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Jon-Medina period 4 Chapter 30: The Affluent Society The Economic “Miracle” Sources of Economic Growth •By 1949, despite the continuing problems of postwar reconversion, an economic expansion had begun that would continue with only brief interruptions for almost twenty years • The causes of this growth varied 1. Government spending continued to stimulate growth through public funding of schools, housing, veteran’s benefits, welfare, and the $100 billion interstate highway program •Technological progress also contributed to the boom 1. Technological progress also contributed to the boom a. There was the development of electronic computers b. The first modern computer emerged as a result of efforts during WWII to decipher enemy codes c. Not until the 1980s did most Americans come into direct and regular contact with computers, but the new machines were having a substantial effect on the economy long before that •The national birth rate reversed a long pattern of decline with the socalled baby boom 1. The baby boom meant increased consumer demand and expanding economic growth •The rapid expansion of suburbs helped stimulate growth in several important sectors of the economy •Because of this unprecedented growth, the economy grew nearly ten times as fast as the population in their thirty years after the war 1. The American people had achieved the highest standard of 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 a result of the new economic growth than the American West •By the 1960s some parts of the West were among the most important industrial and cultural centers of the nation in their own right •As during WWII much of the growth of the West was a result of federal spending and investment 1. Dams, power stations, highways, and other infrastructure projects
•The enormous increase in automobile use after WWII gave a large stimulus to the petroleum industry and contributed to the rapid growth 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 system was a major cause of the confident, even arrogant tone of much American political life in the 1950s 1. There was the belief that Keynesian economics made it possible for government to regulate and stabilize the economy without intruding directly into the private sector •By the mid-1950s, Keynesian theory was rapidly becoming a fundamental article of faith 1. Armed with these fiscal and monetary tools, many economists now believed, it was possible for the government to maintain a permanent prosperity •If any doubters remained, there was ample evidence to dispel their misgivings during the era •Accompanying the belief in the possibility of permanent economic stability was the equally exhilarating belief in permanent economic growth by the mid-1950s, reformers concerned about economic deprivation were arguing that the solution lay in increased production •The Keynesians never managed to remake federal economic policy entirely to their liking 1. Still, the new economics gave many Americans a confidence in their ability to solve economic problems that previous generations had never developed Captial and Labor •A relatively small number or large-scale organizations controlled an enormous proportion oft eh nation’s economic activity •A similar consolidation was occurring in the agricultural economy •Corporations enjoying booming growth were reluctant to allow strikes to interfere with their operations •By the early 1950s large labor unions had developed a new kind of relationship with employers 1. “Postwar Contract” •Workers in steel, automobiles, and other large unionized industries were receiving generous increases in wages and benefits 1. In return the unions tacitly agreed to refrain from raising other 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 a reunification of the labor movement 1. 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations ended their 20 year rivalry and merged to create the AFLCIO •But success also bread stagnation and corruption in some union bureaucracies •While the labor movement enjoyed significant success in winning better wages and benefits for workers already organized in strong unions, the majority of laborers who were as yet unorganized made fewer advances 1. New obstacles to organization a. Taft-Hartley Act and the state right-to-work laws •In the American South impediments to unionization were enormous 1. Antiunion sentiment was so powerful in the South that almost all organizing drives encountered crushing and usually fatal 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 conclusive evidence that virulent bacterial infections could be defeated by other, more ordinary bacteria. •In 1920, in the meantime, Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered the antibacterial properties of an organism that he named penicillin. •There was also dramatic progress in immunization-the development of vaccines that can protect humans from contracting both bacterial and viral diseases. •In 1954, the American scientist Jonas Salk introduced an effective vaccine against the disease that had killed and crippled thousands of children and adults. •Average life expectancy in that same period rose by five years, to 71. Pesticides •The most famous pesticides was dichlorodiphenyl-dichloromethane [DDT] a compound discovered in 1939 by Paul Muller.
Postwar Electronic Research •Researchers in the 1940s produced the first commercially viable televisions and created a technology that made it possible to broadcast programming over large areas. •In 1948 bell Labs, the research arm of AT&T, produced=2 0the first transistor, a solid-state device capable of amplying electrical signals, which was much smaller and more efficient than the cumbersome vacuum tubes that had powered most electronic equipment in the past. •Integrated circuits combined a number of once-separate electronic elements and embedded them into a single, microscopically small device. Postwar Computer Technology •In the 1950s computers began to perform commercial functions for the first time, as data-processing devices used by businesses and other organizations. •The first significant computer of the 1950s was the Universal Automatic Computer, which was developed initially for the U.S Bureau of the Census by the Remington Rand company. Bombs, Rockets, and Missles •In 1952, the U.S successfully detonated the first hydrogen bomb. •The development of the hydrogen bomb gave considerable impetus to a stalled scientific project in both the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The Space Program •The Shock of Sputnik , th e united states had yet perform any similar feats , and the American government (and much of American society ) reacted to the announcement with alarm , as if the Soviet achievement was also a massive American failure . •The centerpiece of space exploration , however . soon became the manned space program , established in 1958 through the creation of a new agency , the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA ) and through the selection of the first American space pilots , or “astronauts” •They quickly became the nation’s most revered heroes . •The Apollo Program , Mercury and Gemini were followed by the Apollo program , whose purpose was to land men on the moon .
