essay

20th Century American History

The 20th Century in the United States moved well beyond its wild west past. The outlaw and gunfighter mentality transferred to a nation that was industrialized and developed into a world super power. Even though the rough days of the old west were diminished, the nation gave way to a new generation of pioneers whose main goal was to civilize and industrialize the nation.

Within these new ideals Prohibition, child labor laws, and concerns of the environment were developed. Prohibition became well-known as the “Noble Experiment” where manufacture, sales, and transportation of alcohol was banned. This created a different type of outlaw. A generation of desperados were developed who thrived on the illegal bootlegging of alcohol. Many gangsters were spawned and American people who fought back and many turned a great profit during these difficult times. More decadent activities came into light such as prostitution, drugs, and gambling.

In 1914, more trauma evolved with the expanding trusts and monopolies. This time saw the development of World War I. This military conflict was global and it encompassed many of the great powers of the world. In one of the largest wars detailed in history, over 70 million soldiers went to fight. In the end upwards of 15 million lives were lost also making World War I one of the deadliest wars to be recalled in the history books. It wasn’t until 1918 that the war was ended.

That wasn’t the last of hard times that America fell upon. The Great Depression took root not only on U.S. soil but throughout the world. It was the most severe economic depression of the 20th Century itself. October 29, 1929 is the date the stock market crashed in the U.S. and became known as Black Tuesday and the beginning of this economic downfall.

The Great Depression was devastating to all manner of life in the world. Prices, profits, personal incomes, and international trades plummeted. Rural areas and farming fell into decline with decreasing crop prices. Heavy industry suffered as well. Tens of thousands of jobs were gone in the blink of an eye. During this time another era of outlaws rose into the U.S. wreaking havoc and increasing violence throughout the nation. It wasn’t until the spring of 1933 under the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt that the nation began its recovery. From 1939 to 1945 the world was again immersed in trauma with the onset of World War II. This was followed by the Cold war. In 1950 the onset of the Korean War began followed by the beginning of the Vietnam war that started in 1959 and went on through 1975. The 20th Century also saw the Civil Rights Movement, the race into Space, and the Gulf War.