The Rise and Fall of The American Economic Empire

Though experts are pretty good at determining the state of our great nation’s economy, nobody could have guessed the sort of destruction the Coronavirus Pandemic would cause over our pockets and bank accounts.

Our economy has always been cyclical but in all our history we’ve never witnessed a single cycle play out over just a few months! 2020 started out strong but COVID-19 has hit businesses big and small in unprecedented ways.

Economically speaking, we’ll only know if this decade will turn out good or bad over time. We can’t do much other than sit and wait it all out.

That’s why, for today, we’ve prepared an analysis of our economy over the decades, focusing on the worst years our nation was forced to live through. Starting from 1900, it’s time to take a walk down memory lane and hope to learn something from the older generations!

© Ford Company / Wikimedia Commons

1900-1920

Shifting from agrarianism to industrialism, the modern economy in America began in the 1900s. Of course, the roots of this shift can be traced to the end of the 19th century, but it wasn’t until later that it started to spread like wildfire. During Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, the Dow Jones industrial average would also clear 100 points for the first time.

The annual inflation rate was at 0% in 1900, then jumped to 3.7% in 1910, to 15.6% in 1920.

The worst time period came in 1907 and 1908 when despite the U.S. economic growth, we found ourselves in a recession due to the outbreak of World War I. This was all despite the fact that some 13 million immigrants began offering cheap labor, helping economic expansion between 1900 and 1914.

That being said, spending did help create a boom until 1920 and, let’s not forget, this is also when working conditions began seeing an improvement. Citizens, alongside federal agencies, tried to put a stop to the dangers that manufacturing employees saw every day.

So, while people saw hardships during these years, overall experts say that, economically, we did quite well for ourselves and paved the way to better working conditions for generations to come!

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