•July 20 , 1969 , Neil Armstrong , Edwin Aldrin , and Michael Collins successfully traveled in a space capsule into orbit around the moon . •Armstrong and Aldrin , and Michael then detached a smaller craft from the capsule , landed on the surface of the moon , and became the first men to walk on a body other than earth . People of Plenty The Consumer Culture •At the center of middle-class culture in the 1950s was a growing absorption with consumer goods •It was a result of: 1. Increased prosperity 2. Increasing variety and availability of products 3. Advertiser’s adeptness in creating a demand for those product 4. A growth of consumer credit To a striking degree, the prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s was consumer driven •Because consumer goods were so often marketed nationally, the 1950s were notable for the rapid spread of creation national consumer crazes The Suburban Nation •By 1960 a third of the nation’s population was living in suburbs •The most famous of the postwar suburban developers, William Levitt, came to symbolize the new suburban growth with his use of mass-production techniques to construct a large housing development on Long Island, NY 1. They helped to meet an enormous demand for housing that had been growing for more than a decade •Many Americans wanted to move to the suburbs 1. One reason was the enormous importance postwar Americans place on family life after five years of war in which families had often been separated or otherwise disrupted 2. They provided privacy 3. A place to raise a large family 4. They provided security from the noise and dangers of urban living 5. They offered space for the new consumer goods 6. Suburban life also helped provide a sense of community •Suburban neighborhoods 1. They were not uniform The Suburban Family •For professional men, suburban life generally meant a rigid division
between their working and personal worlds •For many middle-class married women, it meant an increase isolation from the workplace •One of the most influential books in postwar American life was a famous guide to child rearing 1. Baby and Child Care a. Said that the needs of the child come before everything else b. Women who could afford not to work faced heavy pressures to remain in the home and concentrate on raising their children c. Yet by 1960, nearly a third of all married women were in the paid workforce •The increasing numbers of women in the workplace laid the groundwork for demands for equal treatment by employers that became and important part of the feminist crusades of the 1960s and 1970s The Birth of Television •Television is perhaps the most powerful medium of mass communication in history •The television industry emerged directly out of the radio industry •Like radio, the television business was driven by advertising •The impact of television on American life was rapid, pervasive, and profound 1. Television entertainment programming replace movies and radio as the principal source of diversion for American families •Much of the programming of the 1950s and early 1960s created a common image of American life 1. An image that was predominately white, middle-class, and suburban 2. Programming also reinforced the concept of gender roles 3. Television inadvertently created conditions that could accentuate social conflict Travel, Outdoor Recreation, and Environmentalism • Organized Society and Its Detractors •Large-scale organizations and bureaucracies increased their influence over American life in the postwar era •More and more Americans were becoming convinced that the key to a successful future lay in acquiring the specialized training and skills necessary for work in large organizations 1. The National Defense Education Act of 1958
a. Provided federal funding for development of programs in those areas of science, mathematics, and foreign languages 2. As in earlier eras, many Americans reacted to these developments with ambivalence, even hostility •Novelists expressed misgivings in their work about the enormity and impersonality of modern society The Beats and the Restless Culture of Youth •The most derisive critics of bureaucracy, and of middle-class society in general, were a group of young poets, writers, and artists generally known as the “beats” – beatniks •The beats were the most visible evidence of a widespread restlessness among young Americans in the 1950s •In part, that restlessness was a result of prosperity itself 1. Tremendous public attention was directed at the phenomenon of “juvenile delinquency” and in both politics and popular culture there were dire warnings about the growing criminality of American youth •Also disturbing to many older Americans was the style of youth culture 1. The culture of alienation that the beats so vividly represented had counterparts even in ordinary middle-class behavior a. Teenage rebelliousness toward parents, youthful fascination with fast cars and motorcycles, and an increasing visibility of teenage sex, assisted by the greater availability of birth-control devices and the spreading automobile culture that came to dominated the social lives of teenagers in much of the nation 2. The popularity of James Dean was a particularly vivid sign of this aspect of youth culture in the 1950s a. Dean became an icon of the unfocused rebelliousness of American youth in his time Rock 'n' Roll •One of the most powerful signs of the restiveness of American youth was the enormous popularity of rock ‘n’ roll and of the greatest early rock star 1. Elvis Presley a. Presley became a symbol of a youthful determination to push at the borders of the conventional and acceptable b. Presley’s music, like that of most early white rock musicians, drew heavily from black rhythm and blues traditions c. Rock also drew from country western music, gospel
