• 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

To what extent did America roar in the 1920s?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent did America roar in the 1920s? In the 1920s America was the land of golden opportunities. It has the reputation of being a glamorous decade where people lived in prosperity and happiness. Indeed, this period has often been described as the 'Roaring Twenties' and this name suggests a time of riotous fun, loud music and wild enjoyment when everyone was having fun. This essay will explore whether life in 1920s America really did 'roar' for everyone. America joined the First World War on the side of the Allies in 1917 and made the deciding contribution that bought about the defeat of Germany. They came out of the war as the world's leading economy and in 1926, the government announced that the standard of living in the USA was the highest it had ever been in the country's history. The 1920s was a decade of contrasts. On the one hand there was a booming economy which made cheap, mass-produced consumer goods available to people in a way that had never been seen before. It was the age of the car and mass-entertainment, which bought about major changes in the American way of life. Attitudes to women improved and people began to accept their wider role in American society. However, on the other hand, not far below this seemingly perfect surface lay poverty, racial conflicts and violence. The 1920s saw the introduction of prohibition and the rise of gangsters and gang wars. Changes in industry and the introduction of new technological advances left many Americans in a poverty trap from which they could not escape and in the land of plentiful food, farmers could not earn enough money to support their families. The popularity of the Ku Klux grew, as did the number of immigrants, and the Wall Street Crash paved the way for worldwide depression. This essay will investigate which groups found the 1920s to be a time of wealth and indulgence, and which groups found it a decade of poverty and intolerance. ...read more.


Compared with most countries, America was the land of hope and dreams. They had the highest standard of living in the whole world and people were keen to cash in. However, the Immigration Act of 1921 limited the number of immigrants to 5% of the number of their nationality who were already living in America. In 1929 immigration was cut down to only 150,000 a year. New immigrants who arrived after World War One faced wide-spread discrimination. They took whatever work they could since there were often less educated than other workers. A large number worked in construction where there was a building boom but their wages only rose 4% in the 1920s because immigrants were a supply of cheap labour and more of the work was becoming mechanised. The unemployment rate amongst new immigrants remained high throughout the decade. By the 1920s attitudes to immigrants had been changing for some time. Americans were suspicious of foreigners and this led to a widespread intolerance of foreigners. There was not as much land available and as industry became more mechanised, the need for workers declined. Also, Americans believed that the quality of immigrants were declining with many of the newer immigrants having little or no formal education. The 1920s did not 'roar' for immigrants because they faced a lot of discrimination, but did not have to fear dictatorship or war. On the other hand, the 1920s did 'roar' for gangsters who were generally immigrants from Europe, although they were the exception. Native Americans were also greatly affected by the waves of immigration and they were gradually forced off their land and assimilated into white society. Mass immigration did not 'roar' for most American citizens because they believed that immigrants were just taking up all the space in America and stealing all the jobs. However, employers would have liked the immigrants because they were so desperate for a job, they were prepared to put up with low wages and poor working conditions. ...read more.


However, they ended up produced surplus food which nobody wanted so the money spent on the machinery had been wasted. Life in the 1920s 'roared' for women because this was the decade which saw a change in attitude to the role of women in society. They faced less sexism and it became more acceptable for a woman to have a job other than being a mother and wife. However, this change in way of thinking did not 'roar' for older generations because they would not have approved of these changes and might have been bitter that things were not like that in their day. The Wall Street Crash had a huge impact on most people's lives since a large proportion of the American population owned stocks or shares so the collapse of the stock market did not 'roar' for them because they would have lost a lot of money. However, the Wall Street Crash 'roared' for experts in the stock market because they saw the crash coming and quickly sold their shares before prices crashed. However, by the end of the decade no matter who you were, America no longer 'roared'. This is because when the Wall Street stock market crashed, the American economy collapsed and the USA entered a long depression that destroyed much of the prosperity of the 1920s. In conclusion, you cannot really say that the 1920s 'roared' since it didn't for everyone. America was a melting pot of different nationalities and one thing does not apply for everyone. Whether or not the 1920s 'roared' depended on who you were, what job you had, the amount of money you owned and where you lived to name but a few factors. Whilst there is no doubt that the 1920s were a time of turmoil for many Americans, for those who joined in 'the party', it was a time of liberation and rebellion against traditional values. For those who did not, it was a time of anxiety and worry. All this combined to make the 1920s a decade of contrasts. Alison Cheung Page 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 boom of the 1920's did not benefit all Americans''. Explain how far you ...

    Also, trade unions were weak, so most attempts at trying to help workers were unsuccessful and went unnoticed, this also meant that there was little threat or demand for the government to do anything about the situations some people found themselves in.

  2. c) To what extent did all Americans benefit from the boom in the 1920's?

    In conclusion a lot of Americans benefited from the boom in the 1920's, but not all. Anyone that got involved with the Ford car industry benefited greatly because it opened many opportunities to other people and got other industries booming.

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

    Another group of people who seemed to not live the American way of life were the farmers. During the war, European countries had brought wheat from America and the farmers produced a lot because there was more demand for it.

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

    In Chicago 40% were out of work. By 1933 nationally, 14m people were out of work. Bizarre stories went round - for example, in some areas men started forest fires in the hope of being hired to put them out. Most employers were slow the fire workers and only did so when there was no alternative.

  2. The Wall Street crash, the great depression and its how it affected the lives ...

    But who were the most and least damaged socially and economically by the depression and what were some of the ways in which people were affected? Most historians would agree that the Farming population of the USA did have an extremely bad time during the depression.

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

    Membership rose to 40% in some areas in the south Membership grew so much because there were more foreign workers in cities, threatening many WASPs. Lynched, burned and tortured many foreigners. * Sacco and Vanzetti Case-5 May 1920 Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were arrested, charged and execute for the murder of Fred Parmenter and a security guard.

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

    Another point of change was the invention of the motor car. Cars set free many Americans, including women.

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