The American Dream & the 1950s

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The American Dream & the 1950s. American Business & Consumerism. Growth of Big Business Conglomerates: major corporation that includes small unrelated businesses Example: General Electric Franchises: company that offers similar products or services at many locations - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • American Business & ConsumerismGrowth of Big BusinessConglomerates: major corporation that includes small unrelated businessesExample: General ElectricFranchises: company that offers similar products or services at many locations Example: McDonalds was nations first & still is the largest today

  • AdvertisingBuy now, pay later plansEncourage spending!Ads radio, TV, movies, magazines, papers, billboards, etc.Use psychological strategies to sell productsHit on people's desire to belong keeping up with Jones Television major source of influence1950 Americans spent $6 BillionBy 1955, Americans spending $9 Billion

  • The American Dream60% of Americans make up middle class during the 1950sJobs changeBlue Collar Decrease ( ) (manufacturing jobs)White Collar Increase ( ) (clerical, managerial, sales, advertising, etc)Americans begin to socially conformBusinesses reward employees for teamwork, cooperation, & loyalty

  • Consumerism (buying material goods) becomes associated with success!People buy products & invest in leisure activitiesTo encourage consumerism, manufacturers used planned obsolesce: products designed to become obsolete, so consumers replace with new!

  • Blue Collar White Collar

  • Suburbia: areas outside of cities where new homes and communities were developing

  • Medical Breakthroughs Jonas Salk: develops vaccine for polioIn 1952: 58,000 children had polio, which either killed or crippled its victims With the vaccine, the number of people infected dropped to 5,700 by 1958Child rearing Dr. SpockRaise children based on guidelinesSold 10 million copies

  • Baby BoomersWhy???Reunion of families post-WWIIDecreasing marriage ageDesirability of a large familyConfidence of continued economic stabilityAdvances in medicine

  • Role of WomenGlorified role of housewifeBoredomFelt unfulfilled Many lost jobsWomen who did work were paid less and jobs they could perform were restrictedGlass-ceiling affectDespite both of these, the amount of women working increased!

  • 40% of women with children workedMovies and television portray the perfect wife and motherMore than 1/5 of suburban wives & mothers were not satisfied with their lifeMore women attend college

  • Business & HighwaysTravel Easier

    Interstate Highway system leads to the development of the trucking IndustryLong Haul is feasible now!

    Evacuation in case of nuclear attack!

    Developed under President Eisenhower

    Business expands!

  • Social EffectsDrive-in movies

    Drive-thru services

    Cruising teens

    Advertising Industry for cars

    Growth of suburbia: people can now use the car to commute into the city (80% build homes)

    Cars are cheap

    Gas is affordable

  • Radio & MoviesRadio:Continue to prosperRadio shows turn into TV showsBegin local programDiversity of stationsMovies: Struggle to compete with television3 technologies give movies an advantageStereo soundColor3-D effects

  • Golden Age of TVRapid expansion of TVThe Big Shows:Leave it to BeaverI Love Lucy (Lucille Ball, Desi Arnez)Milton Berle: comedianEdward Murrow: on the spot news

    TV Spurs IndustryRefrigeratorsFrozen foodAdvertisingTrends and fadsTV Guide

  • Rock n Roll Famous Artists:Buddy HollyLittle RichardChuck BerryBill HaleyElvis Pressley the King of Rock n Roll!

    Shows like Ed Sullivans Variety Show & Dick Clarks American Bandstand develop to showcase musicians through the TV

  • Rock-n-Roll comes from a mixture of white & black musicTeens loved it, parents hated it!Television becomes widely available by 1948! The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulates the industry.Quiz ShowsTrivia Game showsScandals ~ Women appear as perfect homemakers~ More males than females~ Few minorities~ Portrayed the ideal America = ignored the countrys problems

  • of Americans lived below the poverty line

    The Other America: book that exposed how many are living in poverty

    Urban RenewalTruman advocated for low income housingDevelop Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to improve the inner cities

  • White FlightMillions of whites move to the suburbs

    Loss of tax $$ means loss of city services

    Lots of rural poor to move the city

    Adds up to breakdown of inner cities

  • Beatniks a.k.a. the Beat MovementSocial & literary nonconformists

    Set precedent for hippy generationNon-material lifestyleShunned regular workLittle structureClashed with regular AmericaDefied mainstream society & conformityZen Buddhism, drugs, musicNOT being anything mainstream

  • During WWII immigration from MEXICO increasesUSA needs help harvesting cropsAfter WWII, many stay illegally

    DiscriminationStill widely faced by all minoritiesCivil Rights Movement is slowly getting underway

  • Native Americans remain 2nd Class CitizensIndian Reorganization ActAimed to move away from assimilationMandated change socially, economically, and politicallyTermination PolicyFederal government would give up rights to tribesVoluntary relocation program

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