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America in the End of the 1920’s

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  • Category History
  • Topic 1920S
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One of the most prosperous and illustrious times in American history began soon after the turn of the 20th century and brought many great things to the table for America. Jazz was becoming a wild success and was the music everyone listened to. The roaring twenties saw marvelous inventions like the liquid fueled rocket, the traffic signal, refrigeration, and sliced bread. This was time where, for once, everyone in America was on the same page; we all danced to the same music and purchased the same goods. This cultural age was not without its cons, however. With prohibition coming into effect, Americans became more antsy; this would eventually lead to cultural discrepancies. Many of these outbreaks would soon build up, and by the end of the 1920’s, Americans were sick and tired of each other. This, however, could not have come at a more inopportune time, as America was soon to be plunged into an economic dark age with the stock market crash of 1929. Oddly enough, this would reunite America. November 29, 1929 marked the start of The Great Depression. Times were beginning to change for the worse, as America would soon be in hundreds of millions of dollars of debt with the numbers continuing to rise until about 1939. The 1920’s offered many fabulous things, but brought about a depression so great that it would forever symbolically taint the early 20th century.

In the beginning, America was like a kid in a candy store; it was seeing these new things and was unsure of how to handle it all. We began widely adopting everything and more people than ever were socializing in cities rather than staying secluded on farms. Jazz held a major cultural impact on America during this time, as it was the music everyone would listen to. From coast to coast Americans danced to the same beat, and even danced in the same way to that beat. Due to nationwide advertising, we as Americans would all eat at the same restaurants and buy the same goods. This type of lifestyle was new and unfamiliar; however, it was widely accepted. We would see marvelous inventions during this time. 1920 marked the start of the first US radio station, named KDKA. Earle Dickson would shake the medical world with his invention of the Band-Aid in 1921. The traffic signal would help with American travel thanks to Garret Morgan. So many great inventions came from this time of peace after the first World War. Americas national economic wealth doubled during this time resulting in prosperity, no matter one’s economic class. The rich were only taxed 25%, ultimately making the rich richer, and wages increased 20% for the middle class.

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Social problems and discrepancies began to occur during the 1920’s. Aside from prohibition ravaging the country, African Americans began to midrate from the South and began settling in the North, bringing with them their culture. This did not settle well with the white Americans of the time. This brought about the culmination of the Ku Klux Klan. An organization set out to return America to “its former glory.” We also would come to see things like the Red Scare, which enforced anti-immigration, which led to restrictive immigration laws.

Life seemed to be good for Americas during the 1920’s. With this premium lifestyle Americans were becoming accustomed to, they would begin to bargain more and more money, and this was often money they did not have. The stock market continued to rise as several investors began coming from the woodworks, throwing there two cents in. The lavish lifestyle continued until October 24, when the stock market opened 11% lower than estimated. This didn’t seem to be a huge deal as stocks began to bounce back over the next few days. The bounce back was not enough however, and on Monday October 29, the stock market finished down by 13%, and by the next day, there was not a bid to be found and the market began to plummet yet another 12%. Wall Street was hit with what seemed like a ton of bricks as many investors were wiped of the map. Investors had lost billions of dollars of money they didn’t have. This duo was known as Black Monday and Black Tuesday respectively. These two days marked the stock market crash of 1929 and kickstarted the great depression. Effect of this crash could be seen throughout America as unemployment climbed to an unsettling high and banks nationwide began to fail.

America had to buckle up for a ten year long ride of poverty and unemployment before it would once again be back on its feet. However, during this time we faced many hardships. America is now millions of dollars in debt and the workforce is beginning to suffer because of this with 13 million people being unemployed. Banks began to go bankrupt and began to fail, leaving people with no money whatsoever. Because of this America lost faith in the economic systems that had been previously laid. They were unable to retrieve their funds from the banks and began keeping their money in other places such as under the mattress. President Roosevelt had to make an address assuring Americans that it would be safer to keep their money newly opened banks rather than under the mattress. During this time, we were all so used to there being plenty for everyone, but now people are scrounging for what little they can find. People are out of jobs and cannot supply and provide for their families. Soup kitchens became unfortunately increasingly more and more popular.

Americans pulled together in this time of depression however. We saw that things would only get worse if we sat around and let it get worse. While we had nothing, that meant we had to all work harder to make something. It was the spirit of the pioneers that resided in everyone that drove them to make things better for everyone. Looking forward to the future, rather than dwelling on the mistakes made in the past. Banks began to reopen and a permanent job program opened which employed eight and a half million people. Signs of recovery began here, and the economy began to regain its strength. Recession began in 1937, and a natural inflation began to take place.

The 1920’s offered many fabulous things, but brought about a depression so great that it would forever symbolically taint the early 20th century. Americans were able to live a lavish lifestyle during this time, and live they did. They spent millions and began to purchase things they really couldn’t afford. They began putting their credit in places which should not be trifled with and they got stung for it. America plunged into an economic dark age and hid to remain there for ten years. The Stock market crash kickstarted this ten year long great depression where people bag to lose jobs and banks began to close their doors nationwide. While these times were rough for all, America pulled through. Seeing that we had lost it all, we were driven to work hard to restore America to its once great former glory. Rather than dwelling on the past failures, we looked to the future and decided to build better and stronger. Thanks to great leaders like president Roosevelt and new programs like the permanent job program, we pulled through. Just in time for the second world war.


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