❤❤❤ Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom
This Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom has all the Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom elements of the Why Are Firearms Training Important Dream—economic possibility, racial and religious diversity, a carefree attitude. University of California Office of the President. According to Max Weberthe foundations of this process of change can be traced back Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom the Puritan Ethic of the Puritans My Papas Waltz Analysis the 17th century. Britain maintained and increased its financial role Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom the world economy, and used Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom English language to promote its educational system Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom students from around the globe. Politics was Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom an option at GCSE in my school but having grown Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom in a family of strong minded individuals working in public service Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom knew Essay On The 1920s Economic Boom would be my first choice at A —Level. In Sterling left the Gold Standard.
The U.S Economic Boom in the 1920s
In a sense, the war over slavery was also a war over the future of the economy and the essentiality of value. By issuing fiat currency, Lincoln bet the future on the elasticity of value. The currency was accepted by national and international creditors — such as private creditors from London, Amsterdam and Paris — and funded the feeding and provisioning of Union troops. In turn, the success of the Union Army fortified the new currency. Lincoln assured critics that the move would be temporary, but leaders who followed him eventually made it permanent — first Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression and then, formally, Richard Nixon in The uncompromising pursuit of measurement and scientific accounting displayed in slave plantations predates industrialism.
Northern factories would not begin adopting these techniques until decades after the Emancipation Proclamation. During the 60 years leading up to the Civil War, the daily amount of cotton picked per enslaved worker increased 2. That means that in , the average enslaved fieldworker picked not 25 percent or 50 percent as much but percent as much cotton than his or her counterpart did in Today modern technology has facilitated unremitting workplace supervision, particularly in the service sector.
Modern-day workers are subjected to a wide variety of surveillance strategies, from drug tests and closed-circuit video monitoring to tracking apps and even devices that sense heat and motion. The technology that accompanies this workplace supervision can make it feel futuristic. The core impulse behind that technology pervaded plantations , which sought innermost control over the bodies of their enslaved work force. And behind every cold calculation, every rational fine-tuning of the system, violence lurked. Plantation owners used a combination of incentives and punishments to squeeze as much as possible out of enslaved workers. Some beaten workers passed out from the pain and woke up vomiting. There is some comfort, I think, in attributing the sheer brutality of slavery to dumb racism.
We imagine pain being inflicted somewhat at random, doled out by the stereotypical white overseer, free but poor. Punishments were authorized by the higher-ups. It was not so much the rage of the poor white Southerner but the greed of the rich white planter that drove the lash. The violence was neither arbitrary nor gratuitous. Falling short of that quota could get you beaten, but overshooting your target could bring misery the next day, because the master might respond by raising your picking rate.
Profits from heightened productivity were harnessed through the anguish of the enslaved. This was why the fastest cotton pickers were often whipped the most. It was why punishments rose and fell with global market fluctuations. Slavery did supplement white workers with what W. But this, too, served the interests of money. Both in the cities and countryside, employers had access to a large and flexible labor pool made up of enslaved and free people. Labor power had little chance when the bosses could choose between buying people, renting them, contracting indentured servants, taking on apprentices or hiring children and prisoners.
Witnessing the horrors of slavery drilled into poor white workers that things could be worse. So they generally accepted their lot, and American freedom became broadly defined as the opposite of bondage. It was a freedom that understood what it was against but not what it was for; a malnourished and mean kind of freedom that kept you out of chains but did not provide bread or shelter. It was a freedom far too easily pleased. In recent decades, America has experienced the financialization of its economy. In , Congress repealed regulations that had been in place since the Glass-Steagall Act, allowing banks to merge and charge their customers higher interest rates.
Since then, increasingly profits have accrued not by trading and producing goods and services but through financial instruments. After witnessing the successes and excesses of Wall Street, even nonfinancial companies began finding ways to make money from financial products and activities. Ever wonder why every major retail store, hotel chain and airline wants to sell you a credit card? But in reality, the story begins during slavery. Cotton produced under slavery created a worldwide market that brought together the Old World and the New: the industrial textile mills of the Northern states and England, on the one hand, and the cotton plantations of the American South on the other.
