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Taking A Look At The Influential Fifties

1529 words - 7 pages

The Influential Fifties

Jeremy Cai

Honors US History 11
Ms. Byars
2 April 2014
Jeremy Cai
Honors US History 11
Byars (2)
2 April 2014
The Influential Fifties
The half century from 1900 to 1959 was very eventful for the history of the United States of America. It began with the introduction of contemporary life itself, followed closely by the beginning of the First World War. World War I ended in 1918, and with its end came a great new generation of living. Rations were removed and spending was increased drastically, until the spending reached a point of no return, causing the stock market to crash and the infamous Great Depression to ensue. The Great Depression came to a close with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, but ended with a bang when World War II broke out. The decade after the Second World War is by far the most cheerful, as well as the most important to contemporary life in America. These years brought the US to fruition through new ideas and progressive socio-economic values.
The culture and society of the 1950’s was a raucous function with larger groups of people being integrated into society, and with the war just ending, the people were crawling with paranoia and fear of what could come next. Communism was still an imminent danger, lurking around every corner, feeding on the fear of America and continuing to thrive in the darkness. Senator Joseph McCarthy, a failing Republican Senator from Wisconsin, took this idea into account when he attempted to up his chances of reelection by accusing Communism of taking over the government. McCarthy’s reign as a terrorist ended in 1954, when he was the center of a large, nationally televised Senate investigation, in which it was shown as proof that his accusations were all empty. The investigation ended ultimately in McCarthy’s crash, where he became “Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party, and ignored by the press…”, leading up to the death of a broken man (Special Senate Investigation). With this final crash of the Second Red Scare, people grew less afraid and paranoid of the communist spread to America, although the iron curtain still resided over Eastern Europe. Life resumed its normal pace, with little to no one else running around, firing accusations into the wind. Men continued their working routines, and women maintained their routines. The 1950’s saw the women happily embracing a lifestyle of house-keeping because they had been grown into the “…era of the ‘happy homemaker’…”, as it was later referred to (PBS 1, Mrs. America). This “happy homemaker” routine was something that was deeply rooted into the women of the ‘50’s, in that all the television sitcoms (i.e., I Love Lucy) would portray the women as being housewives who could do no good outside of the house. These television programs also portrayed women as uncontrollable spenders, who had no sales resistance and succumbed to the thought of buying something that they believed could...

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