Following the victorious end of World War II, America was looking forward to new prosperity and relief from the shortages and rationing that the war required. New affluence, new low-cost suburban homes, and dreams of the good life resulted in a baby boom. With the advent of the Hydrogen bomb, a growing awareness of the communist threat and the beginning of the cold war, those dreams threatened to morph into nightmares.
Television makes its popular debut. TV is a great selling tool, manufacturing demand for everything from automobiles to zany inventions. Business and governments all begin to learn (and wield) the power of the new media.
Conforming to the idealized visions of family as depicted on their new televisions, Americans settle into enjoying their American Dreams but discordant voices are beginning to be heard. Grace Metallious's Peyton Place, Sloan Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, and the opinions of feminists like Betty Friedan begin to make Americans question the idealized nuclear family.
During an otherwise repressed time, Americans again question their ideas of "normal" when the Kinsey report is published, Marilyn Monroe debuts as the centerfold in Hugh Heffner's Playboy, and Margaret Sanger and "Goody" Pincus begin to make noise about "The Pill."
Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Elvis. Conformity is questioned and homogenized America begins to differentiate. The teenager as a class is born. Popular music is forever changed by the advent of Rock n Roll. Beat poets push our boundaries and America begins to question everything.