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View Full Version : When was the peak of American culture?



CaughtintheMiddle1990
04-06-2010, 06:27 PM
I'd say the peak was probably between the late 1940s and mid 70s--so like 1945-1974 or so.
Or maybe 1945-1965--As WWII was ending and Vietnam was beginning. In that period there was a sense of "America can do anything" mentality which is absent today--It was a time I'd dub the Pax Americana.

M21
04-06-2010, 06:37 PM
What is American culture? :confused:

Wei Wu Wei
04-06-2010, 06:39 PM
That area was marked by unprecidented growth, the largest expansion of the middle class in history, it was a time of rising wages and strong labor unions, taxes were more fair and it only required 1 income to sustain a middle class family. Economically speaking, it's what conservatives today would call "SOCIALISM". The rich were taxed far more, the middle and working classes were boosted by government programs, and labor unions were a very powerful force (much more powerful than today).

It was much easier to "make it" back then, all you needed was some hard work and the rest was easy. Back then CEO's made about 24 times what their workers made, a much more fair piece of the pie. Poverty dropped steadily every year for decades until 1973.

Economically speaking and in terms of social mobility, the 50's, 60's, and first part of the 70's were the golden Era.

Socially speaking it was an atrocious time, racism was not just some thing we talked about, it was written into the law. Discrimination was awful, civil rights were stomped on, it was a dark and shameful period of our history but thankfully despite the efforts of the social conservatives of the time, civil rights won.

Novaheart
04-06-2010, 06:41 PM
I'd say the peak was probably between the late 1940s and mid 70s--so like 1945-1974 or so.
Or maybe 1945-1965--As WWII was ending and Vietnam was beginning. In that period there was a sense of "America can do anything" mentality which is absent today--It was a time I'd dub the Pax Americana.

March 3, 1861

Novaheart
04-06-2010, 06:43 PM
What is American culture? :confused:

http://images.businessweek.com/ss/07/03/0312_wikiguide/image/4-nascar.jpg

Wei Wu Wei
04-06-2010, 06:43 PM
Also, keep in mind that right after WWII, we were positioned just right to become to leading superpower. Every other major power had their infrastructers destroyed, we became the sole provider of goods like automobiles and other manufactured goods.

The era of America being the director of the world is over, we are entering what Fareed Zakaria calls "a post-American world" where we are not longer the leader, but simply just another party in an ever more diverse picture. Globalization is something real today and it's not something we can just ignore, appealing to ideals of another time when the economic reality was far different.

Wei Wu Wei
04-06-2010, 06:46 PM
Since that time, wages have stagnated, workers aren't getting paid any more than they were back then (adjusted for inflation of course), but prices have soared. The top 1-5% of the population are making several hundreds times more than what they used to, while the average income is the same.

Single-income households are becoming a thing of the past, poverty is soaring, and the largest job growth is in very low-paying service sector jobs (like fast food),

In the 50's and 60's, it was the era of the Middle Class American. That's all over now, wealthy Americans are having their hey-day.

M21
04-06-2010, 06:47 PM
Budweiser is owned by Belgian brewer InBev SA.

CaughtintheMiddle1990
04-06-2010, 06:47 PM
Also, keep in mind that right after WWII, we were positioned just right to become to leading superpower. Every other major power had their infrastructers destroyed, we became the sole provider of goods like automobiles and other manufactured goods.

The era of America being the director of the world is over, we are entering what Fareed Zakaria calls "a post-American world" where we are not longer the leader, but simply just another party in an ever more diverse picture. Globalization is something real today and it's not something we can just ignore, appealing to ideals of another time when the economic reality was far different.

No--we don't just have to basically sit back and take it. We can do SOMETHING, anything, that puts us back where we were as the ''director of the world'' as you put it. It's not impossible.

Wei Wu Wei
04-06-2010, 06:50 PM
No--we don't just have to basically sit back and take it. We can do SOMETHING, anything, that puts us back where we were as the ''director of the world'' as you put it. It's not impossible.

