The American Pageant (12th Edition)

Chapter 32 – Page 728

Our Critique

728 “They [Americans] plunged headlong into a dizzying decade of homegrown prosperity. The boom of the golden twenties showered genuine benefits on Americans, as incomes and living standards rose for many. But there seemed to be something incredible about it all... Yet just beneath the surface lurked widespread anxieties about the future and fears that America was losing sight of its traditional ways.”

Bailey concedes that the 1920s “showered genuine benefits on Americans,” but he seems to think the prosperity was somehow phony, not real—in Bailey’s words “something incredible about it all.” Thus, despite the astonishing economic growth of the decade, Bailey will usually be critical of it.