Essay Topic 4
Each decade brings prosperity and change to America. The 1920s and the 1950s managed to be two decades that are complete opposites yet oddly similar. The 20’s was the time before the depression and the war, therefore, it acted almost as if the calm before the storm. The 50s, on the other hand, was the rainbow that basked in the aftermath of the two crisis’. The changes that occurred during these times affected American society a great deal, making the two time periods very similar and different in ways of consumerism and the roles of women. These two decades are of extreme importance to America, and together they advanced a little bit closer to the America that exists today.
Consumerism blossomed greatly during both the 1920s and the 1950s, especially with the middle class. Since both decades occurred after a world war, people felt the need to spend money just because they could or even if they could not. Both societies found ways to spend money they did not have in order to splurge on what they really wanted. During the 20s, installment plans were created, allowing people to pay for something over time rather than all at once. This led to the 50’s dining club card, with which a person could eat a select few restaurants and pay with the card rather than cash, paying it off each month. These were the earliest forms of credit, and they led to the credit cards used today. These forms of credit caused increased consumer debt, which was not yet completely understood by the people of America. The two decades differed in that the debt that was created in the 20s led to the depression while the debt in the 50s was much better managed. No matter the consequences, society’s main focus in both decades was their own happiness, even if that meant overspending.
One of the biggest differences of the 1920s and 1950s was the roles of women. During the 20s, women were beginning to gain rights for the first time. The decade started off with the passage of the 19th...