How Far Did the ‘Boom’ Revolutionise the American Economy?

How Far Did the ‘Boom’ Revolutionise the American Economy?

The _1920s __saw a huge increase in economic, industrial, and social wellbeing. This was called the ‘Boom’, and was brought about through a combination of resource wealth, government policies, and America prospering hugely from the First World War. The ‘Boom’ was marked by the growth of some of America’s largest industries, including the _motor industry, and showed capitalism and consumer society in a brand new light. It was also characterised through huge growth in the phenomena of advertising, celebrityculture and endorsements, and thrived off the new principles of mass production.

How Far Did the ‘Boom’ Revolutionise the American Economy?, figure 1

This diagram shows the ‘cycle of prosperity’, whereby each element of the ‘Boom’ worked symbiotically to make everyone better-off.

Read through the following statements in the three categories: advertising, industry, and capitalism and consumer culture.

Advertising

Whilst the statements have been sorted for you, they all link to one or both of the other categories. Answer the question box below each statement with the name of the category or categories they link to.

If there are any answers you disagree with, make a note of this in your notes tool. Remember, so long as you justify your opinion you can argue pretty much anything in your history exam!

Advertising was growing hugely in presence and demand – the period of 1920-1922 saw a 200% increase in advertisements placed in papers and on billboards.
Your answer should include: capitalism / consumer
Leading companies in the advertising industry were Coca Cola (who popularised the first ‘red Santa’), ‘Victoria’ (a company who produced ‘music machines’), and Ford. Each of these had dedicated budgets for advertising, and became luxury brands as a result of their publicised image. This meant that demand for their products soared, and they had to open new factories to keep up with the demand.
Your answer should include: capitalism / consumer / industry
The world’s first radio station opened in Pittsburgh in November of 1920, to broadcast the winner of the Presidential election. By the next year there was a daily radio show, ushering in a new age of communication media. As with everything else, it didn’t take long for radio to contribute to two growing trends: radio was full of advertisements, and ‘celebrities’ emerged, with their own shows.
Your answer should include: capitalism / consumer
Catalogues were launched, combining advertising and the epitome of consumer culture. These were printed en-masse and given away for free with any purchase – inside was everything you could possibly buy, with mail order free for most purchases. These were particularly popular with families who lived further away from the emerging shopping centres, as they could peruse the brands at leisure, and order them to their homes.
Your answer should include: capitalism / consumer / industry

Industry

Whilst the statements have been sorted for you, they all link to one or both of the other categories. Answer the question box below each statement with the name of the category or categories they link to.

If there are any answers you disagree with, make a note of this in your notes tool. Remember, so long as you justify your opinion you can argue pretty much anything in your history exam!

During the Boom, to be successful, factories had to adopt mass production methods. This involved producing the same product as quickly and as cheaply as possible. ‘Workmanship’ and personalisation were no longer worthwhile – factories had to be cheap and fast, or else shut down.
Your answer should include: capitalism / consumer
The uniformity of products coming out of mass production factories meant that they could be more accurately, and widely, sold. Shops invested in brochures and catalogues, and could promise all customers the same product. This also gave factories the ability to process mass orders, for thousands of the same product.
advertising
Car making used just over 20% of American steel, just under 70% of American leather, and around 80% of American rubber and glass. This was a huge boost to the primary (producing) industries, especially to the States in the middle of the U.S. Ford dominated, selling ½ of all American cars.
Your answer should include: capitalism / consumer
New manufacturing techniques were becoming popular, including the revolutionary electrical assembly line. Popularised by Henry Ford, as part of his leading charge in the motor industry, this made production significantly more efficient – decreasing production costs of goods, and therefore lowering the price to make them more available across America. The production line also allowed factories to quickly ramp up production, increase employment, and contribute to mass production.
Your answer should include: capitalism / consumer

Capitalism and Consumer Society

Whilst the statements have been sorted for you, they all link to one or both of the other categories. Answer the question box below each statement with the name of the category or categories they link to.

If there are any answers you disagree with, make a note of this in your notes tool. Remember, so long as you justify your opinion you can argue pretty much anything in your history exam!

For the first time, people began to value ‘newness’ and ‘modernity’, over saving money and buying products that would last for years. This was the growth of consumer society, where things were cheap and tempting enough to buy quickly, and to continue spending, rather than long saving. This drove demand much higher than ever before.
industry
In 1915, just over 15% of American homes had electricity. By 1929, over 70% did. This revolutionised daily life, and boosted spending – people could buy white goods.
industry
Mail order’ became widespread for the first time, often linked with the growth of the department store catalogues. For the first time, the average shopper could afford to sit at home and order something from the catalogue, and then have it delivered. This extended the reach of the shops’ consumer pull, and employed drivers and so on.
Your answer should include: advertising / industry
Demand for new ‘lifestyle goods’, especially electrical goods such as radios, laundry machines, and kitchen appliances, soared. This gave the American people something to spend their money on, factories a market to produce for, and created many jobs in these expanding industries.
industry