SYP-4730 Aging in America
Cohorts and Generations Research Paper
September 7th, 2013
Dr. Y. Dokurugu
Mondays 5:45-8:15 PM
Age has become a very important topic to be discussed as the world carries on. As people become more knowledgeable and certain advancements in life occur, people are beginning to realize that there indeed is a way to maximize your years and to have a meaningful life once one is old. Studying age has become important in social behavior also. Each generation possesses its own definition and witnessed some of the same events. Studies have come to regard generations, as familial so on the true term for the different age groups is cohorts. Again, each cohort has a range of people in them and each of these cohorts tells a different story about a different time period. Things are changing at an ever-fasting pace because of technological advancements and such, which means that the recent cohorts are more different than any other time in history. There are six cohorts represented in the world today, which include: the swing generation, the silent generation, baby boomers, baby bust cohort, the echo boomers, and millennials. These are in chronological order. This research paper will leave out the millennials. Again, each of these cohorts represent a different age in time and each has had completely different experiences, thus the exploration is, what is the character and composition of each of these said cohorts, and why does that matter today.
Beginning with the oldest represented cohort, the swing generation was actually a very nice time period to live in. America was thriving at this time. This is an era where times were changing fast and the beginning of the technology era truly began. Swing music is a very happy form of music and dance, which signifies how people generally felt at the time. Everything was not perfect by far though. This cohort is unique because while they did not experience slavery first hand, their parents and grandparents were slaves and slave owners. So America was in a tough position where people of all different levels began to intermingle like no other time before. Of course racism still ran rampant, especially through the South. Yet, the times showed promise for the future. In these years, 1900 – 1926, Henry Ford put the Model T on the assembly line and the Model T hit the streets for the very first time. So driving became an option, which eventually lead to the development of suburban areas. This time ended with atrocities though, as the prohibition of alcohol gave leeway to the increase of gang activity. (Kyvig, 2002) Men like Al Capone became notorious and prominent figures of that time. Other accomplishments include F. Scott Fitzgerald's publishing of the critically acclaimed The Great Gatsby, which is a staple in today's high school system as well as a lucrative film in today's box office. Entertainment no doubt had reached a new level but in these times items that really mattered and would change the course of American history would occur also, Of these improvements, arguably the greatest achievement of this time period was the national woman suffrage amendment was ratified. Giving hope to women everywhere that one day some form of equality to men could possibly occur. Also, America was called in to save the day in World War to which gave America a world police complex, whether that be good or bad complex is yet still up for debate even to this day though. The people that are alive today from this time period have watched as America has developed and thrived. They have been through several wars and witnessed a 100 years of events. There are not all that many left today but these people are the ones who understand America at its true value because they have literally seen it all. All in all, the swing generation made America look more appealing. It is sad that the next generation did not have as swell a time....
References: Kaledin, E. (2002). Timeline." daily life in the United States, 1940-1959: Shifting worlds. Greenwood Press.
Kyvig, D. (2002). Daily life in the United States, 1920-1939: Decades of promise and pain. . Greenwood Press.
Quadango, J. (2011). Aging and the life course: an introduction to social gerontology. (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill
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