tv 1950s American Culture CSPAN June 25, 2017 11:15am-12:31pm EDT
on c-span3. >> on lectures in history, hills dale professor paul marino teaches 1950's culture. he talked about how society change due to the baby boom and the emergence of teen culture. he also charts how social norms change from the victorian error to the progressive area and to the 1950's. this class is about an hour and 10 minutes. prof. moreno: today we will start the third part of this course, the introduction of this section in "the mac and heritage reader" says there are three heritagee american reader" says there are three salient developments that characterize the united states after world war ii. the continuation of the new deal's 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 often characterized as victorian. that is what we will start talking about today, the culture of the 1950's in moving our way toward the 1960's and the cultural revolution. historians have paid more attention to the ways in which what is often regarded as the 1960's cultural revolution had its seeds planted in the 1950's. i will describe what the old culture was like. sometimes referred to as the torian, sort of the shared 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 describes the cultural assumptions of americans of this generation. victorianism is today considered conservative in that it is kind of a derogatory term, considered puritanical, old-fashioned, retrograde, but much like the term liberalism, victorianism was actually liberalism of its day.
in the 19th century, it really was in advance of premodern cultural patterns. much as liberalism in the 19th century was a progressive new thing and the principles of classical liberalism of the 19th century are considered conservative today. likewise, the progressive conservative developments of the 19th century are nowadays considered conservative. they were progressive with regard to old world or premodern traditionalism. if you look at basic things like on,reproduction has carried how families are formed over the course of a historical developer development. the traditional way was arranged marriages. women were considered as property. the parents arranged the marriage as a way of preserving property. it was done without the children's consent. the victorians make that more consensual and voluntary. children were allowed to take cash pic -- pick who their parts
were. but the process was still controlled through the rituals of courtship in the 19th century. that evolved in the 20th century into dating. young people have more independence in how they pick their partners, but rules and regulations still apply. today we have evolved to hooking up. this is common on many college campuses. hillsl do understand what dating is, but maybe you could explain it to me. large herds of young men and women get together, drinking excessively, and then fornicate, that is what the process of dating and courtship have devolved into. likewise, the family form, the traditional, prehistoric family unit was the tribe. over the course of time was reduced to the extended family, several generations related by kin. in the victorian period, this
was the nuclear family. over the course of the 20th century, this devolves into single parents or groups that are not just a nuclear family, but a subatomic family. there may be any combination of children in the same household. it is a progressive devolution of the social forms. victorianism, you could say, 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 revolution. 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. there is also an element of post-millennialism in there.
victorian social reformers in the 19th century believed that the protestant religion provided a way of dealing with all kinds of social problems that had plagued the world since its beginning. you can see this with the people who founded hillsdale college, the free will baptists who were active in the anti-slavery movement, the abolitionist movement. all those social reform movements of the 19th 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 predominantly evangelical protestant movement that we can christianize the social order, we can bring about a perfect society on earth. theologically, this is known as post-millennialism. it's the idea that the millennium is a period of peace, justice, and prosperity before
the second coming of jesus christ. the kind of perfectionism. the traditional view had been that jesus christ would come initiate the millennium, the thousand year reign of peace and justice. that is premillennialism. this movement is more characteristic of post-millennial. this movement has its origins in religion, especially protestant christianity. over the course of time, it outlived its protestant origins. you can see this in benjamin franklin. the already -- you all right selections -- read selections from his autobiography. you can see the way in which benjamin franklin, though he had lost his traditional orthodox christian upbringing, still advocated, perhaps the greatest advocate for 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 valuable not for purposes of eternal salvation but for the purposes of advancing and success in this world, as a way to wealth, as a way to improve society. the material conditions of the world 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 franklin is sort of the outstanding figure of the american dream, the self-made man, that if you follow these moral principles, if you cultivate these virtues, you 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 religiously based virtues. this is rooted in an 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. the idea of the dual nature of man, that we were creatures that had a rational and an animal element to us. part of the job of human beings 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. that self-control, that your ability to gauge in morality is what it is about. the principle of virtue for the victorians was 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. moderation or 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 and you should all see it. you may remember originally in the movie humphrey bogart is a drunkard. he is on one of his sprees. he is all hung over. he is pleading with katharine , saying youpburn have to understand that she said it was only human nature to get drunk. she 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 effort and sort of the social effort to overcome our vices and to be able to control ourselves and transcend our lust and our vices and animal nature. so self-control was the chief victorian virtue. i want to show you an example of this from major league baseball, 1947. this is joe dimaggio as an
