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Consensus of values


New Deal Order
Resource Type: E-Seminar

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Allure of the New

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A period of exuberant innovation in art and of faith in scientific progress.

The Politics of Anticommunism
Resource Type: E-Seminar

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The Red Scare: A Totalitarian Nightmare

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A focus on national security and intelligence.

The Stable Fifties
Resource Type: E-Seminar

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Television: Sitcoms

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A media president.

The Subversive Fifties
Resource Type: E-Seminar

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Not a people united.

Key Figures
Resource Type: Primary Source

America Since 1945—E-Seminar 3, The Stable Fifties
Resource Type: E-Seminar
In The Stable Fifties, the third e-seminar in the series America Since 1945, Professor Alan Brinkley examines the shift in American economics and culture that occurred after World War II. While many other combatant countries faced a slow rebuilding period after the war's end, the United States celebrated a vast and steady economic boom that began during the war and continued for the next twenty years. Professor Brinkley examines aspects of American middle-class culture during the Eisenhower years, including the rise of television and the expansion of the suburbs. He also offers a perspective on the Eisenhower presidency.

Homogenized Society and Conformity
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This carefully crafted selection of primary sources will allow students to weigh the multiplicity of factors that influenced American culture in the 1950s, such as the Cold War, government policies, legislation, corporations, and television. Students can focus on the extent to which consensus and conformity dominated relations among or within various social groups.

The Counterculture
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
Although the decade of the 1950s deserves its reputation as an age of political, social, and cultural conformity, seeds of social discontent nevertheless permeated American society. This carefully crafted DBQ focuses on the intellectual and artisitic critics of the affluent society, as well as the origins of the women's and civil-rights movements.

Levitt On Communism and Home Ownership
Resource Type: Primary Source
As the first community of its kind, Levittown, New York, located 25 miles east of Manhattan on Long Island, heralded the postwar arrival of suburban America with its mass-produced housing. William Levitt is quoted as saying the following.

Schlesinger on Freedom
Resource Type: Primary Source
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., a noted American historian, wrote this influential book to argue that a rejuvenated faith in democratic ideals and the continuation of New Deal liberalism would safeguard America from the twin threats of totalitarianism and fascism.

Joseph McCarthy's Speech
Resource Type: Primary Source
Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, an unremarkable member of Congress from Wisconsin, burst onto the national political scene in 1950, after announcing to a West Virginia audience that he held in his hand a list of 205 American Communists who worked in the U.S. State Department.

Resource Type: Primary Source
Renowned for his technique of spontaneous "splatter" or "action" painting, Jackson Pollock (1912–56) emerged as the leading American artist of the abstract expressionist movement.

I Am Waiting
Resource Type: Primary Source
One of the beat poets, Ferlinghetti captures an alternative perspective on life in postwar America in this poem.

Levittown, New York
Resource Type: Primary Source
As the first community of its kind, Levittown, New York, located 25 miles east of Manhattan on Long Island, heralded the postwar arrival of suburban America with its hundreds of acres of mass-produced housing.

The Affluent Soceiety: Public vs. Private Sectors
Resource Type: Primary Source
John Kenneth Galbraith, a prominent Harvard economist, outlined in this article the necessary balance that should exist between the private and public sectors of the American economy.

The Feminine Mystique
Resource Type: Primary Source
Founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW), Betty Friedan wrote this influential treatise critiquing the loneliness and dissatisfaction felt by many suburban housewives in postwar America.

Middle-Class America and Its Discontents
Resource Type: Classroom Simulation
This simulation asks students to place themselves in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse on the eve of the 1960s. Replicating a broad spectrum of American society, from conservatives to counterculture critics, students will understand how the fifties represented an era of consensus that paradoxically carried the seeds of protest that would fuel the rebellion of the sixties.

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