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Economic Expansion In The United States: The Affluent Society

1680 words - 7 pages

America was very prosperous between 1900 and 1950. There were many ups and downs; economic and urban growth along with social and political improvements happened. The United States expanded on civil rights, liberties, and becoming a global super power.1 In the beginning of the 1900’s to the middle, it was a time of rapid change.
It all started in 1875 when the Civil Rights Act was passed. This attempted to grant African Americans the social rights that were still withheld. This penalized people who discriminated African Americans in public places, but was taken away by the Supreme Court in 1883.2 Continuing into the 1900’s things were still changing. There were many changes in farms. For ...view middle of the document...

8 billion to 2.5 billion, which increased social growth.5
In 1914 World War I began and ended in 1918. Governments took control of the economy to mobilize the population and resources making warfare become “total.” Women began taking over mens jobs, while the men were away fighting. America entered the war in 1917 joining France and Great Britain, due to the sinking of the Lusitania, going against Germany and its allies. On November 11, 1918, Germany signed an armistice.6 By the end of the war American’s decided to not care about foreign affairs and decided to just live independently.
From 1920 to 1933 the 18th Amendment created prohibition, which prohibited the sales and production of alcohol.7 The 18th Amendment was repealed in 1933 being replaced by the 21st Amendment, which allowed the selling and consumption of alcohol, which changed the social and economic growth.8
The 1920’s was a decade of prosperity and economic growth, also known as the “Roaring 20’s.” Prosperity soon boomed after World War I. Productivity was soaring, automobiles became more popular, which lead to tourism. The automobile industry was sky-rocketing; American companies produced 80% of America’s cars.9 The demand for cars was huge, which had to lead to more factories being built to produce the car. Henry Ford used two key developments to make his automobiles; Standardization and Mass Production. Standardization makes the cars the same and mass production used the assembly line and standardized parts to produce the cars in a timely fashion. The assembly line helped make production much faster.10 Welfare Capitalism was created by Henry Ford, which stimulated urban and social growth. This decreased the amount of strikes, said businesses should be fair, made wages better, created health insurance, retirement plans, and shorter work days; 5 day, 40 hour work weeks.11 There was a catch though, it demanded that there be no unions and no government regulations of private business. National prosperity could only be achieved by giving business leaders complete freedom without any say from the government and this is when organized labor collapsed because labor unions had no power.12
Many single, widowed and divorced women began to join the workforce. They worked in offices, as teachers, nurses and retail positions. Women gained the right to vote and changed the way they ran their lifestyle. Birth control became huge and was looked at as rebellious. Women changed the way they dressed and acted because of mass media culture and some were known as “Flappers.” They were young women who had knee-length dresses, rolled up stockings, and unbuttoned rain boots that flapped while walking. Women who were “Flappers” were looked at as rebellious, sexual and open to premarital sex. They smoked in public, drank and took birth control.
There were housing booms in suburbs, which contributed to urban growth. Because of the housing boom, tourism and...

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