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The Roaring 20's. Essay

1272 words - 5 pages

THE ROARING 20'SThe 1920's was the "era of good feelings" because everyone seemed to prosper due to the soaring economy. New inventions, such as cars, provided new jobs, which caused the unemployment rate to drop to a mere 2%. There was such a surplus of jobs that it seemed to some people that there were more jobs than workers. In each year there was more business growth, higher wages, and increased stock market trading. This, coupled with the new assembly line was responsible for creating many new jobs and higher wages. Also, because of the assembly line and mass production, the price of items formerly reserved for the rich suddenly became affordable to the middle class. For example, the Ford Model T dropped from $850 in 1910 to $295 in 1927. Higher wages and lower prices led to a higher standard of living. Consumer credit and new advertising strategies led to the replacement of the old work ethic of save instead of spend with consumerism.Because many people had faith that the economy's prosperity could continue, buying on credit was introduced. Buying on credit allowed low and middle-income families to buy items that before were only for the wealthy. People bought land, shares of stock, cars, radios, furniture, and appliances on credit. By 1926, 80% of American families had items that were bought on credit.More people, buying more goods, meant more companies competing for consumers' money, which led to new and better advertising. New advertisements did not say how good the product really was; instead they said what the buyer wanted to hear. For example, after seeing advertisements of beautiful houses, people started to buy land in Florida. On September 19, 1926 a horrible hurricane hit Florida. The houses that the people bought were destroyed, but it turned out that the houses were not like the ones in the advertisements by the beach. Instead, the houses the people bought were actually located in the swamps of Miami. These innocent people now owed money on worthless land.A new method of advertising in the 1920's was flagpole sitting. Businesses would hire people to sit on flagpoles outside their store in order to attract potential customers. The most famous flagpole sitter was Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly, who once sat on a flagpole for 23 days and seven hours in Baltimore.Everyone was now able to participate in the stock market. Many middle-class stockholders had bought their shares on margin. Buying on margin meant that the buyer would pay only a small percentage of the value of the stock, and the stockbroker would pay the rest. By 1929 over 17 million United States citizens owned stock. It was this universal buying on margin that contributed to the 1929 crash.Though the majority of Americans prospered during the roaring 20's, farmers had a lower standard of living than most. During World War I, farmers needed to supply food for the Allied Troops, so they bought new, expensive machines to do more work with less people. After the war, farmers'...

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