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Themes, Objectives, and Terms

The Eisenhower years were characterized by prosperity and moderate conservatism at home and by the tensions of the Cold War abroad.

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The 1950s witnessed a huge expansion of the middle class and the blossoming of a consumer culture. Crucial to the development of a new lifestyle of leisure and affluence was the rise of the new technology of television.

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While Dwight Eisenhower and the majority of Americans held to a cautious, family-oriented
perspective on domestic social questions, an emerging civil rights movement and the influence of television and popular music presented challenges to the spirit of national consensus.

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Describe the changes in the American consumer economy in the 1950s, and their relationship to the rise of popular "mass culture."

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Describe the rise and fall of McCarthyism and the beginnings of the civil rights movement.

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Outline the Eisenhower-Dulles approach to the Cold War and the nuclear arms race with the Soviet
Union.

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Define the basic principles of Eisenhower's foreign policy in Vietnam, the Middle East, and Cuba.

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Describe the practice of "Eisenhower Republicanism" in the 1950s, including domestic consequences of the Cold War.

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Describe the issues and outcome of the tight Kennedy-Nixon presidential campaign of 1960.

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Summarize some major changes in American culture in the 1950s, including the rise of Jewish and
African American writers.

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Betty Friedan

1921-2006. American feminist, activist and writer. Best known for starting the "Second Wave" of feminism through the writing of her book "The Feminine Mystique".

Billy Graham

One of the most popular evangelical ministers of the era. Star of the first televised "crusades" for religious revival. He believed that all doubts about the literal interpretation of the bible were traps set by Satan. He supported Republicans and a large increase to money in the military.

Oral Roberts

This American Pentecostal televangelist was famous for his healing ministry and the university he founded in Tulsa.

Fulton J. Sheen

Catholic bishop who became a television personality through program "Life Is Worth Living"

Elvis Presley

white singer born in 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi; chief revolutionary of popular music in the 1950s, fused black rhythm and blues with white bluegrass and country styles; created a new musical idiom known forever after as rock and roll

Marilyn Monroe

A twentieth-century actress who became the leading sex symbol of the 1950s. While still in her thirties, she died of an overdose of sleeping pills. Among her best-known films are The Seven-Year Itch, Bus Stop, and Some Like it Hot.

David Riesman

Wrote "The Lonely Crowd", a sociological study of modern conformity, which postulates the existence of the "inner-directed" and "other-directed" personalities. Riesman argues that the character of post WWII American society impels individuals to "other-directedness", the preeminent example being modern suburbia, where individuals seek their neighbors' approval and fear being outcast from their community.

John Kenneth Galbraith

(1908- ) Canadian economist. Galbraith probably wouldn't make this list if contributions to economic theory were all that mattered; as it is, his liberal popular writings like The Affluent Society and The New Industrial State (with their emphasis on public service and the limitations of the marketplace) ensure his coming up again and again.

Dwight Eisenhower

leader of the Allied forces in Europe during WW2--leader of troops in Africa and commander in DDay invasion-elected president-president during integration of Little Rock Central High School

Adlai Stevenson

ran against Eisenhower, The Democratic candidate who ran against Eisenhower in 1952. His intellectual speeches earned him and his supporters the term "eggheads". Lost to Eisenhower.

Joseph McCarthy

1950s; Wisconsin senator claimed to have list of communists in American gov't, but no credible evidence; took advantage of fears of communism post WWII to become incredibly influential; "McCarthyism" was the fearful accusation of any dissenters of being communists

Martin Luther King, Jr.

U.S. Baptist minister and civil rights leader. A noted orator, he opposed discrimination against blacks by organizing nonviolent resistance and peaceful mass demonstrations. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Nobel Peace Prize (1964)

Jackie Robinson

The first African American player in the major league of baseball. His actions helped to bring about other opportunities for African Americans.

Rosa Parks

United States civil rights leader who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery (Alabama) and so triggered the national civil rights movement

Earl Warren

Chief Justice during the 1950's and 1960's who used a loose interpretation to expand rights for both African-Americans and those accused of crimes.

Oral Faubus

1957 stand against the desegregation of Little Rock public schools during the Little Rock Crisis, in which he defied a unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court by ordering the Arkansas National Guard to stop African American students from attending Little Rock Central High School. Despite his initial staunch segregationist stances, Faubus moderated his positions later in life.

Richard Nixon

he was elected to be US President after Johnson decided to not to run for US president again. He promised peace with honor in Vietnam which means withdrawing American soliders from South Vietnam

John Foster Dulles

Eisenhower's Sec. of State; harsh anti-Communist; called for more radical measures to roll back communism where it had already spread (containment too cautious)

Ho Chi Minh

1950s and 60s; communist leader of North Vietnam; used geurilla warfare to fight anti-comunist, American-funded attacks under the Truman Doctrine; brilliant strategy drew out war and made it unwinnable

Ngo Dinh Diem

American ally in South Vietnam from 1954 to 1963; his repressive regime caused the Communist Viet Cong to thrive in the South and required increasing American military aid to stop a Communist takeover. he was killed in a coup in 1963.

