The 'Roaring Twenties'

The 1920s was a period of rapid change and economic prosperity in the USA. Life improved for the majority, but not all, of Americans.

Reasons for the 1920s boom in America

The reasons for the rapid economic growth in the 1920s

The USA had become a huge industrial nation even before the 1920s.

This was because it had large supplies of natural resources such as timber, iron, coal, minerals, oil and land.

However, there were additional factors which led to the economic boom in the 1920s.

The main reasons for America's economic boom in the 1920s were technological progress which led to the mass production of goods, the electrification of America, new mass marketing techniques, the availability of cheap credit and increased employment which, in turn, created a huge amount of consumers.

Technological and scientific advances

The 1920s was a period of great innovation in technology and science.

Technological advances led to both the development of new industries and an increase in productivity in existing ones. The advances included automatic switchboards, conveyer belts and concrete mixers.

The electricity, car and film industries benefited most from the new machinery.

Scientific progress also transformed the economy. The USA’s chemical industry led the world in providing fertilisers and dyes, as well as introducing new materials like Bakelite and rayon. that had a wide range of uses, and led to cheaper products.

Mass production techniques

Mass production techniques, such as the conveyer belt and assembly line pioneered by Henry Ford, meant that goods could be produced more quickly and in greater quantities.

The new machines did not require a high level of skill to operate them, so factories were able to employ large numbers of unskilled workers. This led to both lower prices for goods and to more employment.

These cheaper, mass-produced products and increased employment stimulated further the demand for goods, and thus created the consumer boom which led to economic prosperity.