Impact of World War I
The First World War caused a major realignment in the U.S. economy and the society. For example, taxes levied on households and businesses increased significantly because of the huge cost associated with the war; some businesses paid up to 77% of their profits as taxes. Apart from economic changes, the society also experienced significant changes. Unemployment, for instance, reduced from 20 % to around 1.4 %. This was after the unemployed joined organizations making goods associated with the war. The demand for goods was primarily coming from foreign markets (European markets). The gains made during the World War I were consolidated during the “roaring twenties.”
For instance, the government implemented policies that favored growth of private businesses. This was by significantly reducing high taxes levied on private businesses and wealthy individuals to enable them reinvest their profits. On the other hand, the soldiers returning from war brought with them massive benefits into the economy. In addition, companies, such as Ford, started to make goods for the mass market, thus opening expanding the demand and supply side of the economy.
On the technology front, innovative products such as the telephone, radio and cinema started to come up. This facilitated faster dissemination of information. New urban centers also started to come up during the “roaring twenties.” Immigration laws, on the other hand, became stricter, especially on citizens from countries contributing more than 2% of the U.S. population. The “roaring twenties” also saw the growth of pop culture and tolerance towards women and other groups. The 19th amendment, for example, gave women the rights to vote, and homosexuality also became more visible during this period. The “roaring twenties” also witnessed a decline of labour unions. The lack of leadership and the prospering economy made it impossible to organize strikes. Business progressivism also gathered steam during the 1920s by pushing for mechanization and efficient governance.
Kallen, S. A. (2002). The Roaring Twenties. Farmington Hills, MI : Greenhaven Press. pp. 11-27.
Moore, L. (2011). Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties. New York, NY :
Overlook Press. p. 27
Schultz, K. (2012). HIST, 2nd edition . Stamford, CT: Cengage. p.389.