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What was life in America like in the 1940s?

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2011-02-05 13:19:41

When World War II ended in 1945, the United States embarked upon

an unprecedented period of economic prosperity, driven by the

increase in industrial production markets brought about by the war.

Unlike the Great Depression and the war years, Americans had a

surplus of goods and services from which to choose, and the money

with which to purchase them. Non-farming businesses grew by

one-third, and housing construction became a booming industry.

However, the economic situation was not improved for the poorest

Americans during this time. The economic boom brought high

inflation, which kept poorer citizens from saving any money, and

small farmers faced hard times because of government policies that

benefitted larger, corporate farmers. The lowest-paid workers in

the country were the migrant farm workers, with sales clerks and

unskilled laborers (such as gas station attendants) not far above

them. Happy, a sales clerk, and Biff, a farm worker, represent this

segment of the American workforce in Death of a Salesman,

and each of them struggles to retain his dignity in the face of his

lowly position in a largely affluent society.

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