The Roaring Twenties Essay

967 words - 4 pages

Though many Americans thought of the 1920s as a time of liberation and success, many others deemed the new “consumer society” as repulsive, undesirable, and hypocritical as nearly half of the country was left behind. The ten years between 1919 and 1929 took Europeans and Americans on a social and economic roller coaster ride. The 1920s roared with sustained prosperity, numerous technological advances, artistic innovation and lively culture, earning the era its most popular nickname: The Roaring Twenties.
After a brief but sharp recession following World War I from 1920 to 1921, the United States experienced an economic boom. As soldiers returned home to to their loved ones, people began to leave behind their cautious attitudes caused by the uncertainties of war and started to develop a more joyous and peaceful lifestyle. Throughout the war, the country supplied Europe and other nations with manufactured goods and agricultural products, making the United States a rich trader and source of investment dollars for other countries. As a result, the United States was the strongest economy in the world. Businesses went from supplying military needs to producing commercial products. This change created a higher standard of living, a larger middle class, and new opportunities for most people. Wages were raised by major industrial leaders. Consumer credit was greatly expanded and new installment plans allowed families to spend money upfront. With a prospering economy and employment at an all time high, more people began to spend their money on entertainment, household products, and luxury items such as the automobile.
The automobile was the most important consumer product of the 1920s as it became the symbol of the new America. Cars were no longer being made from start to finish by the same workers; they were made on assembly lines. This meant that cars could be produced more cheaply and much faster. The Ford Model-T, produced by Henry Ford’s Ford Motor Company, became the most popular and affordable car in the 1920s. Priced at just over $250 by 1924, working-class families were now able to afford a brand new Model-T. There were positives as well as negatives to this new “social status” on Americans. The establishment of a more mobile society negatively affected family life as there became an increased sense of personal freedom without regarding unintended consequences. Individual family members could escape their “oppressed” homelife and act upon foolish wishes which caused many American families to fall apart. The increased demand for the automobile, along with the new assembly line method, paved the way for many other industries to begin mass production. The demand for oil boomed, leading oil prospectors to build new wells in Texas and the Southwest practically overnight. About $1,000,000,000 was spent on the construction of national highways across America, dotted with new service stations. By the...

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