music, even from jazz •The rise of such white rock musicians as Presley was a result in part of the limited willingness of white audience to accept black musicians •The rapid rise and enormous popularity of rock owed a great deal to innovations in radio and television programming 1. Early in the 1950s, a new breed of radio announcers began to create programming aimed specifically at young fans of rock music a. Disk Jockeys •Radio and television were important to the recording industry because they encouraged the sale of records 1. Also important were jukeboxes •Rock music began in the 1950s to do what jazz and swing had done in the 1920s – 40s 1. To define both youth culture as a whole and the experience of a generation The "Other America" On the Margins of the Affluent Society •In 1962, The Other America was published a. Chronicles of the continuing existence of poverty in America •The great economic expansion of the postwar years reduced poverty dramatically but did not eliminate it •Most of the poor experience poverty intermittently and temporarily •This poverty was a poverty that the growing prosperity of the postwar era seemed to affect hardly at all Rural Poverty •Among those on the margins of the affluent society were many rural Americans •Not all farmers were poor 1. But the agrarian economy did produce substantial numbers of genuinely impoverished people •Migrant farm workers and coal miners fell to the same kind of poverty The Inner Cities •As white families moved from cities to suburbs in vast numbers, more and more inner-city neighborhoods became vast repositories for the poor 1. Ghettos from which there was no easy escape a. African Americans helped this growth •Similar migrations from Mexico and Puerto Rico expanded poor Hispanic barrios in many American cities at the same time •For many years, the principal policy response to the poverty of inner cities was “urban renewal”
1. The effort to tear down buildings in the poorest and most degraded areas a. In some cases, urban renewal provided new public housing for poor city residents b. In many cases, urban renewal projects replaced “slums” with middle and upper-income housing, office towers, or commercial buildings •One result of inner-city poverty was a rising rate of juvenile crime The Rise of the Civil Rights Movement The Brown Decision and "Massive Resistance" •On May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court announced its decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka 1. Ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional •The Brown decision was the culmination of many decades of effort by black opponents of segregation •The Topeka suit involved the case of an African-American girl who had to travel several miles to a segregated public school every day even though she lived virtually next door to a white elementary school 1. The Court concluded that school segregation inflicted unacceptable damage on those it affected •The following year, the Court issued another decision to provide rules for implementing the 1954 order 1. It ruled that communities must work to desegregate their schools “with all deliberate speed,” but it set no timetable and left specific decisions up to lower courts •Strong local opposition produced long delays and bitter conflicts 1. More than 100 southern members of Congress signed a “manifesto” in 1956 denouncing the Brown decision and urging their constituents to defy it •Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham Board of Education (1958) 1. Refused to declare “pupil placement laws”, placing a student in a school based on academic or social behaviors, unconstitutional •The Brown decision, far from ending segregation, had launched a prolonged battle between federal authority and state and local governments, and between those who believed in racial equality and those who did not •In 1957, federal courts had ordered the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rick, Arkansas 1. An angry white mob tried to prevent implementation of the order by blockading the entrances to the school 2. President Eisenhower responded by federalizing the National Guard and sending troops to Little Rock to restore
order and ensure that the court orders would be obeyed The Expanding Movement •The Brown decision helped spark a growing number of popular challenges to segregation in the South •December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white passenger 1. The arrest of this admired woman produced outrage in the city’s African-American community and helped local leaders organize a successful boycott of the bus system to demand an end to segregated seating 2. The bus boycott put economic pressure not only on the bus company but on many Montgomery merchants a. The bus boycotters found it difficult to get to downtown stores and tended to shop instead in their own neighborhoods •A Supreme Court decision in 1956 declared segregation in public transportation to be illegal •More important than the immediate victories of the Montgomery boycott was its success in establishing a new form of racial protest and in elevating to prominence a new figure in the movement for civil rights 1. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a. King’s approach to black protest was based on the doctrine of nonviolence b. He urged African Americans to engage in peaceful demonstrations 2. The popular movement he came to represent soon spread throughout the South and throughout the country •One important color line had been breached as early as 1947, when the Brooklyn Dodgers signed the great Jackie Robinson as the first African American to play Major League Baseball •President Eisenhower signed a civil rights act in 1957 1. Providing federal protection for blacks who wished to register to vote Cause of the Civil Rights Movement •Several factors contributed to the rise of African-American protest in these years 1. Millions of black men and women had served in the military or worked in war plants during the war and had derived from the experience a broader view of the world and their place in it 2. Another factor was the growth of an urban black middle class 3. Television and other forms of popular culture were