Nikita Khrushchev

Stalin's successor, wanted peaceful coexistence with the U.S. Eisenhower agreed to a summit conference with Khrushchev, France and Great Britain in Geneva, Switzerland in July, 1955 to discuss how peaceful coexistence could be achieved.

Mohammed Reza Pahlevi

a Shah that was placed in Iran by the CIA in 1953 and he planned to westernize and secularize Iran. He was overthrown in January 1979 by Muslim Fundamentalists. When he was overthrown Iran was left in chaos and Iranian oil production was stopped which led to higher oil prices for Americans.

Gamal Abdel Nasser

Arab leader, set out to modernize Egypt and end western domination, nationalized the Suez canal, led two wars against the Zionist state, remained a symbol of independence and pride, returned to socialism, nationalized banks and businesses, limited economic policies

Fidel Castro

Cuban socialist leader who overthrew a dictator in 1959 and established a Marxist socialist state in Cuba

John F. Kennedy

president during part of the cold war and especially during the superpower rivalry and the Cuban missile crisis. he was the president who went on TV and told the public about the crisis and allowed the leader of the soviet union to withdraw their missiles. other events, which were during his terms was the building of the Berlin wall, the space race, and early events of the Vietnamese war.

Norman Mailer

his 1948 novel The Naked and the Dead portrayed soldierly life in WWII with brutal realism

John Updike

Contemporary American novelist who wrote many popular novels including Rabbit, Runn and Bech at Bay.

Josephine Baker

epitome of the idea of exoticism, dancer who was famous for her "banana skirt," from Paris, active in Civil Rights movement and as a result is black-balled across the U.S., originally appeared in "Chocolate Dandies" on Broadway

Paul Robeson

African American concert singer whose passport was revoked and was blacklisted from the stage, screen, radio and television under the McCarran Act of the red scare of the 1950s due to his public criticism of American racist tendencies.

James Baldwin

United States author who was an outspoken critic of racism (1924-1987) - "Go Tell It On the Mountain" and "Blues for Mister Charlie"

Flannery O'Connor

creator of stories reflecting the Southern Gothic style. Southern Gothic focuses on strange events, eccentric characters and local color. People, places and events appear to be normal at first glance, but turn out to be strange, even horrific. Creates stories grounded in reality but disquieting and disturbing.

Saul Bellow

Perhaps the foremost among the American novelists who came into prominence after WWII, 1976 Nobel Prize winner Bellow is a part of the novelistic mainstream. His books have the rich flavor of his urban Jewish upbringing. Henderson the Rain King and Herzog are his two most famous works.

Sylvia Plath

1932-1963 a woman who was influenced by her life and she wove that into her poetry. She wrote about her relationship with her family and her depression. She was very feministic and had a unique style.

Ralph Ellison

United States novelist who wrote about a young Black man and his struggles in American society (1914-1994). He was the author of the Invisible Man (1952)

"cult of domesticity"

the ideal woman was seen as a tender, self-sacrificing caregiver who provided a nest for her children and a peaceful refuge for her husband, social customs that restricted women to caring for the house

white collar

describes a job relating to workers whose work usually does not involve manual labor and who are often expected to dress with a degree of formality, such as a professor or banker

blue collar

describes a job relating to wage earners, especially as a class whose jobs are performed in work clothes and often involve manual labor, such as plumber or construction worker

McCarthyism

The term associated with Senator Joseph McCarthy who led the search for communists in America during the early 1950s through his leadership in the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Sit-ins

protests by black college students, 1960-1961, who took seats at "whites only" lunch counters and refused to leave until served; in 1960 over 50,000 participated in sit-ins across the South. Their success prompted the formation of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.

"massive retaliation"

The "new look" defense policy of the Eisenhower administration of the 1950's was to threaten "massive retaliation" with nuclear weapons in response to any act of aggression by a potential enemy.

"spirit of Camp David"

The Camp David Accords were the peace accords signed by Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat to finally end the Israeli-Egyptian disputes. The achievement by Carter is considered his greatest achievement in office.

"Rocket fever"

The US was desperate to get into space because the soviet union had done so before the US. Billions of dollars were put into the new NASA program in hopes to catch up and excede Russina technology

The Feminine Mystique

written by Betty Friedan, journalist and mother of three children; described the problems of middle-class American women and the fact that women were being denied equality with men; said that women were kept from reaching their full human capacities

Playboy Magazine

A historical determinant of the 1940s - 50s. Valued sex for pleasure, the urbane lifestyle, threat to family ideal, women as objects and masculinity as defined by a choice.