We've been telling the rest of the world to open up their markets and they've finally listened.

We're not the director of the world anymore, we can't go back in time. Changes in markets, changes in political pictures, and especially changes in technologies cannot be undone. The internet isn't just going to go away.

We don't NEED to be the directors of the world, but we do need to accept this changing reality and adapt to it if we still want to be a powerful force and a secure society in this changing world.


Here is a short interview about just this Post-American World:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA7srwym3Yk

Wei Wu Wei
04-06-2010, 06:57 PM
What can we do to fix our domestic picture? Well let's look at that time you are envoking:

in 1964 a CEO made 24 times what his average worker did. Today that's over 262 times as much.

In the 50's and 60s the tax code was steeply graduated, where most workers only paid about 10% of their income in taxes, while the richest people were taxed around 90%. During the 80's this was switched to supply-side tax policies. The result? in the 80's the after-tax income of the top 20% grew by 28%, the top 1% saw an income growth of 102%! Meanwhile the bottom 80% (most people) saw their after-tax income decrease by 2%.

These regressive tax policies are just part of why the domestic economic picture has changed so drastically since the 50's and 60's.

Sonnabend
04-06-2010, 07:07 PM
Do your own assignments :rolleyes:

CaughtintheMiddle1990
04-06-2010, 07:12 PM
Also, keep in mind that right after WWII, we were positioned just right to become to leading superpower. Every other major power had their infrastructers destroyed, we became the sole provider of goods like automobiles and other manufactured goods.

The era of America being the director of the world is over, we are entering what Fareed Zakaria calls "a post-American world" where we are not longer the leader, but simply just another party in an ever more diverse picture. Globalization is something real today and it's not something we can just ignore, appealing to ideals of another time when the economic reality was far different.


Do your own assignments :rolleyes:

Not an assignment, just a thread. I'm not even in school right now. Spring break, and the class I'm in (Constitutional Law) doesn't talk about American History, Politics, or Marital Infidelity. When I start asking about famous SCOTUS cases, you'll know I'm asking about a class assignment as that is all we talk about in Constitutional Law, as well as the amendments.

Gingersnap
04-06-2010, 09:25 PM
Interesting question and one I've thought about many times. I'd say that it was the era between 1880 and WWI.

Assimilation was the name of the game and landless, penniless peasants could go from being vassals to being business owners in one generation. Material culture reached it's peak during this period. The fusion of form and function was expressed in interesting, visually appealing ways everywhere. Spaces were human-sized and human-friendly.

Although there were inequities, people of similar incomes had similar aspirations and were able to realize them in communities. Many people are unaware that this era saw the rise of numerous black colleges, businesses, farms, towns, and local governments. Blacks were lawyers, doctors, and owned banks and people thought this was normal - not exceptional.

There were fewer educational requirements but much more respect for education and the educated. There were many opportunities for people who chafed in institutional educational settings. Ordinary people gave up their free time to attend plays, readings, lectures, recitals, and other cultural events that weren't a part of contemporary "popular" culture. It was considered elevating.

Any person in an urban area could easily see art and hear music that was technically complex and emotionally rich. Parks, garden cemeteries, and squares were places of peace in urban settings - not havens for sexual exhibitionists or criminals (those things happened elsewhere).

There was a general sense of patriotism (and isolationism). Aspirations were typically achievable with hard work and thrift. Expectations of marriage, family, and work were still realistic and rooted in common sense. The idea that life was a serious business that immediately affected others extended from the family out through widening circles of religious, patriotic, and civic duty. :)

marv
04-06-2010, 09:38 PM
Culture is all about the actions and attitudes of the unique people that make it up.

My experience, from the late Great Depression, through WW2 and Korea, to Southeast Asia and back tells me it was the period from the end of WW2 untill the drugged sixties. Since then, it's been all downhill.

In short, it was '45 to about '62 or so.

