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American Concensus

by: Johnson Womack

American Concensus HIST 222

Johnson Womack
GPA 3.08

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About this Document

This is some stuff to study about myths behind the 1950's. It talks about politics after World War II, 1949, comments on the period and so on.
History of the United States, 1877 to Present
Dr. Julie Reed
Class Notes
Consensus, Momism, Stalin, Mao Zedong, capitalism, Liberalism, Goldwater
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Johnson Womack on Friday April 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 222 at University of Tennessee - Knoxville taught by Dr. Julie Reed in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see History of the United States, 1877 to Present in History at University of Tennessee - Knoxville.


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Date Created: 04/08/16
An American “Consensus”? (Cold War America, 1950­1964) W.E.B. Dubois Eugene V. Debs Be skeptical of how things were in the past when everyone agrees. 1950’s are a time of absolute  consensus. “In the Unites states at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual  tradition. For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in  general circulation… The conservative Impulse and the reactionary impulse do not, with some  isolated exception express themselves in ideas but only in action or irritable mental gestures  which seek to resemble ideas.” – Lionel Trilling Lionel Trilling defined liberalism as “Mild suspiciousness of  the profit motive, belief in  progress, science, social legislation and international cooperation.” “Conservatism in America” by Clinton Rossiter Liberalism:  Question: Why does the consensus fall apart? 1. What holds it together? a. There were many American intellectuals on the left who saw Communism and  sympathized with it.  b. Communism by the end of the 1940’s became unfashionable because of Joseph  Stalin. It isn’t cool to side with it because it leads to death, or so everyone  thought. c. 1949: Russians got a nuclear bomb. d. Mao Zedong, a dictator, took over China in 1949, ended a civil war with some  questionable methods. e. 1949: Korean war happened, but nothing really happened apart from half a  million people lost, 35,000 of them are Americans. i. Due to all of these events, communism hasn’t really been that popular and  therefore hated. f. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. saw America as the “Vital Center” the middle ground  between totalitarianism and democracy. He tried to find a balance between  democracy and communism. i. He noted that communism resulted in totalitarianism. g. It is easy to protest capitalism when you are poor and in the breadlines, but when  you have appliances, houses and so on, it becomes increasingly difficult. 2. What centrifugal forces exist within it? a. The New Deal is very appealing. It would be very shrewd to deny it. b. Democrats still control Congress & The Senate. c. Dwight D. Eisenhower the “Modern Republicanism”. He increases the minimum  wage, expands social security coverage and Integrated highway system. He does  enforce segregation despite attempts to go against that. d. People on the left want to accept the new deal as well as people on the right. So  were people really getting along? e. There was conformity in the 1950’s. Why? Number 1 reason was because of the  fear of communism. This was because of the 1950’s “Red Scare”. f. There were tests to make sure that there were no communists or Nazi  sympathizers. It isn’t illegal to be a communist, but you can be boycotted and  blacklisted until you changed your mind. g. House of Un­American Activities. Richard Nixon led this. h. Richard Nixon made a name by Red­bathing, finding communists in America. i. In 1953 McCarthy works his way into “finding communists”, which was due to  making ridiculous accusations. j. America replaces dictators we don’t like with right wing politicians that we do  like. k.  Mohommad Mossadegh wants to nationalize the oil fields. l. Fidel Castro, 1957, leads a communist insurgency in Cuba, and the US becomes  paranoid about it. The U.S. took 12,000 refugees in order to lead a recursion,  called the Bea Pigs. It just discredits the U.S. m. Paranoia is also because of the Nuclear threat i. Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.) ii. Cuban Missile Crisis (1963) iii. Krushav decides to place missiles in Cuba. n. Sputnik (1957): The Americans were afraid because of the possibility of creating  missiles. o. This leads to the “Military­Industrial Complex”. Eisenhower’s farewell address  warned about this because of the possibility of war becoming profitable becomes  a reality. 3. What circumstances allow the far right to gain power? a. The Angry White people persuasion or the “Disgruntled Right Wing” perception b. Russel Kirk, “the Conservative Mind” (1953) tries to call Americans back to mind of Divine power, the right to property c. “Dr. Strangelove” is a parody of this time. d. There were some right wings that weren’t paranoid about. e. The Sunbelt Conservatives i. Beneficiaries of military­industrial complex ii. Evangelical Christians iii. Central tenet: no compromise with communism iv. Racially homogenous v. Believed that governments were slowing things down. vi. Churches tend to be very powerful vii. No neutral side on communism, get rid of anything non­Christians. f. John F. Kennedy defeats Richard Nixon by a narrow margin. g. 1 in 5 Americans was living in poverty. h. Equal access to facilities i. Americans are being mobilized? (listen to recording j. Barry Goldwater ’64 ran on a platform of being liberal and wanted to end the  Cold War and made a way of being uncompromising.  k. Conservative strategy fails in 1964. Americans are failed that Goldwater will  actually use nuclear weapons to end the Cold war. i. Goldwater: “A lot of people may not be ready to be conservative yet.” l. The Cold War and the popularity of the New Deal kept most politicians close to  m. The “center” of the political spectrum during the 50’s n. Conservatism was still a relatively “fringe” persuasion in 1964 o. Gold Water campaign had some help. GI’s couldn’t get to those programs like education. Non­Students had to find other non­ segregated schools. They got skills framing, but not colleges where they could get higher  wages and other earning opportunities. Educational institutions became a war based on the idea for “democracy for whom”? One of the features was that the US became increasingly a “consumers’ republic” as a  solution to social and economic problems. The kitchen was the answer because of the  innovation and access to new products. Holiday Inn became itself in 1952 and McDonalds was created in 1955. Labor Unions were now having access to two­week vacations. Between 1954 and 1963,  national park attendance was almost 100 million. Family life changed as a result of consumerism as well. It was the center for family  related activities. TV viewing was a more popular role for other activities such as going  to the movie theatres and baseball games. They weren’t gone, but weren’t as popular. 1952­1966: The adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Television didn’t reflect who was participating in democracy. There were no African  Americans or Native Americans. Children were finishing school, young adults are marrying after high school, and  childhood is being defined in new ways. Women are pressured to pursue men and were criticized for getting their MRS degree,  their Mrs. Degree. Despite new house appliances, housework for women increased and the amount of  women who had jobs fell. 1960 35% of women held jobs 7.5 million were women who had children under 17. They did it in less competitive and lower paying positions. Milltown: 1955, 1 in 20 Americans used it. 100 million prescriptions were filled out  annually. “Momism” blamed a lot of psychological problems on mothers.  According to a Cosmopolitan article, a specific drug made a wife more readily towards  their husbands.  Why would this be needed (student opinions)? ­ People were marrying after high school, so those people might not be as attracted to  each other as they once were. If anything, it might have been done out of convenience ­ Women were doing the same thing over and over again much like the workers at the  assembly lines. ­ Women were married to war heroes. Those men were different and had changed. Feminine mystique. The Cold war was happening at this time. Kids were still going under their desks and air horns  were going off. Allan Ginsberg Reservations. Indians moved to cities during times of labor, but went back home during  downtimes. Indianapolis and Chicago received new people to create tribes. Many Cherokees moved during  these relocation programs. Amendment was added for per capita payment. “If you want the money owed, you have to  accept termination.” The community did both.


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