The Lonely Crowd

Book written by David Riesman that criticized the people of the 50s who no longer made decisions based on morals, ethics and values; they were allowing society to tell them what is right and wrong.

The Affluent Society

by Galbraith; said that the nation's postwar prosperity was a new phenomenon... before, there used to be an "economy of scarcity" because of lack of resources and overpopulation, but due to the US's and other industrialized countries' technology, it was an "economy of abundance" (new business techniques and improved tech. enabled nations to produce an abundance of goods and services)

"televangelists"

Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Fulton J. Sheen were known as this; they took to the airwaves to spread the Christian gospel

Checkers speech

Given by Richard Nixon on September 23, 1952, when he was the Republican candidate for the Vice Presidency. Said to have saved his career from a campaign contributions scandal.

Army-McCarthy hearings

The Trials in which Senator McCarthey accused the U.S. Army of harboring possible communists.These trials were one of the first televised trials in America, and helped show America Senator McCarthey's irresponsibility and meanness.

Sweatt v. Painter

this case involved a black man who was refused admission to the University Of Texas Austin School Of Law. At the time there was no law school open only to blacks in Texas, according to the Plessy v. Ferguson "separate but equal" requirement. The case continued for six months, while a new school of law for blacks was created in Texas. However, the resulting school was in no way equal to the UT Austin Law School due to the lack of faculty and resources in the library. This case is significant because it does not overturn separate but equal factor and the Supreme Court rules that in the case of graduate education intangibles must be considered as being equal. This decision reflects how severe racial discrimination was, especially within our own school system we attend today and how there is a wide range of races who attend UT Austin today.

An American Dilemma

Gunnar Mydral published his landmark book, this exposed the scandalous contradictions between the American Creed, the allegiance ti the values of "process, liberty, equality, and humanitarianism", and the nations shameful treatment of black citizens

Brown v. Board of Education

1954 - The Supreme Court overruled Plessy v. Ferguson, declared that racially segregated facilities are inherently unequal and ordered all public schools desegregated.

Montgomery bus boycott

In 1955, after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus, Dr. Martin L. King led a boycott of city busses. After 11 months the Supreme Court ruled that segregation of public transportation was illegal.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

An organization founded by MLK Jr., to direct the crusade against segregation. Its weapon was passive resistance that stressed nonviolence and love, and its tactic direct, though peaceful, confrontation.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

Organized in the fall of 1960 by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. as a student civil rights movement inspired by sit-ins, it challenged the status quo and walked the back roads of Mississippi and Georgia to encourage Blacks to resist segregation and to register to vote.

Interstate Highway Act

1956 Eisenhower 20 yr plan to build 41,000 mi of highway, largest public works project in history

Dien Bien Phu

In 1954, Vietminh rebels besieged a French garrison at Dien Bien Phu, deep in the interior of northern Vietnam. In May, after the United States refused to intervene, Dien Bien Phu fell to the communists.

Suez crisis

July 26, 1956, Nasser (leader of Egypt) nationalized the Suez Canal, Oct. 29, British, French and Israeli forces attacked Egypt. UN forced British to withdraw; made it clear Britain was no longer a world power

Eisenhower Doctrine

Eisenhower proposed and obtained a joint resolution from Congress authorizing the use of U.S. military forces to intervene in any country that appeared likely to fall to communism. Used in the Middle East.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

An international oil cartel dominated by an Arab majority, joined together to protect themselves.

Landrum-Griffith Act

When the United States was in desperate need of a labor reform, because many union leaders and big industries were involved in many scandals, Congress passed this act to prevent bullying tactics and make labor leaders keep accurate financial records.

U-2 incident

The incident when an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. The U.S. denied the true purpose of the plane at first, but was forced to when the U.S.S.R. produced the living pilot and the largely intact plane to validate their claim of being spied on aerially. The incident worsened East-West relations during the Cold War and was a great embarrassment for the United States.

Sputnik

First artificial Earth satellite, it was launched by Moscow in 1957 and sparked U.S. fears of Soviet dominance in technology and outer space. It led to the creation of NASA and the space race.

National Defense Education Act

Passed in response to Sputnik, it provided an opportunity and stimulus for college education for many Americans. It allocated funds for upgrading funds in the sciences, foreign language, guidance services, and teaching innovation.

St. Lawrence seaway

system of locks, canals, and dams that allows ships to move from one water level to another completed in 1959; makes it easier to move goods from the US to Canada

Twenty-Second amendment

Proposed in 1947 and ratified in 1951. It limited the number of terms that a president may serve to two. Was brought on by FDR's 4-term presidency.

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