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tv   1950s American Culture  CSPAN  June 17, 2017 8:00pm-9:11pm EDT

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class on 1950's american culture. he also charts have social norms change from the the taurean error through the progressive era into the 1950's. this class is one hour and 10 minutes. we will start the third part of this course, the introduction of this section in the american heritage reader says there are three salient developments that characterize the united states after world war ii. the new deal, concentration of power of the social and economic life, the continuation of american involvement in global affairs, and the collapse of traditional judeo-christian morals, especially sexual standards characterized as victorians. that is what we will start talking about today, the culture of the 1950's and leading toward the 1960's and the cultural revolution.
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to whatmore attention is the 1960's cultural revolution. but it had the seeds planted in the 1950's. i will describe what the old culture was like. to asmes referred victorian, anglo-american culture of the 19th and into the 20th centuries. the little piece that i gave you from william o'neill's book on america in 1945 it describes the cultural assumptions of americans of this generation. victorianism is today considered conservative and is derogatory, puritanical, old-fashioned, retrograde, but much like the term liberalism the toryism -- victorianism was actually liberalism of its day. it was an advance in premolar -- premodern cultural patterns. much as liberalism was a andressive new thing
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classical liberalism of 19th century is considered conservative. likewise, the progressive conservative developments of the 19 centuries are by now days conservative. withwere progressive regard to old traditions. like how reproduction is carried on. how families are formed over the course of a historical development and the traditional marriages.anged women were considered as property. the parents arranged the marriage is a way of preserving property. the victorian make that more consensual and voluntary. the process was still controlled through the rituals of courtships in the 19 century. that involved into the 20 century of dating. young people have more independence and how they pick their partners.
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there are still rules and regulations apply to it very today we have evolved to looking up, comment on many college campuses. large herds of young men and women together, drinking excessively, and then fornicate, that is what the process of dating and courtship have devolved into. traditional family and over the tried course of time this was reduced to the extended family, several generations related by 10. in the victorian. family.the nuclear you have parents and children of one generation living together. over the 20th century, this defaults into single parents or groups that are so familiar, not just the nuclear family, but the
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subatomic family. progressive devolution of the social forms. the toryism originated in protestant evangelicalism, especially in england. victorian moral standards are those promoted by the methodists within the church of england. they were considered to be especially important to deal with the transition that was going on in the 19th century of the urban and industrial revolutions. the victorian morals were necessary as a way of maintaining social order in a rapidly changing world. same thing applies in america in the later 19th into the 20th century. ofre is also an element post-millennial in there. victorian social reformers in the 19th century believed that protestant religion provided a way of dealing with all kinds of
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social problems that had plagued the world since this began. you can see this with the people who found hillsdale college, free will baptist who were active in the anti-slavery although social reform movements of the 19 century, the campaigns against drinking, campaigns in favor of keeping the sabbath. prison reform. the thing that brought alexis de tocqueville over to the united states. all had their origins in this anomaly evangelical protestant canment that we christianize the social order, we can bring about a perfect society on earth. thatogically this is known the millennium is a period of peace, justice, and prosperity before the second coming of jesus christ. view had beenl that jesus christ would come initiate the millennium, the
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thousand reign of peace and justice. this movement is more characteristic of post-millennial. this movement has its origins in moral religion, especially protestant christianity. it outlived protestant origins. you can see this in benjamin franklin. you're read selections from his autobiography. you can see the way in which benjamin franklin, though he had lost his traditional orthodox christian upbringing, still , the bourgeois virtues , or the protestant work ethic in the autobiography. all of those things that were religious in origin, honesty, frugality, thrift, industry, temperance, they turn out to be available not for purposes of thenal salvation but for
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purposes of advancing and success in this world, as a way to wealth, as a way to improve society. they are very useful. you can see the utility of the old puritan values, even though he doesn't think they have any religious significance anymore. benjamin frankly as the outstanding figure of the american dream, the self-made thesehat if you follow moral principles, if you youivate these virtues, have success in the world. if you apply this to society as a whole, the idea that social problems can be solved with the cultivation of religious issues. in ans rooted understanding of the nature of man. it goes back to the very origins of western civilization. something that you all explored over and over again in western heritage area the idea of the dual nature of man, that we were creatures that had a rational and an animal element to us.
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beings the job of human was to make sure that their rational capacities would control their animal capacities. that human beings have it in their power to transcend their fallen nature. engage inability to reality is what it is about. the principle of virtuous self control. benjamin franklin could see his quest for moral perfection. he would eliminate all of his vices. he was going to be able to achieve personal moral perfection. the temperance would be the chief virtue here. have any of you seen the movie " the african queen" with humphrey bogart and katherine hepburn. it is a classic area you should all see it. humphrey bogart is a drunkard.
