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Alan Brinkley American History Chapter 30 Outline

Alan Brinkley American History Chapter 30 Outline



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Published by: xmelanyj on Mar 20, 2009
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Melany E. Jon-Medinaperiod 4
Chapter 30: The Affluent SocietyThe Economic “Miracle”
Sources of Economic Growth
By 1949, despite the continuing problems of postwar reconversion, aneconomic expansion had begun that would continue with onlybrief interruptions for almost twenty years
The causes of this growth varied1. Government spending continued to stimulate growththrough public funding of schools, housing, veteran’s benefits,welfare, and the $100 billion interstate highway program
 Technological progress also contributed to the boom1. Technological progress also contributed to the booma. There was the development of electroniccomputersb. The first modern computer emerged as a result of efforts during WWII to decipher enemy codesc. Not until the 1980s did most Americans come intodirect and regular contact with computers, but the newmachines were having a substantial effect on theeconomy long before that
 The national birth rate reversed a long pattern of decline with the so-called baby boom1. The baby boom meant increased consumer demand andexpanding economic growth
 The rapid expansion of suburbs helped stimulate growth in severalimportant sectors of the economy
Because of this unprecedented growth, the economy grew nearly tentimes as fast as the population in their thirty years after the war1. The American people had achieved the highest standardof living of any society in the history of the world
The Rise of the Modern West 
No region of the country experience more dramatic changes as aresult of the new economic growth than the American West
By the 1960s some parts of the West were among the most importantindustrial and cultural centers of the nation in their own right
As during WWII much of the growth of the West was a result of federalspending and investment 1. Dams, power stations, highways,and other infrastructure projects
 The enormous increase in automobile use after WWII gave a largestimulus to the petroleum industry and contributed to the rapidgrowth of oil fields in Texas and Colorado
State governments in the West invested heavily in their universities
Climate also contributed
The New Economics
 The exciting discovery of the power of the American economic systemwas a major cause of the confident, even arrogant tone of muchAmerican political life in the 1950s1. There was the belief that Keynesian economics made itpossible for government to regulate and stabilize theeconomy without intruding directly into the private sector
By the mid-1950s, Keynesian theory was rapidly becoming afundamental article of faith1. Armed with these fiscal and monetary tools, manyeconomists now believed, it was possible for the government tomaintain a permanent prosperity
If any doubters remained, there was ample evidence to dispel theirmisgivings during the era
Accompanying the belief in the possibility of permanent economicstability was the equally exhilarating belief in permanenteconomic growth by the mid-1950s, reformers concerned abouteconomic deprivation were arguing that the solution lay inincreased production
 The Keynesians never managed to remake federal economic policyentirely to their liking1. Still, the new economics gave many Americans aconfidence in their ability to solve economic problems thatprevious generations had never developed
Captial and Labor 
A relatively small number or large-scale organizations controlled anenormous proportion oft eh nation’s economic activity
A similar consolidation was occurring in the agricultural economy
Corporations enjoying booming growth were reluctant to allow strikesto interfere with their operations
By the early 1950s large labor unions had developed a new kind of relationship with employers1. “Postwar Contract”
Workers in steel, automobiles, and other large unionized industrieswere receiving generous increases in wages and benefits1. In return the unions tacitly agreed to refrain from raisingother issues
 The contract served the corporations and the union leadership well
Many rank-and-file workers resented the abandonment of efforts to
give them more control over the conditions of their labor
 The economic successes of the 1950s helped pave the way for areunification of the labor movement1. 1955, the American Federation of Labor and theCongress of Industrial Organizations ended their 20 year rivalryand merged to create the AFL-CIO
But success also bread stagnation and corruption in some unionbureaucracies
While the labor movement enjoyed significant success in winningbetter wages and benefits for workers already organized instrong unions, the majority of laborers who were as yetunorganized made fewer advances1. New obstacles to organizationa. Taft-Hartley Act and the state right-to-work laws
In the American South impediments to unionization were enormous1. Antiunion sentiment was so powerful in the South thatalmost all organizing drives encountered crushing and usuallyfatal resistance
The Explosion of Science and Technology
Medical Breakthroughs
 The development of antibiotics had its origins=2 0in the discoveries of Louis Pasteur and Jules-Francois Joubert.
Working in France in the 1870s they produced the first conclusiveevidence that virulent bacterial infections could be defeated byother, more ordinary bacteria.
In 1920, in the meantime, Alexander Fleming accidentally discoveredthe antibacterial properties of an organism that he namedpenicillin.
 There was also dramatic progress in immunization-the development of vaccines that can protect humans from contracting bothbacterial and viral diseases.
In 1954, the American scientist Jonas Salk introduced an effectivevaccine against the disease that had killed and crippledthousands of children and adults.
Average life expectancy in that same period rose by five years, to 71.
 The most famous pesticides was dichlorodiphenyl-dichloromethane[DDT] a compound discovered in 1939 by Paul Muller.

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