History 10-2

History 10-2 - Late 1940s to 1950s social commentators...

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Late 1940s to 1950s, social commentators found that the U.S. was remarkably homogenized. Typical American was both bland and conformist. Each morning, Mr. Jones put on standard uniform of button-down shirt, sincere tie, and a charcoal gray suit, and adjusted his perpetual smile. At night he came home and read to his children from the Little Golden Book series. Conformity watchers fretted about the fact that wives were told to hide or avoid any journal that discussed anything serious. Job security in 1950s was the most important priority. There are pay cuts each year. One of four men were jobless, even those with good degrees. Women didn’t get paid enough to provide family income, but they stole men’s jobs. People expected another depression, end of capitalism. People were so conservative in the 50s because they were afraid. Religion boomed. Jan 1953 (a few days before inaugurated president), Eisenhower spoke to Billy Graham, evangelist. Eisenhower said “America has to have a religious revival”. In 1954, Congress voted to add two words, “Under God”, to the pledge allegiance. In 1955, Congress added four words to all US currency. Some already had it; now all had to bear “In God We Trust”. {In God we trust; others we polygraph}. Religion was merchandised. People were buying television in mid 50s and it was relatively common to have it. Commercial: “The family that prays together stays together.” The Ideal Toy Company produced a doll that when you stroked its head, it genuflected. One of the top selling books was “The Power of Prayer on Plants”. Toward the end of the 50s, there was a song entitled “Big Fella in the Sky”. On college campuses, the conformity and desire to fit in was described as the “silent generation”. If the students made a ruckus, they were told it would go on their ‘permanent record’. In 40s and 50s, they wanted to work for somebody else, somewhere big, for security. They weren’t entrepreneurs like many people are today. In 1950, President of Yale said students were striking a bargain with fate by having this attitude. In 1955, mostly male seniors at universities discovered what they wanted was a place on the corporate ladder. They all figured they would be serving in the military (after cold war), and if they did, they wanted to deal with guided missiles. Their ideal women looked like Grace Keller. Do hospital work and bring culture into the home. In 1957, Time magazine reported that no campus is without its atrocity story of intellectual deadness. In the 1960s, Counterculture--- a reaction against the prevailing culture: The beginning of this was the Civil Rights Movement. In early 1960s, there was a qualitative change in the attitude of Americans toward race. Racial prejudice became
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unacceptable to express. There were, of course, many whites who were patronizing of
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History 10-2 - Late 1940s to 1950s social commentators...

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