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he is pleading with cap written -- katharine hepburn, saying you have to understand that she said it was only human nature to get drunk. he says human nature is what we are put on this earth to overcome. this is what the victorian moral drama is all about. the individual and the social effort to overcome our vices and to be able to control ourselves and transcend our vices and animal nature. self-control was the chief the korean virtue. i want to show you an example of this from major league baseball, 1947. joe dimaggio as an example of this victorian type. joe dimaggio was famous for not being very expressive. for being -- controlling his emotions on the field. there is one moment in the 1947
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world series with the yankees against the dodgers. the dodgers were up by three runs. joe dimaggio was at that and there were two men on base. fly ball that was oma's a home run but was caught by the dodgers outfielder. look at this clip. it is very quick. not too much is going on. but look at joe dimaggio's reaction. it's a long one. the back. he makes a one-handed catch against the bullpen. kicked thedimaggio dirt like that, that was as emotive as he ever got. he was such a model of self-control, that was the remarkable thing about him. he was famously stoic. he lost his temper. with a wayare this that athletes today express themselves on the field, you can
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see the difference between the old model and the new model. for a generation of americans, joe dimaggio didn't encapsulate that old idea of the greatest generation stoic self-control in american males. thats at the same year jackie robinson broke in? paul: yes it was. it was a very important year in american cultural history. it was also important because joe dimaggio was an italian-american. it was an example of immigrant and ethnic assimilation. joe dimaggio wasn't an italian-american. italians had a reputation of having less self-control than british protestants. there were cultural stereotypes. there are known as volatile people. the fact that dimaggio has absorbed this anglo american, --ic demeanor was a way that
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sign that they had made it in america. this is in the 1940's when the expression of prejudicial attitudes about white ethnic groups was still widely accepted. dimaggio was known as the day go of the yankees. it was a person of mediterranean dissent. at this point dimaggio had assimilated these new ethnic groups. stance ofdopting this victorian morality. that is the individual, the struggle for self-control within the individual. capacity inrational order to control your emotions. the whole goal of social policy is to cultivate arsenal -- personal responsibility. do everything we can to get individuals to control themselves. social policy is supposed to report virtue and punish vice. social institutions,
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political institutions, cultural institutions to help cultivate these virtues and minimize the vices. it is one of the most interesting things about america in the 19th century and into the 20th century area it is one of the things that is changing fundamentally. economy, laissez-faire where the federal government does not do much to regulate economic activity. america and 1900 was the freest economy the world had ever seen. combined with that was a great deal of cultural and social regulation and control, especially at the local level. the federal government does i get involved with this very much because of the constitution. state and local government did a moral,eal of policing of cultural, and religious questions. you have a society that was very free economically. but there is a great deal of control, culturally or morally. today it is just the opposite.
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we have a highly regulated regular the culture is -- relatively libertarian. that is a great transformation of america. as you see most of these institutions were designed to make sure that people were able to manage the economic freedom that they have by the cultivation of these virtues. for benjamin franklin they were directly connected. if you engage in the right kind of behavior, frugal, industrious, temperate, it would lead to economic success rate that is the way to wealth. the victorian saw a connection. the families at the center at this, that is the chief institution by which individuals are socialized. victorians washe meant -- monogamous and heterosexual. it was the nuclear family. it was between one man and one
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woman only. ways ino emphasize the which victorian social standards were different than earlier ones, it was still voluntary. there were no arranged marriages. much more based on affection rather than on interest or compulsion. it was nuclear. this is not the extended family. it was premodern society, but the modern nuclear family. it comes into shape in the 19th century. the institution of divorce is still limited. had no-faultates divorce laws until the 1960's. divorce was deliberately meant to be expensive and difficult to obtain. it was still stigmatized. i can remember growing up in the 1970's and divorce was still something that was rather scandalous. since that time, it has lost that stigma and the incidence of divorce as collated rapidly in
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the 1960's and 1970's. but at this point, it was still unusual and socially frowned upon. it was also politically fatal. people like nelson rockefeller was in eligible -- in eligible to be president of the united states because he had been divorce. there wasn't a supreme court dusters -- just as had been divorce until the 1930's. it was a threat to the family, the central institution. social policy, the assumption was, this goes back to benjamin franklin and the protestant work ethic, advice is what led to poverty and not vice versa. the idea today in social sciences of the 20 century come to see that vice is a result of poverty. people engage in that behavior because of their economic conditions. the victorian assumption is just the opposite. if people are poor, it is because they have engaged in