example of this victorian type. joe dimaggio was famous for not being very expressive. for being, kind of controlling his emotions on the field. there is one moment in the 1947 world series with the yankees against the dodgers. the dodgers were up by three runs. joe dimaggio was at bat and there were two men on base. he has a long fly ball that almost certainly would have been 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. back, back, back. he makes a one-handed catch against the bullpen. prof. moreno: when dimaggio kicked the 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 that
play. the famously stoic joe dimaggio lost his temper. if you compare this with a way that athletes today express themselves on the field, you can see the difference between the old model and the new model. i say this not just because i'm a big yankee fan. for a generation of americans, joe dimaggio did encapsulate that old idea of the greatest generation stoic self-control in american males. >> was that the same year that jackie robinson broke in? prof. moreno: yes, it was. was a7, in many ways, it 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 was an italian-american. italians had a reputation of having less self-control than british protestants. these were cultural stereotypes.
there are known as volatile people. the fact that dimaggio had absorbed this anglo-american, stoic demeanor was a 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 daigo of the yankees. as a term we don't hear much anymore. it was a moderate epithet of descent. mediterranean dissen at this dimaggio had assimilated point, these new ethnic groups. they are adopting this stance of victorian morality. that is the individual, the struggle for self-control within the individual. to have your rational capacity control your emotions. likewise, social policy follows the same model. the whole goal of social policy is to cultivate personal responsibility. do everything we can to get
individuals to control themselves. in other words, social policy is supposed to reward virtue and punish vice. we want our social institutions, our economic institutions, our political institutions, our 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. one of the things that is changing fundamentally is on the one hand, you had a laissez-faire economy, where the federal government does not do much to regulate economic activity. america at about 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 doesn't get involved with this very much because of our constitutional system, but state and local governments did a great deal of policing of moral, cultural and even religious questions.
in constitutional parlance, this is known as the police o power. you have a society that was very free economically. but there is a great deal of control culturally or morally. today, it is rather the opposite. we have a highly regulated economy, but the culture is relatively libertarian. that is a great transformation of america. as you will 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. again, for benjamin franklin, they were directly connected. if you engage in the right kind of behavior, if you are frugal, industrious, temperate, it would lead to economic success. that is the way to wealth. a connection, saw not the discordance between a laissez-faire economy and a police culture. the family is at the center of all this. that is the chief institution by which individuals are socialized.
the family of the victorians was -- and this is to go without saying -- but it was monogamous and heterosexual. it was the nuclear family. it was between one man and one woman only. again, to emphasize the ways in which victorian social standards were different than earlier ones, it was still voluntary. there were no arranged marriages. the family was much more based on affection rather than on interest or compulsion. as i said, 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. it becomes the norm into the 20th century. the institution of divorce is still limited. legally, no states had no-fault 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. over the course of time, it has lost that stigma and the incidence of divorce escalated rapidly in 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, who was more or less ineligible to be president of the united states because he had been divorced. there wasn't a supreme court justice who had been divorced until the late 1930's. it had a stigma to it because 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, a vice 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 bad behavior because of their economic conditions. the victorian assumption is just the opposite. if people are poor, it is because they have engaged in vicious behavior and not vice versa. that is why they were so reluctant to adopt welfare in the 19th and 20th century. it would have inverted and interrupted this assumption that people make that there is a connection between vice in poverty. one of the things that changes this is 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. student: is the moral argument the same argument they made for prohibition?
