American Society in early Post War
Atomic fear caused a movement toward conservatism, back to the
Social programs- the unemployment act of 1946 was utilized to
encourage American businesses.
It followed the ideas of John Maynard Keynes who
advocated government’s tax, credit and spending to
stimulate the economy.
A few civil rights proposed; even fewer enacted.
1948- racial desegregation of the Armed Forces.
Most Civil Rights leaders considered radical liberals and
Jackie Robinson integrated the Major League
Baseball in 1947.
Cab Calloway pistol whipped by a security guard.
Post War years saw East L.A. grow as a barrio for Mexican
Americans who came to California to work as a bracero.
Began political and social organizations.
Period of unparalleled prosperity in the US.
Factories were busy filling orders from a war-torn world.
Mortgage and tuition money was available thanks to
Goods were relatively cheap.
More Americans became middle class.
By 1960 the U.S. has 6% of the world's population but
consumed roughly 50% of global goods and services.
The majority of Americans owned a home, a car, and
In 1957 (peak of the baby boom) 4.3 million babies
are born--one every 7 seconds!
Atomic fear caused a movement toward conservatism,
back to the familiar.
The 1950's seems static and boring, but actually
all of America was holding its breath.
Bomb shelters and drills.
The ideal middle-class family was epitomized by fathers
working, mothers at home, cheerful and loving, and
Marrying earlier and having more children than earlier
Whatever was happening outside, the home was a place of refuge where
one could not only forget the worries of work, but the possibility of atomic
By the late 1950s and early 1960s problems arose:
Demands on men to support expensive domestic paradises
Adventure and freedom arose in popular culture,
Contrasted the regimented suburban, corporate lifestyle of
Demands on women to be all things:
Sexy wife, caring mother, budget-minded shopper, creative
cook, and a neighborhood volunteer
To find satisfaction in a shining kitchen floor produced anxious
feelings of dissatisfaction.
McCarthyism was a hunt for supposed Communists led
by Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.
Mc Carthy drew attention when he claimed “I have a list
of 205 names of men known to be Communists working
for the State Department.”
Gallup polls said in 1950:
52% were willing to jail all Communists
68% would outlaw the party
80% would strip members of citizenship
The House Un-American Activities Committee
investigated and ruined the careers and lives of many
McCarthy for short while wielded enormous power, but
his opportunistic ways caused him to overreach himself,
when accusing the Army of being full of Communists on
Alger Hiss case & Richard Nixon, Rosenbergs executed
Concern grew over teenage delinquency high
pregnancy rates, and rock and roll.
All were blamed on inadequate parenting, mom.
The ideal suburban life could be a place
of great love and stability OR
Where teenagers were bored
Married women became isolated and self-
Men were harried by the pressure of providing the
consumer products of the "good life."
Children, who were pressured to conform became
The Beat culture, civil rights movement, and the antinuclear movement
signaled coming rebelliousness of 1960’s