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NCHS-9-1

The economic boom and social transformation of postwar United States


A.  The student understands the extent and impact of economic changes in the postwar period

B.  The student understands how the social changes of the postwar period affected various Americans

C.  The student understands how postwar science augmented the nation's economic strength, transformed daily life, and influenced the world economy


Resources:

Urban Crisis: Fire and Water
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant transcripts:
No Water Meters

Urban Crisis: Disease, Crime, and Space
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant texts:
Never Again

New Deal Order
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant pages:
Legacies: Mimicking Wartime Expansion
Legacies: Abundance
The New Framework
The New Framework: The GI Bill
The New Framework: The Full Employment Bill
The New Framework: The Fair Deal
The New Framework: Postwar Domestic Order
Allure of the New
Key Figures
Timeline

Relevant transcripts:
The ideas of British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946) became extremely popular in postwar America.
The consumer economy was made possible by growing abundance.
An ambitious agenda, most of the Postwar Program never passed.
A period of exuberant innovation in art and of faith in scientific progress.

The Politics of Anticommunism
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant pages:
Impact of the Cold War: The Iron Triangle
Key Figures

Relevant transcripts:
A focus on national security and intelligence.

The Stable Fifties
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant pages:
Abundance
Abundance: The American Middle Class
Abundance: Defining the Middle Class
Television
Television: Messages and Sponsors
Television: Sitcoms
Television: Two-Edged Sword
The Suburbs
The Suburbs: Homogenity
The Suburbs: Conformity and Isolation

Relevant transcripts:
The illusion of redistribution.
What happened to the middle class?

The Subversive Fifties
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant pages:
Disillusionment
Other Americans
Other Americans: Pressured to Conform
Other Americans: The Beats
Environmental Critique
Environmental Critique: Pollution and Health
Feminism
Feminism: Two Different Spheres
Feminism: A More Complex Problem
Poverty
Poverty: Structural Poverty
Poverty: Why the Attention?
Segregation

Relevant transcripts:
Not a people united.
Increasing disenchantment.
Antecedents of the counterculture.
The feminine mystique.
Whose fault was it?
Racial disparities.

The Affluent Society
Resource Type: Primary Source
Galbraith's classic study of 1950s America discusses the irony of the existence of significant poverty in affluent America.

Eisenhower and the Politics of the 1950s
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This selection of primary sources gives students an opportunity to examine different layers of dissent during the Eisenhower presidency. Although President Eisenhower enjoyed great public support, his administration was challenged by problems at home and abroad.

The Civil-Rights Movement
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
The civil-rights movement shifted from nonviolent civil disobedience to "black power." The rich selection of primary sources will help students explore the philosophies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, the differences between the African American experience in the North and in the South, the role of government and political institutions, as well as global movements against imperialism.

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.

Convergence
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.

Woolworth Counter Strike
Resource Type: Primary Source
In 1960, students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College, a historically black institution, defied segregation by sitting at the luncheon counter of the F.W. Woolworth store in Greensboro.

The Other America
Resource Type: Primary Source
With this book, writer and social activist Michael Harrington helped launch the New Left movement of the 1960s and its concerns about American poverty and social injustice.

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.

Economic Prosperity in the 1950s in the United States
Resource Type: Teaching Activity
The purpose of this classroom activity on economic prosperity in the 1950s is to analyze the forces that have paradoxically led to a cultural homogeneity, on the one hand, and to a contesting of cultural conformity, on the other. The role of television is closely examined in terms of how it helped to shape public perceptions—sometimes reinforcing a sense of unity, at other times sowing the seeds of discord.

Key Figures
Resource Type: Primary Source

Television: Sitcoms
Resource Type: Primary Source
Audrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason in a promotional portrait for The Honeymooners.

Television: Two-Edged Sword
Resource Type: Primary Source
Lucille Ball and her husband, Desi Arnaz, costars of I Love Lucy.

Television: Two-Edged Sword
Resource Type: Primary Source
Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy on the news show See It Now, during the McCarthy-Army hearings (July 8, 1954).

The Suburbs: Homogenity
Resource Type: Primary Source
Aerial view of Levittown, N.Y.

Sixties Radicalism and Conservatism
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
Dissent and social protest characterize the 1960s. Enduring images of the decade recall its civil-rights marches, antiwar protests, and rallies of members of various social grouips—women, farmworkers, American Indians—calling for greater justice. The documents within the DBQ represent a variety of voices, illustrating the tensions between countercultural movements of the 1960s and conservative reactions against them. This DBQ contextualizes the debates of the 1960s within a longer-term analysis of the divisions between left and right in the United States since the beginning of the Cold War.

