  • Much more pervasive and influential than the political revolution of the 60’s

  • Values challenged through physical appearance

  • The rise and fall of communal living

    --Haight-Ashbury


E the cultural revolution cont l.jpg

E. The Cultural Revolution (cont.)

  • The Woodstock Music Festival (August, 1969)

  • Protest music of the mid-60’s

    --Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel


E the cultural revolution cont36 l.jpg

E. The Cultural Revolution (cont.)

  • Drug music and political radicalism of the late sixties

    -- “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

    -- “You Say You Want a Revolution”

    --Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane


E the cultural revolution cont37 l.jpg

E. The Cultural Revolution (cont.)

  • The role of drugs in the Counter-Culture

    --Dr. Timothy Leary

  • The “Yippies”

  • The Crippling of the Cultural Revolution (1969-1970)

  • The commercialization of the Counter-Culture

  • Environmentalism becomes the new student cause of the 70’s


F native american nationalism l.jpg

F. Native American Nationalism

  • The poor, different nationalities and homosexuals all emulated the Black Power movement

  • The plight of Native Americans in the 60’s

  • Protest of sports mascots

  • AIM and its takeover of Alcatraz (1969)

  • Legal action taken


G hispanic nationalism l.jpg

G. Hispanic Nationalism

  • Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association

    --boycott strategy

  • Explosive growth of Hispanic American population

    -- “Chicanos”

  • Campaign for educational opportunities and programs

  • No more “Frito Bandito”


H women s liberation l.jpg

H. Women’s Liberation

  • New wave of feminism grew out of other reform efforts

  • Signs of gender inequality during the 60’s

  • Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963)

  • 1964 Civil Rights Act: no job discrimination on the basis of sex


H women s liberation cont l.jpg

H. Women’s Liberation (cont.)

  • Forms of protest by 60’s women activists

  • National Organization of Women (NOW—1966)

  • Division within the women’s movement

  • The Equal Rights Amendment (1972)

  • Roe v. Wade (1973)

  • The “quiet revolution”


Iii comparisons of the fifties and the sixties l.jpg

III. Comparisons of the Fifties and the Sixties?


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