Rockntractor
04-06-2010, 09:40 PM
Culture is all about the actions and attitudes of the unique people that make it up.

My experience, from the late Great Depression, through WW2 and Korea, to Southeast Asia and back tells me it was the period from the end of WW2 untill the drugged sixties. Since then, it's been all downhill.

In short, it was '45 to about '62 or so.

I think I would have to agree with you.

Articulate_Ape
04-06-2010, 09:44 PM
Peaks and valleys happen. The question is who can bleed longest. That is always the question.

FlaGator
04-06-2010, 10:02 PM
Please define for me American culture.

Rockntractor
04-06-2010, 10:06 PM
Please define for me American culture.

Leave it To Beaver!

Gingersnap
04-06-2010, 10:42 PM
Please define for me American culture.

American culture is the only one (to my knowledge) that embraces any individual who wishes to identify as American.

You cannot be Chinese if you aren't a member of the Han majority. You can't really be French unless your ancestors were indigenous Gauls. Even the Canadians divide themselves up into Anglophones and Francophones, First People, and immigrants.

Blacks with slave ancestors and Dominicans who obtain citizenship are both equally "Americans". So are the Vietnamese we fought against, the Koreans we fought against, and the Russians we fought against. The Irish marry the Armenians who produce the kids who marry the kids produced by Polish Jews and people with family in Sicily. Those mutts happily set up house with biracial kids and newly arrived Romanians. And everybody seems to have a one-quarter Cherokee grandparent.

All those people while 'American Idol' while eating pizza. That's American culture. :D

Sonnabend
04-07-2010, 07:38 AM
Not an assignment, just a thread. I'm not even in school right now. Spring break, and the class I'm in (Constitutional Law) doesn't talk about American History, Politics, or Marital Infidelity. When I start asking about famous SCOTUS cases, you'll know I'm asking about a class assignment as that is all we talk about in Constitutional Law, as well as the amendments.

Every single thread you start is a school topic. :rolleyes:

FlaGator
04-07-2010, 08:04 AM
American culture is the only one (to my knowledge) that embraces any individual who wishes to identify as American.

You cannot be Chinese if you aren't a member of the Han majority. You can't really be French unless your ancestors were indigenous Gauls. Even the Canadians divide themselves up into Anglophones and Francophones, First People, and immigrants.

Blacks with slave ancestors and Dominicans who obtain citizenship are both equally "Americans". So are the Vietnamese we fought against, the Koreans we fought against, and the Russians we fought against. The Irish marry the Armenians who produce the kids who marry the kids produced by Polish Jews and people with family in Sicily. Those mutts happily set up house with biracial kids and newly arrived Romanians. And everybody seems to have a one-quarter Cherokee grandparent.

All those people while 'American Idol' while eating pizza. That's American culture. :D

Can they be said to embrace the idea of being an 'American' if they hyphenate their ethnic heritage? That to me seems like a denial and separation from the culture.

noonwitch
04-07-2010, 09:16 AM
Interesting question and one I've thought about many times. I'd say that it was the era between 1880 and WWI.

Assimilation was the name of the game and landless, penniless peasants could go from being vassals to being business owners in one generation. Material culture reached it's peak during this period. The fusion of form and function was expressed in interesting, visually appealing ways everywhere. Spaces were human-sized and human-friendly.

Although there were inequities, people of similar incomes had similar aspirations and were able to realize them in communities. Many people are unaware that this era saw the rise of numerous black colleges, businesses, farms, towns, and local governments. Blacks were lawyers, doctors, and owned banks and people thought this was normal - not exceptional.

There were fewer educational requirements but much more respect for education and the educated. There were many opportunities for people who chafed in institutional educational settings. Ordinary people gave up their free time to attend plays, readings, lectures, recitals, and other cultural events that weren't a part of contemporary "popular" culture. It was considered elevating.

