Chapter 26 Postwar America at Home (1945-1960) Economic Boom Baby boom brought unexpected population growth Technology was more advanced with new products Almost 60 percent of all Americans were in the middle class After the war consumers were ready to buy things they have been saving their money for The automobile industry played a key part in the boom, families now had washing machines, vacuums, and televisions The interstate Highway act of 1956 built over 40000 miles of federal highway linking all parts of the United States together. Housing rates went up dramatically because of low interest home mortgages. National Security Act created the Department of defense and authorized a new defense budget in the billions American products were being sold around the world such as coca cola and blue jeans, magazines, and movies. The Corporate Impact on American Life Government has suspended antitrust actions during WWII and many companies were making oligopolies and conglomerates (firms with holding in a variety of industries in order to protect themselves against instability) Major Corporations like McDonalds, KFC and Burger King grew Many companies were building factories and plants overseas because labor was cheaper. Many people held white collar jobs as well 14.5 million people were members of unions (AFL and CIO) Many companies adjusted their pay to protect them against inflation Agriculture New technology revolutionized farming, improved planting and harvesting New planting machines, fertilizers, and pesticides People were leaving the farms because new technology was taking over all the work and left no work or profit for the landowner. Demographic Shifts Baby Boom, 4.3 million babies were born in a year. Birth rate was increasing and the death rate was declining Many people were moving west because of cars, highways and new opportunities and the crowding of towns and cities The sun belt was known as the southern tier from Florida to California People were moving out of cities and into suburbs and communities William J. Levitt?produced houses and worked on a schedule where all houses were virtually the same Shopping centers and Businesses outside of the city developed Americans now had more leisure time to go on vacation and tour the Nation Scientist designed nuclear weapons, jet planes, satellites, and consumer goods Computers transformed American society 1948. They were essential to space exploration Americans were buying everything and anything they could. The Mickey Mouse Club, I love Lucy and Father knows best were popular TV shows The first consumer credit car came out by American Express Advertising was very popular and companies spent thousands of dollars making billboards More Traditional Views Judaism assimilated into the new culture along with Christianity. Women left their homes to work but went back to the traditional working housewives Marriage became very important and many women went to colleges to find men and dropped out once they got married. Playboy emerged in 1953 Cultural Rebels included: J.D Salinger?s, Catcher in the Rye who rebelled against the phonies around him threatening his independence Elvis Presley became the king of rock and roll Jackson Pollack the artist took a different approach to art with different tools and objects Harry Truman told congress to pass the 21-point program This provided for housing assistance, higher minimum wager, unemployment compensation, and national commitment to maintain full employment 1947 congress slashed federal spending and taxed The Fair Deal ???????????????? Dwight Eisenhower became president in the 1950?s ?Modern Republicanism? Eisenhower wanted to limit the presidents role ?Dynamic Conservatism? or Modern Republicanism? meant conservative when it comes to money, liberal when it comes to human beings and society They wanted to cut taxes, balance the budget and reduce governments economic role The country encountered 3 recessions at the time when Eisenhower was trying to stimulate and increase the economy The Other America 40 million people still lived at the poverty line African Americans were the least prosperous Southern agriculture was declining and many blacks moved to southern cities where they found better jobs, better schooling and freedom from landlords Many also moved to Northern cities The black church was very important to African American life Jackie Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball 1946 Civil Rights Movement, NAACP 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ? this expanded black civil rights ?separate but equal facilities? Martin Luther King Jr. was an inspiring speaker
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