1950's: Happy Days for American's

Topics: World War II, Cold War, Soviet Union Pages: 6 (2380 words) Published: February 23, 2013
The 1950's were the Happy Days for American's because of the improvements in technology, cultural changes, booming economy, racial advancement, but also the baby boom. President Dwight Eisenhower who was elected in 1952 had a major impact on America's economy. During his term he lowered taxes, but also managed to balance the federal government which allowed for consumerism to thrive and government spending to allow for the feeling of security in the economy. He also maintained many of FDR's social programs such as Social Security and the Interstate Highway System. In the 1950's, two thirds of America's population made it into the middle class. Having a great economy at that period of time was quite extraordinary and distant. After the Great Depression, and the two World Wars, having an outragous economy basically introduced a new life to American's. They were able to afford new and better houses, cars, and all kinds of goods, that were inaccessible to them during the Depression or the World War II. While Europe and Asia were still recovering from World War II, America was rising to the top in economy, but also technology (Economy in the 1950s), (Bruccoli), (Madaras). Besides all of the great changes that occured at that time the 50's also had it's disadvantages. Citizens of the United States were terriffied of the Soviets, their spread of communism, and their new technology inventions such as the atomic bomb or the satellite called Sputnik. The Cold War, which was not an actual war, but a political and economic tension betweet the two nations, was a huge issue. Even though the Soviet Union was extremely powerful and controlled many countries in Europe and Asia, President Eisenhower made sure that communism would not reach America. He created specific laws and policies for communists to forbid them into entering United States, but he also joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 "in order to contain the spread of communism". Eisenhower tried his best to prevent from starting another war with the Soviet Union and he succeeded (Madaras).

One reason why I believe that the 1950's were America's Happy Days is because of their booming economy and the new inventions. United States had the largest and strongest economy in the world at that time. During the war American's saved around $140 billion, which now they were able to spend on all of the new goods, that weren't available to them during the Great Depression or the War. The national gross product in 1950 was $284.6 billion, and at the end of that decade it increased to $482.7 billion. From 1945 until 1960 the average wage earner increased it's earnings by 22%. The average family income in 1947 was around $3,000 a year and by 1959 the income raised to about $5,400 a year. The top 1% of the population owned 19% of the nation's wealth in 1949 and by 1960 it raised to 33%. The unemployment precentage in the middle of the decade only reached to about 4.5% which was extremely low (Madaras), (Bruccoli).

The Baby Boom, which was an enormous birth rate increase, caused adults and families to purchase new and bigger households. The creation of the suburbs which were residential communities near the cities, became an increadible success. During the 50's America had the highest rate of people living in the suburbs, beating Canada and New Zeland. In 1948 only 18 million familes in United States owned their own home. In 1953 though the number rose by 7 more million America's, which brought the number to 25 million people and families owning their own house. Since many people lived in suburbs instead of the cities, they needed a way of transportation to get to their jobs. There was about 60 million cars and other types of transportations in United States alone during the 50's. Because of the creation of credit cards, people had no issue affording a new vehicle as well as a new home (Bruccoli), (1950's).

Another very popular product that everyone was willing to buy...
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