Category: History Essay

America of the twentieth century experienced many drastic events. The two World Wars and economic crises were challenges the country managed to overcome. The multinational USA with lots of racial and ethnic groups formed its legislative basis equal and fair for everybody and directed its activity at prosperity. The lessons of the Great Depression and post-war crises strengthened American society and allowed women to assert themselves not only as mothers but also as workers equal to men. The Social Security Act and organized labor with the War Effort established the grounds for the creation of the middle class. As to ethnic minorities, court cases and laws demonstrated increasing discrimination against the blacks, but the liberal mentality of Americans made them stop violence against other races. The American legislative and social system created equal rights for everybody regardless of one’s religion, race, sex, and social status through a flexible tax system, health security and social welfare provided to the unemployed. Such measures helped keep the country out of an economic crisis and reduce unemployment.

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The Historical Context of the Twentieth Century and Its Impact on the Middle Class and African Americans

The beginning of the twentieth century in the USA marked a new era of economic social and political development of the country. At that time, America became stronger and strengthened its position when Britain and Spain could not maintain the colonial policy, and many countries became independent. After the end of World War I, America managed to recover and become a highly developed country. The cancellation of the Treaty of Versailles marked the USA as an isolated country. It was the decade of the prohibition and woman suffrage movement, which ended in establishing necessary legislative norms in 1920. The Teapot Dome scandal showed Harding’s administration as the one involved in favoritism and bribery. However, the 1920s initiated the development of business, industrialization and became years of prosperity and mass culture in America. The weakening of sexual restraint and the availability of extra money among the youth gave birth to the boom of fashion and jazz, and the period became known as the Jazz Age. The middle class of that time formed itself due to growing industrialization. Nevertheless, African Americans were rather poor and worked in farms. They still felt the slavery imprint in their minds, and most whites viewed them as a lower race. Poverty made them migrate in 1925-1930 from the South to the North, and it became known as Great Migration. After that, large residential districts, like Harlem in New York, developed in the North. Still, many blacks could not afford to pay for their housing. They lived separately from the whites in less prestigious blocks and met in special houses where they paid an entrance fee in exchange for alcohol, food and listening to blues singers. Such concerts initiated the development of black music. Unlike the blacks, the middle class consisted mostly of the whites. The boom and prosperity, as well as greater sexual freedom and the equality of men and women,  became their leading ideas. The youth as a social layer understood that one could gain a material reward from work and individual achievements.

In the years of the Great Depression, the middle class experienced many difficulties. They lost houses and savings. Pecuniary and psychic problems arousing after that influenced their sense of identity. Many representatives feared that the Great Depression could provoke a class revolution. Poorer people got under the impact of the period first. Those affected later had their jobs, but wages dropped to 60%. Their consciousness changed to more competitive. They understood that many young people who could work did not have jobs, so their success and way to the American Dream were in their own hands. Students and scientists f