Youth Culture History Paper

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Kim Chau
History 148
Paper #2
Word Count: 949

The decade of the 1950's sparked the rise of youth power. It was the beginning of actual “teenagers”. Post World War ll brought a baby boom that led to a mass amount of young people in the fifties. The youth culture was a significant social change that was taking place in America. The fifties youth culture had a considerable influence over pop culture. Their behavior, interests, and ideas were distinct from their parents. “Their attempts to forge an identity worried adults, who couldn't understand the shift (Shmoop Editorial Team).” The fifties were essential to youth culture because it marked the historical roots of teenagers. In essence, prior to the 1950’s, the youth lacked freedom to develop a youth culture. Succeeding the fifties, the youth culture stepped out of conformity forming a greater youth culture.

Before the 1950’s, many historical events occurred such as the Great Depression and after that were the war years. Young people before the fifties had a very different lifestyle. “Education was not as revered in the 1920s or as essential as it is today. Many teens took on full-time careers as young as 14 and quit school (Teenagers in the 1920s).” “Many teens sought jobs themselves rather than stay in school where they could not help their families financially (Teen Culture in the 1930s).” The majority of teens were expected to go to work and accept the responsibilities of a full time job, because of the bad economy families were struggling and teens help providing for the household was more important than education. While in the fifties, teenagers only needed to work part time jobs and they also received allowances from their parents. “In 1956, middle-class American teenagers on average had a weekly income of more than $10, close to the weekly disposable income of an entire family a generation earlier (Henrietta).” A reason behind why the youth culture emerged in the 1950’s was the fact that teenagers...
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