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The Roaring Twenties

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In the United States, the period of the 1920s was very commonly known as the ‘Roaring Twenties’ because of its significant social and political changes. New economic conditions and developments in the arts and entertainment helped to create its reputation. The decade earned its nickname through its sustained prosperity, lively culture, and tremendous technological advancements. With figures like Andrew Mellon and Babe Ruth who each contributed to either an economic change or an entertainment change, the Twenties became an era of prosperity and modernity. Disillusioned by World War 1, the American people sought out to have a genuinely good life. Starting with the administration of President Warren Harding who promised “a return to normalcy”, the decade of economic and cultural transformation began.

During the Twenties, new economic conditions emerged that for the most part favored big businesses and the wealthy. These new conditions seemed to make businesses more profitable instead of trying to regulate them. Secretary of Treasury, Andrew Mellon felt that it was best to invest in tax-exempt securities rather than in factories that would then provide prosperous payrolls. Along with many others, he believed in trickle-down economics which simply meant that if money was given to the rich and powerful, then maybe it would just trickle down to the needy without the government having to actually provide them with money directly. However, even if money did trickle down, ordinary citizens were just spending the little money that they actually had on the new appliances that emerged. People were now buying on credit or buying on margin in order to try to keep up with all of the economic changes. Another economic policy that emerged during this era was the Keynesian economics. These theories favored deficit spending in order to stimulate the economy and they also stated that in a crisis, especially a recession, the government needs to be the employer of last resort and try to help its people. During this decade there was also the landmark case of Adkins v Children’s Hospital in which the Supreme Court reversed its reasoning in the previous case Muller v Oregon, and said that women could no longer be protected by special legislation because with the right to vote, they were now legal equals of men. People of any sort were affected by these new economic policies during the Roaring Twenties.

A huge contribution to the roaring part of the Twenties were the arts and entertainments that quickly emerged and defied tradition. New ways of communicating or behaving



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