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HIS271Y1 (258)
Erin Black (183)


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Erin Black

1920s I. Economic Boom i. The economy grew spectacularly, but it wasn't an equal growth amongst the north and the south. Agricultural industry was lacking behind the industrial society. Overall, from 1921 to 1925,the economy went from 67 million to 81 billion. The automobile industry was largely credited for this growth (by 1920s,60% of American families owned car). There was also a low unemploymentrate in the country, which allowed high output and productivity. Industries that didn't exist previously started to boom due to the automobile industry. These include fast food restaurants, which allowed people to quickly grab food, and motels, which allowed the growth of tourism. Ford also introduced the assembly line, which was an ideology that spread to other industries. With the assembly line, productivity went up by 32%. The consumer society also began to emerge. When productivity grew, there was a greater need for consumers. which then sprung modern advertising. ii. Advertising fortified the mentality of "don't save just spend." Middle class had more money, but costs aren't catching up, which meant that thee were greater disposable income. They were able to buy things such as phonographs,radios, and etc. Advertising helped stimulate desire. In the 1920s, advertising changed how Americans thought -- they let go of Traditional values. Prior to World War I, advertising was more about just plain ol' product description. However, after the 20s, they were more about what the product does for you spiritually and emotionally. Adverts started to appeal to those who couldn't afford them either. To ensure all Americans can get them, credits emerged. Credits spread in the 1920s iii. Mortgages were brought about, which allowed more possibilities to own a home. It was one of the greatest things that contributed to the fall of the economy. Use of credit to buy things spreads like a pandemic. Consumer debt doubled in the decade due to use of credit. Through mortgages, more Americans get the opportunityto get a home. Allows them to buy whatever they want. Psychologically significant—no more rent, you’re more independent—compare to Jefferson’s idea of owning a farm. This contributes to depression in the 30s. II. Mass Culture and Mass Consumption Mass consumption led to mass culture, regardless of ethnic, religious and economic background. i. Movies: This was the most popular attraction. In the 1890s, the were just considered novelties. BY 1927, the first synchronized sound movie was produced. It was The Jazz Singer. There was an emergence of movie stars in NYC and LA. Theatres were better designed, with nicer seats. They were also cheaper and more grand. This attracted more people than if they were only for the elites. By 1922,around 40 million people attended movies per week. ii. Jazz: Jazz was the creation of African-Americans. It was an amalgamation of blues and classical music, which became popular in New Orleans in early 20th century. The great migration helped the spread of jazz, which quickly attracted youth of White America. The White Americans "Whitened it up" and made it an American culture. Parents hated this, but white music producers saw the potential of it for money, so they added symphonicsounds to make it more grand. This represented a changing way of life. It was popularized by the phonograph and the radio itself- Live! The new Jazz Age, which got its name in the 20s, represented the new and the innovative present in the USA. iii. Radio: It increased the buzz of news reports, sportscasts and such. This gave birth to the idea of soap opera. Manufacturers made millions per year by mid-decade. About 10.25million radios were sold by the end of the decade. All classes could listen to the radio. Comedy shows were used too. There were over 500 radio stations in the USA, and manufacturers were churning out two million radios by mid-decade per year. This modern phenomenonhelped to witness the change of social values. III. The Change of Social Values i. A Sexual Revolution: People are talking about sex as pleasure over duty more commonly. Movies explored more sexual contents, and songs had suggestive titles. Women are talking about their enjoyment. Movies enjoyed looking into sexual things, such as the anatomy of a kiss. New dance forms symbolized this sexual freedom. Sex won't occur until one is married, which was still an idea that was widespread. It's just sex is now more enjoyable. There were increased acts of intercourse among people who were engaged. There were also increased acts of short intercourse. Sex was seen less as a prostitute behaviour and more of a regular also increased acts of short intercourse. Sex was seen less as a prostitute behaviour and more of a regular behaviour. Sexual expression was moving beyond the borders of marriage. ii. Dating: Dating was a new thing that occurred in this time! This permitted sexual exploration. It was a response to the recreations and social development such as theatres and dance halls). The invention of the car also guided this because it allowed for more freedom. Men and women no longer socialized indifferent spheres. These trends are also observed in small cities aside from urban dwellings. Middletown studies demonstrated that social developments were prominent in both small towns and large cities. Being a woman had a significant change in role. Though they were still regarded as objects of sexual desire, they were also seen as individuals with wants and needs. IV. The New Woman i. The Flappers: Women were cutting their hair, and hemlines were starting to go above the knees. Women started wearing make up, which was previously a thing for just prostitutes. They were now out on the streets instead of staying home, and probably smoked and drink (secretly because prohibition laws were still on). ii. Economic Expressions: More middle class women were working for pay, which meant they had an
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