Essay How Consumerism Affects The Meaning Of American Freedom

1435 Words Feb 23rd, 2016 null Page
1. How did consumerism affect the meaning of American freedom in the 1920s? During the first quarter of the 20th century, American industry skyrocketed. Production and consumption was at an all-time high, and “…Americans spent more and more of their income on leisure activities” (Foner 762) such as vacations and going to the movies. However, as Andre Siegfried has observed, a “new society” was forming in the United States due to the increase in mass consumption. Consumerism had led to a set standard of living in the United States, and citizens considered it a “…sacred acquisition, which they will defend at any price” (Foner 762). Americans were now fully willing to go into debt in the name of consumerism, as long as they acquired the products they believed they were entitled to. Unlike in the past, ones work was not viewed with pride as it once was—it was now looked at as “…a path to individual fulfillment through consumption and entertainment” (Foner 762). To Americans, work was essential to consumer freedom, and was only useful for the paycheck it provided. Due to Consumerism and this “new society”, Americans were now defining freedom as the ability to purchase consumer goods and live comfortably—it was their right to own whatever they wished. Consumerism engulfed the mind of American citizens, forcing them to believe that freedom meant their right to participate in a consumeristic society.
2. Explain the justifications for immigration restriction laws, as well as the…

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