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American Odyssey: The 20th Century and Beyond Glencoe Online
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Web Activity Lesson Plan
Chapter 11: Getting on With Business
"Coolidge and Corporate Growth"


Students have read about the economic prosperity of the 1920s that led to the growth of big business. In this exercise, students will explore the factors that supported the rise in industry and consumerism.

Lesson Description

Students will use information from the Prosperity of the Coolidge Era Web site to learn about the factors that supported the rise in industry and consumerism. Students will read about the economic climate of the 1920s, the federal policies that supported business growth, the role of advertising in the rise of consumerism, and the developing consumer movement. They will also access photographs, films, audio selections, documents, and advertising materials that highlight the economic and political forces at work in the 1920s. Students will then answer four questions and apply this information by preparing a presentation about the conditions that supported economic growth during the 1920s.

Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will analyze factors that supported economic growth and prosperity in the 1920s.
  2. Students will be able to use this knowledge to prepare a presentation about the conditions that supported economic growth during the 1920s.

Student Activity Answers

  1. During the 1920s production increased, wages increased, and industry prospered. Americans, anxious to spend their increased earnings on new appliances and consumer goods, experienced a rise in their standard of living.
  2. President Coolidge's administration supported business and even employed several business techniques in its approach to government. Federal tax cuts encouraged consumer spending and gave businesses a break. Commerce Secretary Hoover supported cutting business costs through standardization and simplification of industrial parts and procedures. His reorganization of the Department of Commerce created 17 internal divisions, each addressing a different economic responsibility. Government-sponsored research focused on social and economic trends during the 1920s and provided businesses with important data. Hoover also worked to remove antitrust barriers and promote fair trade practices.
  3. A flood of new products and services competed for consumers' dollars, and advertising became a more important marketing tool for manufacturers. Radio advertisements gained popularity. The rise in chain stores also created an environment for advertising, and many stores designed extravagant advertising campaigns. As advertising became a more important part of consumerism, the advertising industry took steps toward self-regulation and established the Truth-in-Advertising Movement.
  4. As consumer spending rose, so did concern for consumer protection. The Better Homes Movement educated consumers about home ownership. The Thrift Movement sought to teach citizens about saving and spending wisely. Stuart Chase led a movement to inform consumers of unfair advertising and pricing practices. The Playground Movement promoted wholesome activities for consumers' leisure time.
  5. Students' presentations will vary.

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