prof. moreno: yes, actually. the moral arguments that are made to encourage the right kind of behavior in people reach their height in prohibition. however, it goes a little too far. one of the ways in which the progressives actually took victorian emphasis on temperance, that is an illustration of this. there is a difference between temperance and prohibition. moderating as opposed to abolishing. that is one of the ways prohibition was adopted with the 18th amendment, and that it was repealed. charity, for example. the old standard in the distribution of charity to the poor was that charity had to be limited to the deserving poor. as they were called. the victorians recognize that some people were poor just because of bad luck. widows and orphans especially. people who through no fault 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 reform. you don't want to give charity to the undeserving poor because that will be subsidizing that behavior. and then, you will get more of it. to the undeserving poor becauses there was an limitation on the welfare state before the 20th century. likewise, income transfers would have the same effect. this was what it was an argument against the income tax. 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. so why tax them? that is discouraging productive behavior. you don't want to do that anymore than you want to encourage vicious behavior by giving welfare to the undeserving poor. the assumption is that people are, again, economically successful, because of their virtuous behavior, and that is called into question in the 19th and 20th centuries as well. but those are the assumptions of
the connection between moral and economic outcomes. it continued into the 20th century, but really took a beating with the great depression. when charity was administered into the early 20th century, it was called indoor relief. we want to take the deserving poor outside of their morally dangerous environment and put them into asylums or 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 and 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 reformatory as opposed to the penitentiary. likewise, for orphans, you want to take them out of neighborhoods and put them into institutions where they could be
taught the right kind of behavior. however, that was the ideal. the institutions did not usually work this way, but that was the moral theory that was behind it. likewise, there were lots of laws, especially at the state and local level, that were meant to suppress vice. to help people control themselves by removing the temptations to drink too much or to take drugs or to gamble or all these other things. the idea that those kinds of police regulations were legitimate was something that the government did do. this is a difference between temperance and prohibition. the victorians generally did not try to prohibit alcohol altogether. into the 19th and early 20th century, they took a constitutional amendment to do it. the whole nation adopted, briefly, prohibition. with regards to prostitution, the victorians held to a sexual
double standard. they believed that males have more of a sex drive than females did. that prostitution was an outlet that you needed males to have. the thing to do about prostitution was to establish a red light district where prostitution would be limited and regulated rather than try to do away with it altogether. before world war i, especially, 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. i don't know if this is true, but you hear stories about buildings downtown where prostitution was flagrant was because it was legally .olerated in these districts the progressives held to a stricter standard than this, especially among 19th-century feminists. what was known as the social purity movement. they objected to the sexual double standard, not because they wanted women to be a will
-- to be able to engage in the same kinds of sexual behavior as males, but they wanted males to exercise as much self-control as females did. they wanted a very stringent, unitary standard for the sexes so they campaigned against prostitution altogether. it was world war i when the federal government made a requirement that if you had a federal base camp in your city, the county had to do away with drinking and prostitution, so the red light districts pretty much 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 at commercial prostitution, later came to be applied to any kind of illicit sexual relations in which state lines were crossed occurredpe of abetting
to help someone get across state lines. 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. it became a nationwide campaign against any kind of sexual immorality. likewise, gambling. today, states promote and advertise for gambling. the idea being that the lottery proceeds go to promote education. every american state in 1900 prohibited gambling. some states even prohibited the publication that somebody won the lottery in other countries. it was a federal crime to transport lottery tickets across state lines. every 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. likewise, every american church condemned artificial contraception until about 1930, i think it was the episcopalian
s who were the first to accept the use of contraception, for married couples anyways. it was not until the 1960's where every state had repealed laws that prohibited the dispensing and 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 contraception. congress tried to help this through various laws known as the comstock act. anthony comstock was the principal 19th-century crusader against sexual vice. it made it a federal crime to use the federal mail for anything that was obscene or immoral. that included any information about abortion or contraception. this is one of the ways in which the federal government tried to
help the states and their regulation of sexual morality. another indication of this is that circumcision reached its high point in the united states in 1940. i am talking here about male circumcision. 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, the idea that christians did not have to get circumcised as jewish people did have been taken care of centuries ago. but for reasons of sexual hygiene and the belief that circumcision would 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. there are all these signs of encouraging self-control. the prohibition of these various practices. all of this is especially concentrated among american protestants.
