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Life in the 1950’S. Alexa DeFalco Period 8 American History. Politics. Presidents:
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Life in the 1950’S Alexa DeFalco Period 8 American History
Politics • Presidents: • Harry S. Truman: He only served about from 1945 to 1952. During the 1950s he served while the Korean War was going on. He made sure that the war was a very limited, one that way no other counties would join in. After the war, he retired. • Dwight D. Eisenhower: He became president in 1952. He was well known for being the Supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, during World War II. He helped the department of Education and the Department of Welfare. He stood for the Civil Rights Act in 1957. • National Security Act of 1947 results in the CIA. • Democracy is strongly enforced in the United States and there is a great fear of Communism. • The Federal Highway Act is signed, marking the beginning of work on the interstate highway system. • Alaska and Hawaii become the forty-ninth and fiftieth states. • The National Defense Education Act (NDEA) was America’s immediate response to the launch of Sputnik by the Russians. It allowed to schools to specialize in subjects such as math and science. • 1954 - McCarthyism: Describes activities associated with the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare. It was classified fears of Communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents. Originally created to criticize the anti-communist pursuits of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, "McCarthyism" soon took on a broader meaning, describing his efforts.
Economy • When Americans returned form the war they began buying more goods than ever before. This new indulgence was called consumerism. • Industry boosted due to the large of amount of products needed. • There were more and more people in the United States which caused a need for more goods. • In the 1950’s Americans bought ore than 6 million cars. The Korean War also helped the United States escape a brief recession. • Families also began leaving their homes in the cities in search for new lives in suburbia. • New restaurants and business began to arise such as: • McDonald’s • Howards Johnson’s • Drive-in Movies • Disneyland
Women • At this time the ideal woman was married, cooked, cared for her family, and was active in their child’s education, all while wearing pearls and high heels. • When the men returned from war they expected the women to give up their jobs, many did but some kept their jobs. • Young women usually worked for financial need while older women whose children had already grown up worked for entertainment. • Typical positions women held were: • Secretaries • Teachers • Clerks • Operators • Cashiers • Waitresses • Retail
Family Life • Families now lived in residential neighborhoods and usually consisted of a husband, wife and their children. • This period Americans were having large amount of children which lead to what is now called the Baby Boomer Generation. • In 1957 there was 1 baby born every 7 seconds. • Such a large amount of children were born after the war due to the reuniting of the soldiers with their families as well as the benefits solders received. • Due to the large number of growing families, there were more home being built as well as schools. Many areas transformed into large communities.
African Americans • After the war, the push to end segregation began in earnest, led by NAACP lawyers, veterans, and social activists. Ironically, the first victory came not from lawyers or activists, but from the actions of a single white businessman. • Brown v. The Board of Education: In 1950 Oliver Brown was upset because he couldn't send his 8 year old daughter to his own neighborhood school because it was for white children only. He took his case to the Supreme Court. The NAACP helped Mr. Brown. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court decided that racial segregation violated the 14th amendment and that it was illegal. After 1954 all America schools were ordered to desegregate. Many places did not want integration • In Gayle v. Browder (1956), the Supreme Court silently overturned the Plessy precedent by holding that segregation was unconstitutional on public buses. • 1952 - The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 removes racial and ethnic barriers to becoming a U.S. citizen. • 1954 - Racial segregation is ruled unconstitutional in public schools by the U.S. Supreme Court. • 1955 - Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama. • The Great Migration , Changes in Politics and Social Challenges to segregation finally allowed for integration in the United States. • All these small victories for African Americans eventually led to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.
