Coming outof a great economic depression, the United States experienced tremendous growthin the 1950s. This tremendous growth provided many with the opportunity to buymore, pursue new music, develop as fashion icons, and make advances intechnology. It was also a time for political conflict. The war on communismdivided many American communities. The 1950s was also the start of the civilright movement, which sought to bring those opportunities available to everyoneelse to the minority community. On the heels of a world war, economic growth inthe United States provided new opportunities to many; but all of this wasundermined by a struggle for equality and politicalidentity. Manyhistorians use the word “Boom” to describe the growth of the 1950’s, baby boombeing the most popular.
The record number of approximately 4 million babies borneach year in the 50’s. After the 6-year war people were eager to start a familyin the United States because the war was finally over and peace was finallyhere. In many ways, they wereright. Between 1945 and 1960, the gross national product more than doubled,growing from $200 billion to more than $500 billion. Much of this increase camefrom government spending: The construction of interstate highways and schools,the distribution of veterans’ benefits and most of all the increase in militaryspending–on goods like airplanes and new technologies like computers–allcontributed to the decade’s economic growth.
Rates of unemployment andinflation were low, and wages were high. Middle-class people had more money tospend than ever–and, because the variety and availability of consumer goodsexpanded along with the economy, they also had more things to buy.