I Like IKE



The Republican Party was founded around the promotion of liberal economics and no president did more to help businesses and consumer culture in the United States than President Dwight Eisenhower.

One important factor for economic success was his insistence that government be responsible with the American economy.

We cannot afford to reduce taxes, [and] reduce income,” he stated, “until we have in sight a program of expenditure that shows that the factors of income and outgo will be balanced.

Balancing the budget of the federal government was critical for the United States at this point, after the massive expenditures of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. Despite this insistence not to reduce taxes substantially and to keep in place New Deal plans, Eisenhower’s America saw growth in a variety of areas, which was helped by his pro-business policies.

For instance, the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 created the U.S. Interstate Highway system and was a great help to the automotive industry. This increased the demand for cars, trucks and other vehicles of transport. The automobile became an important symbol of America’s vitality. Similar to how the early development of railroads greatly defined British economic success in the nineteenth century, the construction of the interstate highway would greatly define American success in the 20th century. American industry in the later half of the 20th century would be developed along the highways, increasing the connectivity of America’s consumer culture.

The structure of American living was also greatly developed during Eisenhower’s administration when suburbs expanded. Levittown and other vast suburban housing developments meant that the American family was moving out of the city and into the country where each person had access to greater living space. A new type of consumer-styled order was introduced to the United States, where a variety of products were needed. For instance, the lawn mower was needed for the upkeep of one’s lawn. The use of beauty products by women also increased greatly during this Eisenhower administration, in accordance to this idea of a consumer order. The purchase of popular toys for kids was another byproduct of this system. All of these developments, as well as the high rate of employment, was made possible by the sound policies of the Eisenhower administration.

There is no doubt that the consumerist order, an order which all economic classes participated in, was a defining part of American culture for years to come. This order would come to define many countries around the world under the U.S. sphere of influence and is effectively the reason that capitalism, based on the American model, has become a socio-economic norm across the globe.