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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP U.S. History
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Postwar Prosperity and The 'Other' America

  • Positive aspects of the U.S. economy: huge economic growth & gdp tripled between after WWII through the 60s
  • In addition to the GI bill, employers acceptance of collective bargaining helped workers’ wages, benefits, & ability to buy homes
  • The “Other” America: Michael Harrington wrote powerfully about an America that contained within it “an affluent society” and “an underdeveloped nation, a culture of poverty”
  • Bretton Woods System: an important conference was held in 1944 and several institutions (like the IMF and World Bank) were created that not only were intended to help reconstruct war-torn Europe and help support Third World counties, but they also helped the U.S. economy
  • Rise in consumerism: in 1951, more $ spent on advertising than on education ($6.5 billion as opposed to $5 billion)
  • Huge suburbanization during the postwar era Levitttowns: revolutionized by William J. Levitt--affordable tract houses in housing developments in NY, PA, & NJ
  • The downside of suburbanization: suburban sprawl, “white flight,” restrictive covenants, and segregated neighborhoods
  • The Civil Rights Movement grew, and groups like the NAACP became more active as a result to combat discrimination in housing, transportation & other areas
  • Brown v. Board of Education: in a unanimous decision, it overturned the Plessy case. (Earl Warren: chief justice, who ended up being liberal, declared that separation implied inferiority)
  • Backlash against civil rights gains also grew
  • Clash between cultural conformists and dissenters who began to question the status quo

Postwar Prosperity and The 'Other' America

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  1. Intro
    • Overview
      • Economic Realities
      • Rise in Gross Domestic Product
        • The Affluent Society
          • Or the “Other” America
          • Bretton Woods System
          • Economic Trends in the 1950s
          • General Electric
            • Suburban Living
            • Levittowns and Tract Housing
              • Negative Effects of Suburbanization
              • Changing Demographics
                • Baby Boom! “Gotta Make Up for Lost Time”
                  • Highway Expansion
                  • City “Life Belts” and Car Culture
                    • The Emerging Civil Rights Movement
                      • Civil Rights Challenges
                      • Brown v. Board of Education, 1954
                      • “Massive Resistance” Against the Case
                      • Segregationists and the Little Rock Nine
                        • Nonviolent Protest and Civil Disobedience
                        • Social Critics: The Beats
                        • Be-Bop Jazz
                        • Other Culture Dissenters
                        • Pop Art
                        • TV Culture and Rock and Roll
                        • 1950s: Conformity or Rebellion?
                          • Women's Issues in the 1950s
                          • The Feminine Mystique
                            • Other Policies and Demographic Changes
                            • The Second Migration, 1940-1970
                              • Other Demographic Changes
                              • Example 1
                                • Example 2
                                  • Example 3
                                    • Example 4
                                      • Intro 0:00
                                      • Overview 0:09
                                      • Economic Realities 2:08
                                        • Huge Economic Growth
                                        • Postwar Boom
                                        • Defense Spending and Domestic Programs
                                        • Acceptance of Collective Bargaining
                                      • Rise in Gross Domestic Product 3:52
                                      • The Affluent Society 4:01
                                      • Or the “Other” America 5:14
                                        • U.S. Affluence
                                        • John Kenneth Galbraith
                                        • The Other America
                                        • Michael Harrington
                                      • Bretton Woods System 7:06
                                        • Third World Countries
                                        • The World Bank
                                        • The International Monetary Fund
                                        • Strongest Currency
                                        • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
                                        • Fixed Exchange Rates
                                      • Economic Trends in the 1950s 10:54
                                        • Consolidation of Corporations Continued
                                        • Rise in Consumerism
                                      • General Electric 12:24
                                      • Suburban Living 14:01
                                        • Levittowns
                                        • Henry J. Kaiser
                                        • The Federal Housing Administration
                                        • Veterans Administration
                                      • Levittowns and Tract Housing 16:13
                                      • Negative Effects of Suburbanization 16:34
                                        • The Downside of Suburbanization
                                        • Restrictive Covenants
                                        • Shelley v. Kramer
                                      • Changing Demographics 18:52
                                      • Baby Boom! “Gotta Make Up for Lost Time” 19:33
                                      • Highway Expansion 20:27
                                        • National Interstate and Defense Highways Act
                                        • Mass Transit Systems
                                      • City “Life Belts” and Car Culture 21:23
                                      • The Emerging Civil Rights Movement 21:53
                                      • Civil Rights Challenges 23:36
                                        • The NAACP
                                        • Thurgood Marshall
                                        • Linda Brown
                                      • Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 25:54
                                        • Plessy case
                                        • Racial Segregation in Schools and other Public Facilities
                                        • Violates the 14th Amendment
                                      • “Massive Resistance” Against the Case 27:33
                                        • A Southern Manifesto
                                        • KKK
                                        • Governor Orval Faubus of AR
                                        • Southern Universities
                                      • Segregationists and the Little Rock Nine 29:35
                                      • Nonviolent Protest and Civil Disobedience 30:31
                                        • Rosa Parks
                                        • A Local Segregation Ordinance
                                        • A Boycott of Montgomery's Bus System
                                      • Social Critics: The Beats 32:40
                                        • Rejected Conventional Society
                                        • Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg
                                        • The Springboard for the Counterculture Movement
                                      • Be-Bop Jazz 34:03
                                        • Improvisational
                                        • Bebop Musicians
                                      • Other Culture Dissenters 35:19
                                        • Alienation from Mainstream Society
                                        • Abstract Expressionism
                                        • Jackson Pollock
                                      • Pop Art 35:53
                                        • Aspects of Mass Media
                                        • Mundane Cultural Objects
                                        • Andy Warhol
                                      • TV Culture and Rock and Roll 36:33
                                        • Television Sets
                                        • Rock and Roll
                                      • 1950s: Conformity or Rebellion? 38:53
                                      • Women's Issues in the 1950s 40:14
                                        • Feminine Mystique
                                        • Motherhood
                                        • Glass Ceiling
                                      • The Feminine Mystique 42:24
                                      • Other Policies and Demographic Changes 43:05
                                        • Operation Wetback
                                        • Puerto Ricans
                                        • Second Migration
                                        • Immigration and Nationality Act
                                      • The Second Migration, 1940-1970 44:52
                                      • Other Demographic Changes 45:15
                                        • Inner Cities Declined
                                        • Suburban Affluence and the “Other America”
                                      • Example 1 45:49
                                      • Example 2 46:42
                                      • Example 3 48:07
                                      • Example 4 50:33