The 1950s was the year people came home and sought out the American dream. Some people were earning money and living happily while others did not live prosperously. The 1950s had an economic boom because of the amount of spending that was made, improvements in medicine, the growth of entertainment, and new technology inventions. Prosperity affected the nation socially, politically, and economically because as the economy grew the nation had an opportunity to spend on things that would help create a better life.
The 1950s economy boomed because of the great amount of spending the people did. Americans were spending more than ever before due to more jobs being available and the return of soldiers coming back. People became white collars, which are people who work in professional fields such as a doctor or in the office, or blue collars, which are people who work hourly in more manual labor. The baby boom influenced more spending on baby products. American people had an “average family income in 1950 was $3,300” (US Census Bureau). People spent money on goods and services to aim for an average life like a house. Birken explained that “teens responded by spending their money on Coca-Cola, M&Ms, and all the other products commercials sold to them — and by influencing their parents’ spending habits” (Biken). Teens became a new demographic that businesses saw. Businesses knew that most teens had a lot of time and power to spend money which is why many advertisements aimed for teens. People wanted a fresh start so many had the opportunity to make enough money to have an average life.
With attention to the growth in families leading to large amounts of spending, a breakthrough in medicine. Medicine was being to grow in the 1950s. From birth control to vaccine, research companies like the NHI and NSF were heavily funded giving people an opportunity to live longer. During the 50s “Congress regularly added $8 million to $15 million to the NIH budget proposed by the first Eisenhower administration. By 1956, the NIH has risen to almost $100 million” (The Pharmaceutical Century). With a lot of funding, medicine had an opportunity to help people. When polio spread around America scientist tried to find a way to help people. Luckily the polio vaccine was invented and helped save people. In chapter 41 section 7 it explains that “statistics show the vaccine to be as much as 90% effective in preventing polio”. Due to medicine being advanced, antibiotics were created to kill bacteria and improve life expectancy. Medicine created a breakthrough in human life which helped the economy boom.
In the light of the 1950s, it was the era were entertainment and cars grew and influenced people. When the television was created it had shows that influenced gender roles. Cars helped with transportation giving people an easier way to get from one destination to another. The television gave birth to many gender roles in the 1950s. The television gave producers a window to share their influence with America. Thousands of televisions were bought and families would sit around it and watch whatever program is on. On televisions, “many comedies presented an idealized image of white suburban family life: happy housewife mothers, wise fathers, and mischievous but not dangerously rebellious children were constants on shows like ‘Leave It to Beaver’ and ‘Father Knows Best’ in the late 1950s” (Khan Academy). Shows that gave people the ideology of a housewife and a wise father were how people were influenced to live in the 1950s. Cars were not very expensive and “due to the increase in automobile production, citizens soon demanded the construction of an interstate freeway, which in turn provided jobs to millions of workers in the construction industry” (McCurdy). Due to the large consumption of cars, it influenced the government to give people jobs to make highways. In return, it became easier and faster to move from place to place. The development of the television and cars made the economy boom in the 1950s.