1950s America Speech The 1950s were a remarkable time in the history of the United States of America. Many of the events that occurred during this time inspired and molded the future of an entire generation. The economy was booming, bringing millions of Americans into the middle class. Government, Business, and Unions worked together to keep the economy going, but I believed the biggest force in the economy in the 1950s decade is the consumers. “Consumer Culture” is a culture where consuming goods become a marker of social states and a way of creating meaning in the people’s lives.
The demand of the consumers created many jobs for people.
As a result there were millions of things the United States produced, and abundance of things to buy. America had the newest, coolest, popular car out like the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird. America also produced the wristwatch, TVs, and the famous, girly toy in the world-the Barbie Doll. The best part was credit cards were invented around this time allowing consumers to buy now, and pay off later.
Now with the economy going so great, there was a high cost in demand allowing jobs to be formed. Blue Color Jobs were people who are plumbers, bus-drivers, cab-drivers, warehouse workers and construction workers.
White Color Jobs were people who are accountants, sales representatives and mid-management positions. In the 1950s women were the housewife and mostly stayed at home. However, in the late 50s women started to have jobs mostly like being teachers, nurses, stewardess, and secretaries. In 1950 the gross national product (also known as GNP) had $284. 6 billion dollars; the US was by far the largest economy in the world! By the end of the decade the GNP stood at $482. 7 billion dollars. The 1950s played a huge role in segregation. “Separate but equal” was a famous quote to allow segregation seem okay.
In truth, African Americans were always separate but never equal. However, in 1948 armed services were officially desegregation. Schools weren’t desegregated yet. An African-American girl had to walk 2 miles get to a black school when a white school was only 6 blocks away. On May 17, 1954 with its Brown v. Board of Education decision, the U. S. Supreme Court ends segregation in public schools. This is the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Just like today, Americans were sports crazy in the 1950s. Basketball, football, boxing were all typical sports that Americans loved, but one sport stood out of all of them.
You guessed it; baseball. All these sports expanded in popularity due by technology and mass media such as television, magazines, and radio. Integration was spreading to sports allowing the famous, “Rookie of the Year”- Jackie Robinson to play baseball. Baseball remained the most popular of American sports mainly because the New York Yankees winning 7 out of 9 World Series. LEGOs building bricks were the most popular activity to do. It required imagination allowing the creator to build anything she/he wants to build. These LEGOs building bricks were for mainly children around 7 to 12 years of age.
Skateboarding was a very popular activity for teenager during the 1950s. Fashion changes all the time. What’s interesting about the 1950s fashion is that it’s still acceptable nowadays. The teenage boys would were blue jeans, a white t-shirt, and a black leather jacket. To form a “cool” look. The hair style has longer than usual hair allowing longer sideburns for guys. This fashion was mainly influenced by Elvis Plessey. Grown up men would wear suits, a tie, and a hat to top it off. Most of the men would carry a suitcase. This fashion is known as the business man. Fashion for teenage girls is more sophisticated. What was in” during the 1950s were the tight sweater for a top, poodle skirt (a long, full skirt with the image of a poodle on it), bobby socks (ankle-high socks) and saddle shoes (sturdy shoes with a contrasting band of color). Teenage girls wore their hair up in a ponytail and wore a lot of Make-up. The only difference in clothes between teenage girls and women is women didn’t wear the poodle skirt. Most women would wear a full-length dress and carry a purse. Music is everywhere; it’s only annoying when it’s stuck in your head and you hear it repeat over and over through-out the whole day.
But something special happen in the 1950s; this was the decade Rock n’ Roll was introduced by “The King”-Elvis Plessey. Some of his famous songs include: That’s All Right Mama, Heartbreak Hotel, Viva Las Vegas and the one I have stuck in my head right now, You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog. Not only does Elvis introduce a new type of music, but also Influence teens such as appearance in fashion, and behavior. He also influenced future musicians such as the Beatles. Elvis Plessey is one of the most famous musician/ actor in the 1950s. Let the Rock n’ Roll rule forever. Booooom! The baby boom started in 1946 and stop in 1964.
A baby boom is when any period marked by a greatly increased birth rate. The term “baby boom” most often refers to the dramatic post–World War II baby boom (1946–1964). There are an estimated 78. 3 million Americans who were born during this demographic boom in births. Reasons why people started to have babies all around the same time because: WW2 ended, people started to marry at a young, around the age of 20 was average and were ready to start a family. Science began to take off. In the 1950s Francis Crick and James Watson discover the double-helix structure of DNA. An immunization vaccine is produced for polio.
The first successful ultrasound test of the heart activity was in the 1950s. The CERN is established. (European Organization for Nuclear Research) The world’s first nuclear power plant is opened in Obninsk near Moscow. NASA is organized. (Later on we have a “Space Race” with the Soviet). President Harry S. Truman inaugurated transcontinental television service on September 4, 1951 when he made a speech to the nation. AT&T carried his address from San Francisco and it was viewed from the west coast to the east coast at the same time. One of the most popular cars in the 1950s was a Cadillac.
If you owned one you would symbolize wealth, power, and success. Elvis Pressley owned a Cadillac and so did captains of their own, individual industry. Even Hollywood big-shots and the common worker who saved enough owned a Cadillac. For most people, the name Cadillac evokes images of the finned, chromed, and gadget-laden “Fabulous Fifties” models. These Cadillacs proved that America was emerging unscathed from the war and to the contrary, demonstrated a new-found prosperity which found expression in cars. For four decades starting from 1950, Cadillac had no series competition in the US market.
The 1950s were “The Golden Age of Television”. Television was introduced to Americana in 1939 and began to gain a foothold after WW2. In the 1950s TV were and still are American’s source of entertainment. In the year of 1950, 5 million TVs were sold! In 1950, just fewer than 20% of American homes contained a TV set. Ten years later, nearly 90% of homes contained a TV-and some even had color TVs. The three major networks: NBC, CBS, ABC. Some of the top favorite TV shows: The Texaco Star Theater, Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, I Love Lucy, The $64,000 Question, and Gunsmoke.
Gradually, by the mid-fifties, there came electronic color television, which was followed by launching of remote control and transistorized television sets towards 1959. Thus, we can conclude that television in the 1950s brought an element of reality, news and fun for the people and also helped create a sense of awareness against all the social ills. The availability of movies and movie-related shows, reality shows, daily soaps and of course the news programs have made it the prime media of entertainment in every household.
The 1950s truly were the decade of the TV. TVs allowed families to bond in the newly created suburbs. TVs also allowed advertisement. So in a way you’re communicating and discovering new products and news about what’s going on in the world. A women’s best friend is TV because around the 1950s women usually stayed at home and watched TV shows. The 1950s really had events and importance; also it isn’t much different from our lives today. Many of the events that occurred during this time inspired and molded the future of an entire generation.
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