Legacies: The American Welfare State
Resource Type: Primary Source
Classic poster of the Works Progress Administration, or WPA, one of the many New Deal projects of FDR's administration.

The New Framework
Resource Type: Primary Source
Still from In Our Hands, Part 2: What We Have (1950).

The Organization Man
Resource Type: Primary Source
William Whyte discusses the institutionalized and bureaucratized aspects of life in America.

The Affluent Society
Resource Type: Primary Source
Galbraith's classic study of 1950s America discusses the irony of the existence of significant poverty in affluent America.

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.

Convergence
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.

Woolworth Counter Strike
Resource Type: Primary Source
In 1960, students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College, a historically black institution, defied segregation by sitting at the luncheon counter of the F.W. Woolworth store in Greensboro.

The Other America
Resource Type: Primary Source
With this book, writer and social activist Michael Harrington helped launch the New Left movement of the 1960s and its concerns about American poverty and social injustice.

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.

Economic Prosperity in the 1950s in the United States
Resource Type: Teaching Activity
The purpose of this classroom activity on economic prosperity in the 1950s is to analyze the forces that have paradoxically led to a cultural homogeneity, on the one hand, and to a contesting of cultural conformity, on the other. The role of television is closely examined in terms of how it helped to shape public perceptions—sometimes reinforcing a sense of unity, at other times sowing the seeds of discord.

The Avant-Garde Artists of the 1950s
Resource Type: Classroom Simulation
In this creative simulation, students role-play avant-garde artists of the 1950s to discuss important issues of the times (politics, the affluent society, race relations, women, etc.) from an artistic and intellectual perspective.

Abundance
Resource Type: Primary Source
Poster from the U.S. Housing Authority (1940s).

Abundance
Resource Type: Primary Source
New York City housing project (c. 1950).

Abundance: The American Middle Class
Resource Type: Primary Source
Scene of typical middle-American life.

The Suburbs: Homogenity
Resource Type: Primary Source
Ad for Levittown, N.Y.

The Suburbs: Conformity and Isolation
Resource Type: Primary Source
Ad describes the rush by veterans to buy homes in Levittown, N.Y.

Democracy: Limitations and Possibilities
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
During the 1960s, a series of widely disparate protest movements emerged in the United States. While the antiwar movement directed against U.S. intervention in the Vietnam War appeared to be the most salient, many others as well expressed discontent with American government and society. In this question, students are asked to look at a variety of groups—including women, African Americans, and ethnic minorities—many of whose members felt marginalized or underrepresented, became politically active, and helped to establish social movements dedicated to the advancement of their communities. Students can use these documents to determine the degree to which different groups sought to redefine American democracy and make it more inclusive.

Sixties Radicalism and Conservatism
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
Dissent and social protest characterize the 1960s. Enduring images of the decade recall its civil-rights marches, antiwar protests, and rallies of members of various social grouips—women, farmworkers, American Indians—calling for greater justice. The documents within the DBQ represent a variety of voices, illustrating the tensions between countercultural movements of the 1960s and conservative reactions against them. This DBQ contextualizes the debates of the 1960s within a longer-term analysis of the divisions between left and right in the United States since the beginning of the Cold War.

Legacies: The American Welfare State
Resource Type: Primary Source
Classic poster of the Works Progress Administration, or WPA, one of the many New Deal projects of FDR's administration.

The New Framework: The Full Employment Bill
Resource Type: Primary Source
Still from In Our Hands, Part 2: What We Have (1950).

Student Information Given to Federal Investigators
Resource Type: Primary Source
This article in the Columbia University student newspaper reports that the dean of students provided federal investigators with information about students who had attended the university.

The Organization Man
Resource Type: Primary Source
William Whyte discusses the institutionalized and bureaucratized aspects of life in America.

DuBois on American Democracy
Resource Type: Primary Source
DuBois discusses American democracy and why he is frustrated with party politics in the United States.

The Affluent Society
Resource Type: Primary Source
Galbraith's classic study of 1950s America discusses the irony of the existence of significant poverty in affluent America.

Coming of Age in Mississippi
Resource Type: Primary Source
Moody reveals her experience of wandering into the white section of the local theater; she realizes, after the incident, that "whiteness" provided her friends with a different life.

Eisenhower at a Football Game
Resource Type: Primary Source
Eisenhower served as president of Columbia University; here he is seen waving a Columbia University pennant in one hand and an Army pennant in the other at a college football game.

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.

Convergence
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.

Woolworth Counter Strike
Resource Type: Primary Source
In 1960, students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College, a historically black institution, defied segregation by sitting at the luncheon counter of the F.W. Woolworth store in Greensboro.

