How Far Has the Extent of the 1920s Boom Been Exaggerated

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How far has the impact of the boom of the 1920s been exaggerated? According to historians such as Marcus M. Wirkher, the 1920’s has been considered to be a relatively prosperous period for many Americans. It was the decade which saw ‘personal income rise by thirty eight percent’ and a time when people could enjoy a lifestyle which they never before knew existed. However, this wasn’t the case for everyone. The farming population were seen to be the largest group of victims as the ‘domestic market was saturated’ with livestock and they found themselves fall dramatically into debt. It was also seen to be a challenging time for women, as ‘being a new woman meant new burdens, not new opportunities’ and for many it was seen as a period of great contradictions. Therefore, the aforementioned examples alongside mass industry and the influx of immigrants are all key issues which need to be examined when deciding whether the boom was in fact exaggerated. When discussing whether the prosperity of this period was overstated, specific areas of the economy need to be analysed, for example the farming and agricultural sector which Butler suggests that, ‘…although America’s industry seemed to be thriving, its agriculture sector, still a large part of its population and economy, was in trouble’. This is a strong and relevant argument to include and Butler adds further weight to his assessment by making good use of statistics to support his judgments. Butler shows that the agricultural sector saw the number of farm workers drop drastically with 150,000 less working the land in 1930, than throughout the previous decade. These figures can be corroborated by other historians such as Hugh Brogan and as such add further weight to the arguments of Butler. Furthermore, mechanisation meant that less and less manpower was needed to work the land. This meant that those who previously
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