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vicious behavior and not vice versa. sot is why they were reluctant to adopt welfare in the 19th and 20th century. it would have interrupted this assumption that people make that there is a can connection -- connection between vice in poverty. the things that changes the great depression. 25% of the population out of work cannot be because of their morals or vicious behavior. something has broken down in the economic system. that is one of the chief reasons why the new deal became accepted. argument theal same argument they made for prohibition? the moral arguments that are made to encourage the right kind of behavior and people reach their height in prohibition. one of the ways in which the progressives actually took victorian emphasis on temperance -- there is a difference
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between temperance and prohibition. moderating hearses abolishing. that is one of the ways prohibition stop with the 18th amendment, and that it was repealed. example, the old standard in the distribution of charity to the poor. charity had to be limited to the deserving poor. recognize that some people were poor just because of bad luck. widows and orphans especially. people who know both of their own are suffering, not because of the vicious behavior. those people you can take care of, those are the deserving. most of the poor, if they are poor because of their own vicious habits, you have to allow them to suffer the consequences of the bad behavior, that is the only way they will perform -- reform. you don't want to give charity to the undeserving poor because that will be subsidizing that behavior. this is one of the chief
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limitations there is a welfare state. likewise, income stampers would have the same effect. income tax is a tax on people with high income. people have high income because they are engaging in the right kind of behavior, frugal, hard-working, why tax them? discouraging productive behavior. you don't want to do that anymore than you want to encourage vicious hater by giving welfare to the undeserving poor. the assumption is that people are economically this will because of their virtuous behavior, and that is called into question in the 19th and 20th centuries as well. those are the assumptions of the connection between moral and economic outcomes. it continued into the 20th century. it took a beating with the great depression. when charity was administered into the early 20th century, it was called indoor relief. but we want to do is take the
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deserving poor outside of their morally dangerous environment and put them into a -- a silencer orphanages where we can insulate them and protect them against the temptations of vice. the goal was to improve the moral environment of the poor. to remove them from the circumstances under vicious neighbors. the whole asylum movement in the 19th century was all about that. this is what prison reform is all about. not just to punish people who had committed crimes, but to morally regenerate them. the reformer terry as opposed -- reformatory as opposed to the penitentiary. put them into institutions were they could be top lifetime behavior. they do not usually work this way, but that was the moral theory that was behind it. were lots ofre
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laws, especially at the state and local level, that were meant to suppress vice. to help people control themselves by removing the incantations to drink too much or to take drugs or to gamble or other things. the idea that those kinds of police regulation were legitimate. it was something that the government did do. this is a difference between temperance and prohibition. the victorians generally try to prohibit alcohol on together. into the 19th and early 20th they took a constitutional amendment to do it. the whole nation adopted briefly rob bishop. toh the -- regards prostitution, the victorians held to a sexual double standard. david lee that males have more of a sex drive than females did. prostitution was an outlet that you needed males to have. the thing to do about
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prostitution was to establish a red light district where prostitution would be limited and regulated rather than try to do away with them altogether. before world war i, every major american city used to have a district where prostitutes were available. people would tell stories that this was the case in hillsdale, michigan. you would hear but -- stories about buildings downtown where prostitution was because it was legally tolerated. the progressives held to a stricter standard than this, especially among 19th-century feminists. they objected to the sexual double standard, not because they wanted women to be a will to engage in the same kinds of sexual behavior as males, but they wanted males to exercise as much self controls as females did. they wanted a unitary standard for the sexes so they campaign against prostitution altogether. when therld war i
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federal government made a aquirement for if he had federal base camp in your city county had to do away with the red light districts. they all disappeared with world war i. there were some ways in which the federal government did get involved in this. another example would be the man act, the white slave act that congress passed in 1910. it made it a federal crime to transport women across state lines for immoral purposes. it was designed to get that commercial prostitution. later he came to be applied to any kind of illicit sexual relations in which state lines were crossed or any type of trysting that took place across the line. one of the assumptions is that if any woman was having sex with a man who was not her husband, she was an acting prostitute. it was a law designed to get at the institution of prostitution.
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it was a nation way -- nationwide campaign. likewise gambling. today, states promote and advertise for gambling. the lottery proceeds go to promote education. every american state in 1900 prohibited gambling. if somebodyohibited won the lottery in other countries. state suppressed and put down gambling. this is the legitimate function of government, to try to remove the temptation of vice that will allow people to improve their morals. .ikewise, every american church it was about 1930 and the surveillance who would -- episcopalian who were the first to accept the use of contraception.