especially pious protestant denominations. methodists, evangelicals of various kinds. as opposed to the liturgical protestants like the episcopalians or the lutherans, they were less inclined in the social reform movement that is associated with the evangelicals. roman catholics were largely out of it. part of the reason why protestants were suspicious of american catholics was they did not fit into this victorian culture and enthusiasm for social reform. the protestant assumption that i am talking about is that we can achieve perfection in this world by the cultivation of these morals. traditionalist catholics were suspicious of that. protestants were suspicious of catholics because of that. they did not believe people have the capacity to improve the world in this sort of way. catholics were considered too lenient about sin.
catholics were otherworldly. the protestant vision is about protecting the world in which we live. catholicism tended to emphasize the next world rather than this world. there is a well-known hymn, and there is a line that is emphasized. "this earth is but a veil of tears, a place of banishment and fears." catholics had a fatalistic view that life on this earth is not about achieving perfection and improvement. it is something you have to suffer through in order to get to your final reward in the other world. the catholics do not have an inclination to try to make these kinds of social improvements that evangelical protestants are about. these are catholic ideas that success or poverty in this world may not have any clear connection between people's morality and behavior. that sometimes the wicked do achieve great wealth and success.
sometimes good people are reduced to poverty. catholics are not with this program of protestant personal and social improvement. since most americans are broadly speaking, protestants in one way or another, this is a cultural tone of america in the 19th and 20th century. thus 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 the reason why catholics established their secondary system of parochial 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 are good example of an
attempt to inculcate a moral vision through literature. even now you no established church in the united states, there is a broad, nondenominational protestant culture that did not 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. let's talk about the 1950's now. let's talk about how this developed in the 1950's. the unraveling of the traditional judeo-christian ethic, you could see it in europe in the late 20th century. for americans, you really only begin to see it in the 1920's, the roaring 20's, the jazz age, disillusionment after world war i. then, it was interrupted by the great depression and then both
ehe worst, world war -- both th world war ii and the cold war. you do not see it unravel until the 1960's. especially when the decline of cold war tensions as well as democratic factors like the baby boomers coming-of-age began to kick in. the 1950's are a period of hiatus. they are still security conscious. they still place a 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. that americans were other directed is a phrase that was used, they were 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, protestant work ethic was about you having a fixed, absolute standard, one that came from religion, and following that. a healthy kind of american individualism in this inner-directedness that came out of, especially, a puritan 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. a period where the economy was dominated more than ever before
or since by a small number of large corporations. we talked about the ways the new policy andic politics help concentrate american business in the mid-20th century. 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. and of course, government. 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 networks, nothing like the array of news outlets you people have today.
student: [inaudible] prof. moreno: you have big government and big corporations in the middle of the 20th century, because we had given up the laissez-faire ideal with the new deal. the 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 to have cartels, organizations that attempt to reduce competition. it largely sucked away the laissez-faire attitude. but it has not adopted the cultural liberalism we associate with today's democratic party. that does not really happen until the 1960's. 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 in mind homosexual rights or abortion rights or anything like that. they were still very victorian in social, cultural and moral beliefs. that is all going to change rapidly in the 1960's. there are some avant-garde intellectuals and artists calling into question the judeo-christian moral standards. in fact, 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 morality. you should read that. it makes the argument that once socialism takes care of the economic problem, everyone will have enough so they do not have to worry about making a living anymore, then the individual will be free to create himself
in any way they want to. marx makes a similar argument in the german ideology. and every individual could be like oscar wilde, expressing themselves artistically and creatively and to be a real individual. economic socialism, collectivism in the economy is what leads to 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. we're not yet embarked in the mainstream on the cultural-moral overturn. ok, as i said, the family is the central institution. the 1950's have a reputation for being conservative because there was a great baby boom, because it was a great period of family formation in the united states. this is why popular images of the 1950's are very domestic.
