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Transcript
NOTE-TAKING GUIDE: Of the People: A History of the United States
COMMON THREADS

Did the character of the Cold War change from the 1940s to the
1950s?

Why did consumerism change the way Americans lived?

Why did diversity and individuality survive in the 1950s?

What was the impact of the Eisenhower administration on
democracy?

How would the emerging discontents of the 1950s affect society
and politics in the next decades?
OUTLINE
American Portrait: The Ricardos
Living the Good Life
Economic Prosperity
The Suburban Dream
The Pursuit of Pleasure
A Homogeneous Society?
The Discovery of Conformity
American Landscape: Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System
The Decline of Class and Ethnicity
The Resurgence of Religion and Family
Maintaining Gender Roles
Persisting Racial Differences
The Survival of Diversity
The Eisenhower Era at Home and Abroad
“Ike” and 1950s America
Modern Republicanism
An Aggressive Cold War Strategy
Avoiding War with the Communist Powers
Struggles for Democracy: “The Fantastic, Real-Life, Dream-ComeTrue Adventure of the Barstow Family of Wethersfield,
Connecticut”
Crises in the Third World
Challenges to the Consumer Society
Rebellious Youth
America and the World: Consumerism and the Cold War
The Beat Movement
The Rebirth of Environmentalism
The Struggle for Civil Rights
The Crisis of “Misplaced Power”
Conclusion
WHO?
John Foster Dulles
Dwight Eisenhower
William J. Levitt
Alfred Kinsey
William J. Levitt
Richard Nixon
Rosa Parks
REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What were the basic components of “the good life” in the 1950s?
2. What factors made American society more homogenous in the
1950s? What factors kept the nation diverse?
3. What was Eisenhower and Dulles’s strategy for fighting the cold
war?
4. How did the emergence of consumer society affect democracy in
the United States? Did the nation become more or less democratic
during the 1950s?
5. Why did so many Americans believe there was a crisis of power by
the end of the 1950s? Had the nation, in fact, become less
powerful?
6. Was the United States winning the cold war in the 1950s?
NOTES: TO FOLLOW UP / QUESTIONS TO ASK IN CLASS
CHAPTER 26 “The Consumer Society: 1945–1961”
WHAT?
Domino theory
Dynamic obsolescence
Massive retaliation
Modern Republicanism
NOTE-TAKING GUIDE: Of the People: A History of the United States CHAPTER 26 “The Consumer Society: 1945–1961”