*** roaring twenties economies United States America economic history

United States Economic History: The 20th Century--The Roaring Twenties

Figure 1.-- This young Cincinati, Ohio family is out for a Spring outing in their shiny 1924 Essex. We don't see dad of course because he taking the photogrph. Eclipsed by all the Hollywood quality larger than life characters and events was the massive economic expansion that was leaving Europe in the dust. The key was Detroit's assembly line and mass production of automobiles and other consumer goods. This has been castigated by critics as mateilistivc, but ultimately it layed the ground work for the Arsenal of Democracy that helped save Western Civilization. Average Americans were able to lead prosperous lives. No where else in the world was this hppening. (Britain was closest.) Soviet propaganda created an illusion of economic success, but like all socialist economies that followed proved incapble of creating prosperous economies. Incrediably some Americans like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the early-21stcentury actually believed the seductive myth of socisalist economics.

The Roaring Twenties is perhaps the most storied decade in American history--for all the wrong reasoins. Young people who know nothing about American history, know about the Roaring Twenties. The decade had it all: Scarface Al, Pert Boy Floys, Machine Gun Kelly, Ma Barker, Bonny and Clyde, John Dillinger, and many more flowery nmed stone cold killers. There was prohibition, gun malls, bathtub gin, speakeasies, the Valetnine Day Massacre, Tommy Guns, G-men, flappers, bobbed hair, short skirts, fast cars, barn storming, Hollywood, the Charleston, the Big Bambino, and so much more that Hollywood is still making movies about the decade. But what Hollywood ignores is the prosperity American industry brought to the average American worker. The American role in World War I marked its arrival as global powerhouse. This was not totally recognized in Europe, especially by the Germans. They mostly saw American fightimg mem. What they did not see was American industry converying to war production. The Germans asked for an armistice before the industrial output from American factories had begun to reach the front. (This would be a factor in German assessments about America when they launched in World War II.) The Doughboy returning home from France were changed forever. Young men who had never before had eperiences beyond the farm or home town returned home with entirely new outlooks, views, and skills. Every a short recession (1920), it was straight up. The Roaring Twenties is perhaps most storied decade in American history. Fueling it all was the power of unparalleded economic expansion. Tge stock market roared. There were major demographic changes. The majority of Americans now lived in urban areas, although the economic ballance had long since changed. The other major demographic shift was African Americans conunuing to move deom the rural South to Northrn cities. America was already the world's principal industrial poweer, but in the 1920s America left Europe behind. The American population for the first time became a majority urban population. America by the end of the 1920s not only had surpased every European country, but had an economy comparable to all of Europe combined. The economic date is astounding. The American economy grew over 40 percent duruing the decade. The United States may have produced almost half the world's ecomomic output because World War I danmage and Anerican economic expamsion. New construction nearly doubled. New buildings were going up everwhere. Expanding American industry not only producerd cars, but put new consumer goods into American homes, including radios, washing machines, and refrigerators. Much more was involved than fulfilling comsumer demand. It was in the 1920 that the industrial behemoth came into existence that would become the Arsenal of Democracy. Modern aviation was born, highligted by Lucky Lindy flying the Atalantic. One economic sector did not benefit--American agriculture. As European agriculture recovered from the War, overseas orders declined leading to a depression in the Farm Belt. Farm income fell over 20 percent. The Roaring Twenties ended with the Wall Street Crash (September 1929). Not understood at the time and still onsured by left-wing politicans is that it was not industry that would cause the resulting depression, but Govrnment mismangement of the economy. This was understabdvle in the 1920s and 30s, but tagically even in the 21st century, politicians and ideologically motivated ecinomists continue to advocate flawed economic policies.


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Created: 11:15 PM 5/8/2022
Last updated: 11:15 PM 5/8/2022