A New American Dream
Prompt: The decade of the 1950s is often considered a period of economic affluence. Discuss economic growth and prosperity in the United States during this decade and the changes that resulted from that prosperity. Include in your discussion the era’s population, growth, wealth, suburban living and consumerism. Also include a discussion of those who did not share the prosperity in the 1950s.
The 1950s was a time of great economic prosperity for the United States. The U.S experienced a boom in economic trade due to wartime programs. Consumers were more than ready to spend some of their savings, and if they didn’t have a lot of savings, they were just as eager to use their consumer credit. With the war and depression over, they were also happy to start families. Congress passed the GI bill to assist veterans. Also standards of living had risen. However, not everyone shared this new prosperity. In 1944, Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the GI bill. The bill greatly benefited returning veterans. It provided insurance and loans to help servicemen get back on their feet, start small businesses and purchase homes. The GI bill also gave veterans funds to enroll in college and potentially leave their blue-collar jobs. Americans also enjoyed new benefits for their labor. In the 1940s many employers granted their workers luxuries such as paid vacations, health insurance, and retirement pensions. In 1948 cost-of-living adjustments were negotiated and passed. This allowed workers’ wages to keep up with inflation. Blue-collar workers could now live more comfortably. The gap between the working class and middle class had decreased. While other parts of the world were struggling to rebuild after World War II, the Unites States’ standard of living had risen to higher than it had ever been, By the end of the 1950s , the average middle class American family had 30% more purchasing power than at the...
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