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1950s post-war life.   Some people see it as the epitome as the American Dream (e.g., the availability of jobs, new suburban housing, and an overall feeling of national prosperity), while others critique it for promoting rigid gender roles, mindless consumption, deepening racial divides and limiting economic opportunities for minorities.

Either way, May’s historical analysis shows us that the suburbs, the renewed emphasis on family life,  post WW II economic growth did not descend out of thin air.  The mass migration of white Americans to new suburban communities was supported by government investment, new infrastructure in the form of highways, shopping malls, and neighborhoods, all of which were indicative of the USA’s post-war prosperity and an emphasis on mass consumption. 

What aspects of 1950s and 1960s history did you find interesting and/or troubling?  

Using May’s  chapter, answer the following questions:

  • What are some of the benefits of 1950s and 1960s Cold War U.S. society did you found interesting?  (e.g., think about highways, shopping areas, upward mobility, affordability, etc)
  • What are some of the negative consequences that you found particularly disturbing? (e.g., think about red-lining, white flight, decline of urban businesses, gender roles, closeted sexual identities, etc.)
  • Do you have experiences (positive or negative) with suburban living and/or nuclear family structures?  If so, how does May’s analysis help you contextualize and/or think differently about them?

Please use at least two key words and engage with May’s texts at length. Remember to conclude with an open-ended question on your first post.  You’re posting two times on this thread!

 

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