Economic growth

  • 1949 economic expansion had begun will continue for 20 years
  • between 1945 and 1960 the gross national product grew by 250% from 200 billion to over 500 billion
  • during the depression unemployment 15 to 25%
  • during the 1950s and 1960s it was 5% below where
  • inflation was 3% a year or less
  • cause of the growth government spending that ended the depression in the 1940s and military spending
  • 1950 to 1955 military spending high because of the Korean War
  • birth rate went up called the baby boom peaked in 1957 the population rose 20% in one decade
  • suburbs grew 47% in the 1950s
  • privately owned cars doubled and so the automobile industry did very well
  • the American economy grew 10 times as fast as the population in the 30 years after the war average American in 1960 had 20% more money than in 1945
  • Americans had the highest standard of of living

The Rise of the Modern West

  • West had the most dramatic changes its cities grew and industrial economy grew
  • 1960s parts of the West industrial and cultural centers of the nation
  • growth of the West because of federal spending and investment and military contracts that mostly went to factories in California and Texas
  • oil in Texas and Colorado
  • colleges in California and Texas became the nation’s best and largest
  • many people moved West because of the warm dry climate Los Angeles grew 50% between 1940 and 1960

Capital and Labor

  • 4000 corporate mergers in the 1950s
  • huge corporations were built half of the net corporate income of the nation was going to 500 firms less than 1%
  • reduce need for farm labor agricultural workforce declined
  • 1960s few family farms remained they were mostly owned by large corporations
  • large unions like United automobile workers got good contracts from General Motors included an escalator clause and automatic cost-of-living increase
  • 1950s factory wages have risen to an average of $80 per week they were better wages and benefits and strong unions
  • shift from blue collar to white collar jobs
  • AFL and CIO merged under the leadership of George Meany to AFL-CIO
  • the big successes of unions brought corruption

Consumerism and Suburbanization

  • middle-class grew more powerful and more self-conscious bought many consumer goods because of a creased money and availability of product advertisers created demand for product growth of consumer credit which increased by 800% tween 1945 in 1957 with credit cards revolving charge accounts and easy payment plan flashier cars and record players stereos very popular most people lived in suburbia single family homes affordable to millions of people with payment plans
  • mass-produced housing developments could make houses cost only $10,000 or less young couples could afford them
  • after the war family a big deal so people wanted houses in the suburbs they wanted privacy and security from urban living
  • they also needed a place for the appliances cars boats outdoor furniture and other products
  • most suburbs were all white box couldn’t afford to live in them and informal barriers Even rich blacks out of suburbs many whites left so they could live with only whites

The Suburban Family

  • most men lived in suburbia and worked in the city
  • 50s lifestyle strengthened prejudices against women working
  • middle-class men didn’t like their wives to work
  • 1961 third of all women that were married were still part of the workforce
  • women worked because they wanted the stuff money could buy and families needed two incomes to keep up with all their purchases


The Other America

  • women intellectuals young people and the poor found that the middle-class consumer culture was unsatisfying and did not share their values
  • Michael Harrington 1962 socialist writer Book Called the Other America talked about poverty in the US
  • 1960 30 million people lived below the poverty line it was still down a third from 15 years earlier but it was millions of people
  • 80% of the poor or poor temporarily but 20% of the poor were continuously poor with no easy escape
  • the 20% of continually poor included nation’s old mostly blacks and Hispanics and
  • Native Americans with a single poorest group in the country
  • Indians were moved to cities where they were not ready for urban life

Rural Poverty

  • 1948 farmers had 8.9% of the national income by 1956 they had 4.1%
  • huge enormous surpluses in basic staples so prices fell 33%
  • Black sharecroppers and tenant farmers in the rural South were for
  • 1944 didn’t need as much cotton because synthetic fake fibers were invented
  • migrant farmworkers in the West and Southwest were Mexican and Asian or poor
  • coal economy shrunk in the East so they were poor
  • ghettos with African-Americans in cities historic pattern of discrimination that denied them opportunity
  • 3 million black men and women moved from the South to the North between 1940 and 1960
  • huge populations from Mexico and Puerto Rico poured into Hispanic communities
  • 1 million Puerto Ricans moved to America mostly to New York
  • Mexicans move from Texas and California
  • inner-city crime rate and juvenile crime increased juvenile delinquency
  • 1955 book 1,000,000 delinquents called crime by children and national epidemic because they had no hope of advancement and no sense of having a stake in the structure of society
  • 1960s a bad time in the US because of African-Americans, poor, and women very unhappy

Expanding the Liberal State

  • 1960s presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson liberal
  • John Kennedy young Democrat wealthy he was 43 and 1960 and the Catholic
  • Kennedy had a lot of domestic reforms described as the New Frontier he cut the federal tax to stimulate the economy he made steel companies lower their prices to battle inflation
  • Kennedy had a big personality
  • November 22, 1963 Kennedy was in Texas and he was shot and died he was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald a Marxist who was arrested Lee Harvey Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby two days later as he was being moved from one jail to another many people believe there is a wide conspiracy behind the two murders

Lyndon Johnson

  • the presidential assassination of John F. Kennedy was a national trauma but Lyndon Johnson took over
  • Lyndon Johnson believed in using presidential power
  • he was more effective than John Kennedy in making his goals into reality
  • 1963 to 1966 he had a very passive of legislative record
  • he got support for many new frontier proposals
  • Lyndon Johnson’s proposals were called the Great Society
  • Lyndon Johnson knew how to work with Congress

The Assault on Poverty

  • 1960s social welfare programs
  • Medicare provided financial aid to the elderly for medical expenses 1965 many people called it socialized medicine
  • all elderly people get Medicare
  • office of economic opportunity OTO created educational, employment, housing, healthcare programs and community action
  • community action was an effort to involve members of the poor community in the planning and administration of the programs designed to help them
  • community action gave people jobs including many black and Hispanic politicians started this way working for the OTO
  • OTO spent 3 billion during its first two years and helped reduce poverty in some areas
  • it was hard to spend money on the OTO win a war in South East Asia broke out called the Vietnam War

Cities Schools and Immigration

  • federal efforts to promote rebuilding inner cities and to strengthen the nation’s schools
  • housing act of 1961 4.9 billion and federal grants to cities and preserve open spaces, mass transit systems, middle income housing
  • 1966 department of housing and urban development Robert Weaver first black man to serve in the presidential cabinet for the Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Kennedy wanted federal aid to public schools but the Catholics wanted money for their schools to
  • secondary education act of 1965 gave money to schoolchildren not to the schools themselves so they went to both Catholic children and public education children
  • immigration act of 1965 limited the number of new immigrants to the US at 170,000 but it a limited the national origins system established in the 1920s which gave preference to immigrants from northern Europe to other parts of the world it restricted immigration from some Latin American countries that allowed people from all of Europe Asia and Africa to enter the US on an equal basis
  • 1970s many Asians entered the US

Legacies of the Great Society

  • great Society reforms increased money through federal spending
  • military spending grew faster than increases in revenues from taxation
  • federal government spent 94 billion in 1961 and in 19 7000 96 billion
  • federal efforts to solve social problems
  • 1980s many Americans thought the government programs to solve social problems could work
  • the great Society was not a failure because it reduced hunger in America, gave medical care available to millions of elderly and poor, and decreased American poverty by the largest amount in history
  • 1959 21% of the American people lived in poverty by 1969 only 12% remained below poverty
  • 56% of the black population lived in poverty in 1959 and by 1969 32% live below poverty it was a 42% reduction