While woman hadn’t reached the rights they have today, in the 1920′s, they were acting more “liberal” than they had up until that point. The picture above is the cover of a 1925 Life Magazine. It depicts a man and woman dressed the same smoking the same cigarette on a beach, symbolizing more rights for woman.
The roots of the “Roaring Twenties” can easily be traced to the unprecedented growth of the new American automotive industry. Basically created because of Henry Ford’s perfection of the process of mass production with his development of the moving assembly line in the early part of the 20th century, the rapid expansion of the industry gave way to one of the most prolific eras of economic boom in American history.
In chapter 20, Foner mentions that “The automobile was the backbone of economic growth.” Citing that the production of cars had tripled annually during the 1920′s. What is the most significant aspect in measuring the success of the 1920′s with the explosion of the auto industry, however, is that although Automotive factories would seem to replace the steel and textile factories that were the driving force behind the inturstrial boom of the late 19th century, it would actually bring expansion and success to the production of ”steel, rubber, oil production, road construction, and other sectors of the economy. It prompted tourism and the growth of suburbs…” (Foner, 722)
Many economists believe that the production of steel is one of, if not the, most important factors in determining the health, and direction of the economy – high levels of steel production mean high levels of new construction, and in the production of cars. This still holds true today (for further explanation see, \”Steel Industry Will Signal Recession\’s End\”).
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The roaring twenties became a time where Americans broke away from their old traditions. People starting becoming more involved in doing things that haven’t been done. Such things are people spending more and more of their money on leisure activities such as vacations, movies and sporting events. Radios owners exponentially increased and served as their daily entertainment resource. With that, the radio also became a great asset to spreading information. With this sudden upscale of the quality of living for Americans, the roaring twenties ended with the Great Depression in 1929.
The Roaring Twenties are recalled as the crazy age of social revolutions of sexes and behaviors. The social revolutionists from that era, especially the flappers (the young, sexually liberated women), were ultimately violating the religious and social taboos that were once strictly enforced. It was probably beyond the imagination of most Americans before the 1900s.
A video depicting our grannies, the women of Roaring Twenties, is located at the bottom of the post. The video, which has footage taken from the 1920s, illustrates the gregarious and luxurious life-styles of the brave women of the age of breaking former social taboos.
*It is worthwhile to note that Foner has described the reaction from Europe as positively amazed and envious. The actual wording is reproduced here: “Observers from Europe, where class divisions were starkly visible in work, politics, and social relations, marveled at the uniformity of American Life.”
I understand that Foner do not wish to go more depth for this topic, but I find his claim to be single-opinionated and without enough supporting evidences. Certainly, some Europeans probably had admired the liberal lifestyles of Americans; however, it’s hard to imagine that conservatives and religious Europeans would give recognition to the flappers. Foner’s claim probably had not given us a very accurate image, or is not well-supported enough to convince certain readers.