The period after the First World War was the period of tremendous in American history. This period marked an important and one of the most memorable stages in America. Despite the fact that country had acquired the opportunity to stand on its own and end reliance on Europe, America went through a number of difficulties that hindered development immediately after the First World War. The most common problem that the country witnessed during this transition was the emergence of the great depression in the economy. The country was also struggling to consolidate its political setting to ensure that it had the best leadership in the world (Bordo, & White, 2008).
The breed of leaders that presented themselves for the office of the president had different opinions regarding the stance on which America should take. This was evidenced in the disparity between the Republican candidate Warren Harding and James Cox, the former had the opinion that America should be involved in word issues while the latter believed that America should not involve itself in world affairs and therefore America should be concerned about the issues that are limited to its boundaries. America according to Warren’s view needed space to solve its own issues and avoid sacrificing its resources for others.
The most significant occurrence in American history was the great depression which occurred in the 1930s. after the first world war, the country witnessed a sharp decline in GDP growth, this was marked by increasing levels of poverty in the country, high rates of unemployment among the people in the country, firms low revenue earnings by businesses, decline in the farm earnings and more importantly the people lost opportunities for personal development and improve their living standards. The American people at this had lost confidence in economic progress and growth of the country.
The major causes of the great depression in America could be attributed to low productivity in the economy, increased debt burden on the consumers, unmonitored markets that did not apply the best economic approaches to conduct trade; the financial markets lacked the ability to regulate the amount of debts that were issued to the people and investors. The by 1930s most of the American banks had collapsed and a majority of the remaining ones lacked the ability to control credit issuance. This therefore resulted to low credit in the economy. The industries lacked the incentives and opportunities for growth due to low purchasing power of the consumers at that time. American industries such as construction and agriculture were greatly affected, this resulted to low food production and thus food insecurity, and there was also lack of raw materials to be used by the manufacturing firms in the economy. The decline in industrial production which was the major cause of high unemployment in the country also led to the poor living standards among the people. Most people and especially the children were malnourished due to food insecurity in the country.
During the great depression, the country witnessed uncontrolled rate of emigration of the Americans to other countries. Some American went to the neighboring countries such as Australia and Canada while other returned to their native lands. The worse scenario in this issue was the initiative by the government to encourage and deport emigration of the people to Mexico. Many people in the country had become homeless due to the decline in the construction industry.
Historian and economists blamed President Herbert Hoover for his economic policies that resulted to depression. The expenditure by the federal government had increased to unmanageable levels thus leading to high domestic taxes despite the slow growth in the GDP (Romer, 2009).
The period of the post World War one was also characterized by confusion in the social facet of life among the American people, for instance by 1920s there was tension between two paradigms, the first paradigm comprised of the of the traditional generation that had believed in conventional ideas and the a new paradigm that emerged due to the technological advancement that believed on adoption of new thoughts and ideas. The new paradigm communicated its beliefs through modern music and low social morals. The traditional paradigm had the view that the modern shift had emerged to destroy American moral standards. This marked the war of modernity against traditionalism; the America according to the modern approach was a free nation where everybody had the opportunity the right to express himself.
There was a significant shift in behavior among the American people, as they had become more spend thrift and liked expensive lifestyles. The change could be seen in women who had shifted their dressing styles and character. Statistics show that by the end of World War One, many women in America started smoking. American people ignored traditional values and there were increasing social unrest among families as the number of divorce cases were on the verge of increase. There was significant drop in the number of people pursuing social issues such as religion and community based participation in social affairs and not there was decline in the marriages.
As many people left America during the depression period, an equal number of immigrants from other parts of the world came in. the country was in a state of confusion especially among the citizens who were grappling with change that was brought by modernism. Many Americans lacked the opportunity to maintain their culture and traditions due to interactions with foreigners at the advent of modernity. The cities and towns in the country were becoming bigger with many people from different parts of the world.
The inability of the American people to consume change with a lot of responsibility led to deterioration of the social and moral standards. As the country grew to embrace the element of modernity, the citizens were becoming more and more irresponsible thus turning away from the social underpinnings that defined their culture as Americans. The government had lost the control on the social facet of life as more and more changes occurred due to technology. People adapted to the new living styles and doing things the modern way. In the light of the above facts it therefore important to conclude that had the government and the president together with people taken the period seriously then the downfall would have been less severe (Friedman, 2009).
Bordo, G and White, A ., The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century. 2008.
Friedman, M. Monetary History of the United States, ISBN 0-691-04147-4 classic monetarist explanation; highly statistical. 2009
Romer, D. “World War I and the postwar depression A reinterpretation based on alternative estimates of GNP”. Journal of Monetary Economics 22 (1): 91–115.