Any person in an urban area could easily see art and hear music that was technically complex and emotionally rich. Parks, garden cemeteries, and squares were places of peace in urban settings - not havens for sexual exhibitionists or criminals (those things happened elsewhere).

There was a general sense of patriotism (and isolationism). Aspirations were typically achievable with hard work and thrift. Expectations of marriage, family, and work were still realistic and rooted in common sense. The idea that life was a serious business that immediately affected others extended from the family out through widening circles of religious, patriotic, and civic duty. :)


Antonin D'Vorak, my favorite composer, came to the US in that time frame. The US was interested in developing it's own unique culture and art, so groups would hire artists of all types who were identified with their culture, like D'Vorak was with Czeck culture. Oscar Wilde was a popular speaker for similar reasons, his identification with irish and british culture (long before he became a gay icon).

D'vorak was so inspired by his time here, in the midwest and in NYC, that he wrote his Ninth Symphony, which is known as "From The New World". He wove in various folk themes from european and american themes, like "Three Blind Mice". The second movement was inspired by black spirituals, and the fourth movement is what John Williams ripped off for the "Jaws" theme.


Anyways, I do think that was a great time in american culture, but I also tend to think the best is always yet to come. Because of the nature of our country, that most of us descend from immigrants, there is always the potential for new kinds of music, new combinations of styles and instruments, all combined with the history of american innovation. This applies to any art, not just music.

CaughtintheMiddle1990
04-07-2010, 09:45 AM
Every single thread you start is a school topic. :rolleyes:

Oh yeah, are you a teacher?
If it was an assignment, why would I say when I thought American culture was at it's peak? Wouldn't I already have answered my assignment's question? I'm smart enough to do my homework without anyone's help, never have had it. So, no, neither this thread nor any other was a homework assignment. It was simply my naturally inquisitive mind at work.

Sonnabend
04-07-2010, 09:52 AM
Oh yeah, are you a teacher?

Be glad I'm not your teacher...you'd have a hard time graduating with the multiple F's I would be handing you. I have trained staff, I have trained in other occupations and I have no time for slow learners or fools who have no idea what they are on about.


If it was an assignment, why would I say when I thought American culture was at it's peak? Wouldn't I already have answered my assignment's question? I'm smart enough to do my homework without anyone's help, never have had it.

Righttttttttttttt..............


So, no, neither this thread nor any other was a homework assignment. It was simply my naturally inquisitive mind at work.

:rolleyes:

FlaGator
04-07-2010, 10:03 AM
Be glad I'm not your teacher...you'd have a hard time graduating with the multiple F's I would be handing you. I have trained staff, I have trained in other occupations and I have no time for slow learners or fools who have no idea what they are on about.



Righttttttttttttt..............



:rolleyes:

So you would fail him just because you disliked him?

CaughtintheMiddle1990
04-07-2010, 10:07 AM
Every single thread you start is a school topic. :rolleyes:


Be glad I'm not your teacher...you'd have a hard time graduating with the multiple F's I would be handing you. I have trained staff, I have trained in other occupations and I have no time for slow learners or fools who have no idea what they are on about.



Righttttttttttttt..............



:rolleyes:

Please, I have a 3.25 GPA with a grade of A+ in history,and have consistently in my academic career gotten no less than an "A" in history. You think I need the help of anyone on an internet forum? I fucking study history for fun. It's a passion of mine. Most of the books I own are history books, both European and American history. I have a pretty good knowledge of the Presidencies of every President since FDR.

Novaheart
04-07-2010, 10:08 AM
Can they be said to embrace the idea of being an 'American' if they hyphenate their ethnic heritage? That to me seems like a denial and separation from the culture.

I think that our hyphen is implied. We simply identify as American, but when your name is Paul Livingston Rutledge and your face matches your names then you can leave the hyphen out. It's when your name is Andrew Mumford and you have an epicanthic fold that some explanation is expected.

