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The American Dream & the 1950s PowerPoint Presentation
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The American Dream & the 1950s
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  1. The American Dream & the 1950s

  2. American Business & Consumerism • Growth of Big Business • Conglomerates: major corporation that includes small unrelated businesses • Example: General Electric • Franchises: company that offers similar products or services at many locations • Example: McDonald’s – was nation’s first & still is the largest today

  3. Advertising • Buy now, pay later plans • Encourage spending! • Ads – radio, TV, movies, magazines, papers, billboards, etc. • Use psychological strategies to sell products • Hit on people's desire to “belong” – “keeping up with Jones’ ” • Television major source of influence • 1950 Americans spent $6 Billion • By 1955, Americans spending $9 Billion

  4. The American Dream • 60% of Americans make up middle class during the 1950s • Jobs change • Blue Collar Decrease ( ) (manufacturing jobs) • White Collar Increase ( ) (clerical, managerial, sales, advertising, etc) • Americans begin to socially conform • Businesses reward employees for teamwork, cooperation, & loyalty

  5. Consumerism (buying material goods) becomes associated with success! • People buy products & invest in leisure activities • To encourage consumerism, manufacturers used planned obsolesce: products designed to become obsolete, so consumers replace with new!

  6. Blue Collar White Collar

  7. Suburbia • Suburbia: areas outside of cities where new homes and communities were developing

  8. Medical Breakthroughs • Jonas Salk: develops vaccine for polio • In 1952: 58,000 children had polio, which either killed or crippled its victims • With the vaccine, the number of people infected dropped to 5,700 by 1958 • Child rearing – Dr. Spock • Raise children based on guidelines • Sold 10 million copies

  9. Baby Boomers • Why??? • Reunion of families post-WWII • Decreasing marriage age • Desirability of a large family • Confidence of continued economic stability • Advances in medicine

  10. Women in America Characteristics of the 1950s

  11. Role of Women • Glorified role of housewife • Boredom • Felt unfulfilled • Many lost jobs • Women who did work were paid less and jobs they could perform were restricted • Glass-ceiling affect Despite both of these, the amount of women working increased!

  12. 40% of women with children worked More than 1/5 of suburban wives & mothers were not satisfied with their life Movies and television portray the “perfect” wife and mother More women attend college

  13. Car Culture “Automania”

  14. Business & Highways • Travel Easier • Interstate Highway system leads to the development of the trucking Industry • Long Haul is feasible now! • Evacuation in case of nuclear attack! • Developed under President Eisenhower • Business expands!

  15. Social Effects • Drive-in movies • Drive-thru services • Cruising teens • Advertising Industry for cars • Growth of suburbia: people can now use the car to commute into the city (80% build homes) • Cars are cheap • Gas is affordable

  16. Television & its Effects

  17. Radio & Movies • Radio: • Continue to prosper • Radio shows turn into TV shows • Begin local program • Diversity of stations • Movies: • Struggle to compete with television • 3 technologies give movies an advantage • Stereo sound • Color • 3-D effects

  18. Golden Age of TV • Rapid expansion of TV • The Big Shows: • Leave it to Beaver • I Love Lucy (Lucille Ball, DesiArnez) • Milton Berle: comedian • Edward Murrow: on the spot news • TV Spurs Industry • Refrigerators • Frozen food • Advertising • Trends and fads • TV Guide

  19. Rock – n – Roll • Famous Artists: • Buddy Holly • Little Richard • Chuck Berry • Bill Haley • Elvis Pressley – the King of Rock – n – Roll! • Shows like Ed Sullivan’s Variety Show & Dick Clark’s American Bandstand develop to showcase musicians through the TV

  20. Rock-n-Roll comes from a mixture of white & black music Television becomes widely available by 1948! The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulates the industry. • Quiz Shows • Trivia Game shows • Scandals Teens loved it, parents hated it! ~ Women appear as perfect homemakers ~ More males than females ~ Few minorities ~ Portrayed the ideal America = ignored the country’s problems

  21. POVERTY MINORITY GROUPS BEATNIKS

  22. ¼ of Americans lived below the poverty line • The Other America: book that exposed how many are living in poverty • Urban Renewal • Truman advocated for low income housing • Develop Housing & Urban Development (HUD) – to improve the inner cities

  23. White Flight Millions of whites move to the suburbs Loss of tax $$ means loss of city services Lots of rural poor to move the city Adds up to breakdown of inner cities

  24. Beatniks – a.k.a. the Beat Movement • Social & literary nonconformists • Set precedent for hippy generation • Non-material lifestyle • Shunned regular work • Little structure • Clashed with regular America • Defied mainstream society & conformity • Zen Buddhism, drugs, music • NOT being anything mainstream

  25. During WWII immigration from MEXICO increases • USA needs help harvesting crops • After WWII, many stay illegally • Discrimination • Still widely faced by all minorities • Civil Rights Movement is slowly getting underway

  26. Native Americans remain 2nd Class Citizens • Indian Reorganization Act • Aimed to move away from assimilation • Mandated change socially, economically, and politically • Termination Policy • Federal government would give up rights to tribes • Voluntary relocation program