• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far do you agree with this description of the prosperity of the USA in the 1920s? (30 marks)

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'More apparent than real' How far do you agree with this description of the prosperity of the USA in the 1920s? (30 marks) America in the 1920s experienced unparalleled economic prosperity and was undergoing radical economic and social change. This is a very simplistic way of viewing this time period. Most see the 1920s as a boom followed by bust, the bust being the Wall Street Crash in 1929 and the depression that followed. But as I mentioned this a very simplified way to look at it, there was much more going on with America's economy throughout the 1920s than a simple boom, but how real was this prosperity, was it real wealth or was it more of a perception of wealth? Many factors helped America appear to boom in the 1920s, one such factor was the industrial strength of the country; America had a large amount of natural resources including oil, coal and iron. It also had good cattle ranching and agriculture. This meant that America was able to harvest a large amount of natural resources which helped the domestic production of goods and created a quantity of goods to trade with foreign nations, all this helped to boost America's economy. Agricultural business as a whole was large and well financed. ...read more.

Middle

Although this would later lead to the Wall Street Crash in 1929 it did help to stimulate the economy and create a boom during the 1920s. They also placed tariffs on foreign goods. These tariffs meant that imported goods were given higher tax, making the domestic, American made products cheaper and reducing the competition for American businesses. Another typically Republican policy enacted in the 1920s was lower taxes, they believed that the Government should not take away loads of the people's money and then spend it on welfare, but rather that the people knew how to spend their money best so allow people to have more of their own money and allow them to spend it, this would help the economy grow. Neither of the political parties in America, the Republicans and the Democrats have particularly high public spending rates compared to the UK, as Americans generally see high public spending on anything such a welfare as too socialist, but out of the two political parties the Republicans are the party of low taxes and low public spending compared to the Democrats. Trusts flourished under the Republican presidencies, large companies were allowed to control whole industries, such as Carnegie controlling the steel industry, as it was believed this would lead to them becoming more efficient and successful. ...read more.

Conclusion

The economy was growing but only the top 5% of the people were benefitting from the effects whilst the bottom 10% was suffering worse than ever. In conclusion, many big businesses' thrived throughout the 1920s; the laissez faire policies of the Republican Presidents helped them to grow significantly. However a growth in big business did not help the ordinary Americans. Wealth was far from evenly distributed and the poorest 42% of the people only received 10% of the nation's wealth. The countries wealth as whole was growing but this only created the illusion that the whole of the country was getting richer, the poor stayed poor. Only the face of America that was shown to the rest of the world, huge corporations, benefitted from the "boom" in the 1920s. Many small businesses and farmers suffered once they started to over produce, as tariffs placed on foreign goods by the American government created a response of tariffs being put on goods the American's exported, meaning they could not sell their surplus grain and the prices were driven down. The consumer goods boom was only a boom for the richer half of the population, as over half the country could not afford to partake in it, and those who did bought products on credit and ended up in debt. The prosperity of the USA in the 1920s was more apparent than real. ?? ?? ?? ?? Simon Williams U6G1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 essays

  1. History essay on the boom in america in the 1920s

    The First World War also had an impact on the boom as it meant that other countries would have to buy from America as all of the produce in their countries had been destroyed and they didn't have enough money to build it back up.

  2. To what extent was the economic boom of the 1920s caused by the development ...

    Also as America came out of the war relatively unscathed as it was fought in Europe, their economy was not significantly damaged by the war, meaning that business could go on as usual. Also, during the war America became the 'banker to the rest of the world' as they were giving out loans to countries in need.

  1. GOVERNMENT POLICY WAS THE KEY CAUSE OF THE WALL STREET CRASH. HOW FAR ...

    To make matters worse, by making it harder for European countries to sell their goods in America, the government's protectionist policy made it harder for European countries to repay the war debts they owed to the USA. To try and rectify this, the government chose to set up the Dawes

  2. Revision notes - the USA 1945 to 1980

    Later that year came the Washington march when over 250,000 blacks and whites marched together in the capital in support of the bill. It was at this march that King gave his famous "I have a dream" speech, which had a tremendous impact on US public opinion.

  1. Why was there an economic boom in the 1920s ?

    They put tariffs on imported goods. This made imports more expensive compared with American made goods and thereby helped American producers.

  2. To what extent does a fear of Communism explain the changes in American policy ...

    World War I revealed that many immigrants still had tentative sympathies for their home country that Americans feared might threaten their own society and beliefs. The quota systems introduced in America by the Emergency Immigration Law in 1921 were to limit the number of immigrants allowed to enter the USA.

  1. Evaluate the view that overproduction of goods was the most important reason for the ...

    It was the lack of regulation and support from the republican government at the time which was highly responsible for the crash in October. The government failed to protect agricultural interests which resulted in overproduction. The government was responsible for initial production of extra food during the war, however once it finished it did not compensate farmers' losses.

  2. Wall Street Crash-The crash followed a speculative boom that had taken hold in the ...

    Because of margin buying, investors stood to lose large sums of money if the market turned down?or even failed to advance quickly enough. The average P/E (price to earnings) ratio of S&P Composite stocks was 32.6 in September 1929, clearly above historical norms.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work