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The Reality Of The 1920's

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The 1920's was a time of change in the United States. “The Roaring Twenties” had an outstanding impact on the economy, social standards and everyday life. It was a time for positive results in the industry of consumer goods and American families, because of higher wages, shorter working hours, and manufacturing was up 60% in consumer goods. But it was also a time of adversity and opposition for others, such as immigrants and farmers. Immigrants had lots of competition when they were looking for work and they weren't treated fairly by Americans, depending on where they came from and what they believed. Farmers were paid very little because the price of food kept going down, they also had the Dust Bowl to worry about. African Americans became further infused with mainstream America during the Harlem Renaissance. They were also able to organize and elect officials who would make life better for them. The Roaring Twenties was a very exciting time to live in and we can all learn what the real world is like, and how we can prepare to be ready for it, today and in the future.

In the real world, life has its ups and downs. In the 1920's, corporations started to take better care of their workers than they had in the past. Workers were paid higher wages and worked shorter hours. With more time and money on their hands, workers turned into consumers, which caused an increase in the production of consumer goods. One of the most popular consumer goods was the automobile. To keep up with the high demand, the automobile industry had to create a way to make a lot of cars in a short amount of time, at a low price. The solution was the assembly line. With the assembly line the time to create one car dropped from 12 hours to 90 minutes. The price of the automobile fell greatly also, which further increased the demand. The automobile industry inspired other industries to form, such as the steel, rubber, petroleum, machine tools, and road building industries. But life wasn't just peaches and cream in the 1920's. Immigrants and farmers were facing some serious adversity. After World War I, the United States began to put a cap, or put a quota, on how many immigrants could come into the country. The National Origins Act of 1924 states that only 2% of a country's population could live in the United States at a time. This act often caused immigrant families to be forced apart. Once you made it into the United States it was extremely difficult to find work or even someone to help you get around. The United States is officially anticommunist, so if you happen to be from a communist country or supported its beliefs you were considered a terrorist and treated horribly. Life wasn't too much better for farmers. After the war, foreign countries no longer needed to buy our food, so we obtained a large surplus. The surplus caused food prices and the farmer's income to drop. Farmers in the Dust Bowl faced more trials. Because of drought, the soil was too dry to grow any crops. Violent dust storms swept across the Great Plains. These storms killed crops, farms, animals and probably a few farmers. The only thing farmers could do was to try and sell what was left of their farm and move westward to California, where they were known as “Okies” and treated as bad as foreigners. This is what the real world was like in the 1920's.

So why were the 1920's called the “Roaring Twenties”? It was called the Roaring Twenties for two reasons. The economy was on the rise and new American traditions were being created in society. After World War I, the European economy was a mess. Germany owed money to Great Britain and France, and GB and FR owed us money. With the Dawes Plan we basically lent out a little money and we got more money in return. At the same time Americans are buying consumer goods at a high rate. The radio, airplane, automobile and advertisement industries also helped out the economy. A new sense of the traditional American family was forming. Young people wanted independence, their own personal identity and personal satisfaction. The automobile helped shape this image. It provided a way to escape from parental authority and to go off seeking entertainment with friends. The working girl image became very popular as well. Women often



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