Sonnabend
04-07-2010, 10:10 AM
Please, I have a 3.25 GPA with a grade of A+ in history,and have consistently in my academic career gotten no less than an "A" in history. You think I need the help of anyone on an internet forum? I fucking study history for fun. It's a passion of mine.

That's good to hear, so you'd know then that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery,.

CaughtintheMiddle1990
04-07-2010, 10:12 AM
That's good to hear, so you'd know then that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery,.

Right :rolleyes: that's why many of the secession documents begin by addressing how important the issue of slavery is. Yeah, it was also founded on state's rights, and over taxation, but the ''state right'' they were hoping to protect was the 'right' to own slaves.

Sonnabend
04-07-2010, 10:15 AM
Right :rolleyes: that's why many of the secession documents begin by addressing how important the issue of slavery is. Yeah, it was also founded on state's rights, and over taxation, but the ''state right'' they were hoping to protect was the 'right' to own slaves.

The civil war was about state's rights, not slavery.

The Civil War: A Narrative Fort Sumter to Perryville, Fredericksburg to Meridian, Red River to Appomattox by Shelby Foote

I have copies in the shelf behind me. I suggest you read it.

FlaGator
04-07-2010, 10:17 AM
I think that our hyphen is implied. We simply identify as American, but when your name is Paul Livingston Rutledge and your face matches your names then you can leave the hyphen out. It's when your name is Andrew Mumford and you have an epicanthic fold that some explanation is expected.

I'm not sure about that. A lot of the hyphenated groups also do their own cultural things. For example, African-Americans do Kwanza and other African cultural events. To embrace a past culture to such an extent is to attempt to live with a dual culture. That is not embracing the new culture. Many groups segregate into there own cultural onclaves where there native language is the primary form of communication. You have cities with distinct Arab, Chinese, Filipino, etc sections that maintain their own cultural heritage. Even after many generations these cultural islands exist and those who live in them tend to avoid assimilation by the American culture. At least, that is my opinion.

Gingersnap
04-07-2010, 10:27 AM
I think that our hyphen is implied. We simply identify as American, but when your name is Paul Livingston Rutledge and your face matches your names then you can leave the hyphen out. It's when your name is Andrew Mumford and you have an epicanthic fold that some explanation is expected.

I think that our hyphen is largely imaginary. Most Americans that I know who have had family in this country for several generations just pick an ethnicity to identify with for ceremonial reasons. Their family trees are diverse, to say the least.

I've got that whole pure blood, speak-the-language thing going on (I even lived in the 'Old Country') but I spend about 20 minutes a year being 'enriched' by my ethnic identity. There's a reason my ancestors left and became American. I feel a lot more emotional about the Star Spangled Banner and BBQs than I do about "Du gamla, Du fria" and smörgåsbord. :D

Novaheart
04-07-2010, 10:33 AM
I think that our hyphen is largely imaginary. Most Americans that I know who have had family in this country for several generations just pick an ethnicity to identify with for ceremonial reasons. Their family trees are diverse, to say the least.

I've got that whole pure blood, speak-the-language thing going on (I even lived in the 'Old Country') but I spend about 20 minutes a year being 'enriched' by my ethnic identity. There's a reason my ancestors left and became American. I feel a lot more emotional about the Star Spangled Banner and BBQs than I do about "Du gamla, Du fria" and smörgåsbord. :D

I have always felt a strong connection to England and Scotland and all of my ancestors arrived here by 1680.

Gingersnap
04-07-2010, 11:08 AM
Post Civil War discussion in the new thread I created for you guys.

linda22003
04-07-2010, 12:02 PM
I feel a lot more emotional about the Star Spangled Banner and BBQs than I do about "Du gamla, Du fria" and smörgåsbord. :D

I'd bond with barbecue too, if MY alternative was lutefisk!

enslaved1
04-08-2010, 10:42 PM
Shouldn't we wait unitl America has completely fallen before deciding when it's peak was? Granted, that day seems to be streamrolling toward us faster and faster, but, we are stubborn people, we may pull it back up yet. :P