The Similarities and Differences of the 1920’s and 1950’s

analytical Essay
892 words
892 words

Out of some of the most turbulent times in history have come the greatest ages of success and prosperity. The 1920’s and 1950’s are two eras that exemplify the spirit of triumph and wealth. In both decades, a nation thrilled by the victorious conclusion of war and the return of their loved ones from war entered into an age of capitalism and materialism, bolstering the economy and with it national pride. Some of features most common to the 20’s and 50’s were consumerism and the accompanying optimistic mindset, the extent to which new ideas entered society, and discrimination in terms of both sexism and racism. On the heels of war, new technology caused a decrease in prices of goods in the 1920’s and in the 1950’s the GI Bill increased income. The bureaucratization of business in the 1920’s meant that more people could be employed in higher paying white-collar jobs than before, including, for the first time, housewives. This new income combined with the reduced prices for goods that resulted from mechanized production, assembly lines and a general decrease of the cost of technology created a thriving consumerist middle class that went on to fuel the economy in all sectors, especially the upper classes. Likewise, during World War II Americans saved up around 150 billion dollars, and this sum combined with the income of the GI Bill allowed normal people to buy expensive things, from houses to cars to electronics to educations at a rapid rate, fueling the trademark prosperity of the 1950’s. The new automobile culture of the 50’s spawned new businesses that catered to mobile Americans, such as nicer and more standardized hotels like Holiday Inn, and drive-up restaurants like McDonalds. Just as the culture of the 1920’s was transfo... ... middle of paper ... ...wo decades was that in the 1920’s women’s rights advocates were able to pass the 19th amendment, granting women suffrage, and increasing political interest among women. Both time periods were difficult ones for minorities and women, though some victories were had. The 1920’s and 1950’s both shared the optimism that the conclusion of a war brings, and consequently both began very prosperously. While the materialism of the 20’s faded into the economic depression that followed, and the glow of the 1950’s was dimmed by the onset of communist fever, both decades proved to be successful and iconic in the way that they brought about massive prosperity, and because youth found new ways of expressing themselves and inviting progress. Unfortunately not all outcomes were good, and both eras triggered an onslaught of racial tension that would continue well into the future.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the 1920s and 1950s exemplify the spirit of triumph and wealth, a nation thrilled by the victorious conclusion of war and the return of their loved ones from war.
  • Analyzes how the gi bill increased income in the 1920s and 1950s, and helped fuel the economy in all sectors, especially the upper classes.
  • Compares how the 1920s and 1950s were characterized by a new moral feeling that separated the youth from the adults.
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