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it was not until the 1960's where every state had repealed laws that deal with the use of contraceptives. the catholic church was the only holdout. the supreme court swept away the last of those laws prohibiting the use and dispensing of contraceptives. congress tried to help this through various laws, the comstock act. he was the principal 19th-century dictator -- presenter against sexual vice. it made it a federal crime to use federal males for anything that was of scene or immoral. that included any information about abortion or contraception. whichs one of the ways in the federal government tried to help the states and their regulation of sexual morality. another indication of this is reached itsision high point in the united states in 1940. male circumcision.
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there was a revival of circumcision in the anglo-american world in the 19th century for reasons that were not religious. it goes back to the early church and st. paul and the idea that christians did not have to get circumcised as jewish people did. but for reasons of sexual hygiene and the believe that circumcision with help males exercise more self-restraint, it is probably the reason for the increase in circumcision in the 19th and 20th centuries. it has been declining ever since, in europe especially. they're all these signs of encouraging self-control. the prohibition of these various practices. all of this is especially concentrated among american processes -- rolleston's. evangelicals of various kinds. as opposed to the liturgical
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protestants like the episcopalians or the lutherans, they were less inclined in the social reform movement that is associated with the evangelicals. and roman catholics were largely out of it. part of the reason why protestants were suspicious of american catholics as they did not fit into this victorian culture and enthusiasm for social reform. the protestant assumption that we talking about is that can achieve perfection in this world by the cultivation of these morals. traditionalists catholics were suspicious of that. --testants were seditious suspicious of catholics because of that. they do not believe people have the capacity to improve the world in this sort of way. catholics were considered too lenient. catholics were otherworldly. the protestant basin is about perfecting -- vision is about perfecting the world that we live. catholicism tended to emphasize
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the next world rather than this world. , there is aown hymn line that is emphasized. this earth is but a veil of tears, and place of banishment and fears. catholics have a fatalistic view that life on this earth is not about achieving perfection and improvement, you have to suffer through it until you get to your final reward, the other world. the catholics do not have an inclination to try to make these kinds of social improvements that evangelical protestants are about. that are catholic ideas successor poverty in this world may not have any clear connection between people's morality and behavior. sometimes the wicked to achieve great wealth and success. sometimes good people are reduced to poverty. catholics are not with this program of protestant personal and social improvement.
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since most americans are protestants in one way or a cultural tone of america in the 19th and 20th century. it was promoted in public education. reading the bible, this kind of encouragement of the protestant work ethic in american schools. it was taken for granted. this is why the catholics establish their secondary system of parochial store -- schools. public education was essentially protestant education. likewise, you can see the way in which they were trying to inculcate the protestant work ethic in teaching children how to read. later on, the horatio alger stories, and attempt to inculcate a moral vision through literature. even now you no established church in the united states, there is a broad,
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nondenominational following of a culture which didn't emphasize the religious and sectarian points about this, but the widely shared judeo-christian and protestant ethic american public life was suffused with this as well. now, let's 1950's talk about how this developed in the 1950's. the unraveling of the traditional judeo-christian ethic, you could see it in the late 20th century. it in theans, you see 1920's, the roaring 20's, the jazz age, disillusionment after world war i. interrupted by the prohibition, world war ii, the cold war. you do not see it unravel until the 1960's. as well as demographic factors like the baby boomers coming of
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age, began to kick in. of hiatus.ari period they are still security conscious. they still leisa great deal of value on the family and of social order because of the dramatic impacts of the depression and the world wars. this is why 1950's are considered a conservative decade, even though historians emphasize the way in which the continuity in development of cultural modernism from the beginning of the 20th century. the popular image of the 1950's is a decade of conformity. wereamericans other-directed, one phrase of sociologists of the 1950's use. americans were more than ever, parts of large organizations. there was less individualism in american culture in the 1950's, then earlier there had been, or later there would be. the idea was that, the old,
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protestant work ethic was about you having some a six, absolute standard, one that came from religion, and following that. a healthy kind of american individualism in this inner-directedness that came from a. in theology. in the 1950's, americans are very other-directed. they take the moral cues from other people. they were largely social in the 1950's rather than individually directed. you had a society and culture and economy dominated by large organizations. d where the economy was dominated more than ever before by a small number of large corporations. we talked about new deal politics concentrated american business in the mid-20th century.
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likewise, unions. workers tend to be members of large, industrial unions in the 1950's. 1955 was the high point of union density in american labor history. workers are part of large organizations. governments the new deal had established, a big, federal central government, the kind we had never seen before. the middle of the 20th century is a big unit economy and big units society in which americans belong to large organizations. there was a centralized media in the 20th century. a small number of large arrayks, nothing like the of news outlets you people have today. true? >> [indiscernible] mr. moreno: you have big government and big corporations
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in the middle of the 20 century because we had given up the laissez-faire i deal with the new deal. -- new deal helped establish you could not have had them without the wagner act. likewise, economic policy was meant to reduce competition and individualism in the marketplace. and-a-half cartels, organizations, but attempt to reduce competition. away they sucked laissez-faire attitude. adopted the cultural liberalism we associate with today's democratic party. someone like fdr or many of the new dealers, they did attack the laissez-faire economic assumptions of victorianism that came from the 19th century. but they did not have an right -- did not think about homosexual rights.