Textile mills in industrial centers like Lancashire, England, purchased a majority of cotton exports, which created worldwide trade hubs in London and New York where merchants could trade in, invest in, insure and speculate on the cotton—commodity market. Though trade in other commodities existed, it was cotton and the earlier trade in slave-produced sugar from the Caribbean that accelerated worldwide commercial markets in the 19th century, creating demand for innovative contracts, novel financial products and modern forms of insurance and credit. Like all agricultural goods, cotton is prone to fluctuations in quality depending on crop type, location and environmental conditions.
Treating it as a commodity led to unique problems: How would damages be calculated if the wrong crop was sent? How would you assure that there was no misunderstanding between two parties on time of delivery? Textile merchants needed to purchase cotton in advance of their own production, which meant that farmers needed a way to sell goods they had not yet grown; this led to the invention of futures contracts and, arguably, the commodities markets still in use today. From the first decades of the s, during the height of the trans-Atlantic cotton trade, the sheer size of the market and the escalating number of disputes between counterparties was such that courts and lawyers began to articulate and codify the common-law standards regarding contracts.
This allowed investors and traders to mitigate their risk through contractual arrangement, which smoothed the flow of goods and money. Today law students still study some of these pivotal cases as they learn doctrines like forseeability, mutual mistake and damages. Consider, for example, one of the most popular mainstream financial instruments: the mortgage. Enslaved people were used as collateral for mortgages centuries before the home mortgage became the defining characteristic of middle America. In the early s, slaves were the dominant collateral in South Carolina. Or consider a Wall Street financial instrument as modern-sounding as collateralized debt obligations C.
Each product created massive fortunes for the few before blowing up the economy. Enslavers were not the first ones to securitize assets and debts in America. The land companies that thrived during the late s relied on this technique, for instance. Similarly, what was new about securitizing enslaved people in the first half of the 19th century was not the concept of securitization itself but the crazed level of rash speculation on cotton that selling slave debt promoted.
Enter the banks. The Second Bank of the United States, chartered in , began investing heavily in cotton. When seeking loans, planters used enslaved people as collateral. Thomas Jefferson mortgaged of his enslaved workers to build Monticello. People could be sold much more easily than land, and in multiple Southern states, more than eight in 10 mortgage-secured loans used enslaved people as full or partial collateral. Planters took on immense amounts of debt to finance their operations. The math worked out. A cotton plantation in the first decade of the 19th century could leverage their enslaved workers at 8 percent interest and record a return three times that.
So leverage they did, sometimes volunteering the same enslaved workers for multiple mortgages. Banks lent with little restraint. By , Mississippi banks had issued 20 times as much paper money as they had gold in their coffers. In several Southern counties, slave mortgages injected more capital into the economy than sales from the crops harvested by enslaved workers. Global financial markets got in on the action. When Thomas Jefferson mortgaged his enslaved workers, it was a Dutch firm that put up the money. The Louisiana Purchase, which opened millions of acres to cotton production, was financed by Baring Brothers, the well-heeled British commercial bank.
A majority of credit powering the American slave economy came from the London money market. Years after abolishing the African slave trade in , Britain, and much of Europe along with it, was bankrolling slavery in the United States. To raise capital, state-chartered banks pooled debt generated by slave mortgages and repackaged it as bonds promising investors annual interest. Some historians have claimed that the British abolition of the slave trade was a turning point in modernity, marked by the development of a new kind of moral consciousness when people began considering the suffering of others thousands of miles away. But perhaps all that changed was a growing need to scrub the blood of enslaved workers off American dollars, British pounds and French francs, a need that Western financial markets fast found a way to satisfy through the global trade in bank bonds.
Here was a means to profit from slavery without getting your hands dirty. In fact, many investors may not have realized that their money was being used to buy and exploit people, just as many of us who are vested in multinational textile companies today are unaware that our money subsidizes a business that continues to rely on forced labor in countries like Uzbekistan and China and child workers in countries like India and Brazil.
