8.5 Culture after 1945

6 min readjanuary 7, 2023

Robby May

Robby May

AP US History 🇺🇸

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By the late 40's, television had become a mainstay in most American households and played a central role in shaping the country's culture and society.
TV served as a platform for entertainment. Television brought a variety of programming into people's homes, including dramas, comedies, news programs, sports events, and reality shows. This has provided people with a wide range of options for entertainment and has helped to create and maintain a strong entertainment industry in the United States.
TV played a major role in shaping the way people get their news and information. News programs, both local and national, have become an important source of information for many people, and television allowed these programs to reach a wide audience. It also played a role in shaping public opinion, as it has allowed politicians and other public figures to communicate directly with the public and present their messages in a visual and often more persuasive way.
TV had a profound impact on the advertising industry as well, as it provided companies with a new way to reach potential customers. Television commercials have become a mainstay of the advertising industry and have helped to shape the way companies market their products and services.


Name Branding

Name branding had a significant impact on the way products and services were advertised and sold. Name branding refers to the practice of using a specific name, term, or symbol to identify and differentiate a product or service from others in the marketplace. This practice has become increasingly common in the United States since the mid-20th century, as companies have sought to differentiate their products and create a strong and recognizable brand identity.
Name branding helped to create a culture in which people are encouraged to buy and consume goods and services, in which personal identity is often closely tied to the brands that people own and use. This contributed to the development of a consumer-oriented society in which people are encouraged to buy more and to identify with the brands they use.
Name branding also had an impact on the way companies market their products and services. Companies have used name branding as a way to create strong and recognizable brands that people can identify with and trust. This has led to the development of marketing strategies that are designed to appeal to consumers' emotions and values, and that seek to create a strong connection between the brand and the consumer. An example of this effect is seen in the expansion of chains fast-food restaurants. Companies found success in branding and standardized their food products, turning the nation away from "mom and pop" restaurants and more towards buying from recognizable franchises, e.g. McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, etc.

Popular Music

Popular music was revolutionized by mass marketing. Advertising had become an important part of the music industry, as it provided a means for artists and record labels to promote and sell their music to the public.
Advertising helped develop marketing strategies designed to appeal to specific demographics and target audiences. It helped to shape the way music is marketed and sold played a role in determining which artists and genres are successful. Advertising has also helped to create and sustain various musical trends and movements, as companies have used music as a way to promote their products and to associate them with specific lifestyles and values, e.g. Teenagers fell in love with rock-and-roll music, a blend of African American rhythm and blues with white country music, popularized by the gyrating Elvis Presley.
Advertising also had an impact on the content of popular music. In order to appeal to a wide audience, many artists and record labels have sought to create music that is commercially viable and that fits with current trends. This has led to the creation of music that is often more formulaic and less experimental, as artists and record labels seek to create music that will appeal to a broad audience and that can be easily marketed and sold.

Credit Cards

The advent of credit cards in the 50's drastically changed the way Americans view and consume goods and services.
Credit cards are financial instruments that allow individuals to borrow money from a lender in order to make purchases. The increased availability of credit. made it easier for people to borrow money and make purchases that they might not have been able to afford otherwise. This contributed to the development of a consumer-oriented society in which people are encouraged to buy more and to live beyond their means.
Credit cards have also had an impact on the way people pay for goods and services. Prior to the widespread adoption of credit cards, people were primarily limited to using cash or checks to make purchases. Credit cards have provided a convenient and efficient alternative, and have made it easier for people to make purchases without having to carry large amounts of cash.


After WW2, organized religion expanded dramatically after WWII with the building of thousands of new churches and synagogues. Many people turned to religion as a source of comfort and support during this time of uncertainty and change, and religious institutions and communities played an important role in helping people cope with the challenges of the post-war world.
There was a new emphasis on a personal relationship with Jesus from newly styled 'non-denominational' churches and 'community faith centers'. This period also saw the rise of non-traditional churches and megachurches with conservative theologies. Conservative Christian denominations like the Southern Baptists grew quickly. They became known politically as the “religious right.
Religious leaders like evangelist Rev. Billy Graham began to rise to prominence. Graham was known for his powerful and compelling preaching style, and his message of hope and salvation resonated with people from all walks of life. He traveled extensively throughout the United States and around the world, delivering his message to millions of people through large-scale revivals and television programs. He helped to bring Christianity to the forefront of American life and was a leading voice for moral and spiritual values. His message of hope and redemption spoke to people's deepest needs and aspirations, and he played a significant role in shaping the country's spiritual and cultural landscape. During his six decades of television, Graham hosted annual "Crusades," or evangelistic campaigns, which ran from 1947 until his retirement in 2005.
Graham's influence extended beyond the realm of religion. He was a trusted spiritual advisor to many political leaders, including all U.S. presidents from Truman to Obama, and was respected for his honesty, integrity, and commitment to public service. He used his platform to speak out on a range of social and political issues, and his words often carried weight with lawmakers and policy makers.

Women and the Feminine Mystique

The "feminine mystique," coined by feminist writer Betty Friedan in her book of the same name, describes the societal expectations and norms that were placed on women in the post-World War II era. According to Friedan, the feminine mystique encouraged women to define their identity and worth solely in terms of their roles as wives and mothers, and discouraged them from pursuing their own interests and goals.
This societal pressure was fueled by various factors, including the media, which often portrayed women as homemakers and nurturers, and by the government, which offered incentives for women to leave the workforce and become stay-at-home mothers. The feminine mystique was also supported by the medical and psychological communities, which often pathologized women who did not conform to traditional gender roles.
The effects of the feminine mystique on American culture were far-reaching. Many women felt pressured to conform to traditional gender roles and to prioritize their roles as wives and mothers above all else. This often led to feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction among women, who were unable to pursue their own interests and goals.
The feminine mystique also contributed to the marginalization and discrimination of women in the workplace. Women who did work outside the home often faced discrimination and were paid less than men for doing the same jobs.
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