What was consumerism like in the 1950's?


Quick Answer

Consumerism in the 1950s was on the rise thanks to wartime production carried on by those not fighting in World War II. Soldiers returning home from war were pleasantly surprised to find a much more stable economy than when they left.

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Full Answer

Although the war cost the United States hundreds of millions of dollars, it also gave the country the motivation it needed to pull itself out of the depression. For the first time in more than a decade, citizens weren't afraid of spending money on things they wanted. Suburbs were growing quickly thanks to expanded federal programs, and the advertisements of the era told people it was okay to spend money on things that were "newer and better."

Rather than simply spending money on necessities, Americans spent their money on things revolving around home and family. More people purchased things like new cars, televisions, vacuum cleaners and washers because the public was collectively ready to modernize life.

The 1950s was a time when people of almost every income level knew it was possible to live "the good life." Consumerism helped narrow the gap between the classes, television programs began dealing with ethnic story lines and, for the first time in a long time, Americans were feeling good about themselves and their ability to provide for their families.

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