you have the father knows best sitcom image of the 1950's. a return to normal, bourgeois family life. americans making up for a lot of the disruption of the great depression and world war ii. you have 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. but principally american. most historians 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 pyramids, are closely correlated with the decline of religious observance. the baby boom was the central demographic phenomenon of this course. about 76 million children were born between 1946 and 1964, the baby boom years. this reached a peak of 4.3 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 than in the 30 years before world war ii. it is a tremendous expansion, a tremendous boom in the
population. the average female marriage rate had been 26 in 1890, and had fallen below 20 in 1957. this was the average. this was the average married rate which means someone could have even gotten married younger than that. it reached its low point in 1956. there were two cohorts that made up the baby-boom. one was older women who had delayed having children during the depression and world war ii, getting started late having children. but also, and much more important were 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 it was a typo. they mean the average american had her first child at the age of 26. no, she was done at age 26. today, most american women do not start having children until age 26. that leaves time to have more children, the earlier it starts. the other thing about the
baby-boom, there was no part of the american population that was not affected by it. usually, when we talk about large-scale social phenomenon in american history, you start making exceptions and talking about differences based on race, religion, class. but there was none of that, this affected almost the entire american population. the same for blacks and whites, the same for rich or poor. if it is any indication of the 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 native born. less educated people usually have more children. but this seemed to be the opposite in the 1950's. also, very unusual. also, 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.
what made the numbers so vast was that almost no one had no children. almost everybody had two or three or four. there were very few childless couples and very few people who did not get married. the instances of marriage in the 1950's was still very high. it was recently ,in the last census or some point since, a majority of 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 that happened to the 1950's, more children who are born, live. great medical advances in the 1950's. the thing that kept human population down throughout human history was infant mortality, the idea that 1/3 or 1/2 of children would not make it to the first year. that they would thus not produce
the next generation. most of that tremendous increase in human population was due to a decline in infant mortality rates. that continues in the 1950's. diseases like polio and one of the dramatic stories of medical advances was the conquest of polio in the 1950's. it was not a fatal disease, but it was a terrifying disease that affected young people. especially fdr, having been affected later in life. diseases like diphtheria and rubella, vaccines were developed for those, so children who are born are living longer. 37,000 polio cases in 1954, below 1000 by 1962. it was almost completely eradicated. the year before i was born there was a great rubella outbreak before the vaccine that produced 20,000 miscarriages and many -- and 30,000 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 before you were one years old. those children are living longer as a result of the medical advances. another thing that comes out of the baby-boom, especially this generation 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?
that is one of the myths of this book. but it was true that compared to earlier victorian guidance to child reading, spock was relatively permissive. the old standard in the 19th century was children were little devils and their will needed to be broken. that was what child rearing was all about. 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. also, spock -- he 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 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. it is all taking place in the american suburbs. 1955 was an important landmark year, because more americans lived in suburbs and cities for the first time in american history. 1920 have been the landmark when america became an urban nation, where more families live on cities than farms. it was not that much later, in 1955, where america became a suburban nation, more living in suburbs than cities. the suburban population doubled from 36 million to 72 million between 1950 and 1970. by 1970, the suburbs included
more people than cities and farms combined. it was a majority suburban nation. in the 1950's, about one million 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 in the 1950's took place in the suburbs. the 1950's with a decade of the the 1950's where the were the dhe 1950's ecade of greatest population increase in american history. 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, immigration had almost entirely 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 consequences of this is that 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' population. chicago, a much more concentrated population losing its population to suburbs. cleveland went from being 13% of ohio's population to only 4%. detroit went from 32% to 11% of
michigan's population. it is probably even lower than that now. there is a great exodus of population from the cities into the suburbs. also from the farms into the cities. what is happening in big american cities, the nativeborn white population is moving to the suburbs. we've talked about the ways the subsidies and government policies encouraged suburbanization. the highway act, banking policies, federal loan guarantees and things like that 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 being replaced by black migrants from the south, the continuation of the great migration. also, puerto ricans. they were part of the american commonwealth.
