However, most restrictions upon women in business and the professions were by custom rather than law and would therefore be more difficult to challenge. For most women, gendered notions of modesty remained the highest expression of their virtue. The difference was that the 1920s were host to public acknowledgment that a mutually satisfying sexual connection was a sign of a healthy relationship rather than a warning sign of female insatiability.
The energy industries responded to those demands and the consumption of energy materials as a percent of GNP rose from about 2 percent in the latter part of the nineteenth century to about 3 percent in the twentieth. Historians of women and of youth emphasize the strength of the progressive impulse in the 1920s. The work was not nearly as dramatic as the suffrage crusade, but women voted and operated quietly and effectively.
Agrarian spokesmen William Jennings Bryan called for an inflationary policy of using cheap silver to effectively replace expensive gold. Bryan lost in a major political realignment in favor of the conservative pro-gold Republicans in the election of 1896. In the last third of the 19th century the United States entered a phase of rapid economic growth which doubled per capita income over the period. By 1895, the United States leaped ahead of Britain for first place in manufacturing output. For the first time, exports of machinery and consumer goods became important.
What historians have identified as “business progressivism”, with its emphasis on efficiency and typified by Henry Ford and Herbert Hoover reached an apogee in the 1920s. Reynold M. Wik, for example, argues that Ford’s “views on technology and the mechanization of rural America were generally enlightened, progressive, and often far ahead of his times.” A former bar room brawler named Jack Dempsey, also known as The Manassa Mauler, won the office depå world heavyweight boxing title and became the most celebrated pugilist of his time. Enrique Chaffardet the Venezuelan Featherweight World Champion was the most sought-after boxer in 1920s Brooklyn, New York City. College football captivated fans, with notables such as Red Grange, running back of the University of Illinois, and Knute Rockne who coached Notre Dame’s football program to great success on the field and nationwide notoriety.
A Jamaican advocate of Pan-African unity, Garvey created the Universal Negro Improvement Association in New York. The goal of the UNIA was to promote black pride and economic self-sufficiency in the near term while working toward creating independent black republics in Africa, Latin America, or the Caribbean. Flappers and the newly independent generation of college women lived in a space between the patriarchy of their father’s home and the domestic realm they would create with her future husbands.
Though debt almost always increased under every president in the latter half of the 20th century, it declined as a percentage of GDP under all presidents after 1950 and prior to Reagan. In addition to the fiscal deficits, the U.S. started to have large trade deficits. Also it was during his second term that the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was passed. Vice President George H. W. Bush was elected to succeed Reagan in 1988. The early Bush Presidency’s economic policies were sometimes seen as a continuation of Reagan’s policies, but in the early 1990s, Bush went back on a promise and increased taxes in a compromise with Congressional Democrats.