Copyright

Juvenile Delinquency in the 1950s

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Lyndon Johnson's Path to the Presidency

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:05 Children of Plenty
  • 0:45 Generational Friction
  • 1:40 Fast Cars and Loud Music
  • 3:02 Maintaining Perspective
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

While parents and their teenage children have always had disagreements and arguments, the 1950s were one of the first times when teenagers had the money to actually gain their own levels of independence.

Children of Plenty

Think your teenage years were filled with angst? Try coming of age in the 1950s. Sure, there were some really great aspects. Average incomes were rising faster than they had ever risen before, and your parents now had enough excess money to not only keep you in school through high school graduation, but even to help subsidize a college education. On the surface, it was a pretty sweet, or nifty, deal. However, under the surface it was a very different story. Sure, your parents wanted you to live a little, but their idea of having fun was not having to work in a factory at age 16. Your idea of fun was going to a drive in theatre with your crush.

Generational Friction

It wasn't just differences in age that had caused these frictions. For many teenagers in the 1950s, their fathers and older brothers had fought in World War II. However, the teenagers of the period had very little recollection of the conflict - after all, they were children through most of it. These parents and older siblings wanted the best for their younger relations and felt that the younger generation was squandering the unimaginable opportunities of college and economic stability that had simply not been available before. It wasn't just typical generational friction that was causing trouble between teenagers and older adults. America had been a segregated country for decades, and there was a pretty firm line dividing white culture and black culture. Some teenagers of the 1950s sought to erode this line. However, it wasn't just some deliberate action that was causing the erosion - instead, it was an adoption of what was perceived to be 'black culture' among many young whites.

Fast Cars and Loud Music

No better example of this exists than the music that these teenagers were choosing to play. Their parents may have listened to big bands and jazz, but these teenagers were increasingly drawn to the hip-swaying rhythms of a new style: rock and roll. Now let's back up for a second - after all, jazz was originally an African American genre. Isn't there some hypocrisy here? Absolutely. In the minds of the older adults, however, rock and roll brought out more base instincts. Jazz might get you tapping your foot, but rock and roll would get you swaying your hips. In fact, the most famous musician of the age, Elvis Presley, earned much of his fame for his ability to combine dance moves with his singing abilities.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support