Must be at least 10-12 pages; Citations in Chicago Format; Sources haves been provided below, along with thesis statement……




Topic:  Consumerism and the American Middle Class in the 1950s




Thesis Statement:  World War II helped pulled the American economy out of the Great Depression, which allowed Americans to spend again. Americans experienced job security and better wages. Government programs allowed couples to live the “American dream” and buy a house in the suburbs. Americans were encouraged to spend during the 1950’s. Americans in the middle class wanted to live the “good life”. The middle class was defined by materialism in the 1950’s. The middle class felt that they had to own items to live “the good life” and fit social norms. This gave the working-class people the feeling that they could achieve the upward mobility they craved. The most patriotic citizens of the 1950s was the middle class consumer, who portrayed the American way of life as a successful antidote to the Communism of the Soviet Union




Outline:  Main points you will discuss in your paper.


  • Post-Depression Economy

  • Post War jobs

  • Government Assisted Loan Programs

  • The American Dream

  • What Americans thought they had to own to be “middle class”

  • Sense of ownership and materialism in the 1950’s American Middle Class

  • Why people were buying

  • What people were buying






Unknown. “American Consumerism and the Global Environment” History of American Consumerism.  (accessed 11/04/2014).




Aaker, David.  Consumerism: Search for the Consumer Interest. New York: The Free Press, 1974.




Fox, Richard Wightman, and T. J. Jackson Lears. The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American History, 1880–1980. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.




Lee, Martyn J. The Consumer Society Reader. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2000.




Herzog, Jonathan. The Spiritual-Industrial Complex. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011




Harris, Richard. “The birth of the housing consumer in the United States, 1918–1960.” International Journal of Consumer Studies 33(5) (2009): 525-532.




Norton, Mary Beth. A People and a Nation: A History of the United States. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998






Rosenblatt, Roger. Consuming Desires: Consumption, Culture, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Washington D.C.: Island Press, 1999




Stearns, Peter. Consumerism in World History: The Global Transformation of Desire. Routledge, 2001.




Unknown, “Aprons in Advertisements: Women and Gender Roles of the 1950s.”  (accessed 11/13/2014).




Unknown, “Economy in the 1950’s.”  (accessed 11/13/2014).




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