How Did The Interstate Highway System Contribute To An Era Of Consumerism?

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After World War II, a dramatic shift occurred in American society, bringing about an era of consumerism. The promise of America was recast, as the acquisition of material possessions became the new symbol of success, replacing previous measures of prosperity. This change was fueled by the emergence of mass-produced appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and televisions that promised a better life for all. The U.S. government implemented sound policies such as the G.I Bill and the Interstate Highway program, which helped build the middle class. The mass adoption of new technologies like television helped shape consumer behavior, resulting in suburbanization, the expansion of the middle class, and mass advertising. World War II was …show more content…

The Interstate Highway System provided a direct passage between urban areas, making it convenient for people and goods to move across the country ("Interstate Highway Act"). The highways also facilitated the growth of suburbs and Levittowns by making commuting to and from work easier. Levittowns were mass-produced suburban communities built by William Levitt's construction company designed to meet the growing demand for affordable housing post-World War II era. The Levittowns were built on the outer-edges of major cities near highways and were designed to accommodate the needs of the growing middle class. The Interstate Highway System played a significant role in the development and growth of these suburban communities. The newly constructed highways were convenient for people to commute from suburban areas to their jobs in urban centers. Living in the suburbs became much more attractive and accessible, leading to a boom in suburban …show more content…

Factories previously used for manufacturing war materials transitioned to producing consumer items, utilizing recent technological advancements ("Consumerism"). Mass-producing goods completely transformed America's economy by allowing corporations to expand the variety of items available. Different colors, sizes, editions, and prices of products were created with modernized modes of production, catering to a larger audience than before. In order to entice consumers to purchase the surplus of products, manufacturers developed new approaches to merchandising, such as department stores, mail-order houses, and chain stores ("Consumerism"). Shopping malls became a symbol of postwar prosperity and the rise of consumer culture. They brought together a variety of retail stores under one roof, making it convenient for consumers to shop for all their needs in one place. The mall culture also encouraged consumers to spend more time and money shopping, leading to increased consumption and a boost in the economy ("U.S. Post World War II Boom"). These new modes of promoting goods effectively coerced consumers to purchase their products because of their convenience. Making products easily accessible to consumers led to higher business profits, more satisfied shoppers, and increased

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