1950’s America Conformity Focus Question: What did 1950’s conformity look like?
Presidential Politics: Harry Truman • Truman: Fair Deal- strengthened and expanded FDR’s New Deal with more programs. • Promised to raise minimum wage, expand social security • IntegratedMilitary • Taft-Hartley Act: outlawed closed shops (businesses that only hired union members) • This made it harder for Unions to Organize!
Dwight D. Eisenhower • Eisenhower: “Dynamic” or Modern Republicanism- promised he would bring back the “middle road” of politics. http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1952
Eisenhower • Federal Funds for highway construction: Interstate Highway Act (1956) Eisenhower felt good transportation necessary for defense • Federal funds for education after Sputnik: National Defense Education Act (1958) • Appointed Earl Warren as Chief Justice of Supreme Court • Minus: Did as little to enforce civil rights as he could get away with
Conformity • Definition: acting according to certain accepted social standards
Television Comes into Its Own!! • 1946: 7000 television sets in U.S. • In 1950: 9 % of homes had televisions (50,000 sets in the U.S.) • In 1954: 55% • In 1960: 90%
Television - Family Shows Glossy view of mostly middle-class suburban life. Father Knows Best I Love Lucy
Cars and Interstates!! • After WWII, Americans had a higher standard of living than anywhere else in the world.
The Culture of the Car 1958 Pink Cadillac 1959 Chevy Corvette • 1956 Interstate Highway Act largestpublic works project in American history! • Cost $32 billion. • 41,000 miles of new highways built.
Teen Culture In the 1950s the word “teenager” entered the American language. By 1956 13 million teens with $7 billion to spend a year. 1951 “race music” “ROCK ‘N ROLL” Elvis Presley “The King”
Well-Defined Gender Roles The ideal modern woman married, cooked and cared for her family, and kept herself busy by joining the local PTA and leading a troop of Campfire Girls. She entertained guests in her family’s suburban house and worked out on the trampoline to keep her size 12 figure.-- Life magazine, 1956 MarilynMonroe The ideal 1950s man was the provider, protector, and the boss of the house. -- Life magazine, 1955 1956 William H. Whyte, Jr. The Organization Man • a middle-class, white suburban male is the ideal.
Examples: Behavioral Rules of the 1950s: • Obey Authority. • Don’t Make Waves Fit in with the Group. How did McCarthyism and the Cold War affect the 1950’s?