The Other America
Resource Type: Primary Source
With this book, writer and social activist Michael Harrington helped launch the New Left movement of the 1960s and its concerns about American poverty and social injustice.

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.

The Avant-Garde Artists of the 1950s
Resource Type: Classroom Simulation
In this creative simulation, students role-play avant-garde artists of the 1950s to discuss important issues of the times (politics, the affluent society, race relations, women, etc.) from an artistic and intellectual perspective.

Key Figures
Resource Type: Primary Source

Key Figures
Resource Type: Primary Source

The Suburbs: Conformity and Isolation
Resource Type: Primary Source
Customers wait in line to buy houses in Levittown, N.Y.

The Suburbs: Conformity and Isolation
Resource Type: Primary Source
Families move into Levittown, N.Y.

The Suburbs: Conformity and Isolation
Resource Type: Primary Source
Welcome wagon offers gifts from local merchants to new arrivals in Levittown, N.Y.

The Suburbs: Conformity and Isolation
Resource Type: Primary Source
Cape Cod–style houses in Levittown, N.Y.

The Suburbs: Conformity and Isolation
Resource Type: Primary Source
Dance rehearsal in Levittown, N.Y. (1950).

The Suburbs: Conformity and Isolation
Resource Type: Primary Source
Square dancers celebrate Levittown's 10th anniversary.

Other Americans
Resource Type: Primary Source
A corporate board of directors (1961).

Other Americans: Pressured to Conform
Resource Type: Primary Source
Cover of The Organization Man by William H. Whyte, Jr. (1956).

Other Americans: The Beats
Resource Type: Primary Source
Allen Ginsberg, in a photograph taken at his enrollment in Columbia University (1943).

Other Americans: The Beats
Resource Type: Primary Source
While a student at Columbia University, Allen Ginsberg took courses with Lionel Trilling, the great literary scholar.

Other Americans: The Beats
Resource Type: Primary Source
Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso, fellow Beats, listen to Allen Ginsberg read poetry at Columbia University (1959).

Other Americans: The Beats
Resource Type: Primary Source
Cover from a 1959 edition of Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg. This collection was first published by City Lights Books in 1956.

Other Americans: The Beats
Resource Type: Primary Source
Allen Ginsberg at home (1966).

Environmental Critique: Pollution and Health
Resource Type: Primary Source
Early ban-the-bomb protest outside the United Nations.

Poverty
Resource Type: Primary Source
Michael Harrington, author.

Poverty
Resource Type: Primary Source
Cover of a 1963 paperback edition of The Other America: Poverty in the United States by Michael Harrington. This book was first published in 1962.

Poverty: Structural Poverty
Resource Type: Primary Source
Boy amid demolished slums, New York City (1961).

Poverty: Structural Poverty
Resource Type: Primary Source
Man looks out over slums in Detroit.

Poverty: Structural Poverty
Resource Type: Primary Source
Slums in Appalachia.

Poverty: Structural Poverty
Resource Type: Primary Source
Slums, Omaha, Nebraska.

Poverty: Structural Poverty
Resource Type: Primary Source
Girl in a slum area of Washington, D.C.

Poverty: Why the Attention?
Resource Type: Primary Source
Teenage mother attends class with her baby (1971).

The Organization Man
Resource Type: Primary Source
William Whyte discusses the institutionalized and bureaucratized aspects of life in America.

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.

Convergence
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.

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 Other America
Resource Type: Primary Source
With this book, writer and social activist Michael Harrington helped launch the New Left movement of the 1960s and its concerns about American poverty and social injustice.

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.

Allure of the New
Resource Type: Primary Source
Archibald MacLeish, Librarian of Congress

Allure of the New
Resource Type: Primary Source
Nobel Prize winners and physicists Ernest Orlando Lawrence and Arthur Holly Compton, Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development Vannevar Bush, President of Harvard University James Bryant Conant, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Karl T. Compton, and investment banker Alfred Loomis gather for a meeting at Loomis' private laboratory.

Environmental Critique
Resource Type: Primary Source
Rachel Carson, author and environmentalist, at her typewriter (1952).

Environmental Critique: DDT
Resource Type: Primary Source
Farmer sprays DDT pesticide on trees (1948).

Environmental Critique: DDT
Resource Type: Primary Source
Cover of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962), which exposed data on the harmful effects of DDT and other chemical pesticides.

Segregation: Brown v. Board of Education
Resource Type: Primary Source
The Supreme Court's decree calling for desegregation "with all deliberate speed," issued a year after the court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.


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