• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17
  18. 18
  19. 19
  20. 20
  21. 21
  22. 22

(Q1) Describe some of the key features of Americn society in the 1920's?

Extracts from this document...


America in the 1920's became known as the "Roaring Twenties". It was one of the most famous and glamorous periods throughout history. America was also doing very well financially and was building its wealth. From 1920 to 1930, this period was also called the boom period. During the boom, many items were brought which helped to build America's wealth. The people of America had a lot of confidence and spent a lot of money, which provided more demand for products and also boosted the American economy. The people of America were confident economically and also socially. They enjoyed themselves and also worked hard. Industry was booming, there were many different types of fashion and people were consuming a lot. There were also many different types of entertainment available which many people were attracted to. Cinemas and Hollywood were an example of this. Adverts were placed everywhere to attract the public and business was doing very well. The Republican government, which ran the country at that time, believed in the term, "Lassiez faire" meaning leave alone. This attitude of the government allowed the business of America to be run by the experts in business. The Republican government tried not to interfere in the lives of the citizens as little as possible and believed that it was up to the people of America to make it succeed They believed in the term "Rugged individualism", meaning the American dream, which was for the people to work hard, do well and make money. They believed that wherever you where from, all you had to do were work hard and then someday you would become a millionaire. They also believed that if taxes were kept low then this would increase business. The lower the taxes were the more they believed the people would buy and earn in America. Advertising influenced the citizens of America to buy non-essential items. Adverts were broadcasted on the radios, in magazines, billboards and newspapers so that a larger number of audiences were aware. ...read more.


During the First World War, many people had considered it to disloyal to use the wheat grain that was needed to make alcohol. Also, the war against Germany helped the 'Anti Saloon League ' to make all states ban alcohol. Since the majority of the brewers were of German origins, the League claimed that the people who drank alcohol were traitors of America. By 1919, 75% of the Congress government USA adjusted this law of making, selling or moving alcoholic drinks. In January 1920, the law banning alcohol was passed. It stated, "... The manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors within .........the United States ...... for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited." This law was known as the Volstead Act, which defined that 'intoxicating liquor', as any liquid containing over half percent of alcohol. This was also known as Prohibition. However, the major problem with prohibition was that it was difficult to enforce. As soon as this law was introduced in the 1920's, there was a quick increase of American crime rate mainly because of prohibition. People began to smuggle alcohol over the Canadian border. Illegal distilleries operated and their drinks were sold in illegal bars called 'speakeasies' which were opened in cellars and back rooms of homes. They had names such as 'dizzy club' and 'Sligo Slashers' where drinkers would give passwords or a secret knock on the door code to be let into a speakeasy. The criminal gangs and mobs that ran speakeasies were called 'bootleggers' because liquor was usually hidden in their boots so that it can be smuggled. 'Moonshine and 'hooch' which were both a common name for a sprit drunk, which was secretly made in home made stills. Alcohol was in such demand that even alcohol made out of rubbish was sold to make a profit even though it was sometimes poisonous. Prohibition also increased underage drinking as well as women drinking. ...read more.


Now that fewer products were being consumed, there were less jobs but a lot of money being wasted on illegal activities. Soon the economy was coming down with people selling there shares. The boom soon ended. Overall, the boom came to an end because of its underlying weaknesses of the fragile economy in America. So much was being made and less being consumed that it did not balance. People had had enough of wasting money and therefore brought less. Prices of items fell and were now very common. Also, there was always speculation in shares prices right from the beginning, which was always a worry for all investors. Rumours of the share prices coming down were causing panic and lack of confidence to buy products. The large investors had always been more aware of the situation in America. Since they had brought more shares, they were more concerned about America's economy. When they realised that there was no point in investing, they sold their shares leading to share prices falling. Also, because of insufficient buying power of the public the boom could not stay forever unless the confidence in the people was back to buy. In addition, the government spent more time on making sure that the political issues were sorted. They had a laid back job and due to their term "Lassiez faire" they did not handle the business. This meant that the businessmen made all the decisions. When it came to selling the shares they would have made sure that they were first because they did not care about the other small shareholders. If the government had controlled the economy right from the beginning then they would have made sure that the boom did not end in the way it did. Finally, the taxes that foreign countries had placed on their goods just like America did, made it impossible for American goods to be sold abroad. Also, after the First World War, Europe did not depend on America therefore they did not buy American products. This all led to less consumerism, which help to end the boom. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1919-1941 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 GCSE USA 1919-1941 essays

  1. The crash (causes and consequences of the Wall Street Crash)

    This was known as the cycle of despair. Government policy in the 1920s and the unevenness of the economy meant a quick recovery would be impossible. At first it was hoped the situation might improve, but when it did not the jobless reached enormous proportions. In Chicago 40% were out of work.

  2. To what extent was America in the 1920's a 'Divided society'?

    Housing also was not as good as the WASPs and wealth was obviously divided unequally when races came into play. Also the activities of the Ku Klux Klan spread to encompass these new groups hat had arrived in America. For the reasons above, many of the recent immigrants became bootleggers

  1. To what extent did America roar in the 1920s?

    The radio gave Americans access to new types of music from dance bands to jazz and the choice of radio stations quickly grew. The 1920s was called the 'Jazz Age' for a good reason. Black music dominated all other types of music at the time and black people were responsible for the introduction of jazz and blues into the cities.

  2. To what extent was the increase in hostility towards immigrants in the U.S.A during ...

    These then worsened people's views on immigrants, thus leading to an increase in hostility towards them. The American government introduced a certain number of laws during the 1920's to try and control immigration from Europe and Asia. This had a negative impact upon public opinion on immigrants, and which may have led to the increase in hostility towards them.

  1. The Immorally rich people of the 1920s

    And when Tom knew that he had caused Gatsby's death by mentioning Gatsby as the killer of George's wife(Myrtle), he did not show even an ounce of remorse for what he had caused.

  2. What was it like to live during the 1920's in USA?

    She was Canadian born and stared in many films (silent and non silent). She formed united artists with Charlie Chaplin and D W Griffith. Rudolph Valentino was the screen idol of his day. He was an Italian born US actor and dancer.

  1. Revision Notes - the USA in the 1920s and 30s.

    Unequal distribution of wealth-Even though the USA was very prosperous during the 1920s, almost 50% of families had an income under $2000, and they could not afford to buy any of the new goods. The people who owned a lot of the wealth already had all of the products that

  2. "The lives of American women changed completely in the 1920s" - How much do ...

    Fashions also changed for Women during the 1920s. The change in fashion and behaviour was represented by the ?flapper?. Flappers were young women who wore short dresses, smoked in public, went out with men and were most probably frowned upon by their parents? generation.

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