Silent Generation

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For the album, see The Silent Generation (album).

The Silent Generation is the demographic cohort following the G.I. Generation. There are no precise dates for when this generation starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use starting dates ranging from the mid-to-late 1920s and ending dates ranging from the early-to-mid-1940s.

Terminology[edit]

While there were many civil rights leaders, the "Silents" are called that because many focused on their careers rather than on activism, and people in it were largely encouraged to conform with social norms. As young adults during the McCarthy Era, many members of the Silent Generation grew to feel it was dangerous to speak out. [1] Time magazine coined the term "Silent Generation" in a November 5, 1951 article entitled "The Younger Generation," and the term has remained ever since.The Time article said that the ambitions of this generation had shrunk, but that it had learned to make the best of bad situations. [2][3][4] The name was originally applied to people in the United States and Canada but has been applied as well to those in Western Europe, Australia and South America. It includes most of those who fought during the Korean War. In the United States, the generation was comparatively small because the financial insecurity of the 1930s and the war in the early 1940s caused people to have fewer children.[3]

They have also been named the "Lucky Few" in the 2008 book The Lucky Few: Between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom,[5][6] by Elwood D. Carlson PhD, the Charles B. Nam Professor in Sociology of Population at Florida State University.[7] Carlson notes that this was the first generation in American history to be smaller than the generation that preceded them. He calls the people of this generation "The Lucky Few" because even though they were born during the the Great Depression and World War II, they moved into adulthood during the relatively prosperous 1950s and early 1960s. For men who served in the Korean War, their military service was not marked by high casualties as much as the previous generation. The Lucky Few also had higher employment rates than the generations before and after them, as well as better health and earlier retirement. African Americans in this generation also did better than earlier generations in education and employment. [8] Neil Howe writing for Forbes describes the Silent Generation as those born 1925–1942.[3] Pew Research Center defines the generation as being born from 1928 to 1945.[9]

Notable figures[edit]

The generation includes many political and civil rights leaders such as Elizabeth II, Martin Luther King, Jr., Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI, Malcolm X, Michael Dukakis, John McCain, Walter Mondale, Dick Cheney, Bernie Sanders, Robert F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Jim Bolger, Jacques Chirac, Jean Chretien, F.W. de Klerk, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Malcolm Fraser, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bob Hawke, John Howard, Saddam Hussein, Helmut Kohl, Paul Martin, Brian Mulroney, Ron Paul, Bill Rowling, Gloria Steinem, Margaret Thatcher, Boris Yeltsin, Yasser Arafat, Colin Powell, Simeon Sakskoburggotski, Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma, Slobodan Miloshevich, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, Roman Herzog, Zhelyu Zhelev, Petar Mladenov, Ariel Sharon, Václav Havel.

It includes such writers and artists as Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Joan Baez, Jane Fonda, Mary Tyler Moore, Rudolf Nureyev, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Wilder, James Dean, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman, Little Richard, Harry Belafonte, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, George Takei, Johnny Cash, Stephen Sondheim, James Brown, Leonard Cohen, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., The Beatles, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Johnnie Ray, Frank Zappa, Quincy Jones, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Elvis Presley, Richard Pryor, Dave Allen, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Michael Caine, John Cleese, Peter Cook, Bill Cosby, Jackie Mason, Dudley Moore, Joan Rivers, Flip Wilson, and the Beat Generation, Noam Chomsky and Richard Rorty.

As of 2017, the generation has produced no United States presidents. Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were born in what is sometimes considered to be they last year of the preceding G.I. Generation (1924), while Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump were all born near the beginning of the Baby Boom (1946).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Handbook to Life in America, Volume 8 Rodney P. Carlisle Infobase Publishing, 2009, p. 22
  2. ^ "The Younger Generation", Time, November 5, 1951
  3. ^ a b c "The Silent Generation, "The Lucky Few" (Part 3 of 7)". Forbes. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Silent Generation: Definition, Characteristics & Facts". Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Carlson, Elwood (2008). The Lucky Few: Between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom. Springer Science + Business Media B.V. ISBN 978-1-4020-8540-6. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Carlson, Elwood (2008). The Lucky Few: Between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom. Berlin: Springer Science and Business Media. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-4020-8540-6. 
  7. ^ Carlson, Elwood D. "FSU Faculty Bio". Florida State University. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "The Lucky Few", Population Reference Bureau, 2008
  9. ^ http://www.pewresearch.org/methodology/demographic-research/definitions/

External links[edit]