The Roaring Twenties
During the 1920s, economic and social change grew across the country. The nicknames for this decade were "The Jazz Age" and "The Roaring Twenties". The economy boomed and wages for most Americans and prices fell. This resulted in a higher standard of living and a dramatic increase in consumer consumption. Women changed the way that they dressed, thought, and acted in a manner that shocked their more traditional parents. The changes that occurred were encouraged by the mass media that included radio and motion pictures.
The American economy’s growth rate during the 1920s was led by the automobile industry. The number of cars on the road almost tripled between 1920 and 1929, stimulating the production of steel, rubber, plate glass, and other materials that went into making an automobile (A New Society: Social & Economic Change,2012). Henry Ford pioneered the two key developments that made his industry growth possible. They were standardization and mass production. Standardization meant making every care almost the same. Mass production used standardized parts and division of labor on an assembly line to produce cars quickly and efficiently. New techniques were created by Ford and they were called welfare capitalism. These techniques helped build worker loyalty and blunt the development of unions. Ford paid the highest wages in the industry and established 4-day, 40-hour workweeks. Other companies followed Ford and improved working conditions, setting up company unions, offering health insurance and profit-sharing plans, and developed recreational programs.
American industry produced thousands of consumer goods in the 1920s. This included everything from automobiles to washing machines to electric razors. Mass consumption was encouraged through a combination of advertising and installment buying. When peace was made, ad agencies used newspapers, mass circulation magazines, and radio to effect consumption patterns. The opportunity...