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America in the Fifties

I. Introduction
II. The Eisenhower Presidency
a. Modern Republicanism
i. Cutting the federal budget
ii. Government support for big business
iii. Wanted to reduce taxes, contain inflation, and govern efficiently
iv. Little social reform
b. New Look Foreign Policy and Massive Retaliation
i. Build up nuclear weapons
ii. Avoid limited wars
iii. More bang for the buck
c. The Space Race
i. Escalating tension between US and Soviet Union
1. For technological superiority
ii. 1957 Soviets launch Sputnik
iii. Americans become concerned: satellite in space -> nuclear
1. Increase money in national defense
2. Invest in space program
3. More money in education and research
iv. By 1960, Eisenhower becomes weary of race
III. Boom Time in America
a. Suburbanization
b. Highways
c. Television
IV. The Culture of Consensus
V. Tensions Beneath the Surface
a. Women and the Fifties
i. Women should get satisfaction from being a wife/mother
1. If not, something is wrong with her
ii. 60% of women 18-25 were married
b. Alfred Kinsey and the Sexual Revolution
i. Believed America was sexually repressed
ii. 1938 started research
1. Questionnaires, interviews, experiments
iii. Wrote books
iv. Problems with data
1. More subjects from prison
2. Gigolos
3. More experienced participants
4. Skewed the data but raised important questions
v. Wide range of sexual orientations
1. Kinsey Scale
2. 0 (hetero) -> 6 (homo)
vi. Evangelicals think hes normalizing deviant behavior
c. Hugh Hefner
i. Men: reject the idea you should be tied down
1. Should not just have one partner
2. Should pursue self-gratification
ii. All about consumption
iii. Women are treated as objects dehumanized
1. Hefner: women are more free, uninhibited
d. Elvis Presley and Rock N Roll
i. Gives white face to rock n roll
1. Euphemism for sex
ii. Parents believe rock n roll promoted juvenile delinquency
iii. Threat to the status quo
VI. The Civil Rights Movement
a. Brown vs. Board of Education (1954)
i. NAACP challenge segregation in schools
ii. Thurgood Marshall argues court should overturn Plessy v.
iii. Psychologists testify with doll study
iv. Unanimous decision that segregated schools violates 14th
v. Desegregate with all deliberate speed
1. Ambiguous ruling let white supremacists stall
b. Montgomery Improvement Association
i. Organized bus boycotts
1. Say its economic boycott
ii. Sustained boycott for 381 days
1. Carpool system
2. Walk
iii. White supremacists print false ads saying boycott is over
1. Didnt work
c. Martin Luther King, Jr.