Technology • During this decade there were hundreds of advances in everything form household appliances to medicine. • Appliances such as washing machines and televisions were soon in most home in America. • 1951 -- First IBM Mainframe Computer • 1952 -- Hydrogen Bomb Test • 1953 -- DNA Structure Discovered • 1954 – Dr. Jonas Salk develops the vaccine for Polio • 1957 -- First Commercial U. S. Nuclear Power Plant
Space • During this time Americans developed a large fascination with space travel and UFO’s. • 1957--Russia Launches Sputnik 1 • 1958 -- NASA Created • 1958– Explorer 1, the first US satellite, successfully orbits Earth • 1959 -- Press Conference of the First 7 American Astronauts • Science in Literature: • Ray Bradbury: Martian Chronicles • Isaac Asimov: I, Robot
Movies • Marlon Brando • Alfred Hitchcock • Billy WIlder • James Dean • Elvis Presley • Rock Hudson • Paul Newman • Jimmy Stewart • Cary Grant • Montgomery Clift • Henry Fonda • Yul Brynner • Charlton Hetson • Desi Arnaz • Humphrey Bogart • Marilyn Monroe • Elizabeth Taylor • Katharine Hepburn • Grace Kelly • Audrey Hepburn • Bette Davis • Sophia Loren • Natalie Wood • Lucile Ball • High SchoolConfidential • A Summer Place • Girls Town • Hound-Dog Man • The Blob • I Was A Teenage Werewolf • Monster On The Campus • Gidget • Blackboard Jungle • Singing in the RainThe Wild One • Tammy & The Bachelor • Rebel Without A Cause • It Came From Outer Space • Hot Rod Girl North by Northwest • The Invasion of the Body Snatchers • Touch of Evil • Sunset Boulevard • The River • Kiss Me Deadly • The Ladykillers
Music • Rock n’ Roll was developed from a blend of Southern blues and gospel music with an added strong back beat, this type of music was popular with teenagers who were trying to break out of the mainstream, conservative, American middle class mold. Crooner who sang slow melodic sounds were also popular. • Popular artists were: • Bill Haley • Elvis Presley, • Jerry Lee Lewis • Alan Freed (DJ) • The Big Bopper(DJ) • Nat King Cole • Frank Sinatra • Perry Como • Dinah Shore
Television • During the 1950's, television became the dominant mass media as people brought television into their homes in greater numbers of hours per week than ever before. • The affect on print news media and entertainment media was felt in lower attendance at movies and greater reliance on TV news sources for information. • In 1954, black and white broadcasts became color broadcasts. • Shows depicted typical family settings of a husband wife and children living there lives in suburbia.
Sports • All American sports such as baseball and football gave opportunities for the rise of stars like Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Henry (Hank) Aaron, Juan Marichal, Jim Brown, and Frank Gifford. • Great women athletes played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. • People watched the Olympics 1952 and 1956 , and due to the Cold War, rivalry between countries became very fierce. Track and field athletes like Bob Mathias and Bobby Morrow were favorites. • Sports like tennis, basketball and boxing were also popular in the fifties. Althea Gibson was the first African-American to play in the U. S. Lawn Tennis Nationals at Forest Hills, NY. • Major names in basketball were Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson and Dolph Schayes. • Boxing, gave opportunities to great athletes like, Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano.
Literature • Due to the influence of factors such as McCarthyism, Americans faced great anxiety over Communism. This anxiety was reflected in their writings. • Norman Vincent Peale , The Power of Positive Thinking , or Bishop Fulton J. Sheen -Life is Worth Living, indicate power of the individual to control his or her fate. • The concern with conformity is reflected in David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd, John Kenneth Galbraith -The Affluent Society, William H. Whyte's The Organization Man, Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged , and Sloan Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. • A new group of authors appeared on the scene in the form of the Beats. Best known of these are Jack Kerouac - On the Road, Dharma Bums, The Town and The City, Mexico City Blues), Lawrence Ferlinghetti A Coney Island of the Mind , Pictures of a Gone World, and Allen Ginsberg Howl (Poetry). Gregory Corso , Neal Cassady , Michael McClure , Gary Snyder, William S. Burroughs were other beat authors giving voice to the anti-establishment movement. • Presenting another view of American life, African American authors like Chinua Achebe - Things Fall Apart. • The Science Fiction genre also flourished. • Some famous poets were Langston Hughes and James Baldwin.
Art/ Architecture • Abstract expressionism like Jackson Pollock , Barnett Newman , Willem de Kooning,Clyfford Still and Franz Kline received official recognition at the New York Museum of Modern Art. • African American artists John T. Biggers, Romare Bearden and Henry Clay Anderson presented a different view of American life • A small suburban community called Levittown was built by William Levitt for returning servicemen and their families. An influence of Frank Lloyd Wright is seen in the popular Ranch style house. Designers like Bauhaus , who helped create the International style , influenced Ludwig Mies van derRohe , Philip Johnson , Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen. Louis Kahn, architect of the Salk Institute, was a noted architect during this period.