how far was american society divided?

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rich vs poor

For many American farmers, life in the 1920s was a constant struggle against poverty. During the First World War, farmers had been encouraged to grow as much food as they could. They continued to do this in the 1920s until they had produced more cotton and wheat than they could sell.

As prices dropped, many farmers lived in unhygienic conditions in tin shacks, without electricity or running water. In 1929, when the average monthly income of a skilled manufacturing worker might be $140, farm labourers were earning only $49 a month.

Only 5 per cent of the American population owned a third of the wealth, while 42 per cent of the population were living below the poverty line.


Before the First World War, many Americans saw their country as a melting pot


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