Texas through Women's Eyes: The Twentieth-Century Experience

By Judith N. McArthur; Harold L. Smith | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Part Three

In the two decades after World War II, Texas underwent profound economic and social change. Foremost was the transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy. By 1950 the state ranked twelfth in the nation in manufacturing, with petroleum refining and chemical industries leading the way, while in the 1960s electronics (most famously Texas Instruments and Electronic Data Systems) outpaced all other sectors. The mechanization of agriculture transformed farming into agribusiness and led to the collapse of sharecropping—the 1960 census listed no croppers at all—and the near disappearance of tenant farm families. Seventy-five percent of Texans lived in urban areas by 1960, and Latinos, at 15 percent of the population, had surpassed African Americans (12 percent) to become the largest minority group.

The old racial and political order, however, died hard. As southerners, Texans experienced two decades of turbulent and transformational politics. Separate African American and Hispanic civil rights movements pulled down the walls of legal segregation, with assistance from the U.S. Supreme Court, and struggled against white resistance to make integration a reality. Disgruntled anti-Roosevelt conservatives decamped from the Democratic Party to support the Republicans, foretelling the eventual end of one-party rule. And like the rest of the country, Texas was caught up in the Cold War with a new antagonist, the USSR, and the fear that Communist “subversives” in government and the public schools were secretly working for the destruction of capitalism.

Historian Nancy MacLean suggests that a useful way to approach the history of American women in the second half of the twentieth century is through socioeconomic class, specifically by examining the relationship of various groups to the family wage system.1 The idea that a male breadwinner should be paid sufficiently to provide for a dependent wife and children—a family wage—traces back to the trade unionists of the nineteenth century. During the Progressive Era, middle-class reformers of both sexes advocated it as a way to end child labor and permit working-class mothers to stay home with their children instead of toiling in sweatshops. Improved wages made


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Texas through Women's Eyes: The Twentieth-Century Experience


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 295

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?