While it is common practice today to refer to the 1920s as the Roaring 20's, the reality of the situation in the 20s was that of despair and disparity. Economic inequality riddled the American economy, with the prosperous upper class lording over the middle class and chock-full lower class. The 1920's was a period of persecution, government control, and economic and societal upheaval. I contend that the apparent economic prosperity of the twenties was a bubble which had grown too large; much as the bubble of the past decade. Coming into the 1920s, the United States was experiencing a very conservative society post World War I.
[...] By offering a stock with only 10%-20% down, the offer was too irresistible. The uptick of stock prices only fed the flames, as investors were lured in by such enticing numbers. Companies such as Westinghouse, AT&T, and GM doubled, tripled, and quadrupled their stock prices in a matter of 5 years. By the fall of 1929 stock prices were four times higher than they were only five years prior. On October however, it all came crashing down in a flurry of sell orders that dropped stock values $11 billion in the first three hours of trading. [...]
[...] rights to enter the United States. It also completely barred Asians and Indians from immigrating here altogether. This only increased racism and discrimination against other races. Although it was still almost exclusively in the South, the Ku Klux Klan had, by the time the Immigration Act was signed into law, nearly 4.5 million members. Such xenophobic trains of thought brought about incidents such as the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti. These two Italian immigrants were targeted as the suspected robbers and murderers of a security guard and a paymaster at Slater-Morrill Shoe Company. [...]
[...] As Capone's empire grew, the violence increased, highlighted by the most infamous gang killing in Chicago's history, the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, which resulted in the deaths of seven rival gang members. Eventually Capone was caught and brought up on a tax evasion charge as that was the only crime that law enforcement could show evidence for. While a lot of the aforementioned societal problems could be resolved, in one regard or another, by repealing the 18th Amendment as was done in 1933, the economic downfall at the end of the decade could not be fixed nearly as easily. [...]
[...] One of the most profitable and popular undertakings of the mob was the practice of ootlegging liquor, often referred to as running”. The reason for this was the government's decision to ban the sale, importation, and consumption of spirits as detailed in the 18th Amendment, which was ratified in 1920. They reasoned that getting rid of alcohol would alleviate many social issues, such as bar fights and domestic abuse among others. The plan failed miserably, with millions of people ignoring the law. [...]
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