Prosperity Of The 1920s Essay

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In stark contrast to the prosperity of the 1920s, the Great Depression affected every industrialised country from 1929 to 1929. Under Republican administration, laissez faire capitalism incited the emergence of fundamental flaws within the manufacturing sector, as well as high tariffs. These policies ultimately precipitated extreme disparities in wealth and civil liberties. Although such policies were major causative factors in this era, they cannot be identified as the sole cause of the Depression. Three successive Republican Administrations took the United States from a state of recession post World War I into a decade of ‘unparalleled prosperity’ in the 1920s. Using business as the principle constituent of their party, they encouraged the…show more content…
In the 1920s, America’s central goal was prosperity and Warren Harding’s “return to normalcy” policy resounded positively with war weary voters. This isolationism led to the development of the Emergency Tariff Act of 1921. Tariffs of up to 50% on imports were imposed to protect US business from foreign competition. Whilst the aim of this policy was to create more capital wealth within America, it left businesses large and small unable to sell the products they were accumulating as a result of mass production. Rather than identifying these import taxes as an issue, Herbert Hoover imposed the Smoot Hawley Tariff in 1930, increasing import duties to their highest rate ever. Retaliatory high tariffs prevented both the manufacturing and agricultural sectors from exporting surplus products that were becoming increasingly redundant within the United States. This incited the collapse of agricultural prices, increasing levels of bankruptcy, debt and poverty whilst leaving farmers unable to participate in the consumer economy. Following this, various scams such as the Florida land boom infiltrated America and left ordinary Americans unable to feed their families, let alone buy new products, accentuating the effects of the Depression as a result of a lack of government
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