immigration was not limited the way it was from other countries. in other words, a city like new york city, whites are moving out and their places were being taken by blacks and puerto ricans. demographics and cities 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, it starts where virtually no one has television, but by the end of the 1950's, everyone has television. the numbers are about 170,000 to about 15 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 in the 1920's. one of the most fastest-growing consumer industries in the 1920's. also automobiles. henry ford making mass production automobiles available to ordinary americans. what starts off as a luxury item becomes a mass-produced consumer good. likewise with telephones. these devices were rapidly adopted. television was more rapidly adopted than any other. it may well be smartphones, i have not looked into this. i can remember a time when no one had a smartphone and then suddenly everyone had one. but television was a rapid, culturally transforming phenomena. the important thing about television, it is connected to the family. it replaces the fireplace as the center of the home. that is the hearth, the thing the family gathers around and brings the american people together.
brings the american people it was replacing what was previously the dominant form of popular entertainment, the biggest entertainment industry in the united states, motion pictures. 1946 was the peak of american movie attendance. about 90 million americans went to the movies every week in 1946. about 60% of 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. people don't go to the movies the way they used to. student: [inaudible] prof. moreno: it is funny , because movies you could say
bring people together. the description patterson gives of movie theaters as cultural, civic institutions. they were very ornate, palatial, had services. those began to decline as a result of television. certainly television reduces personal interaction. it is a mass-produced commodity. one of the things it is doing 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 television may well reduce the amount of culture that individuals produce by conversation and personal interaction. there is some truth to that. there is a degree in to which there are 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. initially, there were high-quality, high culture television, things applied from the stage to early 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 share you can get? thus, the quality of it will be reduced. bute will be more access, the quality, by some standards, will decline. 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, whereas television is
reinforcing the idea of the family as the basic social unit. early growth in movie theaters e-in's,1950's was driv because america was becoming more car focused at the time. changed preferences americans had for sports. football was more well adapted to television than baseball was. this is a period in which football and basketball begin to compete with baseball for the american pastime. television had a lot to do with that. people to this day will say they prefer to listen to baseball on the radio than 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 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 if i did not forbid you to bring your cell phones to class. the 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 united states.
the whole idea of adolescence, the teenager, is something that is new in western civilization in the 20th century. for one thing, the united states became a younger country in the 20th century as a result of the baby boom. the median age fell to a little over 28 years old. the average american was 28 years old. it is 38 years old today, because the population has been aging since the baby boom. the so-called teen population, a cohort that sociologists did not recognize until the 20th century. that there is a distinct phase of life, a recent development. the teen niche or cohort doubled 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. in traditional society, there was no such thing as being a teenager.
you were a child, and then, 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 being a child to an adult. as western society and the economy and demographic changes took place, there was an extended, intermediate period between childhood and adulthood. adolescence, 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 population between 14 years old and 18 years old 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. that has increased over the century. half the population of high school age is an high school in 1930. 75% by 1950. almost everybody. by 1965, everyone who is high school age is an high school and half of them go to college. college numbers have a similar replication. late 19th century almost no one went to college, it is increasingly common today. today, about two thirds of americans spend some time in college. only half of them finished. the vast majority spend time on higher education. look at what it was just for high school in the 20th century. all of this is extending the period of adolescence.
so, you get a separate youth culture. advertisers are looking at this, young people begin to adopt their own style of dress. the music they listen to is very different. there is a segregation, separation of youth culture from mainstream culture. what you have is, 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 better 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 dependence 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 their parents health insurance until they are 26 years old. 26 years old 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 while you ironically have earlier biological maturity. here are the college numbers. about 2 million americans went to college in 1940. it sort of quintiles and you quintuples, and you ahve -- have 10 million by
1973. that is a further expansion of youth culture. also, more disposable income. student: [inaudible] prof. 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 idea -- a good way to put it, children or adult adolescence, instead of taking their social cues and being groomed by the adults, the previous generation, they are getting it from their
peers. it is a peer culture that is taking place. people were worried about this. anne patterson talks about how many thought juvenile delinquency was a big problem in the 1950's, that this next generation would be 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. aristotle said you should not study politics until your 30's. you're not mature enough to understand it until then. student: [inaudible]
prof. moreno: you have the idea that children do not have to engage or be socially adults 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 not as much to spend on entertainment. now, they are able to indulge in the consumer culture. deferring the age at which 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. also, youths can physically 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. things like the transistor radio allowed young people to have their separate, different musical tastes indulged, apart from adults. all these things to a way in which young people could produce their own cultural setting. this had never been seen before the 1950's. concerns about this are that, as 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 concern. it appeared like the intellectual consequences of this youth culture. there is no ready explanation, but one possibility, there is a correlation between a decline in standardize test scores and birth order. so, you are having more and 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. so, you have educational decline in the 1950's. you could see there was a sort of panic. americans periodically have the 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. 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 in the 1950's. it brought together earlier distinct and local musical cultures that came together into the mass form 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. country and western music was considered a distinct, niche musical market.
