December 1st, 2014.
The Automobile and how it Established Social Change in the 1920’s:
Final History Paper.
Nothing else has changed American history more than the automobile did. With its luxurious interiors and sophisticated style, it was what everybody dreamed of, and everybody had to have it. With the rise of the automobile in the 1920s due to the Ford Model T by Henry Ford, there was social changes happening all over the country. There was now more freedom of choice, a changed women, new abundant jobs, new businesses, new laws, independence, and new traveling. As we know, there were cars created before the 1920s, but they were unreliable, and really only for the rich because they were extremely expensive. With all of the dramatic changes in the 1920s, without a doubt, nothing symbolizes this era more than the automobile does. The automobile was first invented in 1890 with the idea of a self-propelled vehicle, but Henry Ford is the man who really changed the game with creating the Ford Model T and producing it from 1908-1927 in Detroit, Michigan. Henry Ford literally changed the 1920s, and the entire world with his product. He had invented many cars before had succeeded, ones that would overheat, no breaks, and would only run for short amounts of time, although he was never convinced he had failed, everything was only a minor setback. He never gave up, and he always stayed motivated, and that worked out for him tremendously. As a school dropout in 8th grade, you may not expect much out of him, but he was greatness. Once he produced the model T, he figured out how to bring the production time down from 12 hours, to a short 60 minute with his highly efficient assembly line. There was more than 15 million Model T cars produced1, it was an inexpensive luxury item that all people in society could enjoy, and they did, thanks to Henry Ford of Michigan.
With the large numbers of cars being produced, Ford new that the prices had to stay low to be able to accompany the ones who were not of the rich, high class, so he took the already known assembly line method, and went crazy with it. The work days were long and the labor was strenuous, so Henry Ford paid above average higher hourly wages, and reduced the work day from 12 hours, to only 8 hours,2 which was heaven for the working man. He also created something for a while that is referred to as the five dollar day, which attracted many new immigrants to come and work, so they could now support themselves and their families. With the new desirable work day, it brought in thousands of workers to Detroit, Michigan, and helped build the United States middle class and the modern day economy. At the Ford Motor Company, there was more than just the regular white man working, there was actually over 62 different nationalities of workers at the company, and the working conditions were also adaptable for people who happened to be disabled, and jobs were ready for the ones who were injured in World War 1. And the jobs don’t stop in the company, to even have the workers on the assembly line they need the parts to work with! So the need for workers in the steel, rubber, oil, glass, and gasoline businesses also multiplied remarkably. So after Ford created the luxurious eight hour work day, that set the standard for other manufacturing work places across the country, and throughout the entire world,3 so now the workplace was definitely improved, and forever changed!
More than anything the automobile has changed, I strongly believe it has had the greatest impact on the American women. It increased their role in society, and made them important and noticed, and as a women myself, I find that very important. There was no longer the struggle of being cooped up in a house all day, doing endless chores, because you could now escape those boundaries! You did not have to make all of your own clothes and all of your food from complete scratch, and your daily chores were cut