Beneath the Boom in 1920s America

All of those who still suffered during the boom in 1920s America

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  • Created on: 15-06-10 08:53
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Beneath the Boom
Old Industries
Traditional industries such as coal and textiles did not prosper, on average coalminers earned only $103 a month were as
builders earnt $320. There was also an overproduction of coal which led to mine closure, and the textiles industry
suffered due to the `flapper' fashions using less cloth. These industries were worsened due to the Fordney McCumber
Tariff, as it led to retaliation by many other countries leaving few exports.
For many American farmers the twenties was a constant struggle against poverty, as during WW1 they had been
encouraged to grow as much as possible which they continued into the twenties. This combined with the lack of foreign
markets led to overproduction, meaning the prices were very low but the more they made the lower they dropped. In
1924 600 000 farmers went bankrupt, and rural areas also did not have electricity therefore they were initially excluded
from the consumer boom.
Unequal Wealth
Only 5% of the population earned a third of it's wealth, while 42% of the population were living below the poverty line.
This meant that few people could actually buy the products leading to a small market. As part of this unemployment rates
were rising as machines slowly replaced more people's jobs.
Stock Exchange
Wall Street was over heating, due to great over confidence in the market. Spending on the margin was common, causing
brokers loans to treble. If shares stopped rising it would cause catastrophe due to too many people relying on them
including banks.
Immigrants/Black Americans
1 million black farm workers lost their jobs in the 20s, with the only jobs they could find being menial and low paying. The
Black Harlem district in New York was seriously overcrowded with people having to take shifts in order to have room to
sleep. Recent immigrants also suffered the same problems,
particularly communists during the Red Scare of 1919-20.
They also suffered from the resurrection of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK),
who believed in the superiority of White Angle-Saxon
protestants (WASPs). They would lynch and threaten anyone who
wasn't meaning many black people in the Deep South were
constantly fearing for their lives.

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