Conformity In The 1950's

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During his speech addressed to the UN general Assembly given on September 25,1961, John F. Kennedy stated, “Conformity is the Jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” In other words, if we all accept the circumstances and go with the flow like dead fish, how can we know what we are capable of accomplishing-how much we can grow, especially as a nation? Conformity can be defined as the compliance with standards, rules, or laws or the moment you willingly chose to fit in when you’re meant to stand out. In the 1950s, a flood of social conformity washed over the country and had people leading similar and stereotypical lives. Many, at the time, strived for the comfort and simplicity depicted in TV shows such as “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it …show more content…

According to Arthur M. Schlesinger, “Another objective [of the American Communists] is what communists call “mass organizations”- that is groups of liberal organized for some benevolent purpose, and because of innocence, laziness, and stupidity of most membership.” Schlesinger had feared that people were being influenced by communists and because they weren’t fighting it, it was easier to recruit members. Due to their laziness, innocence, and stupidity, the people were giving the communists a chance to become even more subversive and take over. In addition, Joseph McCarthy, a senator from Wisconsin, assured the people in his speech at Wheeling, West Virginia that,“Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity.” His use of the word “battle” sends a wave of fear and seriousness. McCarthy goes on to share some statistics and explains, “Six years ago.. There was within the Soviet orbit 180 million people...Today, only six years later, there are 800 million people under the absolute domination of Soviet Russia-an increase of over 400 percent.” This goes to show that like Schlesinger said, it has become easier to fall under the influence of the Soviets. Both men are trying to explain that this is not an issue that can be ignored. The numbers will only keep getting bigger and we will be forced to conform to their …show more content…

Like mentioned above, nobody strived to better their lives. Jack Kerouac, an American novelist and poet wrote, “At lilac evening I walked with every muscle aching among the lights of 27th and welton in the denver colored section, wishing I was Negro, feeling the best the white world had offered was not enough ecstasy for me, not enough life, joy, kicks, darkness, music, not enough night...I wished I were a Denver Mexican..” These few lines show how whites had everything handed to them. He admires the other races that had to work in order to live among the whites and those who fight everyday to fight racism, segregation, etc. If these people had conformed to their lifestyles, they would still be sold from one person to another and in captives in slavery. However, Kerouac is trying to say that at the time, no one wanted anything better. They were content with what they had and accepting things as the are. Similarly, Betty Friedan says that women did the same things the white people did and that was accept what they were given in society. In the Feminine Mystique, it considers how, “ As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night- she was afraid to ask even herself the silent question- ‘is that all?’” In the 1950s, many women were dissatisfied with

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