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Social change in the USA in the 1950's

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Why was America a 'divided union' in the 1950's? In the 1950's America experienced a rapid economic growth due to many factors. This was after World War 2 and acted as a device to claim that America's society was better than the USSR's. As a result of this growth many American's living standards increased, as is shown by surveys carried out at the time, showing that more American families could buy cars or TVs. Yet under the surface of American society in the 50's there was change between many opposing social groups, such as blacks and whites, men and women, and the city and suburban areas, leading to many divisions. After WW2 America was the richest society in the world, due to most war damage being in Europe and Asia, and not having to pay compensation to any countries as a result of the war. ...read more.


Many of the workers found resistance coming from women, who were enjoying their work and did not want to return to the stereotype of a middle-class woman staying at home. Blacks also enjoyed new freedoms and respect by fighting effectively in the war. In the South many whites did not want blacks to get well paid jobs and encouraged them or even threatened them to work in the fields or in back-breaking manual labour. Blacks still fought for equality in stages, one example being the Brown vs. Topeka case of 1954. Linda Brown and many other black children were taught in schools with inadequate resources or teachers. Brown fought against her local town's board of education for the right to go to a better resourced white school and for segregation barriers to be broken down. ...read more.


Due to the rise in jobs and shops in the suburban areas many urban areas saw a drop in workers and shopper coming to their cities and blamed it on the growth of suburban American communities. In the 50's the youth also saw a change in behaviour as they became more free and rebellious to their parents. During and after the war, many teenagers were left at home for long hours during the day. They became known as 'latchkey kids', this independence was being blamed for their delinquent behaviour. Modern music and culture was also blamed for young people's behaviour, such acts such as Elvis Presley became infamous with parents and so did his fast, catchy music. To conclude, there were many factors why America was divided in the 50's, all being equally responsible. But a changing society and fear of communism caused the huge changes that occurred in the 1960's. ...read more.

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