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Motorcar Ownership in 1920s America

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Submitted By apollo4115
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Was motorcar ownership the most important reason for improvements in the way of life?

I don’t think that motorcar ownership was the most important reason for improvements in the way of life. Although it was a heavily contributing factor, there were other reasons that meant consumers had a lot more free money to spend. For example, the Republicans had recently been elected into power in America. Their policies had included lowering taxes, initially increasing the amount of spare money people had; and also increasing import tariffs, meaning more American goods were bought because they were cheaper. This led to an increase in demand for consumer goods, which increased mass production. Because of the increase in mass production, more workers were needed and so unemployment rates dropped. To complete the cycle, less tax had to be paid by individuals because more people were able to pay.

Secondly, I think World War I was a contributing factor to improvements in the way of life. Some propaganda experts who were employed during the war came back home to America and joined advertising companies. Because of the skills they learned making propaganda, they were able to create very convincing and compelling adverts for all the new consumer goods that were being released at the time.

Thirdly, once the boom had started, production companies took advantage of the situation and began developing and mass-producing all sorts of new consumer goods. These goods certainly had a huge effect on the public. For example, the number of fridges bought in 1921 to 1929 is 1 to 167. This links very closely into the lowering in taxes, as more people were able to buy these new goods, more had to be produced, and more jobs were created. The propaganda experts from World War I also made advertisements to inform the public of these new goods.

Motorcar ownership was certainly a big contributor to the economic boom and improvements in the way of life, but I don’t think it was the biggest. However, the invention and production of the motorcar, particularly the T-Ford, had a large effect. First of all, it gave the unemployed work on an assembly line. This type of labour meant that the cars could be built quickly and accurately, with every man becoming skilled at his own job. Also, because the cars were coming off the line once every ten seconds, they were cheaper to buy because there were so many. However, without any other contributors to the boom, the motorcar would not have succeeded.…...

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