another factor in the rising consciousness of racism among blacks •Other forces were at work mobilizing many white Americans to support the movement once it began 1. The Cold War 2. Political mobilization of northern blacks 3. Labor unions with substantial black memberships •By the early 1960s, this movement had made it one of the most powerful forces in America Eisenhower Republicanism "What was Good for...General Motors" •The first Republican administration in 20 years was staffed mostly with men drawn from the same quarter as those who had staffed Republican administrations in the 1920s 1. The business community •Many of the nation's leading businessmen and financiers ha reconciled themselves to at least the broad outlines of the Keynesian welfare state the New Deal had launched and had come to see it as something that actually benefited them •To his cabinet, Eisenhower appointed wealthy corporate lawyers and business executives •Eisenhower’s leadership style helped enhance the power of his cabinet officers and others •Eisenhower’s consistent inclination was to limit federal activities and encourage private enterprise The Survival of the Welfare State •The president took few new initiatives in domestic policy •Perhaps the most significant legislative accomplishment of the Eisenhower administration was the Federal Highway Act of 1956 1. Authorized $25 billion for a ten-year effort to construct over 40,000 miles of interstate highways 2. The program was to be funded through a highway “trust fund” whose revenues would come from new taxes on the purchase of fuel, automobiles, trucks, and tires •In 1956, Eisenhower ran for a second term 1. Republicans – Adlai Stevenson 2. Eisenhower won •Democrats still held power over Congress The Decline of McCarthyism •In its first years in office the Eisenhower administration did little to discourage the anticommunist furor that had gripped the nation •Among the most celebrated controversies of the new administration’s first year was the case of J. Robert Oppenheimer
1. He opposed the building of the Hydrogen Bomb 2. In 1953, the FBI distributed a dossier within the administration detailing Oppenheimer’s prewar association with various left-wing groups a. In 1953, the FBI distributed a dossier within the administration detailing Oppenheimer’s prewar association with various left-wing groups •But by 1954, such policies were beginning to produce significant opposition 1. The clearest signal of that change was the political demise of Senator Joseph McCarthy a. He overstepped his boundaries when he charged Secretary of Army Robert Stevens b. Army-McCarthy hearings 2. In December 1954, he was condemned for “conduct unbecoming a senator” Eisenhower, Dulles, and the Cold War Dulles and "Massive Retaliation" •Eisenhower’s secretary of state, and the dominant figure in the nation’s foreign policy in the 1950s, was John Foster Dulles •He entered office denouncing the containment policies of the Truman years 1. Arguing that the United States should pursue an active program of “liberation” which would lead to a “rollback” of communism expansion •“Massive Retaliation” 1. The United States would, he explained, respond to communist threats to its allies not by using conventional forces to local conflicts but by relying on “the deterrent of massive retaliatory power” (nuclear weapons) •By the end of the decade, the United States had become a party to almost a dozen such treaties of mutual defense in NATO in all areas of the world France, America, and Vietnam • Cold War Crisis • Europe and the Soviet Union •Although the problems of the Third World were moving slowly to the center of American foreign policy, the direct relationship with the Soviet Union and the effort to resist communist expansion in Europe remained the principal concerns of the Eisenhower administration •In 1955, Eisenhower and other NATO leaders met with the Soviet
premier, Nikolai Bulganin, at a cordial summit conference in Geneva 1. They could find no basis for agreement •Relations between the Soviet Union and the West soured further in 1956 in response to the Hungarian Revolution 1. Hungarians were demanding democratic reforms a. Soviets came in to crush the uprising 2. The suppression of the uprising convinced many American leaders that Soviet policies had not softened as much as the events of the previous two years had suggested •The failure of conciliation brought renewed vigor to the Cold War and greatly intensified the Soviet-American arms race •The arms race not only increased tensions between the United States and Russia 1. It increased tensions within each nation as well The U-2 Crisis •In this tense and fearful atmosphere, the Soviet Union raised new challenges to the West in Berlin •In November 1958, Nikita Khrushchev renewed his predecessors’ demands that NATO powers abandon the city 1. The United States and its allies refused •Khrushchev suggested that he and Eisenhower discuss the issue personally 1. The United States agreed •Only days before Eisenhower was to leave for Moscow the Soviet Union announced that it had shot down an American U-2, a spy plane, over Russian territory •By the spring of 1960, Khrushchev knew that no agreement was possible on the Berlin issue •The events of 1960 provided a somber backdrop for the end of the Eisenhower administration •He warned in his farewell address of 1961 of the “unwarranted influence” of a vast “military-industrial complex” 1. His caution, in both domestic and international affairs, stood in marked contrast to the attitudes of his successors, who argued that the United States must act more boldly and aggressively on behalf of its goals at home and abroad
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