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American History (the Old America and the New America) - Essay Example

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American History (the Old America and the New America)

Author Gene Smiley (2008) writes that "despite the 1920-1921 depression and the minor interruptions in 1924 and 1927, the American economy exhibited impressive economic growth during the 1920s. The same can be said for the periods from 1992-2000, where the American economy grew only to worsen in the years after. Economic commentators in both era's have suggested that the 'seeds' to both the depression in the 1930's and the current recession in 2008 were sown in the boom periods preceding them.
According to Smiley (2008), the 1920's America economic growth was very impressive. Many in the population owned cars, new household appliances, and homes. Innovations and inventions were in high rates and drove growth. Manufacturing was increasing leading to the growing rise in the productivity of labor and capital. New innovations and products created new markets and services. Company stocks experienced a boom in the markets. For example RCA, one of the 'high end' stocks of the era, experienced an appreciation in its value even though it paid no dividends: expectations were that high. Again similar to 'Old America', the period of the Internet boom of the late 1990s, led to a rapid expansion in the stock market for 'New America', especially for dot com and related companies.
Schisms in 1920 American Society
While America has transcended much of its infamous past, the issues of those days caused major splits in opinions between the supporters and those in opposition. The issues included conflicts of city and country, science and religion, and even issues relating to relationship with the monarchy and modernism.
Schisms were the proof of America's multi-racial, multi-cultural fabric and multi-idealistic society. The 'melting pot' of nations was battling for its identity and there was a lot of resistance and disagreements.

The Conflict of City and Country
The so-called war [of ideas] between 'Old America' and 'New America' was in full throttle about the 1920's. Around 1919 anti-immigrant sentiments, nativism and radicalism were on the rise, mostly directed at the new arrivals from Southern and Eastern Europe. During period, urbanization trends were on the rise among native-born American population. The trends were spurred on because many Americans were now first time owners of automobiles. A drove of individuals from rural America migrated into the cities, and the cities expanded into the rural hinter lands.
This shift brought issues between the city and country to the 'front burner' of debates. Yet this split between the rural and urban life was not between two exclusively opposing sides; there was an intertwining relationship. There were small towns with radicals and immigrants citizens, and a majority of people in cities still had ties to the country or were from it.
At times the schisms seemed like they would 'destroy' the country. Indeed for many of the rural or city-dwellers the times were apocalyptic. There were no shortages of movements and schools of thoughts 'preaching' Freudianism, Evolutionism, and innumerable other ideas that seemed to be in concert to erase the traditional life or values of 'Old America'.
It was also during this period that America initiated ...Show more


In many discussions today in the United States and even abroad, comparisons are being made about the 'Old America' and the 'New America'. While these dialogues are not novel, they have become more common as the 2008 presidential elections wrapped up. With the election of an African-American as President, most Americans are in agreement that the country has really come a long way especially from its dark periods; slavery, social inequality etc.
Author : tevinblock
American History (the Old America and the New America) essay example
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