"the roaring 20s"

Consumer Economy

Consumer Economy is a type of economy that relies on people buying and spending. Consumer spending has risen 72% in the US since 1960. The US wealth has doubled between 1920-1930. To have this economy thrive, prices had to change. Stores started lowering prices to make things more affordable for the middle class.

Pros and Cons of a Consumer Economy

  • Prices of items would go down, which means people in the middle class would be able to afford things
  • People could start to buy things that weren't as important as food and clothes
  • Improved our economy
  • Made our economy reliable. As long as things are being made and people are buying them our economy will stay strong

  • People get money from having jobs. If people keep losing their jobs and we run out of business for them to work in then that means they wont have enough money to buy those items

Advertising (Consumer Economy)

Advertising plays a big role in this type of economy. It has also helped us start creating a demand for gadgets and appliances.

Social media plays a big role in advertising. Everywhere you look there is an advertisement. Advertising is also another way to get people hyped about a product. Everyone always wants the items on infomercials because it looks cool but in reality it probably doesn't work. They advertise things to get people to want it and that's how they make their money. I think advertising plays a big role on Consumer Economy because it promotes products and gets people wanting to buy the product.

BUY NOW, PAY LATER (Consumer Economy)

Many people started to live by the motto “BUY NOW, PAY LATER.”I think this motto was something that helped the US gain power and a good way to improve our economy. I think that the 20's were a time where we improved our economic standing and our standing in the world. This moto is mainly why stores started giving people credit. Credit is were you can buy the item off in the future instead of paying for it right there. Without having credit I don't think consumer economy would have thrived as much. One reason i don't think it would have thrived is because you weren't paid a lot back then and you had more important expenses to pay. I think with stores bringing prices down and making an option to have credit it helped the US start a consumer economy.

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Picture Credit: "Broken Piggy Bank", 2001, Licensed under public domain at Flicker.

This picture shows how people were taking all their savings/money and spending it on things at the stores. Many people spent all there money on items at the stores because they could finally afford them. Because almost everyone was buying and spending at that time it seemed logical to have a consumer economy. I think that this type of economy benefits our country but it doesn't benefit people. So many people know they have credits and loans so they spend all there money. In the end they never pay back those loans which makes them go in debt. In all I think this economy is very reliable and has improved our economical standing in the world but it isn't the best for people that don't know how to control it.


The 1920's was the start of the greatest immigration wave in American history. Between the late 1800's and early 1900's more than 25 million foreigners come to the US. Between 1900 and 1915, more than 15 million immigrants arrived to the U.S. That was almost equal to the number of immigrants that had came in the past 40 years combined. In 1910 more than three-fourths of New York's population was full of immigrants or first generation American immigrants. The only problem with more immigrants coming to the US is that people that already lived here didn't know how to react to them coming here. Not long after WW1 immigration started to drop because of restrictions that were being made.


Immigration gave the U.S an economic edge. Immigrants brought initiative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit to the U.S. They helped us created new business in the U.S. They also enhanced America's ability to trade and invest world wide. They are a huge reason why we can keep prices down and respond to changes in consumer demand.

Another way I think they helped out our economy is by filling jobs that others didn't want to fill. For example jobs like physics or working in construction or restaurants. They basically toke jobs Americans didn't want so when people say they don't want immigrants because they take jobs in reality that's not true. They really just toke jobs that no one else in America wanted to fill.

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Photo Credit: "Ellis Island," 1901, Licensed under public domain at wikipedia.org.

This picture shows all of these immigrant coming to the land of opportunity with just suit cases. They were so excited to come to the US and start a better life but the way they were treated might have made them start thinking if there trip here was worth it. They had done so much for America. They made new inventions, helped trade and toke jobs others didn't want. They also helped America seem like a salad bowl because there were so many different cultures, languages, and religion that immigrants brought here. They brought all of these different types of food, drinks and traditions. Without them we wouldn't have half the foods, drinks and traditions we have now. The U.S. also wouldn't be as diverse as it is now. Immigrants have helped the U.S. become more powerful and expand economically. The least people back then could have done is treat them better.

The 19th Amendment

The 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote. The amendment was the high point of more than 70 years of women's suffrage. A women's suffrage group started or was founded in the mid 1900's. It was founded by women who had became politically active thorough there movements. Women back then didn't have much rights. They didn't really work they just stayed home where they cooked, cleaned and watched there kids. I don't think it was fair to have the women stay home and not be able to do what they want. Just because they are another gender doesn't mean they shouldnt have the same rights as men.
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Photo Credit: "Women's suffrage in the United States," 1936, Licensed under public domain at wikipedia.org.

