The Roaring Twenties Essay Research Paper THE — страница 3

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manufacturers and gas stations. Standard Oil gas stations grew from 12 in 1920 to 1,000 by 1929, (Time-Life 102). With all the expansion, and the economy doing well, business became the foundation of society. Calvin Coolidge epitomized the time when he was quoted saying, “The business of America is business,” (Cronon 342). The Stock-Market became a very important aspect of the economy in the 1920’s. As the economy was flourishing, many Americans found it a practical investment to put money into the Stock Exchange as the return could be quite large. John J. Rascob, the vice-president of General Motors Corporation during the Twenties, declared that anyone that put $15 dollars a month in the stock-market could make $80,000 dollars in twenty years. It was such promises of these

that convinced many Americans to buy stocks. Stock prices rose gradually in the early 20’s, but skyrocketed in 1927, and 1928. Average stock prices tripled from 1925 to 1929. The high profits seemed to confirm President Hoover’s pledge of a new era of abundance, during which “poverty will be banished from this nation,” (Cronon 341). The nations illusion of unending prosperity was shattered on October 24, 1929. Worried investors who bought stock on credit began to sell. This led to the development of a panic amongst investors. The panic only worsened things and on October 24, 1929, stockholders sold a record 16,410,030 shares. By mid-November, stock prices had plunged 40%. The crash of the Stock Market led to the Great Depression. The depression was the worst in the

history of the United States and proved to be a terrible price to pay for the false sense of prosperity and national well -being of the roaring Twenties. Many Americans felt that they were untouchable in society. The thought of the American Dream cemented in the heads of thousands of Americans overshadowed the real risk of business in the United States. When the American people saw that the economy was flourishing, they felt that they were on a pedestal, protected from the river of uncertainty, economic depression and the failure of the American Dream. Many Americans found a way to improve their lifestyle. Whether it had been through hard work on the job, or even with a struck of luck on the stock market. There were, however, many people who found other ways to make a living.

Some of these ways were prohibited. With the passing of the 18th Amendment, it became illegal to manufacture or sell alcoholic beverages. Thousands of Americans began making liquor at home which quickly became known as bathtub rum. Gangsters disregarded the law and found it quite profitable bootlegging liquor from Canada and selling it to illegal bars known as speakeasies. Police were often bribed not to intervene in the activities of smuggling. Bootlegging, although prosperous to the ringleader, was a dangerous activity in which over 500 gangland murders occurred as underworld mobs fought for control of the liquor traffic. (Time Life 166) The United States in the Twenties was still a young country which had not yet established itself an identity. Was the image of the United

States going to be that of the American Dream? The image of a successful entrepreneur whose once insignificant business exploded into a nationwide corporation? The image of the stock holder who hit it big on the market? The image of the local supermarket owner whose business grew to a chain from coast to coast? What about the bootlegging capital of the world? The truth was, there was no image established yet for the nation. During the Twenties, everybody was trying to make it to the top with their own techniques and methods, whether it have been through such positive activities as investing, or negative activities as bootlegging. There were many famous Americans who left a positive mark on the history of the United States during the Twenties. One of the most famous was Charles A.

Lindbergh, an aviator who is noted in his achievement of being the first person to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. Lindbergh’s feat gained him immediate, international fame. Lindbergh and his wife paved the way for future airlines by charting routes for aircraft. While Lindbergh was contributing to aviation, other Americans had some exceptional contributions. One scientist became famous for his work with rockets. In 1926, Scientist Robert H. Goddard fired liquid fueled rockets into the atmosphere. It was he who laid the basis of modern rocketry. There were many new inventions which were created during the Twenties, as well as new methods and techniques. Department stores began introducing installment payment plans to their customers. The idea of “Buy Now and Pay