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USA: 1919-1932 - The US Economy In The 1920s

In GCSE History students will look at the history of the USA between 1840 and 1975. One period studied is the 1920s, and this is the second of three quizzes on that era. It concentrates on the apparently booming American economy of the time.

The American economy seemed to be booming during the 1920s, but the appearance was deceptive. Half of all American citizens did not share in the general prosperity, and the half who did enjoyed a fragile wealth.

Was the USA's economy really booming in the 1920s? Play this quiz and decide for yourself.

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  1. During this period United States governments imposed taxes on the import of foreign goods in order to protect the domestic market. What were such duties called?
    Foreign states replied in kind: thus the US found it harder to export its surplus goods abroad, leading to greater unemployment
  2. Black Americans missed out on the 1920s spree, but they had always experienced discrimination - so this was nothing new. Which laws discriminated against them, particularly in voting rights?
    Black Americans suffered a high rate of unemployment, and were lower paid - even if they had jobs
  3. Many people were tempted to buy shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange using the "on the margin system". What did this mean?
    Many people, who had not been involved with the stock market before, were encouraged to buy, believing that the boom in share prices was bound to continue
  4. Which method of purchase became popular in the US before 1929, whereby buyers obtained a loan from the retailer in order to complete the transaction?
    Failure to maintain instalments meant forfeiture of the goods, no matter how much of the price had been already paid
  5. Which of the following is an example of a declining industry, which was unable to benefit from the new ideas that circulated in the 1920s, and which therefore declined further?
    Well before the great crash of 1929 not all of America's old, traditional industries prospered
  6. Which group of Americans had invested in new land and equipment in order to export to Europe during the Great War, and then found themselves often bankrupt when the war ended?
    This group never benefited from the 1920s economic boom, and suffered even worse when it came to an end. Many had borrowed heavily during the war, and found it hard to repay these loans after 1918
  7. What nickname was given to the 1920s decade, suggesting a furious pace of life and rapid changes?
    There was a boom in consumer goods, and much disposable income was spent on entertainment
  8. Which of the following list of US presidents during this period was not a Republican?
    Republicans were opposed to any state interference in the economy, believing that any problems would iron themselves out naturally
  9. What was the minimum registered unemployment figure in the US throughout the 1920s?
    Even during the boom years there was never full employment in the US
  10. Which US businessman of this era was most closely identified with mass production, which led to cheaper goods and - temporarily - to more employment?
    Many factories had assembly lines, with each worker carrying out only one or two tasks before the product moved on to the next stage

Author: Edward Towne

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