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How real was the prosperity of the 1920's in America?

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How real was the prosperity of the 1920's in America? In the 1920's America was going through a boom, which on the surface looked as if all of society was enjoying it. Prosperity is the advance or gain in anything good or desirable. The boom made many things such as cars, radios; household appliances and electricity viable for everyone yet only a few percent were able to use these new advances in technology, business methods and easy credit to attain the prosperity that the boom seemed to be exerting. Society in America during the 1920's were divided between those who actually had real prosperity, those who gave the impression that they were enjoying prosperity and those who actually showed no signs of prosperity. Because of the Wall Street Crash it is easier to see who these groups comprised of and to see how real the prosperity was in the 1920's or were the majority of Americans hiding behind a fa�ade of prosperity made up of a select few? Although in hindsight we can see that the majority of the Americans did not have prosperity, there were few in the country that did. There was about 5% of the country who owned 33% of the nation's wealth. ...read more.


It seemed that the government did not do much to help them as any form of help such ad the McNary-Haugen Bill, which would sell any extra produce overseas and the farmers had to pay the difference, was vetoed by the president as it did not address the problem of overproduction,. He also did not want to sour foreign relations by dumping food in their countries and it would be too hard or officials to coordinate it. Although this bill did not pass, the government did pass the Emergency Tariff act n 1921 and the Fordney-McCumber Act of 1922 which meant that there were high tariffs on foreign imports, but this had adverse effects on the exports, so not helping the farm economy. The only real form of help was the Agricultural Credits Act of 1923 which helped fund 12 banks to give loans to farmers, but this helped only agri-businesses who could buy goods in bulk. To small farmers it was more debt. This was the main group of people who did not find any prosperity, but within them were the black farmers who were also hit hard. They were also discriminated because of their colour and so were worse off than the white farmers. ...read more.


America on the outside and to a few on the inside did seem like it was going through a boom for everyone. In reality though the majority of those people were not enjoying real prosperity or any prosperity. There were many instances that gave the impression that people were enjoying prosperity such as the Florida Land boom. Easy credit and speculating, but soon enough they were shown to be giving an impression of false prosperity. The majority of Americans did not enjoy any prosperity even though there was an increase in wages and prices remained constant. This was because 80% of the country lived near subsistence levels and so were not capable of buying the goods that were being produce so causing over production and diluting the market. In conclusion, America did not have real prosperity as that would mean th3 whole country should be prospering rather than the few that did. Also many people were under the impression they were prospering. Once the Wall Street crash, those left standing were the ones who really prospered. However, the majority of the population had no prosperity at all and so meant that America had very little real prosperity. If the boom was to be one of real prosperity it needed to encompass all walks of life rather than the elite few it did. Ambareen Naqvi 12E Sunday 16 November 2003 Ms. Webb History 1 ...read more.

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