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The 1920's Essay

702 words - 3 pages

President Calvin Coolidge once said, "The business of America is business" (Napolo 35). During the 1920's, America saw a shift toward widespread business expansion and economy prosperity. Economic expansion created new, booming businesses and thriving business profits which in turn raised the standard of living for many Americans. During this time in America, businessmen advocated a return to laissez-faire economics, less government regulation of business, and less government support for labor unions. The federal government supported big businesses by way of high tariff policies and cutbacks in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). From 1922-1929, the national income was up 40% from $60.7 billion to $87.2 billion (The Roaring Twenties). Also, the War stimulated a number of old industries, such as petroleum and steel, and helped create a host of new industries, such as plastic and rayon production; nonetheless, the total annual expenditure of money spent on new machinery for industry in 1918 was $2.5 billion, compared to $600 million in 1915 (Schultz). Furthermore, the use of labor saving machinery in factories and on farms enabled workers to produce more goods faster and less expensively, which led to higher amounts of production and worker productivity, thereby raising the wages of workers (The Roaring Twenties). Many new businesses became preeminent and prosperous during the 1920's, such as the steel industry, department stores, and the automobile industry. In 1920, for example, Woolworth had 1,111 stores, and in 1929, they expanded to 1,825. J.C. Penney, on the other hand, expanded from 312 stores to 1,395 (The Roaring Twenties). During this time, department stores also introduced installment payment plans to their customers because the idea of "Buy Now and Pay Later" became very popular (The Roaring Twenties). Even more prominent was the automobile industry with the development of the inexpensive Ford Model-T by Henry Ford in 1908. Ford was one of the 3 big car producers which also included Chrysler and General Motors. The Ford Model-T cost $1,200 in 1909 and dropped to just $295 in 1928. By 1928, about 20% of all Americans had cars (America's Economy...

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