this is the way billboard magazine classified these genres of music. country and western music is considered vulgar, hillbilly music. rhythm and blues, likewise, was black music, labeled race music before rhythm and blues. rock and roll took these subcultures and brought them together for this white, middle-class, vast baby-boom culture. the person most responsible for this was elvis presley. patterson says, sam phillips, the man who found 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. he would seem rather innocent and quaint to you. but at the time, this crossover intoese cultures 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. it lost 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 then takes off with the rolling stones and the who. rock 'n roll might have been a temporary phenomenon.
there was argument that was the case. that by 1960's, rock 'n roll in its original case -- 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. >> interested in american history tv? visit our website, www.c-span.org/history. -- you can get a preview of our tv schedule, watch college lectures and lessons and more. unfoldsn, where history daily.
created as aan was public service by america's cable television companies. it is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> on july 6, joined american history tv for a live program from the museum of the american history -- of american .evolution we will be examining museum artifacts and answering your questions. here's a preview. >> hello, my name is michael quinn. the president and ceo of museum of the american revolution. i'm standing here at the plaza of the museum in old city philadelphia. was thephia headquarters of the revolution. this is where the delegates first came, and this is where
the declaration of independence was written. so this really is the most central element to the american revolution. the birth of our nation. that is why this museum is located here. down the street for he is the first bank of the united states. that is alexander hamilton's branch bank where he watched our nation's banking system. we are truly where the nation began, and it is the right place to tell the entire story of the american revolution which is our mission in this museum. behind me, you see canons from the era. this is part of the museum collection. every single one of these canons are old enough that they could have been used to fight the revolution. on the wall behind me, you see stone the core concepts that arose from the
declaration of independence, the lofty ideals of equality, freedom, liberty, and self government. it began in 1776, but the revolution continues to this very day. onset of thehe museum, let us go in. we are entering the entrance rotunda of the museum. classical,onderful, welcoming space. we selected the architect of the building, because he so thoroughly understand classical architecture. ofwanted the same sense scale and proportion and stature. he delivered beautifully. this rotunda is named in his honor. let's go upstairs. the design of the stairs is intentional to evoke the curved
ys of some-- stairwa impressive homes of the colonial era. in the atrium, you see some fantastic paintings which are historic and capture the spirit of the american revolution. the one you are looking at now pennsylvaniay a artist. this is his picture of intongton's army marching valley forge which was going to be a terrible winter intendment after the british captured -- winter encampment after the british captured philadelphia. the original of the painting
behind me hangs in versailles. att this shows is the siege yorktown. a french artist painted this for the king. the most prominent individual is he is in thembo, pink sash. washington is to his left. it captures the critical role that the french played both in yorktown and throughout the revolution. one thing that the painting shows us is a tent. it is more of a french tend that looks more napoleonic. certainly not the type of tent that george washington would use, but it did show how the tents,did travel, using as one of the crown jewels of our museum is george washington's war tent.
>> thursday, july 6, at 7:00 p.m. eastern time on american history tv, the museum of the american revolution. >> the white house naval photographic unit produced monthly film reports on the activities of president lyndon johnson. up next on american history tv's america, "the president: june 1967." events depicted include the six-day war in the middle east, the nomination of thurgood marshall to the supreme court, and a three day summit. the navy films on the johnson administration are archived at the lbj presidential library and you can watch many of them on their youtube channel. ♪