Education: college attendance triples and more and more students are graduating high school.Rise of Southwest, California: becomes the first most populous states. People are takingadvantage of the weather and they style of living there. American Consumerism: people want things after years of depression and rationing. They were lacking in things and want to make up for it. We are consuming 36% of the world’s production. Our material good statistics are used as a weapon in the cold war. We are worried that we were left behind and we had to top something, so we topped it with our consumer goods. More Americans, more time, with better health, to consume more stuff. 22
Household appliances, cars, homes:Leisure time: there was a rise in leisure time and the value that we placed on it. the eight hour day, coffee breaks, paid vacations, etc. Union/Worker incomes and fringe benefits: most families have incomes of over $10,000. Credit cards: easy credit. There are now credit cards-a portable form of credit that can be taken everywhere. Home ownership: people want houses after the depression. 50% of Americans own their own homes, a record. They are then filling their homes with stuff. There are more Americans than ever before. Baby Boom: 29 million Americans are born in this time period. There is a relative mortality decline. They have found more useful medicine.“Cult of Youth”Youthful activities and consumerism: the children are becoming more spoiled because the parents don’t want them to suffer like they did in their youth. There are new activities and shows and things to entertain their children. Geared towards junior high and high school kids. Now the children have a disposable income (allowances) and the kids are using that money to buy stuff.“American Graffiti”: there is new youthful clothing and fashions. Cars with “fins”: cars for children. This is the hallmark of American consumer products. Rock n’ Roll: children begin dancing. Black performers performing for white children. Youthful experimentation and revolt:The “Beat” Generation of writers: experimenting with literature. Sexual revolution: “playboy”. Marketing sexuality. Movies: 82 million Americans went to the movies a week. Attendance drops in the middle of the1950’s because of the television.Television: they are bringing the consumer culture and youthfulness into their own home. 65% of households have their own television set. They have shows that are sponsored by corporations and advertisers. Idealized women and family: television is based on this. 3. The Consensus and Conformity of a “Silent Generation” seeking cultural Tranquility:23
Retreat from confrontation, turning inward, and conformity: people shouldn’t question the government. They don’t want to stand out and cause problems. Don’t rock the boat. They turn inward and away from everything to focus on themselves and family and enjoying their own life.