American Social And Economic Changes

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American Social and Economic Changes

American Social and Economic Changes


The first half of the twentieth centuries saw America emerging as a World super power, and as one of the mature democracies among the British colonies. However, the transition was not smooth and the Nation has had its ups and downs moving from agrarian to industrial society through the glut and glum of the "roaring twenties" and gloomy thirties. While the 1970s were a period of affluence and optimism, America emerging as a victor in the First World War, the 1980s was characterized by scarcity and hardships caused by the Great Depression and Roosevelt's New Deal. By the end of 1980s the nation was again agile and spirited, playing a constructive role in the Second World War in fighting the fascist and imperialistic forces. The paper presents a comparative study of the history of America in the 1970s with that of 1980s.


The analysis and comparisons on the U.S history during these periods shall be undertaken along three historical landscapes the economic history and the socio-cultural history. However it is important to note that the economic history of the nation during the years have being instrumental in shaping the political and socio-cultural history; hence greater emphasis is placed on the economic history; also the crucial overlaps of the three systems are manifested in the discussion (Watkins, 1993).

US Economic History - 1970s Vs 1980s

While the decades 1970s and 1980s American history compares distinctively in many spheres, the prime divergence is perceivably in the economic scenario. The 1970s is characterized as a period of prosperity and optimism, whereas the 1980s is characterized as a period of extreme poverty and great economic hardships. Also with the Great Depression of 1929, the U.S. free market economy of the 1970s gave way to federally regulated economy in the 1980s (Behr, 1996).

As America emerged a victor in the First World War, the American society retreated into isolation and focusing on internal production and consumption, the economy transforming steadily from agrarian to industrial. It is understood that before World War I, a considerable majority, over 40% of all Americans lived on a farm, the percentage dropped to about 25% by the end of the twenties. The 1970s U.S. economic scenario is characterized by mass production, mass consumption and polarization of income. While America considerably remained an agrarian state, the WWI (First World War) brought ...
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