Changes in the 1920s

As the economy boomed, wages rose for most Americans and prices fell, resulting in a higher standard of living and a dramatic increase in consumer consumption. These changes were encouraged by the new mass media that included radio and motion pictures.

Changes in the 1920s

As the economy boomed, wages rose for most Americans and prices fell, resulting in a higher standard of living and a dramatic increase in consumer consumption. These changes were encouraged by the new mass media that included radio and motion pictures.

Booming economy and consumerism.

Changes in the 1920s

The American economy's phenomenal growth rate during the '20s was led by the automobile industry. The number of cars on the road almost tripled between andstimulating the production of steel, rubber, plate glass, and other materials that went into making an automobile.

Henry Ford pioneered the two key developments that made this industry growth possible — standardization and mass production.

Standardization meant making every car basically the same, which led to jokes that a customer could get a car in any color as long as it was black. Mass production used standardized parts and division of labor on an assembly line introduced by Ford before the war to produce cars more quickly and efficiently.

Both innovations had a dramatic impact on price: Ford also created new management techniques that became known as welfare capitalism.

These tactics, along with yellow dog contracts, through which employees agreed not to join a union, worked; union membership dropped by almost two million between and American industry produced thousands of consumer goods in the s, everything from automobiles to washing machines to electric razors.

Mass consumption was encouraged through a combination of advertising, which created a demand for a particular product, and installment buying, which enabled people to actually purchase the product. The power of advertising to shape public attitudes had been demonstrated through the Committee on Public Information's use of media to marshal public support during World War I.

When peace came, ad agencies used newspapers, mass circulation magazines, and radio to effect consumption patterns.

Changes in the 1920s

The power of advertising even influenced religion. Bruce Barton's bestseller, The Man Nobody Knows, portrayed Jesus Christ as a master salesman and the spread of Christianity as a successful advertising campaign.

Providing the opportunity to buy on credit was also a powerful marketing tool. Businesses exhorted consumers to put a small amount down and pay off the balance in monthly installments, instead of saving money for an item and purchasing it with cash. As a result, Americans' savings rate dropped sharply in the '20s, and their personal debt rose.

The new woman and minorities. With a new look came new viewpoints and values, including a more open attitude toward premarital sex. Margaret Sanger, who had first promoted birth control before World War I as a means of sparing poor women from unwanted pregnancies, argued that the diaphragm gave women more sexual freedom.

The new woman's mystique was exemplified by the heroines of F. But the flapper represented only a small percentage of American women; for the overwhelming majority, life did not change that much.

The sharp increase in the number of women in the labor force during World War I ended abruptly with the armistice. Female employment grew slowly in the s, mostly in occupations traditionally identified with women — office and social work, teaching, nursing, and apparel manufacturing — and women who worked were usually single, divorced, or widowed.

Even with more women in the workplace, no progress was made on issues such as job discrimination or equal pay. At home, despite claims of creating increased leisure time, the myriad of electrical appliances on the market actually did little to alleviate the amount of housework women had to do.

After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, women's political progress also slowed. When given the vote, for example, women cast their ballot much the same way that men did, basing their decisions on class, regional, and ethnic loyalties rather than gender. Furthermore, although the Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced in Congress inand Nellie Ross became the first woman elected the governor of a state Wyoming in the following year, there were still parts of the country were women could not hold public office.

What Happened in the 1920s Check out the new toys pages where you can see some of the children's toys that could be found during the Roaring Twenties and other decades.

The black population of Chicago grew from less than 50, in to almost aby Blacks were not the only minority on the move in the s. Neither the Quota Act nor the National Origins Act limited immigration from countries in the Western Hemisphere, and nearlyMexicans entered the United States between and Commercial radio began in when Pittsburgh station KDKA broadcast the results of the presidential election.

As the number of homes with radios rapidly increased from 60, in to more than 10 million inthe airwaves became the medium over which Americans got their news and entertainment.

The business of radio was simple and supported the growing consumer culture:A New Society: Economic & Social Change A tide of economic and social change swept across the country in the s. Nicknames for the decade, such as “the Jazz Age” or “the Roaring Twenties,” convey something of the excitement and the changes in social conventions that were taking place at .

Women in the s Fact 5: Flappers: The Flappers of the 's represented Modernism and typified the clash of values and the changing status of women of the new era. The free-spirited Flappers flouted convention, cut their hair, listened to jazz and scandalized the older generation.

The Roaring Twenties was one of the most transformative decades in America. For the first time, more people lived in cities than on farms and the nation’s wealth more than doubled. The culture. A tide of economic and social change swept across the country in the s.

Nicknames for the decade, such as “the Jazz Age” or “the Roaring Twenties,” convey something of the excitement and the changes in social conventions that were taking place at the time. The s were a period of dramatic changes. More than half of all Americans now lived in cities and the growing affordability of the automobile made people more mobile than ever.

Although the decade was known as the era of the Charleston dance craze, jazz, and flapper fashions, in many respects it was also quite conservative. The s was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, , and ended on December 31,

Change and Reaction in the s