This picture shows how eager women were to start voting and using there rights They had been waiting over 40 years to get the right to vote and they finally got it. I think the passing of the 19th amendment was a step toward gender equality. After the 19th amendment was made the Constitution began to reflect the spirit of having democracy and equity. The way the country began to build this by starting with "the right of citizens of the U.S. to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the U.S. or by any State on account of sex." I think this was a great start to gender equality but also to race equality.


Entertainment in the 1920's was very different to how it is now. Back then they didn't have TVs or iPhone's. All they had was radios to listen to. You would listen to shows, music, sports, and news all on the radio. One of the most famous types of music back then was opera. It was on 6 days a week and almost everyone listened to it. One thing that was important was world wide broadcasting. This made it so everyone could hear news and listen to the same things. One very important thing the radio did was help advertise which has helped our economy.

Another thing that was just created was the movie theater. Many people called it a "magical experience." People were so excited and amazed by the movies back then because they had ushers that lead them to there seat. Another thing that was amazing about them is that they were the size of cathedrals. One thing that isn't the same now is that movie theaters in the 1920's had nurseries and baby sitters for kids! I like how back then the movies had restaurants, dance floors, and art galliers. Its cool how they had one great big place for all of those things, unlike now where everything is separate.

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Photo Credit: "Don Juan opens Warners' Theatre," 1926, Licensed under public domain at wikipedia.org.

This picture shows how excited people were to go to the movies. I don't really think now a days there are crowds that big to go to the movie theater. Back then there was so much more stuff to do. It isn't like now how all you can do is watch movies they had dance floors and restaurants. I think if we had that now more people would like going to the movies. Also if they brought back the nursery more people with kids would go. I think that the 1900's was when entertainment improved and it was the start of things evolving to what we have now.

Scopes Trial

John Thomas Scopes was a teacher in Tennessee, who was charged for violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of evolution in any Tennessee public schools or university. Evolution is the gradual development of something. It is mainly used when talking about living organisms. For example the evolution of humans.

Scopes Trail

The American Civil Liberties Union offered a fund to a legal defense for any teacher in Tennessee willing to fight the law in court. Scopes was willing to accept the challenge. In spring of 1925 Scopes walked into his classroom and read Dayton's theory of natural selection. He was then arrested and his trail date was set.

Scopes had one of the most Legendre attorneys, Clarence Darrow. On the states side they had William Jennings Bryan as a attorney. He was a former candidate for the U.S. presidency. He toke the case barbecue he believed that the evolution theory could let to dangerous social movements.

Scopes Trial

This trial was know as the "trial of the century." It was also turned into a media circus. The media was so crazy the nickname for the trail was "The Monkey Trial." The reason it was called this is because evolution says human evolved from monkeys rather than from god so that where it got its nickname from. Another very interesting thing i found out about this trial is that it was the first to be broadcast on the radio.
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Photo Credit: "Scopes Trial Museum," 2010, Licensed under public domain at Flicker.com

In the end the jury sided with what the law said. Scopes was fined $100 and was released. Through the whole trail there were supporters of the evolutionary theory. I like how they supported Scopes and his decision through everything. They didn't change there minds just because he lost. They sicked to what they believed in. Later on the court dismissed the fine and they upheld the anti-evolution law.

I think this law and trail has a lot to do with what we learn in school now. They made laws on what we can and cant be taught. I don't think this trail brought a lot of good to the country because people had different thoughts on this topic. It probley bought a lot of tension and differences. Because this trail was very big back in the 1920's i think that's why we have museums about it. Its something that was an important topic back then and I like how we have places to show us the history of it.

Agriculture Drop

During WW1 US farmers made record profits, because they were supplying Britain and France withe food on a regular basis. Britain relied greatly on imported foods to feed there population. Especially when the Germans sank merchant ships in 1917. Food become even more important.

After WW1 farming didn't go to well. US agriculture expanded during WW1 because we were selling food to Europe, but after the war all those countries returned to growing there own food. The expansion of crops and other things led to over-production, which means that there was too much food on the market and no one was buying all of it. Farmers came to the difficulty of not being able to sell their produce.