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they were still victorian in their moral beliefs. that is all going to change rapidly in the 1960's. there are some avant-garde artists and intellectuals, calling into question the judeo-christian moral standards. one of the most interesting illustrations comes from oscar wilde. an essay he wrote in 1890 called "the soul of man under socialism." it is an illustration of the connection between economic and moral. you should read that. once socialism takes care of -- everyoneperty will have enough so they do not have to worry about making a living anymore, then, individuals will be free to create themselves in any way they want to. marx makes a similar argument in the german ideology. and everyone could be like oscar
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wilde, expressing themselves creatively and to be a real individual. economic socialism, collectivism in the economy, and the need for cultural individualism. in the 1950's we are in a transition phase where we have, to some degree, a collectiveized economy, a mixed economy. it is not laissez-faire or socialist. but it is not yet mainstream on the cultural-moral overturn. the family is the central institution. the 1950's have a reputation for being conservative because there was a large baby boom, because it was a great period of family formation in the united states. that is what popular images of the 1950's are very domestic. you have the father knows best sitcom image of the 1950's. bourgeoiso normal,
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family life, americans making up for disruption of the great depression and world war ii. this great domestic explosion. one that was limited to the united states. this did not happen in western europe or japan after world war ii. it was a peculiarly american thing. a little bit in australia and new zealand, apparently. most of the stories try to explain why this happened in the u.s. and not other places, was a higher degree of religious observance. americans were more religious than western europeans. the appeal of a continued judeo-christian culture was more in evidence in the u.s. the more religious you are, the more family-oriented you are. there is a clear correlation to religious observance and family size. part of the reason for the demographic implosion we talked about on day one, the population pyramid's, are closely correlated with the decline of religious.
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the baby boom was the central demographic phenomenon of this course. were born children between 1946 and 1964, the baby boom years. of 4.3ached a peak million born in the year of 1957. that is a peak of the baby boom bulge. to give you one example of what a massive and sudden increase in births this was, more children were born in the five years after world war ii, then in the 30 years before world war ii. it is a tremendous expansion, boom in the population. the average female marriage rate had been 26 in 1890, and had fallen below 20 in 1957. marriage rate, means some got married even younger than that. it reached its low point in
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1956. there were two cohorts that made at the baby-boom. one was older women who had delayed having children during the depression and world war ii, getting started late having children. also, younger women who married earlier and started earlier. the average american woman in the 1920's had her last child when she was 26 years old. the first time i read this i thought, that is a typo. they mean the average american world had her first child at the age of 26. no, she was done at age 26. today, most american children do not start having children until 26. that leaves time to have more children, the earlier it starts. there was no part of the american population that was not affected by it. usually we talk about large-scale social phenomenon in american history, you start making exceptions and talking about differences based on race, religion, class.
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but there was none of that, this affected almost the entire american population. of thes any indication great increase in the birth rate, it was among urban educated whites, usually demographically it is the opposite. usually immigrants had higher birth rates than natives born. less educated people usually have more children. also, very unusual. it is not that americans were returning to the 18th century family practice of having large families of eight or 10 children. most families of the baby boom generation had three or four. vast,ade the numbers almost no one had no children. everyone had to were three or foru -- four. childless very few couples and people who did not
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get married. i think we talked about this the first day of class. it was recently in the last census or some point since, a majority of adults -- adult women are not married. the first time it happened in american history. the vast majority of marriage-age men and women were married in the 1950's. another thing, more children who are born, live. great medical advances in the 1950's. humaning that kept population down throughout human history was infant mortality, 1/2 ofa that 1/3 or children would not make it to the first year. tremendous increase in human population was due to a decline in infant mortality rates. that continues in the 1950's. -- thes like polio
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conquest of polio in the 1950's. it was a terrifying disease that affected young people, beenially fdr, having affected later in life. bella, vaccinesu were developed. 1954, polio cases in below 1000 by 1962. it was almost completely eradicated. the year before i was born there was a great rubella outbreak that produced many miscarriages and birth defects, just one year before i was born. these types of epidemic diseases used to be a common part of life, childhood diseases that would take your life. people now living longer as result of these medical advances. another thing that comes out of the baby-boom, this generation
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of american women had not themselves been part of larger extended families. one of the best-selling books in american history was benjamin spock's book on baby childcare. the first edition came out in 1946. over 30 million copies were sold. advice to large numbers of young women having children. many people pointed to spock's book as an indication of the movement toward a cultural revolution of the 1960's. that spock was responsible for the generation of the 1960's, that his advice to raise children by permissive standards was what accounts for the social turmoil of the 1960's. which one of you is doing spock for your reading assignments? it was to the compared to earlier victorian guides to victorian child reading, spock was relatively permissive. the old standard in the 19th century, was a child -- children
