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Post-war Domestic Issues

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					Post-war Domestic
Issues
Ms. Weston
APUSH
4/3/06
Fears of Another
Depression
   After war, people terrified economy
    will sink to a new depression
   Economic slow down confirmed these
    fears
    – Drastically reduced GNP
    – Skyrocketing prices
    – Epidemic of strikes
Conservative Attacks on
Organized Labor
   Republican controlled Congress passed
    Taft-Hartley Act—over Truman’s veto
    – Outlawed closed shop, made all union leaders
      take non-communist oath
   Union membership decreased as unions had
    trouble organizing in South and West due to
    racial problems, and in new service
    industries (White collar work)
   Union membership began declining after
    1950s.
Efforts to Stimulate
Economy
   1946 Employment Act—
    made it government policy to
    promote maximum
    employment, production and
    purchasing power.
   1944 Servicemen’s
    Readjustment Act (GI Bill)
     – Generous provisions for
       former soldiers to go to school
     – Enabled Veteran’s
       Administration to give loans to
       veterans to buy homes, farms
       and small businesses
     – All to make sure wouldn’t be
       dramatic rise in
       unemployment with soldiers
       returning.
The Long Economic Boom
(1950-1970)
   America’s economy became strongest in
    world
    – Incomes rose
    – US had 40% of world’s wealth
   Effects: Social mobility, Civil Rights
    Movement, funded vast welfare programs
   New consumerism: 2-cars per family,
    washing machines, television
Roots of Postwar
Prosperity
   World War II a major
    stimulus
   Development of ―permanent
    war economy‖ with Cold
    War
     – High tech industries,
       science and research
   Cheap energy: Control of oil
    in Middle-East
   Increased productivity and
    education of work force
     – Change to agribusiness
The Sunbelt
   Lots of migration after
    WWII
   Astronomical growth of The
    Sunbelt, 15 states in South
    and West
    – Increased population
    – Job opportunities in
      electronics and aerospace
    – Also, better climate, lower
      taxes
    – Government put much of
      its budget to the Sunbelt
Suburbanization
   Middle class whites fled
    to suburbs
   Aided by government
    incentive programs—
    taxes, highways
   Boom in construction
    industry
    – Levittown—pre-fab,
      tract homes
   Contributed to poverty
    and segregation in
    inner cities
    – Redlining
The Baby Boom
   Huge leap in birthrate
    beginning in 1945
   Soldiers returned home,
    married, had kids
   Birthrate went up until
    1957, then began constant
    decline
   Baby Boomers put pressure
    on population—with
    education when young, now
    with social security
   Also, part of development
    of ―youth culture‖ in 1950s
Postwar Domestic Life
   Home became more
    important after WWII
   People built whole lives
    around their house—
    TV, home-
    improvement, fenced
    in backyard
   Home seen as safe
    place from anxieties of
    outside world
Postwar Gender Roles
   Within this home, very
    specific expectations for
    women
   Some women did get jobs
    in clerical and service work,
    but still 1950s ideal of
    housewife and mother
    (Cult of domesticity)
   Betty Friedan’s Feminine
    Mystique challenged limited
    role fo womne in 50s
    society
Consumer Culture in
1950s
   Credit cards
   Fast food
   Television
   Sports
   Popular Music
   Movie stars
   John Kenneth
    Galbraith’s critique:
    More social
    spending to match
    consumer spending.

				
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posted:7/26/2011
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