CHAPTER 24 OUTLINE: 1950S 1. Introduction: The Nixon–Khrushchev debates held in the setting of a suburban kitchen illustrated how freedom in America had come to mean economic abundance and consumer choices during the 1950s. How is this new conception of freedom a departure from Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms”? ● Freedom was not of expression or differing forms of government, but to the “extraordinarily high standard of living” in the US. Nixon recognized that “soft power” - the penetration across the globe of American goods and popular culture - was an even more potent form of influence than military might. The conception of freedom centered on economic abundance and consumer choice within the context of traditional family life - a vision that seemed to offer far more opportunities for the “pursuit of happiness” to men than women. 2.The Golden Age: Why do scholars call the 1950s “a golden age” of capitalism? ii. New Appliances like - Television, home air-conditioning, automatic dishwashers, inexpensive long-distance telephone calls, and jet air travel. Services like electricity, central heating, and indoor plumbing that within living memory had been enjoyed only by the rich and solidly middle class now became features of common life. b. A Changing Economy i. Although military industrial spending in the South and the West grew, the United States saw the 1950s as the last decade of an industrial age. What other economic trends/shifts occurred in the 1950s? ● The number of factory laborers fell slightly while clerical workers grew by nearly 25% and salaried employees in large corporate enterprises rose by 60%. Unions’ very success in raising wages inspired employers to mechanize more and more elements of manufacturing in order to reduce labor costs. In 1956, for the first time in American history, white-collar workers outnumbered blue-collar factory and manual laborers. Also during the 1950s, the farm population fell from 23 million to 15 million, yet agricultural production rose by 50 percent, thanks to more efficient machinery, the application of chemical fertilizers and insecticides, increased use of irrigation to open land io cultivation in the West, and the development of new crop strains.