But then it comes down to: Where do you get your cotton from? Banks issued tens of millions of dollars in loans on the assumption that rising cotton prices would go on forever. Speculation reached a fever pitch in the s, as businessmen, planters and lawyers convinced themselves that they could amass real treasure by joining in a risky game that everyone seemed to be playing. If planters thought themselves invincible, able to bend the laws of finance to their will, it was most likely because they had been granted authority to bend the laws of nature to their will, to do with the land and the people who worked it as they pleased.
It tended to inflate the ego of most planters beyond all reason; they became arrogant, strutting, quarrelsome kinglets. New York has been a principal center of American commerce dating back to the colonial period — a centrality founded on the labor extracted from thousands of indigenous American and African slaves. Desperate for hands to build towns, work wharves, tend farms and keep households, colonists across the American Northeast — Puritans in Massachusetts Bay, Dutch settlers in New Netherland and Quakers in Pennsylvania — availed themselves of slave labor.
Native Americans captured in colonial wars in New England were forced to work, and African people were imported in greater and greater numbers. New York City soon surpassed other slaving towns of the Northeast in scale as well as impact. The Dutch West India Company owned these men and their families, directing their labors to common enterprises like land clearing and road construction.
After the English Duke of York acquired authority over the colony and changed its name, slavery grew harsher and more comprehensive. As the historian Leslie Harris has written, 40 percent of New York households held enslaved people in the early s. The unfree population in New York was not small, and their experience of exploitation was not brief. In , construction workers uncovered an extensive 18th-century African burial ground in Lower Manhattan, the final resting place of approximately 20, people. New Yorkers invested heavily in the growth of Southern plantations, catching the wave of the first cotton boom.
Southern planters who wanted to buy more land and black people borrowed funds from New York bankers and protected the value of bought bodies with policies from New York insurance companies. Ships originating in New York docked in the port of New Orleans to service the trade in domestic and by then, illegal international slaves. It was in this moment — the early decades of the s — that New York City gained its status as a financial behemoth through shipping raw cotton to Europe and bankrolling the boom industry that slavery made.
The capital profits and financial wagers of Manhattan, the United States and the world still flow through this place where black and red people were traded and where the wealth of a region was built on slavery. We know how these stories end. The value of cotton started to drop as early as before plunging like a bird winged in midflight, setting off the Panic of Investors and creditors called in their debts, but plantation owners were underwater. When the price of cotton tumbled, it pulled down the value of enslaved workers and land along with it. Shouts went up around the Western world, as investors began demanding that states raise taxes to keep their promises. After all, the bonds were backed by taxpayers. But after a swell of populist outrage, states decided not to squeeze the money out of every Southern family, coin by coin.
But neither did they foreclose on defaulting plantation owners. If they tried, planters absconded to Texas an independent republic at the time with their treasure and enslaved work force. Furious bondholders mounted lawsuits and cashiers committed suicide, but the bankrupt states refused to pay their debts. Cotton slavery was too big to fail. The South chose to cut itself out of the global credit market, the hand that had fed cotton expansion, rather than hold planters and their banks accountable for their negligence and avarice. All the ingredients are there: mystifying financial instruments that hide risk while connecting bankers, investors and families around the globe; fantastic profits amassed overnight; the normalization of speculation and breathless risk-taking; stacks of paper money printed on the myth that some institution cotton, housing is unshakable; considered and intentional exploitation of black people; and impunity for the profiteers when it all falls apart — the borrowers were bailed out after , the banks after It is the culture of acquiring wealth without work, growing at all costs and abusing the powerless.
It is the culture that brought us the Panic of , the stock-market crash of and the recession of On the other hand, its horrific death toll and seeming meaninglessness forever dispelled the idea of war as noble and glorious. A brief recap of what happened. Russian allies France and England were pulled in to defend Russia. The smaller European powers were forced into the war as well, based on whatever alliances they had made in the past. For the first three years, the U. But, in , the U. WWI was a war of trench warfare, chemical weapons, shrapnel artillery, and other gruesome technologies that had never been seen before.
