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Hist 17C Lec 4.18

Hist 17C Lec 4.18 - Hist 17C Lecture 4.18.2011 The Fifties...

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Hist 17C Lecture 4.18.2011 The Fifties Themes: o Unprecedented affluence and prosperity o Considerable dissatisfaction below the surface o Most Americans had never had it so good 40% had own homes 1960’s it was 60% Fuller employment (5% or lower unemployment) o Federal gov’t involvement increased in the private economy Increased purchasing power which stimulated the economy With Cold War came renewed gov’t spending on military production o Invested highly in technological advances for military Led to spinoffs Ex. Computers GI Bills of Rights (1944) o Helped to lift millions of Americans into middle class o GI= gov’t issues o Included: Paying for tuition at schools Provided loans to buy houses Etc… Those left behind (…didn’t experience prosperity) o Latino migrant workers, American Indians, blacks in the south, rural whites ,etc o Didn’t begin to receive attention til the 1960’s o Got so little attention because their numbers were so small and their small number didn’t affect purchasing power, therefore didn’t stimulate the economy Majority of Americans in middle class (60%) o Extremely common was suburbanization Facilitated by GI Bill loans o Moved by highways o Families started to own more than one car Used to be a luxury o William Levitt: Built the largest housing community in history Took the industrial technique of the factory line and applied them to the construction of homes Workers move form part to part; each working on their own part of the house Result: simple, inexpensive, durable house Housing development: Levittown (Rhode Island) o Huge demand for affordable homes
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o Rise in birth rates Life in the Suburbs o Had expectations Mowing the lawn Christmas tree lights No hanging laundry o Thrived on the cult of togetherness Families carpooled Threw parties o
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