Prior to the Great Depression the Roaring Twenties was a booming age because there was a boom in business and the excitement of popular fads. After World War I, America longed for what President Warren Harding called a “return to normalcy”. To Americans this meant the “good old days” before the war years. During the 1920’s, more Americans lived in cities than in rural areas and no longer were most people farmers. After the war business boomed and people worked in business and industry.
President Calvin Coolidge declared the 1920, the “chief business of America is business”. During the Coolidge years business prospered and many Americans earned more money than ever before. Factories increased production to a growing demand for consumer goods such as washing machines , radios , and refrigerators. The largest boom was in the auto sales which gave rise to other industries. Cars needed steel, paint, tires and gasoline. New and better roads were built. Gas stations and restaurants appeared along the new roads. The housing industry began to boom as people moved out of the crowded cities and into the country or suburbs. New products such as cars changed the way of life for many Americans. They had freedom to visit other parts of the country. Radios and movies brought about other changes. New forms of entertainment were provided through radio programs and movies. The movies created new heroes and heroines. Hollywood grew into the movie capitol of the world. The 1920’s are sometimes labeled the jazz age because the new energetic kind of music reflected the spirit of the times. Jazz began among the black American musicians in New York and then swept the country and the world. Musicians such as Louis Armstrong won lasting fame for his contributions to jazz and helped fuel the Harlem Renaissance or rebirth of black culture.
Just prior to the Great Depression Herbert Clark Hoover became president of the United States’ He had earned his reputation as a business entrepreneur and an engineer.
Hoover wore several hats prior to becoming president of the United States. He was asked by the U.S. Counsel General in London to supervise the evacuation of thousands of American citizens trapped in Europe at the beginning of World War I. He became the chairman of the committee for Relief in Belgium with the mission of preventing famine in that nation. Within three years Hoover had raised and spent over one billion dollars for food relief in Europe.
When the United States entered World War I President Woodrow Wilson named Hoover U.S. Food Administrator and for the duration of the war he supervised the rationing and conservation of food supplies in the United States and the export of food to the U.S. and allied troops. After the War he became the general of European Relief and Rehabilitation efforts. In 1920 Hoover was an unsuccessful presidential candidate after which he was named Secretary of Commerce by then President Harding in 1921. He was considered the most honest and capable official in the administration. His department tried to improve the productivity of industry, promote international trade and the conservation of resources. In 1924 Hoover was the potential candidate for the vice presidency, however he did not get the nomination. In 1928 he won the nomination and the office of president.