When you combine this level of mass destruction with the fact that most of the war was a territorial stalemate no army advanced, no army withdrew - they were just locked in a horrible tie , it's easy to see how unaccountable the 40 million deaths the war caused were. The survivors of the war - both the veterans and those who came of age during the fighting - were called the Lost Generation.
Scott Fitzgerald, though he didn't actually see any fighting during his time in the army, was a member of this generation. See our brief biography of Fitzgerald to learn more. The war and its devastating after-effects, particularly in Europe, fed into the creation of a new artistic movement: modernism. Modernism was all about breaking with the past. In contrast to 19th century writing that tended to reinforce the status quo, modernism rejected old-fashioned ideas like heroism and moral certitude. Similarly, modernism writers experimented with form and style rather than sticking with traditional forms of prose and poetry. Fitzgerald himself was part of a circle of modernists who regularly met in Paris others included Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Sinclair Lewis, and the painters Picasso and Matisse.
Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby while in Paris, surrounded by this group. You can connect modernism with the novel's descriptions of East Egg and West Egg extravagance. Like his fellow modernists, Fitzgerald was deeply critical of the wealth and capitalist success ushered in by the post-war boom, considering the new obsession with money and status shallow. What trench warfare looked like. Imagine spending weeks in this hole in the ground. At the time when the novel takes place, the U.
At the same time, many of the social restrictions of the early 20th century were being rejected, and progressive movements of all kinds were flourishing. Socially progressive activists in both the Democratic and Republican parties united to pressure the government to ban alcohol , which was blamed for all kinds of other social ills like gambling and drug abuse. In , the U. Of course, this did little to actually stem the desire for alcoholic beverages, so a vast underground criminal empire was born to supply this demand. The production and distribution of alcohol became the province of bootleggers - the original organized crime syndicates.
If you understand the history of Prohibition, you'll make better sense of some plot and character details in The Great Gatsby :. Police emptying out confiscated barrels of beer into the sewer. The 19th Amendment, passed in , officially gave women the right to vote in the United States. The ramifications of this were political, economic, and social. Politically, the women's rights movement next took up the cause of the Equal Rights Amendment , which would guarantee equal legal rights for women. The amendment came close to eventually being ratified in the s, but was defeated by conservatives. Economically, there was an increase in working women. This began during WWI as more women began to work to make up for the men fighting abroad, and as more professions opened up to them in the men's absence.
Societally, divorce became more common. Nevertheless, it was still very much frowned on, and being a housewife and having fewer rights than man was still the norm in the s. This term described women who would wear much less restricting clothing and go out drinking and dancing, which at the time was a huge violation of typical social norms.
If you understand this combination of progress and traditionalism for women's roles, you'll find it on display in Th e Great Gatsby :. One of the effects was that Jewish Americans were at the forefront of promoting such issues as workers rights, civil rights, woman's rights, and other progressive causes. Jews also served in the American military during World War I in very high numbers. At the same time, their prominence gave rise to an anti-Semitic backlash, and the revival of the KKK began with the lynching of a Jewish man in Artists from that time include W. You can see the effects of these historical development several places in the novel:. Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. The s saw huge increases in the production and use of automobiles.
Almost 1 in 4 people now had a car! This happened because of advances in mass production due to the assembly line, and because of rising incomes due to the economic boom. Car ownership increased mobility between cities and outer suburban areas, which enabled the wealthy to work in one place but live in another. Cars also now created a totally new danger, particularly in combination with alcohol consumption. If you're aware of the newness and attraction of cars, you'll notice that in The Great Gatsby :. Death machine, or no, you have to admit that's a pretty cool-looking car.
Learn more about how The Great Gatsby was received when it first came out , and also read about the life of its author, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Excited to dive in? Or, zoom out to a summary of The Great Gatsby , along with links to all our great articles analyzing this novel! We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:. Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.
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