America - Urbanisation and Affluence

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  • Created by: tomtom11
  • Created on: 23-05-16 21:09
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  • America - Urbanisation and Affluence
    • Concerns during Eisenhower's presidency
      • Threat of a nuclear attack from the Soviet Union.
      • Conformity (critics said American culture was homogenised)
      • Consumerism
      • Advertisements (media and roadside areas- saturated w/ product messages)
      • American youth being less conformist and less well-behaved.
      • Tense race relations and economic inequality.
        • 1/3 of Americans were poor + poverty prevelant among minorities.
    • Cars
      • Spacious new cars gave a luxurious drive, and demonstrated one's status.
      • Big Three: General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler
      • Eisenhower was impressed with German Autobahns and initiated a highway construction programme.
      • Car ownership rocketed from 39.3m in '50 to 73.8m in '60.
      • 41,000 miles of interstate highways opened!
      • Cultural divisions thru cars.
        • Wealthy white men favoured Lincolns and Cadillacs.
        • MC + WC men = Ford and Chevrolet.
        • Poor Hispanic American drivers often bought cheap second-hand Chevys
        • Automobiles defined the desire for young people to gain independence.
        • '53 Kinsey sex survey found youths had sex in automobiles just as much as they did in their homes.
        • Young people expressed their youth through customising cars into 'hot rods' or 'grease machines'
        • '55 Dodge La Femme came with matching lipstick and shoulder bag.
    • On-the-road culture
      • Fast Food
        • '60- 228 McDonald's
      • Watch Movies
      • Attend Church
      • Tens of thousands of jobs were created in the service industries as a result.
        • '60- there were 7.6m service workers + number of white-collar workers had grown from 21.2m in '50 to 27.2m
        • Industrial workers = 39% to 36% of workforce by '60.
          • Midwest and Northeast became economically depressed.
        • '60- 34.8m service workers outnumbered 25.6m manual workers.
    • Car allowed ppl to move from cities into spacious homes in suburbs that were still an easy drive from work.
      • Most cities lost their tax base.
    • Suburbs
      • 11m/13m homes built between '48-'58 were in suburbs.
      • '60- 33% of Americans were suburbanites.
      • Why did Suburbia explode?
        • Housing shortage and easily available mortgages offered by the FHA and VA (90% of the value of the house + 30 years to repay)
        • Land and new homes were cheaper in suburban areas than inner cities.
        • Increased car ownership and federal highway construction made it easier for suburbanites to commute to work.
        • Poorer blacks and whites, higher tax, and noise and congestion in inner cities caused white flight.
      • Levittowns
        • Built by Levitt brothers- 1st in Hempstead, Long Island.
        • People were expected to conform to rules like when to mow a lawn, and when to hang out washing.
        • Levittowns were racist- rocks were through at an African American family who bought a house in the Pennsylvania Levittown in '57.
    • Cities
      • Ghettos grew for many reasons:
        • Restrictive covenants excluded blacks from white neighbourhoods.
        • Lending institutions made it difficult for blacks to buy decent housing.
        • Whites staged 'housing riots'
        • Whites were unwilling to pay increased taxes to assist inner-city areas.
      • FHA's low-cost mortgages deliberately excluded 'risks'
        • Ppl considered as risks due to their income or likelihood to elicit a hostile reaction.
      • Only 325,203 federal housing units built between '45-'65, and many failed like Pruitt-Igoe.
    • Consumerism
      • '60- average family income gave Americans 30% more purchasing power than '50
      • Americans rushed to buy cars, and labour-saving devices.
        • Washing machines, freezers and dishwashers made housewives lives easier.
      • Intellectuals like David Riesman were afraid of consumerism becoming the national identity.
      • Teen consumers.
        • Owned 10m record players.
        • 1m TV sets
        • 13m cameras
        • spent $20m on lipstick
        • $25m on deodorants.
        • Spent over $1.5bn on entertainment

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