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were little devils and their wheels needed to be broken. spock, compared to that was indulgent. but not by later standards of permissive parenting. there are also a lot of things he advised that american women did not follow. he counseled on demand breast-feeding. that has made a big comeback, though. when i was a child, breast-feeding was out of fashion and formula and bottles were the way babies were raised. assumed boys are boys and girls are girls. he did counsel raising children according to traditional gender roles. by today's standard, spock was something of a reactionary when it came to his assumption there are girls and boys. what really made spock a controversial figure was his opposition to the vietnam war. he became very active in the
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antiwar movement. people projected his antiwar liberalism onto his child-rearing books. that is something of a distortion. american families are expanding a great deal in the 1950's. in thell taking place american suburbs. 1955 was an important landmark year because more americans lived in suburbs and cities for the first time in american history. whenand in the landmark america became an urban nation, where more families live on cities than farms. 1955, america became a suburban nation, more living in suburbs than cities. doubledrban population from 36 million to 72 million between 1950 and 1970. it included more people in been -- than cities and farms combined. 1950's, about one million
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acres of farmland were developed into suburban housing every year. the american landscape is changing fundamentally by this demographic change. about 83% of the population increase of america and the 1950's took place in the suburbs. the 1950's have the greatest increase in population. it was driven by natural increase. american population had increased in the past because of both the natural increase, but also a lot of immigration. in the 1950's, most immigration have been cut off. this was homegrown. immigration does not play much of a role in this. every major american city in the 1950's lost population except for los angeles. los angeles is a suburban sprawl itself, not a concentrated city. one of the political
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consequences, big cities lost their dominance within the state. boston does not dominate massachusetts the way it used to, new york city does not dominate new york the way it used to. new york declined from 55 to 45 in this period. it is increased, there is been a reorganization movement. new york city has more population now and is increased its relative influence in the state of new york. boston went from being 18, to only 9% of massachusetts' pop ulation. chicago -- cleveland, went from being 13% of ohio's population to only 4%. 11% of, went from 32% to michigan's population. there is a great exodus of population from the cities and
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the suburbs. on the farms into the cities, what is happening in big american cities, the nativeborn white population is moving to the suburbs. the subsidies and government policies encouraged suburbanization. the highway act, banking policies, federal loan guarantees, they were racially discriminatory. it was harder for blacks to leave the central suburbs than for whites. this movement from cities to suburbs was largely a white movement. the population of those cities is her place by black migrants from the south, the continuation of the great migration. also, puerto ricans. they were part of the american --monwealth, integration immigration did not happen like it did. new york city, whites are moving out and their places were
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replaced by blacks in puerto rican. demographics changed a great deal in the 1950's. domestic culture, television would be the most important illustration. the development of television at the beginning of the 1950's. in the 1950's, virtually no one has television, but by the end of the 1950's, everyone has one. 1950 to 50 million. this is a faster growth curve than any previous technological development. radio took off in the 1920's. world war i, almost no one had a radio. it became a massive consumer product, the fastest-growing consumer industry. likewise, automobiles. henry ford making mass production automobiles available to ordinary americans.
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what starts off as a luxury item ends up a mass-produced consumer good. likewise with telephones. these devices were rapidly adopted. but television was more rapidly adopted than any other. i can remember a time when no one had a smartphone and then somebody -- suddenly everyone had one. but television was a rapid, culturally transforming phenomenon. the important thing about television, it is connected to the family. it replaces the fireplace is the center of the home. that is the heart that the family gathers around, brings the american people together. it was replacing what was previously the dominant form of popular entertainment, the biggest entertainment industry in the u.s., motion pictures. of american peak
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movie attendance. americans went to the movies each week. that fell to about 45 million a week by 1953. this is apparently still falling because of later technological innovations like vcrs and dvds, or netflix, streaming. [indiscernible] mr. moreno: movies you could say bring people together. the description he gives of movie theaters as cultural, civic institutions. very ornate, palatial, had services. those began to decline as a
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result of television. television reduces personal interaction. it is a mass-produced commodity. it is homogenizing american tastes. broadcast media, where everyone is watching the same thing, is one of the things making american life more bland and interchangeable. it is certainly true that thevision may well reduce amount of culture that people produced by conversation and personal interaction. there is some truth to that. crosscurrents in these cultural developments. when television started out in the early 1950's, you had to have money for television because they were expensive. the programming changed over the course of the 1950's. there were high-quality, high culture television, things applied from the stage to early
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television. as the audience got bigger it became more and more of a mass audience. the quality of television declined in the 1950's. cultural critics made a lot of that, as well. whenever you mass-produced something, it will be pitched for the lowest common denominator. what is the largest audience you can get? qualityessible, but the , by some standards, declines. new york city, 55 movie theaters closed in new york city in 1951 alone. this is changing the urban landscape. movie theaters were places that drew people out of their homes and put them together in social space, were television is reinforcing the idea of the family as the basic social unit. was in the 1950's.
