Consensus and Conformity

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The United States had appeared to be dominated by consensus and conformity in the 1950s. As the commotions of the first half of the century ended, people were relieved but faced oncoming internal issues. The Great Depression and the two Great Wars caused people to seek tranquility and harmony. The fifties were the decade of change led by president Eisenhower. During this time the nation was in an up rise in many ways. The economy was booming as the Gross National Product more than doubled from the past decade. Thus there was a rise in consumer spending which had a domino effect on the economy. Though it was unexpected, many issues arrived such as the fear of communism and the suspicion of communists hiding in the government. At this period the youth were in the process of change as there was a great break in traditional values. In the midst of all the upheaval civil rights factions saw it as an ideal opportunity to correct the differences of society. Primarily, these groups’ goals were to desegregate the nation. The youth reacted to the status quo by changing their conventional ways. To start with, there was a new “baby boom” generation. Women throughout decided to marry more often and give birth to more children. To celebrate the female anatomy, the “cult of domesticity” became a custom. The newborns required certain products that created demand. Since there was more money available in the family and a greater need for products, consumption rapidly increased. These youths grew to be teenagers where they see an abrupt change. Change in their dress, where they eat, how they travel and what they watched. People started dressing in gray flannel suits, poodle skirts, shirt dresses, saddle shoes and others. Like no other times, teens drove cars and headed to fast food takeout place such as McDonalds. The economy was the main cause for these controversial advances. Another medium to which people reacted was the Television. Shows such as Father Knows Best, Leave It to...
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