Changes in the American Society and Culture in 1945-1968 - Essay Example

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Name Professor Module Date Changes in the American Society and Culture: 1945-1968 Post-World War II America emerged as a stronger nation thank before with Americans convinced that they had cultural superiority, economic strength and superior form of government…
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Changes in the American Society and Culture in 1945-1968
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Download file to see previous pages Some of the stand out developments that characterized this period includes a consumer-driven economic boom, the civil rights movement and the heightened drive for liberation on a personal level especially among the young Americans. This study explores these three aspects guided by the thesis that they were the greatest forces for change in the American society between 1945 and 1968. Consumerism as a Driver of the Economic Boom - 1945-1968: The twenty years after the World War II were characterized by an unmatched economic expansion in the western world. The GDPs of many countries rose gradually to double the prewar figures, while the living standards grew proportionately. It was an era characterized by the dawn of mass consumerism. However, it is starkly discernible that the US led the way by a huge gap, achieving in the early 1950s the average per capita GDP that western European nations would only reach by the late 1960s. A brief overview of the economic boom indicates that the per capita GDP grew by an average of 2.7% annually and continuously from 1949-1968 in comparison to under 1.5% per capita GDP growth per year from 1913-1949 (Junker and Wagner 256). The consumer culture was also driven by media, as the telling impact of the Seventeen Magazine on teenage consumption and the accompanied attention by the corporate world (Griffith and Baker 122-3). ...
Mass consumption included purchase of mass-produced homes in sprawling suburbs as the domestic market drove economic growth forward. This perhaps explains the reason behind the USA experiencing the economic boom much earlier than the rest of the western world. The birth rate was at an all time high bringing forth the baby-boom generation whose parents intended to provide with good life they never had as they grew up during the global recession (Elcott 7). One aspect of this mass consumerism is in the growth of television and its impact. By 1950, less than 3 million Americans had television sets, spectacularly increasing to over 50 million a decade later. This was accompanied by creation of a more uniform culture in the US. It is clear that the surge of capitalism was driven by the heightened consumerism and people’s growing incomes. Pervasive television imagery, booming suburbs and unrestricted spending power changed the culture of Americans and how they viewed themselves (Cobbs-Hoffman and Gjerde and Blum 331-2). A strong home economy was also important in the establishment of US global economic power and influence as efforts could be diverted to global economic issues. Hence, consumer-driven economic expansion is one of the main stand-out aspects and defining phenomena that characterized the period between 1945 and 1968. The Civil Rights Movement: The USA is a nation built upon a melt-point of different cultures, races and ethnicities and thus from inception was plagued by the problem of racism, providing the divisions that shook the very foundations of democracy that the nation prides itself in. Dubois cofounded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people (NAACP) with the aim of protesting the accommodation being pursued by the likes of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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