The 1950s was a period of economic growth for the United States. Men and women returning from war and post-war reconstruction abroad had acquired new skills and firsthand experience of a world forever altered by the scientific, technological, and medical advances fostered by the conflict. The 1944 GI Bill of Rights offered them the means for education, homes, businesses - a future of change. The United States, essentially untouched by the ravages of war, emerged as the world superpower with its workforce, natural resources, government, and industry intact and growing.
"There is hope in dreams, imagination, and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality," said Jonas Salk. The nation's creative minds were stretching the limits of science with Salk's polio vaccine and the discovery of DNA, changing musical trends (rock 'n roll), and setting new, imaginative standards for children's literature (Dr. Seuss). In response to the needs of a growing middle-class, business entrepreneurs quickly developed new suburban neighborhoods as oases of affordable comfort and convenience. With electrical appliances and cars in abundance, the great American consumer society had begun. As the black-and-white television set became a household fixture, new standards for entertainment, commercial advertising, and mass communication pervaded the entire country.