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Bastard Out of Carolina Historical Context

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Historical Context

A Prosperous Nation?

For many Americans, the 1950s was a decade of economic prosperity. Unemployment and inflation remained low, generally below 5 percent. By the middle of the decade, more than 60 percent of Americans earned a middle-class income, which at that time was a salary between $3,000 and $10,000 a year. The number of homeowners increased by over 21 million during this decade, and people enjoyed material comforts and the benefits of household inventions and improvements. Government programs benefited many Americans. Social security and unemployment benefits also expanded in the mid-1950s, and the minimum wage increased. President Dwight D. Eisenhower also supported the largest increase in educational spending up to that time.

Nearly 40 million Americans, however, lived near or below the poverty line of $3,000 for a family of four, as determined by a 1957 study. As the middle class saw their incomes rise, poor Americans were increasingly earning a lesser portion of...

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This section contains 703 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Bastard Out of Carolina Study Guide
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Bastard Out of Carolina from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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