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Describe the growth of teenage culture in the USA in the period 1955-75.

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Introduction

Describe the growth of teenage culture in the USA in the period 1955-75 The average teenager was very different in 1955, to that of 1975. During the 1950's young white middle class people had a lot more money to spend on themselves than any other generation. They were unquestionably better off than young people in other countries and indeed than what their parents had been during the years of the great Depression. Companies were starting to reply with products that were specifically targeted at them and 'teenage fads' were starting to become a lot more profitable. Teenager's annual spending power had increased by 15 million dollars between 1950 - 1959. After the war 75% of high school boys between the ages of 16-17 owned a car. So this obviously meant that the car would play a very important role in young peoples lives for years to come. Teenagers now had far more leisure time and a lot more spending money. Youth Culture was taking on a new direction. Transistor radios, magazines and rock 'n' roll records were starting to boom with sales. In the late 40's noisy teenagers called Bobbysoxers appeared. They astounded their parents by fainting at Frank Sinatra concerts. Their neighbours were starting to get fed up with them playing their records so loudly. This maybe could have been the start to the growth in teenage culture. ...read more.

Middle

However, there is no doubt that Elvis influenced the growth of teenage culture more than any other person had ever done. When President Johnson came into power, he achieved a number of different things. He tried to put right the war on poverty. He did this by setting up The economic Opportunity Act, 1964. This provided training to disadvantaged youths aged 16-21; helped low-income to work their way through college; requited volunteers to work and teach in low income slum areas. He helped towards the improvement of Medicare and Medicaid. In 1965 Medicare was provided with insurance for the over 65s and hospital care for the poor. He was very interested in environment protection, so he passed a series of laws aimed to ensure clean water and enforce air quality standards. Highway safety was also very important. He made sure that there were compulsory safety standards for cars and a national highway safety programme. While Elvis was impacting on American teenagers, there were other more pressing issues that many teenagers objected to. They were divided over many different issues. Many of them thought that because there was so many good opportunities for jobs and a good wage, it was the poor people responsible for their own problems. On the other hand, many people living in the cities demanded more action. Opposition to the Vietnam War grew. ...read more.

Conclusion

This may have led to teenagers wanting to take a risk and an adventure all the more. Performers such as Elvis Presley were becoming teen idols. He was seen as 'the king'of rock 'n' roll. Television screens had seen nothing like some of Elvis's performances. His infamous wiggle, in which he had done by accident, was now a fan favourite. He was aggressive with his guitar, swinging his arm down so that his fingers snapped at the strings. Elvis was becoming an industry. He managed to revolutionise the music industry. He increased the audience for popular music and prompted hundreds of other young sisters to equal his achievements. Without Elvis, none of this would have happened. He was performing wildly to the music, while girls in the unseen studio audience screamed with delight. Other young people 'dropped out' of standard society altogether and became 'Beatniks'. The 'generation gap' was a very hard concept for older Americans to understand. Others became hippies and wore strange clothes, with long hair and mystical religions. They had many slogans, but their main one was 'make love not war'. The majority of them were white middle class college students. Music also had a big part to play in the growth of teenage culture. Bands like the Beatles were very popular. Their songs were about peace, free love and drugs. In the end, many of these young people grew tired of their existence and when in 1975 the Vietnam War ended the movement began to deteriorate. ...read more.

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