The postwar American “consensus” held great promise. Despite the looming threat of nuclear war, millions experienced an unprecedented prosperity and an increasingly proud American identity. Prosperity seemed to promise ever higher standards of living. But things fell apart, and the center could not hold. Wracked by contradiction, dissent, discrimination, and inequality, the Affluent Society stood on the precipice of revolution.

This chapter was edited by James McKay, with content contributions by Edwin C. Breeden, Maggie Flamingo, Destin Jenkins, Kyle Livie, Jennifer Mandel, James McKay, Laura Redford, Ronny Regev, and Tanya Roth.