Agriculture Drop

Many farmers were in a lot of debt. The only way farmers could get rid of that debt was by selling there farms. Between 1920 and 1932, one in four farms was sold to meet financial obligations and many farmers migrated to urban areas. I think the reason they moved to urban areas was because it was more reliable than farming. Another reason i think they moved to urban areas was because we were becoming more of a consumer economy and farming wasn't that involved in this type of economy. I think they were just doing was the safest to have money and not go into debt again.

Agricultural Drop

Because there were so many Americans in debt they didn't buy foreign good which made foreigners earn less. That wasn't good because that meaned they didn't spend as much money on the US foodstuffs. This made it so European countries stopped buying from the US because we weren't buying from them. In the end there was a severe agricultural depression. We also had a lot of competition from Canada, who produced a large amount of wheat. All of this competition wasn't good for the US and farmers. During the 1920's more than 600,000 farmers went bankrupt.

Another bad thing that happened in the South was that they were so dependent on farms. Few farms back then had electricity, running water, and there wages were very low so without farming they had almost nothing.

One bad thing that happened was farmers were depended on cotton and when the price of cotton crashed farmers started to struggle finally. Then dust storms started to hot which blew away topsoil and destroyed more of the agricultural land. This made it impossible for farmers to even grow anything, which meaned they made no money.

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Photo Credit: "Dust Bowl," 1936, Licensed under public domain at Wikipedia.org

I think that when WW1 was done farmers stopped doing well. I don't think the years after the war did good to farmers because a lot went into debt and sold there farms. The 1920s was more of a good time for people in urban cites and a bad time for farmers. I think farmers weren't thinking about the end of the war and what was going to happen then. They just kept making more and more crops which didn't turn out good in the end. I think being a farmer is tricky because the market is always changing.

Technology (Automobile)

One major invention that was made was the automobile. Henry Ford made a combustion engine in 1896 which made him later on start his own Ford Motor Company. There they made affordable automobiles that were known as the Model-T. There was over 15 million cars sold between 1908 and 1927. By the end of the decade almost every family had at least one car. The automobile started to become more and more important to people. One pro to having a car was that people no longer had to live close to there workplace, instead they could drive there if they lived further away. Another pro is that families could visit relatives on a constant basis.

Technology (Movie Theater and silent movies)

The first ever movie theater was invented in 1908, but it wasn't till 1920 when they started to become popular. Movie theaters back then seemed way more fun and cool. They didn't just have movies there. They had restaurants and dance floors! It seemed to me like it was kinda like a mall. All of these different things combined into one building. I think that if we had all those cool things they had in the movie theaters back then more people would go now. I think that movie theater led to silent movies. Silent movies were first introduced to people in 1922. They turned out to be extremely popular. At the time it was the 3rd leading business industry. I think the movie theater was a great way to have fun and just get out of the house.

Technology (Vacuum)

The first mobile vacuum was invented in 1901. This type of vacuum made it easier to clean. It also works faster and is more efficient. The inventor, Cecil Booth, made a vacuum that blasted dust out and then blew it away. Many people told him that wouldn't work. He then made “a massive gasoline-powered and horse-drawn vacuum cleaner” which became very popular. The only problem with his invention was that it wasn't compact and it wasn't meant for house use. Many people tried recreating his invention but many failed.

Technology (Radio)

The first radio was invented in 1895, but people didn't really start using it till around the 1920's. The radio started to play a important role in people's lives because there was over 500 stations broadcasting news, music, drama, sports, and shows. I feel like the radio is like a tv or phone nowadays. We rely on getting information from them just like how people relayed on radios for information. By the public was amazed by the radio. The radio ended up being a product of mass market. Manufactures were overwhelmed by the demand of the radio. Many people had to wait a long time to get there radios because they would sell out so fast. Between 1923 and 1930 over 60% of American families had a radio.

The radio was a great way to bond with family. In the evening, families would gather around the radio, and spend hours listening to news, music, drama, sports, and shows. People nowadays barley watch tv with there families because we have phones that tell us news right when it happens.

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Photo Credit: "Daimler advertisement," 1923, Licensed under public domain at Flicker.com

During the 1920's, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, and washing machines seemed to promise consumers more time for other activities. Advertising came of age during this era to sell the goods that bustling factories were producing. All of the things that were made back then are still in use right now. All we did was make them more beneficial for us and improved them. I think that without people making those inventions we wouldn't have a lot of that stuff right now and life would be harder. We have progressed so much from those items.

By: Agnes Ozegovic