1920s dbq

Topics: 1920s, Roaring Twenties, Laissez-faire Pages: 5 (1997 words) Published: June 10, 2014
The sound of bullets abroad ended, but the ring of change in America blasted as large as a bullet. As the Great War ended, change manifested America and it was never to be the same. With a stock market boom, consolidation of businesses, and an increase in buying power, American life became modernized. The automobile was introduced as it ushered in a new era of society and increased freedom. Family pressures diminished as children began to explore the world as their own through being a flapper, dancing to jazz, or living the glamorous life that authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald idolized in the twenties. These changes did not arrive without a continuous longing for a prewar era of control, laissez faire government, and a sense of normalcy. These tensions were manifested in ideas like the Red Scare and the prohibition. Although change survived, the difference in ideas between old and new ways created tensions within American society that was eventually manifested to form a new, modernized culture. From the new advances in technology and in business (1), a new culture of youth usurped the traditional voice of society and questioned the roles thrust upon them (2), but it also created a racist and nativist country (3). In post WWI, the technology in American homes became more advanced due to the modernization of America’s economy and business. After a recession that began in the twenties, the stock market boomed, reflecting the growing prosperity of America (EV 712). In the pre WWI era, laissez faire capitalism and the support of big business was how the government ran the economy. Throughout the war, the government intervened in the economy, doing away with big business, and enlarged their presence to the delight of reformers. There was an increase in strikes from workers asking for higher tariffs. After the war, the government imposed high tariffs such as the Fordney-McCumber Tariff and Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which were enacted to protect growing business and prosperity of domestic manufacturers (EV 713). They also encouraged the consolidation of big businesses, and even if companies did not merge, the companies cooperated in price fixes and markets (EV 714). Because of the given protection and consolidation, businesses were able to create mass produced goods and lower the prices of their goods to sell to their consumers which was defined by one word: Fordism (EV 714). The methods provided luxuries that past generations were unable to obtain as they decreased production time, cost, and created leisure time. The companies, led by Henry Ford, began to increase the pay of their workers (EV 714). This increased pay led to greater buying power of the workers who were also the consumers (Doc E). Strikes decreased and unions, like the AFL and the IWW, declined in membership because of the pay increase, inability to cope with new manufacturing abilities, and the desire of management to use ways like the “American Plan” to destroy unions (EV 716). From the pay raise and continuous decline of prices and manufacturing, the technology increased. The greatest achievement of the twenties that was manifested from the new business system was the automobile. Led by Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, the automobile led the way in changing America (EV 712). The new, affordable invention created a new America by giving the youth independence while bringing families together (EV 721). Cars created an easier way to get around, creating a more modern society (Doc F). It embodied the change in America as an offspring of the tensions from big businesses as society realized it needed this new version of buying on credit, merging businesses, and leisure time to sustain a contemporary culture and technology. The technology adapted in this era fell away from the idea of all work and no play as workers were now able to escape their feeble lives through conveniences, like movies, radios, and television. Through this new technology and advancement in...
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