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The American Culture Of The 1950s

1970 words - 8 pages

As World War Two came to a close, a new American culture was developing all across the United States. Families were moving away from crowded cities into spacious suburban towns to help create a better life for them during and after the baby boom of the post-war era. Teenagers were starting to become independent by listing to their own music and not wearing the same style of clothing as their parents. Aside from the progress of society that was made during this time period, many people still did not discuss controversial issues such as divorce and sexual relations between young people. While many historians regard the 1950s as a time of true conservatism at its finest, it could really be considered a time of true progression in the American way of life.

Along with the Korean War, many Americans were also affected by the tensions between America and communist Russia. The Russian hydrogen bomb of 1953 had scared people into believing that Communist Russia could start an atomic war, ending life as most people had known it. Scholars of the time period were scared to teach anything about what Marxism (communism) was about. According to Daily Life in the United States, 1940-1959, Shifting Worlds (Kaldin, 2000). There were also very few communists teaching at universities such as Harvard during the 1950s because of the fear that Americans had of communists during this time. From the years 1951 to 1957, 300 teachers were fired from New York City public schools because they did not give the names of teachers who were supposedly communists. This shows how uneasy of a topic communism was for Americans to talk about, even when the culture had started to become more liberal towards the end of the decade, when the 1960s began.

Many 1950s Americans had begun to move from city areas to the suburbs. This move out of the city was prompted by people saving money from their higher salaries and the bonds saved over from WWII. According to Daily Life... (Kaldin, 2000) the population of suburban areas during the 1950s had started to double from 36 million to 74 million. This rise in suburban residents had continued from 1950 to 1970.When more families had started to move to suburban areas, they came together by adding things such as playgrounds, libraries, and schools to the neighborhood to benefit their kids. This “flight to the suburbs” was difficult for blacks because of the racism in society at the time. Many black people were ignored and shunned at this time in society, so it was hard for blacks to move into suburbs knowing that they could be ridiculed in these areas because of their skin color.

Once working citizens had started to receive higher salaries, they could afford more and nicer items than they would have otherwise. According to Daily life… (Kaldin, 2000) the average working man could buy a split-level house on display. In one year, the overage woman bought nine dresses and suits and 14 pairs of shoes. New appliances had also been...

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