Example research essay topic: Dramatic Changes In American Culture During The 1950s – 1,192 words

The United States began to change drastically in
the 50s. Many people began coming out to stand up
to old ways of life. This started the wheel
turning for the civil rights movement. Some people
though were swept up in a hysteria of accusations
caused by the tension of the Cold War. Many were
accused as being traitors for their beliefs.
Americans also became swept up in social
conformity causing a new American Dream to take
shape. During the 50s, America experienced many
new changes in its way of life.

New problems arose
like The Cold War and new social issues changed
American conformist ideals and fortified civil
rights. In the 50s, blacks began standing up for
their civil rights. It started with blacks
speaking out in literature like I, Too by Langston
Hughes, but quickly evolved into the Civil Rights
Movement. In 1954, the decisive ruling in Brown
vs. Board led to the slow integration of southern
schools. In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up
her seat on a bus to a white woman so she was

This started the Montgomery Bus Boycott
in which blacks successfully gained integration of
the busses in Montgomery. Dr. King was elected to
lead the Montgomery boycotts. His motivational
speaking style became very popular. Soon came the
sit-ins at lunch counters that were not integrated
like in Greensboro where students had sit-ins in
Woolworths. Black students would sit in at
non-integrated lunch counters and often be
harassed by whites.

Dr. King stressed to blacks
that they should be non-violent, so they did not
lower themselves to the level of the racist
whites. New groups of black students formed to
stand up for civil rights. The student nonviolent
coordinating committee (SNCC) was one of these
groups that motivated young blacks to speak out at
the beginning of the 60s. By the end of the 50s,
blacks began to see some equality but there was
still a long road ahead. After World War II,
tensions grew between America and the Soviet

The two countries economical and political
systems were incompatible. Problems during the war
led to unrest between the nations. Stalin formed
communist governments in Albania, Bulgaria,
Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland,
which were later called the satellite nations. He
later gave a speech about how war was inevitable
and stated the Soviet Union would concentrate on
producing weapons instead of consumer goods. The
US responded by proposing a plan of containment to
stop the spread or communism. In 1947, the United
States tried to stop the spread of communism in
Turkey and Greece by making the Truman Doctrine,
which gave aid to those nations.

Also in 1947, The
Marshall Plan gave aid to all of Europe to help
them have a stable economy. After the Allies
decided that Germany should be reunited, the
Soviet Union retaliated by blocking off West
Berlin from supplies. The United States responded
with the Berlin Airlift in 1948, which provided
food and supplies to West Berlin. In 1949 the
United States formed the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) with many other countries to
make a peacetime alliance. The Soviet Union
responded by creating the Warsaw Pact in 1955. The
cold became a major problem.

More nations fell
under a communist influence in the 50s. China was
divided in half by communist and nationalist. The
communists eventually took over the nationalist
and China became a communist state in 1949.
America was shocked that containment had failed in
China. Korea was also divided like China, but when
the communist north attacked South Korea in 1950
the United States intervened and pushed back the
north starting the Korean War. When the war ended
in 1953, Korea remained divided in half. The
United States and the Soviet Union raced to create
the hydrogen bomb.

The United States won the race
in 1952, followed a year later by the Soviets
developing their own. The policy of brinksmanship
began. The policy said that if attacked the United
States would have massive retaliation and go to
the brink. For the Middle East, President
Eisenhower created the Eisenhower Doctrine which
said that the United States would defend the
Middle East against attack from communist. The
Cold War remained a hot topic throughout the 50s
and into the decades ahead. On the home front
there was an obscure fear of communism.

were formed to find communists and people not
loyal to the United States. The Loyalty Review
Board was created in 1947 and designed to find
government employees that were un-loyal. The board
dismissed 212 employees. The House Un-American
Activities Committee (HUAC) was also created to
find un-American activities, and made headlines
when it started to investigate alleged communist
influence in the movie industry. The Hollywood Ten
was a group of ten men who, because they would not
cooperate with the HUAC were jailed. Two spy cases
shocked the nation.

The first case in 1950,
involved Alger Hiss, who was a State Department
official. He was convicted of perjury after being
accused of passing documents to the Soviets. The
second case involved the Rosenbergs giving
information on the atomic bomb to the Soviets. The
Rosenbergs were found guilty and executed. In the
50s Senator McCarthy began accusing people of
being communist without proof. If someone
challenged him he would respond with another
accusation This pattern was later dubbed

He finally met his downfall when he
tried to accuse the army of being communist in
1954. The communist hysteria slowly died down.
After WWII, the United States readjusted,
economically, socially, and technologically.
Businesses started to increase rapidly. Many new
corporations started buying up smaller businesses
that were unrelated to their industry, which
changed business ideas. They became known as
conglomerates. Franchises were also very popular.
Franchises were companies that offered similar
products or services in many locations. Social
conformity started showing up in the work place.
White-collar job employees were not supposed to
cause an upset in the company.

Families were
supposed to live in the suburbs with a stay at
home wife, three children, and a nice car. Many
families wanted the newest things for their
houses. This led to a new idea called planned
obsolescence where a company would make its
product to only last a few years so people would
have to buy a new one. Mass media became a large
part of the 50s as television, radio, and
influenced the decisions people made. From
conformity a subculture emerged. One group called
the Beatniks tried to live nonconformist lives.
Another subculture was influenced by rock n roll

Rock n roll music became very popular with
younger people because it went against the
conformists views. Many parents disliked this type
of music and thought it to be evil. America
changed dramatically from the beginning of the 50s
to the end of the 50s. Many new ideas were brought
to the table in the 50s. The Cold War caused
stress for Americans making some of them act out
in unreasonable ways. The social and economic
climate went through changes as well, as many
people believed they had to conform to the values
of the day.

In the 50s ideas were challenged all
under the stress of the Cold War..

Research essay sample on Dramatic Changes In American Culture During The 1950s