History 02 Dec. 12-18-03Living life through the 1900’sSince the 1900’s technology has been increasing rapidly, from washingmachines to automobiles, affecting the citizens of the U.S. dramatically;now receiving increased pay checks and something they never have hadbefore.
Leisure time, not only could people start affording more, but theycould also do more instead of work. The problem was finding what to do washard and now in the 21st century even harder. The average American teenagecomplains of boredom quite often, and yet we’ve had so much more changingfrom the 1900’s to 1929. Entertainment was starting to become a necessityin life but the way it’s changed has differed profoundly from 1900 to 1929.One of the first reasons that leisure time became widely availablewas due to increase of job work and stability. When people could get jobsand keep them, they usually got paid a fair amount and were able to do morethings with family in result. Business owners were starting to care fortheir workers and wanted people to spend more time with their family andbecome better acquainted with their sons or daughters.
Stability was alsoanother factor, when Henry Ford started hiring people, he did good thingsfor them such as give them better wages, less work hours and he taught thembetter values. Mr. Ford gave 5 dollars to workers with “Thrifty Habits”,thrifty habits were “Workers who refused to learn English, rejected thecompany detective’s advice, gambled, drank or pursued ‘any maliciouspractice derogatory to…moral behavior did not get the raise.
In 2 years,three-quarters of Ford’s workers made $5 a day.” Mr. Ford’s thinking wasthat by giving workers more money, they could buy more products of theirown such as “cars”.Transportation in the older days took much time out of any mans life.Transportation was determined by either walking, which was the primary modeof transportation of the poor or by carriage which was also more of anupper class delight. When the Model T’s started getting pumped out by the1000’s, and people were able to afford them then we started getting moremovement across the country.
These cars were only at a measly $300 in 1927while in 1903 the car had cost about a whooping $1000. “By 1923, there weremore then 2,120,898 automobiles on the roads of the U.S.”For vacation,instead of riding a smelly horse taking hours upon hours to arrive to thebeach, it would take less than half the time provided there was no traffic.Technology has had a tremendous effect on leisure time.Automated objects were starting to become very popular, due to theassembly line, things such as vacuum cleaners, washing machines, toasters,and irons were being made in mass quantities. The vacuum cleaner which wasinvented in 1921 decreased time spending cleaning and increased time withchildren or leisure time.
In the 1900’s the radio was also invented, to beprecise 1922 was the first time a station was created and from then on theradio was a good source of information and entertainment not to mentionadvertising. When people wanted thing’s sold, advertising would surely be asure fire way to make it sell, bill boards, signs, commercials, thisincreased consumer purchasing thus stimulating the economy.By the 1920’s instead of sitting by the fire and reading a good booklike the people of the 1900’s did, people went shopping. Chain stores suchas J.C.
Penny, Sears, and Roebuck had about 29,000 stores but by 1929 therewere 160,000. With automobiles around, people could shop anywhere becauseof the convenience of their Model T and could carry more. The chain storeshad become quite popular due to the fact that, since the stores had massamounts of items, they would be cheaper, have more in stock and most likelyin a more convenient place for their consumers. Now in our society we tendto have women shop more often but back then, the rights of women wererestricted.
World War I had made a profound effect on women’s right, before it,women were arrested for smoking or cursing, and appearing at beacheswithout stockings or indecent exposure. But this was before, and now it’sstrange to see a girl very covered up, the Journal of Commerce estimatedthat “In the previous 15 years the average woman had stripped away 12.25yards of material from her outfit, leaving only a scant 7 yards” As you cansee, women were changing and so was what they could and couldn’t do. Womannow in their leisure time had more independence, they could have a smoke ifthey wished too or go and wear make up. Going to the beach was a way toshow how women were becoming more independent, they wore brave and new swimsuits that showed off their body and loved it.
The next era was smoothly, flowing in, the jazz age that is. Startingfrom the 1920’s America’s new hobby was watching movies. It was estimatedthat Americans went once every week, and that really adds up.
The movietheaters brought so much into their lives, drama, action, comedy, andpeople love using their leisure time, as well as their wealth to go tothese theaters. People admired these stars in the movies beyond belief,just like now. If a star got a new hair cut, so did 20,000 other ladiesacross the nation. We see how stars influence our lives but how aboutheroes.
Sports were just starting to become a spectator sport now that thereare no wars to worry about, the economy is becoming better and we’ve got somuch leisure time. People were starting to play more sports that beforewere just for the wealthy like golf. The government was adding morerecreation centers like baseball diamonds and swimming pools. People werealso starting to appreciate sports more, especially the heroes of sportslike Babe Ruth. “In St. Louis, Missouri, 40,000 fans witnessed the fourthgame of baseball’s World Series. Millions more enthusiastic fans werelistening to popular announcer Graham McNamee as Babe Ruth came to bat”People were starting to enjoy watching sports, imagining themselves asthose remarkable heroes.
In almost three decades, the U.S. has changed in many areas butoverall how leisure time was spent may be the most. People in the 1900’shad no leisure time, all they had to do was work to live, now they werestarting to live to live! People shouldn’t waste their lives in a factory,becoming machines and only doing what you’re told. People need free time oftheir own to do what they want.
The new inventions sped up work time, andso did Mr. Ford, with these new ideals people can get through work and dothings they wanted like watch sports or movies. Without leisure time lifewould be pointless, what was needed was a good relation to calm our mindand our bodies.
Works Cited:American OdysseyGary B. NashPublished 1999, The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc