1. Describe what it was like for veterans of WWI to come home. How did the federal government aid the process through the GI Bill? What groups were favored and what groups were discriminated against in the distribution of federal program benefits?
Many came home to wives that had gone on without them, children who hardly knew them and an unfamiliar world. Many also had serious disabilities, almost half were diagnosed with neuropsychiatric disabilities and the war psychology took a toll on American veterans. The GI Bill attempted to keep the flood of demobilized veterans from swamping the US economy. It also provided low-interest loans to buy a house or start a business and perhaps stipends to cover the cost of college or technical school tuition and living expenses. However there was racial discrimination and men or women charged with homosexuality had to forfeit benefits.
2. Identify the domestic economic problems that faced the nation during the immediate postwar period.
The first year after the war was difficult but the economy bounced back up, recovered by consumer spending. Most other factories around the world were in ruins so U.S. corporations expanded their global dominance. Farming was revolutionized, new machines (mechanical cotton, tobacco and grape pickers), along with increased use of fertilizers and pesticides greatly increased the total of farm output, as the productivity of farm labor increased. Many car companies found eager customers eager to buy an automobile. 3. Cite the causes and effects of the postwar baby boom and the rise of suburbia.
During the Depression, young people postponed marriage, which plummeted the birth rate in America. But at the end of the war, the US marriage was was higher than any record-keeping nation in the history of the twentieth century. Although it peaked in 1957, more than four million babies were born every year until 1965. But housing became more crowded. After the war, many white Americans moved to the suburbs; they wanted more political influence and more control over their children’s education. Many who moved there however just wanted their own home and suburban housing was affordable.
4. What explains Truman’s surprising victory in 1948? What was his Fair Deal?
The candidate Truman was running against was Thomas Wallace who was on the progressive side and advocated friendly relations with the Soviet Union, racial desegregation and nationalization of basic industries. Then the party adopted pro-civil rights plank, which were a group of white southerners and created the States Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrats). If Wallace’s candidacy didn’t kill Truman’s chances then the Dixiecrats certainly would. Truman refused to give up and resorted to red- baiting, denouncing “Henry Wallace and his communist” whenever he could. He also sought support from African American voters in the northern cities, becoming the first presidential candidate to campaign in Harlem. In the end, he prevailed and the African American electoral votes were key in his success. In Truman’s Fair Deal he pushed forward legislation to support the civil rights for African Americans, including an anti lynching bill, he also proposed a national health insurance program and federal aid for education.
5. Explain and evaluate the domestic policies inspired by Eisenhower’s political, social and economic beliefs.
He embraced a new approach called “dynamic conservationism” which was conservative when it comes to money and liberal when it comes to human beings. He signed legislation that raised Social Security and added 7.5 million workers. He increased funding for education.
Taft- Hartley Act: Allowed states to adopt right-to-work legislation that outlawed closed shops, in which all workers were required to join the union if a majority of their number favored a union shop. The law also mandated an eight- day cooling- off period before unions initiated shops that imperiled national security.