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america became more car-oriented in the 1950's. there was an expansion in outdoor movie watching. it change the preferences americans had for sports. football was more well adapted to television than baseball was. period where basketball competed with baseball. some will say they prefer to listen to baseball on the radio then watch it. whereas the other sports lend themselves more to the visual of television than the radio format. you take it for granted because the application of this idea of the image being broadcast and available, you have to imagine how new that was in the 1950's. radio, by bringing sound into the home, had a similar impact. television changes that
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dramatically. you are used to having television at your fingertips. you are watching images all the time. some of you might well be doing that now. the ubiquitous in this -- ubiquitousness, you have to imagine what it was like when it was new. the idea of the image being available through television was cutting edge. another consequence of the baby-boom was, the development of a separate youth culture within the u.s. the whole idea of adolescence, the teenager, is something that is new in western civilization in the 20th century. for one thing, the u.s. became a younger country in the 20th century as a result of the baby boom. the median age of the u.s. fell to a little over 28. the average american was 28
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years. it is 38 today because the population is aging since the baby boom. ae so-called teen population, cohort that sociologist did not recognize until the 20th century. they are a distinct, phase of life, a recent development. doubled niche or cohort from 10 million to 20 million between 1950 and 1970. this had economic effects. we will talk principally about cultural effects, and there being a separate youth culture. you have a traditional society, there was no such thing as being a teenager. and thena child, usually at some point that coincided with biological sexual maturity, you became an adult. there was usually an initiation process by which you went from ingham a child to an adult. as western society and the
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economy and demographic changes took place, there was an extended, intermediate period between childhood and adulthood. the teen years takes on an independent population cohort demographic. the number of years people spent in school also was attenuated. it used to be that at about the age of adulthood, most people did not go to school beyond the eighth grade, did not need to in 19th-century society. they spent more and more time in school, extending this period of adolescence. only about 13% of the high school aged up relation between 14 and 18 were in high schools in 1900. high school was limited to a small segment of the population. it was a big deal, for the few, the elite. the is increased over
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century. half the population of high school age is an high school in 1930. 75% by 1950. everyone high school ages in high school and half of them go to college. college numbers of a similar replication. almost no oneury went to college, it is increasingly common today. 2/3 of americans today spent some -- spent some time in college. the vast majority spend time on higher education. all of this is extending theperiod -- all of this is extending adolescence. you get a separate youth culture. advertisers are looking at this, young people adopted their own style of dress. there is a segregation,
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separation of youth culture from mainstream culture. people who are physically adult -- one thing that happened in the 19th and 20th century, biologically speaking, men and women became sexually mature at an earlier age. probably because of increased nutrition. people are biologically adults earlier, but they are not expected to behave like adults or make a living for themselves until much later. people are biological adults without adult responsibilities. they are still dependent upon their families. this dependency is being increased further and further. many of you may be thinking about this today. what you going to do after you graduate from college? i do not know what the numbers are, but an increasing number go home and continue to live with their families. one of the big points in the obamacare debate was, president trump says he wants to maintain the ability for kids to be on
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their parents health insurance until they are 26 years old. 26 is about the age we might expect young people to start making a living for themselves. that is what i'm talking about, the extension of the period of economic and social dependence even though ironically you have a much earlier biological maturity. millionnumbers, about 2 americans went to college in 1940. 10 million by 1973. that is a further expansion of youth culture. also, more disposable income. >> [indiscernible] what about psychologically, we're not really adult until 25? was there any belief in this in the 1950's?
