I Love Lucy!

GabeAmerican History(ML), Mini Lessons

From Common Sense American History eBook:

Americans living in the two decades after World War II witnessed a period of unprecedented economic growth and the creation of an abundant and affluent society. America had emerged from the war with its territory and infrastructure unscathed by bombing, unlike much of the rest of the world. The arsenal of democracy had produced an incredible litany of weapons for the war effort and now converted to peacetime production of refrigerators, televisions, automobiles, toys and other items.

Unemployment was low, labor unions were strong and work was plentiful for unskilled workers. Congress had passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act in 1944—better known as the GI Bill of Rights—providing returning veterans the money to go to college or trade school, or to qualify for a low-interest loan to start their own business.

With the Veteran’s Administration guaranteeing low-interest loans for housing, the suburbs boomed in the postwar decades. After receiving their college education though the GI Bill, many veterans purchased a home in the suburbs (for as little as $2,500 in some cases), and entered the middle class. A variety of factors contributed to the great boom of the postwar period.

  1. The early post-war period was a time of great promise for many Americans, and set the stage for the widespread advances in civil rights, the rights of women, and other aspects of the promise of the Declaration of Independence to provide for each individual to “pursue happiness.” How does the career and life of Lucile Ball encapsulate many of these advancements?
  2. In what ways do you think the economic security of this period allowed Americans to take risks in advocating for social changes?
  3. Do you think that it is a coincidence that a period of prosperity preceded the successes in the advancement of rights? What does that say about the importance of economic growth to promoting “happiness”?

This reading is an excerpt from Certell’s Common Sense American History eBook.  Certell offers curriculum materials and eBooks free of charge for students and teachers.  Click Here to download the Common Sense American History materials.

Image Citation:

CBS/Getty Images.  16, Mar. 2018, Lucille Ball {Digital photograph].  Retrieved from <google.com>.