The roaring twenties is a phrase emphasizing on the political, cultural and economical changes that occurred in the 1920s, largely in North America though there were notable changes in the Berlin, Paris and London. During the period, a series of events occurred changing the American society in general for the better. The notable changes included economic blossoming and prosperity, culture in regards to rights and role of women, political changes that was characterized by return to normalcy after the World War I, ascendancy of the republicans and fall of trade unions. The changes attributed to the 1920s are important in the history of the Americans’ and successive administrations.
Economic prosperity was a key feature in the 1920s considering that political stability had been achieved. Prosperity was successively driven by the government growth policies, constructions and rapid growth of consumer goods like automobiles. The North America economy, largely the US economy, had successively transitioned from the wartime economy to a peaceful economy despite some of the sectors remaining stagnant for instance farming and mining. The post war saw the consecutive republican administrators creating a close relationship between those in government and investors. For example when Warren Harding became president in 1921, the unemployment rate was 20% with high level inflation. This made him sign the Emergency Tariff of 1921 and the Fordney-McCumber of 1922. Harding proposed the reduction in taxation, protection of the farming interests, reducing national debt and cut back on immigration. However, he did not live to see the changes, his successor, Calvin Coolidge, with the help of the congress implemented the policies.
The main initiative by both the Harding and Coolidge administration was to reduce taxation on the wealthy that had been raised in the World War I. it was believed that heavy taxation on the rich slowed economic growth since most of them are discouraged from investing.
Economic growth was further achieved by new technology and products. Mass production of goods made technology affordable to the middle class. Movie radio and automotive industries skyrocketed during the 1920s. Of great importance was the automotive industry. Before the World War I, cars were a luxury. In the 1920s, mass production of cars was common on USA and CANADA. Radio was found to be the first mass broadcasting medium. Though expensive, they were preferred as a mode of entertainment and platform for mass marketing. Its economic importance has changed the culture in society to date. Another aspect of the economy is new infrastructure. Invention of new technologies led to unprecedented demand for new infrastructure that was largely funded by the government. Road construction was crucial to aid use of increasing no of vehicles. There was increased need for building new power plants for electricity supply, as electricity was preferred to coal. Infrastructural development was significantly a success despite some of the infrastructure programs causing the US great depression. Economic prosperity was also characterized by urbanization.
Most of the people for the first time in the US and Canada lived in the cities while a small percentage lived in the rural areas. The white-collar jobs became a norm for life for the city residents. Due to the large population in the cities, there was need for developing infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and other social amenities.
The second feature in the 1920s was a change in culture. There was a notable change in the role of women in the society. There was a transformation from traditional culture to a modern society. One of the greatest social achievements for the decade was recognition of women by passing legislations that enabled them to vote hence giving them a chance to be heard. Other developments included changes in fashion, tolerance to other races, cinema, and art Deco social criticism among others.
In the 1920, the 19th amendment was passed in the United States, this granted the women suffrage. Equality as a right to women was strategic in formation of the women right movements. Additionally the world experienced revolution in music, dance, believes and fashion. Dance clubs became popular in the 1920s. Classical pieces and folk music were transformed into dance melodies. Dance music came to dominate all forms of music in the 1920s and this has had an effect on the American music industry to date. Young women changed the dressing code. They wore appealing designs like short skirts immortalized in movie and magazine cover. Another social development was tolerance towards other groups or races. In the urban cities, the minorities were treated with some degree of equality. This was evidenced by the films of the decade: Redskin and Sons of God that advocated equality for the Native Americans and Asian Americans. The movies openly revealed and criticized social bias and emphasized on the importance of equality. This had an impact in the American society since it was now possible to see whites and the minorities eat together. There were numerous changes in the cinema industry. At the start of 1920s, films were silent and lacked color. In 1922 the first all color movie, The Toll of The sea, was released.
The third feature in the twenties was a revolution in the American polities. Warren G. Harding was elected president at the start of the decade. His government dedicated most of the time placing policies that would stabilize the economy. It was the first time in the history of the US that a single party ascended to power. Harding and his successor Calvin Coolidge reversed the trend of poor governance attributed to the previous governments.
Harding and Coolidge’s administration worked closely with the private sector. The administrations lowered income taxes on the wealthy to encourage investments. The governments acknowledged the fact that industries and commerce were the heart of the economy. They therefore worked hard to create an enabling environment through association. Oligopolies dominated hence limiting competition and coordinating industrial policies and increasing productivity. The roaring twenties ending is characterized by the Black Tuesday and Repeal of Prohibition. The black Tuesday characterized by collapse of stock prices on the either Wall Street while the Repeal of prohibition allowed the states to legalize or not alcohol. We can hence conclude that the roaring twenties political, economic and cultural activities contributed in shaping the history of America.
This can be supported by the numerous activities that occurred in the decade that is economic blossoming and prosperity, culture change in regards to rights and role of women, fashion and tolerance towards other groups. There are political changes that was characterized by return to normalcy after the World War I and implementation of policies that fostered economic growth.