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The american middle class in the 1950s research paper












Topic:  The American Middle Class in the 1950s




Thesis Statement:  The 1950s was a time of consensus, contentment, and conformity for the American middle class. The definition of middle class in the United States was defined by certain criteria that determined by several factors that a middle class family should conform to.






Outline:  Main points you will discuss in your paper.


o Labor movement


o after 1950, rising income meant that the mass of Americans, including blue collar


workers, could for the first time enjoy substantial amounts of


discretionary income


o American consumerism stimulated in the 1950s by rising purchasing power,


consumer credit (first credit cards issued in 1950), and rapid growth of




o 1950s, Americans buy 58 million new cars, leading to increased highway


fatalities, air pollution, traffic jams, and movement to suburbs


o Government subsidization of suburbia


o In place of the neighborhood, Americans now have a drive-in culture


consisting of fast-food restaurants, drive-in theaters, shopping centers,


service stations, motels, and mobile homes


o “Baby Boom”–1945 to 1960



o The psyche of the American fifties was one of domestic optimism and


international power, underlain with suspicion


o Americans of 1950s sought consensus–everyone should fit into an


“American” mold, those who didn’t were seen as dangerous


o Americans increasingly turn to religion as way of coping with the stresses of


the 1950s


o School and college enrollments peak during the 1950s


o Culture of the fifties–mainstream cinema and TV


o Despite efforts to create an American consensus, elements of disquiet and


dissatisfaction surfaced during the late 1950s


o Small group of college students (mostly on West coast) break with the “silent


generation”–read and admire Beat writers; protest HUAC, nuclear arms race,


and segregation






















You must names of actual books, journals, articles and websites in Chicago/Turabian Format. 




This is a formal bibliography.


  At least one of the sources listed here should be Primary Documents.




Your final paper will contain:


two primary documents (historical document, newspaper, letters, or diary)


four academic journal articles


four books






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