Halfway through the twentieth century, America had just come out victorious from the deadliest war in history. So, the 1950s was a decade of celebration. There’s a reason they call those born in the 1950s the baby boomer generation. The fifties were a time to focus on family and the American dream. Television was starting to catch up to films as a popular form of entertainment and the film industry was churning out stars like Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Sophia Loren. This was the decade when Elvis shook his pelvis and the Barbie doll was born.
Even with all the excitement, though, the 1950s was tinged with darker aspects (segregation, the Korean War, and the fear of Communism, to name a few). Here, we take a look at some of the important American political events between the years 1950-1959.
Republican President Dwight Eisenhower sworn into office in 1952
On November 4, 1952, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower became the 34th president of the United States. Having served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces during World War II, Eisenhower was a popular choice for president, but was a newcomer to politics. Among Eisenhower’s many achievements, include: launching the Interstate Highway System, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). He also established a strong science education via the National Defense Education Act.
McCarthyism and the Red Scare
On April 22, 1954, Senator Joseph McCarthy commenced televised investigations into Communist activity in the United States Army, initiating a wave of paranoia that swept over the entire decade. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), formed in 1938, also instilled a fear in Americans by investigating Communist activity in Hollywood, tarnishing the reputations of those artists who refused to cooperate. Congress voted to condemn McCarthy for his actions that same year, on December 2.
1954 Brown vs. Board of Education
A milestone in Civil Rights history, this May 17 Supreme Court ruling declared racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional according the the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal protection. This precedent set forth a slow but steady process of integration of public schools.
Alaska and Hawaii admitted as states
Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states, respectively, on January 3, 1959 and August 21, 1959.
Dan Centinello is an avid traveler and at twenty-something, he’s already a political industry veteran who has worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. To learn more about Dan Centinello, visit the website for Lincoln Strategy Group where Dan is the executive vice president. You can also follow Dan Centinello on Twitter and Instagram.