H CS 18

Prosperity, Depression and the New Deal (1919-1941)

The Post-World War I period was characterized by economic, social and political turmoil. Post-war prosperity brought about changes to American popular culture. However, economic disruptions growing out the war years led to worldwide depression. The United States attempted to deal with the Great Depression through economic programs created by the federal government.

Content Statement

18. An improved standard of living for many, combined with technological innovations in communication, transportation and industry, resulted in social and cultural changes and tensions.

Content Elaborations

Following World War I, the United States experienced a period of successful advances in industry and an economic boom that improved the standards of living for many Americans. Technological innovations in communication included commercial radio broadcasts, talking motion pictures, and wider circulation of newspapers and magazines. These innovations influenced the development of a popular culture and mass advertising.

Advances in transportation during this era include the Model A Ford and the airplane. In industry, mass production techniques continued to make factory production more efficient. These developments also contributed to an improved standard of living.

These innovations brought change. But some changes challenged conventional social mores and created tensions. For example, increased automobile ownership contributed to the growth of suburbs, the creation of new businesses (e.g., motels, gas stations) and the expansion of others (e.g., rubber, plate glass, petroleum, steel).

New surfaced roads were constructed to accommodate increased traffic. But use of the automobile also challenged traditional family values and tried the patience of travelers. Young people used cars to exercise freedom from parental rules. Increased numbers of commuters had to face the problems of traffic congestion.

Expectations for Learning

Describe how an improved standard of living for many, combined with technological innovations in communication, transportation and industry, resulted in social and cultural changes and tensions.