The 1920’s a regressive era When most people think of the 1920’s they think of a roaring and unrestricted economy, and a booming cultural golden age; however, this could not be father from the truth. Even though the economy was prosperous and the women had finally gained their suffrage, the 20’s were far from progressive. Racially blacks made little progress and white supremacists gained power, politically the government became self absorbed and corrupt, and economically while prosperous was incredibly unfair favoring the wealthy over the poor.
Women were some of the few people that profited from the 1920’s. Even though only white women profited the right vote is a vital step forward for everyone. Women were able to obtain more and better jobs and had access to birth control. They began to break free from their social boundaries that have been the standard for women for decades, discarding their corsets and restricting clothing for things that accentuated their feminine form and allowing them to express themselves and stand out as individuals.
Even though some would say that women were regressive because they became more immoral and partook in illegal drinking, and also became the brunt of sexist advertisement and media propaganda, they still began to act more like men wearing more comfortable clothing smoking and drinking while not necessarily good socially, or morally provided equality between men and women. This behavior is a necessary evil in a free society, and they were acting no worse than the men of the time. As progressive as the 20’s may have been for women the rest of the country went into a serious state of regression.
The economy while powerful was only beneficial to the rich and the corrupt. The poor became poorer and the rich richer. There were almost no regulations on business and large corporations. The unregulated and incredible growth of the economy forced this country in to the greatest economic depression it has ever experienced. In Marjorie’s speech she mentions that if it were not for the unregulated mistakes of the 1920’s that caused the Great Depression that there would still be minimal business regulations and no financial and economic support for the poor.
However, that does not change the fact that it was because of this regressive economic system in the 1920’s that sparked the great depression one of the worst era’s in U. S. History. Even in such an economically prosperous decade the average person benefitted very little. Close to 60 percent of Americans were living beneath the poverty line. Farmers also suffered during this era they we able to produce too much food and the demand for food after the war had dropped. The government refused to help, condemning the farmers the foundation of this country to their fate.
When the government finally decided to aid the farmers in the 30’s they simply paid the farmers to grow less food and subsidized the pay that they would get. While this solved the problem in the short run it was far from beneficial. This practice is still used today and is a financial burden on the economy, wastes of potential resources and puts smaller farms out of business. Even though the economy was prosperous, it was unregulated unfair, and moreover regressive for the average American. Many would claim that racism was progressive in 1920’s as it get better overtime; however, I would have to disagree.
Even though it was a time of great progressiveness in black culture with the birth of the Harlem renaissance, racism was just as bad if not worse as it was the previous decade. The Klu Klux Klan was on the rise, the Separate but Equal laws were still in place, and blacks were often barred from voting. In my opinion the increase in black culture was not caused by a growth in freedom and the decline of racism, but was a way for blacks to quietly rebel and deal with the increasingly racist and restricting times of the 1920’s.
The government ignored blacks legally. Even though white women had gained their suffrage black women were still bared and received little to no support from their female counter parts. Another example of regressive racism in the 20’s was immigration. The immigration restrictions that took place prevented migrants of certain ethnicities from entering The United States. These reforms are without any justification except to regulate the amount of certain ethnic groups.
Without any opposition from the progressive side from the debate I began to believe that the immigration reforms that took place in the 1920s were not only racist and xenophobic, but also regressive. Before the 20’s immigration did not favor one culture over the other. Racism was not only still prevalent, but growing, leaving me to believe that not only was it regressive, but any advancement in black culture can be credited to the overall resilience of a repressed people and not social acceptance or understanding.
The politics in the 1920’s were far from progressive. They let business work unregulated, placed immigration reforms that were xenophobic and racist, and were overall corrupt. Government officials were accepting bribes from big business. They sold government property during the Teapot Dome scandal, and let unions die out or become weak favoring the wealthy corporations. They were essentially bought by the wealthy and did nothing for the people. It was their negligence that led to the Great Depression.
Prohibition in many ways epitomized this corruption. Politicians not only disregarded it by freely drinking, but also profited from it as many sold it illegally. Prohibition also played a huge role in the rise of the mob as they got large amount of their money from bootlegging. While these politicians may have been democratically elected they were no doubt severely influenced by big business and the wealthy and did nothing for the people. Overall Politics in the 1920’s were more than just regressive, but also extremely corrupt and unfair.
In Conclusion the 1920s was far from a progressive decade. Women and the rich seem to really be the only ones who actually benefitted. The economy while prosperous was unfair, skewed and unreliable. Racism was getting worse, the Klu Klux Klan was on the rise, and immigration reform was racist and unprecedented. Politicians were corrupt, inept, favoring of the rich. The 20’s overall were extremely regressive. http://econc10. bu. edu/Ec341_money/Papers/Carroll_paper. htm
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