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To What Extent was The Untied States of America Prosperous and United in the 1920’s?

By jcwa2 Oct 08, 2013 1687 Words
America was not prosperous or united during the 1920’s. Although there were reasons to show that The United States were prosperous during this time, there are stronger arguments and ‘harder’ evidence to show that most of population were neither prosperous nor united. These arguments are, the collapse of the American economy in the late 1920’s and the countries economical situation, prohibition and the truth in society a large part of this being racism. There are signs of prosperity and unity in the 1920’s for the Americans; evidence of prosperity is that sales in radios went from 60,000 to 10,000,000 this wasn’t because they were a necessity it was because they could be bought, a statement of wealth. Woodrow Wilson started progresism. Henry Ford made the model T car the first mass produced. They went from $3 billion in debt to $3 billion in profit. Businesses were averaging 80% profits. This all sounds fantastic and how does this mean there was no prosperity or unity? Maybe America was dancing on a volcano that they weren’t prepared to erupt. Late October 1929 the American economy collapses. From a massive high to major low, politicians claimed “Invincibility,” “Untouchable” and “On a Permanent High,” days before the crash. Surely a country cannot be prosperous when they go into recession or when there economy collapses. The economy collapsed mainly due to the fact that America went into ‘isolation,’ America wanted nothing from any other country and felt it would be best to block out the rest of the world, everything coming into America was taxed, when there was no one left to sell too in America, the rest of the world didn’t want to buy anything or sell anything because of the tax, because there was no one left to sell to in America companies cut jobs and didn’t buy anything from anyone else and it had and lead to a domino effect leading to the collapse of the American economy. Even before the economy collapsed there was not that much prosperity in America there was some people who were outstandingly wealthy and prosperous but there were shocking figures such as that 0.1% of the American population had the equivalent amount of money as the very bottom 42% of America, so one wealthy man had the same amount of money as four hundred and twenty poor men put together. This wasn’t the only shocking figure, in the 1920’s there were six million families living in poverty. There were divisions after the collapse of the economy leaving the country divided and most certainly not united. It was the poor who were jobless and living of scraps to provide for their families against the rich who had everything they needed even after they had been hit hard after the collapse. The farmers were the first to lose out the agriculture in America was worth ten billion dollars in the 1919 and was six billion dollars less by the 1923. Due to this massive loss jobs were cut, people were made redundant and they went into poverty. The great prosperous and united America was no longer prosperous nor united when money played its part during the 1920’s. The introduction of prohibition was one that was not taken well by America during the 1920’s. The ‘experiment’ of prohibition back fired and failed, it caused more crime than there was when prohibition was introduced. The Women wanted alcohol banned and started the women’s temperance movement. The government also wanted to ban alcohol. Unsurprisingly sales in soft drinks hit the roof, companies like Coca-Cola made massive profits and there sales boomed during the 1920’s. This could have been viewed as an upside to prohibition, the down side was that gang crime increased dramatically, gangs brought alcohol in from the north and south to provide to American citizens, and example of this was Chicago were Alcapone organised gang crime to bring alcohol in to be sold the public. The alcohol brought in was called ‘Moon Shine,’ an unhealthy drink which in some cases caused blindness. The example of Chicago was an extreme one, Alcapone was in so much control of the city because of his strong hold provided by the alcohol he produced gave him the equivalent as the same amount of power as the mayor. He personally was responsible for the Valentine’s Day massacre. This shocking piece of evidence shows Alcapone’s control over the entire city and how important it was for him to have a personal stronghold on the alcohol production in Chicago. He shows his control of the city when he dresses his gang in police uniforms produced by the Chicago Police Department who he controlled so he could intercept ‘Bugs’ Mirrane’s gang who were doing an alcohol deal. His gang lined the entirety of Mirrane’s gang up against a wall, who thought they had been caught by police not a rival gang, and Alcapone ordered for Mirrane’s men to be killed and slaughtered, fourteen men were left dead. Prohibition, in Chicago alone, caused two hundred and twenty seven murders between 1927 and 1931, purely associated with gangs, gang crime was a massive effect of prohibition and it triggered divisions, murders and a lack of unity, especially in some of the major American cities, an example of this was Chicago between 1927 and 1931. The strongest reason that America was not prosperous or unified in the 1920’s was that there was a major social problem at the time, the majority of this problem was triggered by racism. This is not to say that racism was the only problem for America in the 1920’s. There was also massive change happening at the time, for example women were liberated, they were now allowed to show their legs, go to night clubs on their own, they could drink and smoke in public, despite these rules being introduced for women, still most women could not do these for reasons such as, age, wealth, the area they live in and there social status. This shows how not all of America was prosperous like some pictures an =d evidence make it out to be. People would think all women in the 1920’s did all of these things after they were liberated unfortunately for them most of them couldn’t! Even with women being liberated and given all of these privileges, men would still not take them seriously and completely denied them the vote. This unity in society between men and women was obvious enough, men were paid higher wages than women for the same jobs, and there were also only five percent of medical students being women during the 1920’s. The disunity between men and women was hardly the main problem in American society at the time, the big problem was racism, if racism hadn’t caused disunity in America at the time, nothing would have, and there was a lot of racism in 1920 America. The main cause of racism at the time was because of the Ku Klux Klan, the anti-blacks group. Entire towns were members of this group, with entire towns hating and abusing the vast black American population, especially in the south, sparks were defiantly going to ignite, it wasn’t a matter of if or when it was how big they would be. The start of the disunity between blacks and whites in America was when racism was ‘institutionalised,’ it was accepted to be racist, the law and industries were racist. Despite half of the southern states population being black slaves the racism ‘could not be stopped.’ The racism was not only aimed at blacks it was all immigrants. The national origins act of 1921 was formed, limiting the number of immigrants. 1924 Quota act is established making it even harder to migrate into America if you were of any different race. This left no unity in southern America seeing as half the population was formed by ‘migrants.’ An example of migrants being treated unfairly in 1920 America was Sacco and Vanzetti. Sacco and Vanzetti were two Italians. They were accused of murdering a money guard and stealing million of U.S dollars. The two Italians had actually done nothing, at the time of the killing Vanzetti was not even in the same state. The two immigrants were going to be ‘set up.’ In 1927 though there was an appeal that the two men were not guilty. The government at the time immediately send Sacco and Vanzetti to the electric chair in order to stop people from asking so many questions. This shows disunity and racism from the institution and not just to blacks. An example of racism to blacks was Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan. These areas were split into white areas and black areas. On one day a black boy aged about eleven was swimming and a current drifted him into a white area. The whites saw the boy and threw pebbles and stones at him, he died. Because of this there were race riots and resulted in the deaths of twenty five black men and the deaths of fifteen white men. This shows the racism at the time and what disunity between groups of people can lead to. America was not prosperous in the 1920’s and was definitely not united. In America during the 1920’s the money was not spread evenly around the country leaving a few people filthy rich and millions of people in complete poverty, also the American economy collapsed, no country in depression or recession could be prosperous and any business or valued industry that symbolised a country that dropped six billion dollars could not mean the country in mention was prosperous either. The unity in America at the time was worse than the finances. Prohibition sparked gang crime and hundreds of deaths in American cities and the American societies were no better with racism and men and women divides becoming common across the continent. Men had privileges and had a general better living standard compared to women, and racism to American immigrants caused murders and riots, this shows the amount of unity in America during the 1920’s. America was neither prosperous or united during the 1920’s.

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