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that psychologically, you're not fully adults yet? mr. moreno: the question of when people are psychologically adults as opposed to be able to reproduce -- we were just talking about people able to reproduce without producing economically. the idea that you are emotionally not your full self until your late 20's, i am not familiar with any work of that in the 1950's. there was a sense in which this it, -- a good way to put children or adult adolescence, instead of taking their social cues and being groomed by the adults, they are getting it from their peers. culture that is taking place. juvenile delinquency was a big problem in the 1950's, that this next generation would be
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completely on socialized. they talk about rock 'n roll, we will see what the musical expression was. somewhat exaggerated. but more than we had ever seen before, such a large number of people who were in this twilight zone, biologically and economically. nottotle said you should study politics until your 30's. you're not mature enough to understand it until then. >> [indiscernible] they are not being forced to grow up. mr. moreno: you have the idea that children do not have to engage or be socially adults
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until much later date because society provides for them. their parents provide for them, they have disposable income. the early 20th century, even adults did not have disposable income. there was nothing to spend on entertainment. to indulge inble the consumer culture. at which the age people have to be adults is certainly something taking place. this had never happened before in human history. no society ever have the resources to be able to support such a large segment of the population without being productive. some could say it is wonderful, it is the fruits of capitalism and economic development. but it may well have these retarding social and cultural consequences. that no human society has ever experienced this. youths can physically
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separate themselves from adult supervision by the automobile, the geographical mobility of the american people. automobiles provide a place for young people who are sexually mature to be sexually active without adult supervision. the transistor radio allowed young people to have their separate, different musical tastes indulged, apart from adults. these contributed to a way in which young people could produce their own cultural setting. this had never been seen before the 1950's. ascerns about this are that, more and more people go to school, high school and college, there was a steady decline in sat scores as the baby boom cohort increased. this was a matter of some intellectual consequences of this youth culture.
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there is no ready explanation, but one possibility, there is a correlation between a decline in standardize test scores and birth order. you are having more second and third and fourth children, they are getting less apt to do well on the sat. i do not want to disparage anyone, i am the youngest of three myself. but there is a statistical correlation. you could see there was a panic. have the periodically sense their education system is in a crisis. especially in the 1950's as a result of sputnik by the soviets. they appeared to be ahead of america in terms of technological and military development, and we needed to do something to reform our educational system. there was another sense there is something wrong with american youth, displaying itself in standardized test scores.
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the music of the 1950's is perhaps the most important development, the most important sign of a separate youth culture. the development of rock 'n roll the 1950's. earlierht together distinct and local musical cultures that came together into the mass known as rock 'n roll. it arose out of country and western music on one hand and rhythm and blues on the other. they were brought together into rock 'n roll. in the 1950's people made the argument there were earlier examples of this in the 1940's. western music was considered a distinct niche musical market, the way billboard magazine classified these genres of music. country and western is it was considered vulgar, hillbilly music. likewise, wases, black music, labeled race music
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before rhythm and blues. these soap -- subcultures came together, for the white, middle-class, vast baby-boom culture. the person most responsible for this was elvis pressley -- elvis presley. he said if i can find a white man with a negro sound, i could be a billionaire. americans were concerned it was taking the music of the hillbillies and negros, and our children going to be affected by it? they believed music was responsible for increasing delinquency and drug abuse, pathologies associated with white people from the wrong side of the tracks, and blacks. you can go and listen to elvis presley and watch a video of him. it is hard to imagine that people ever were concerned about him being a threat.
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he would seem rather innocent and quaint. but at the time, this crossover of coulters and the mainstream, middle-class white culture, was something that alarmed a great many people. it is interesting, over the course of the 1950's, rock 'n roll eventually became more whitened. its original rhythm and blues background. if you look at pat boone as an illustration, you can see how rock 'n roll was tamed by the end of the 1950's. that will change in the 1960's with the british invasion. it starts innocently enough with the beatles, and takes off with the rolling stones and the who. rock 'n roll might have been a temporary phenomenon. there was argument that was the 1960's, rock 'n --l in its original case
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that was audio manifestation of this youth culture. let me stop there. we will continue with the culture of the 1950's in our next class on thursday. thank you for your attention. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> join us every saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern as we join students in college classrooms to hear lectures on topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. lectures and history are also available as podcasts. visit our website,\history/o casts, or download them from itunes. phillis wheatley was an african-american slave and the first to have her poetry published. barbara lewis explores the time in which phillis wheatley lived.
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she talks about boston's treatment of slaves, and phillis wheatley's standing in her masters household. the boston public library and boston literary district cohosted this event. it is about 50 minutes. barbara: it is truly a pleasure to be with you this evening. usticularly since so many of understand that this is the birthday of phillis wheatley. we cannot say for sure that it is the birthday, because no one knows exactly when she was born. believe,radition and this day has been designated to celebrate her coming to earth. let me say a little bit about how this arose. as mentioned, i am


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