statement which virtually guaranteed that American capitalism, supported by the huge corporations, would endure well into the twentieth century.
With the demise of the Wilson Administration and the opening years of the Coolidge Presidency, America experienced tremendous growth in what has been called the "roaring twenties." Yet during this time, not all Americans were given an equal share in the prosperity. In 1929, the richest Americans controlled the vast majority of savings, while the remainder had no savings at all. A prime example of this disparity was the automobile mogul Henry Ford, who earned $14 million as compared to the average income of $7500 a year. As usual, the major reason for this disparity was due to the increased manufacturing output of the big corporations which saw immense gains in their profit margins while those of the common working man increased nominally. One other factor was the Revenue Act of 1926 which favored big business and the wealthy by reducing the federal income tax and inheritance taxes.
But the major event, beginning in 1929, which financially catapulted American corporations and the wealthy was the Great Depression, the worst economic catastrophe in U.S. history that affected every American citizen. Although many factors contributed to the Depression, the main cause centered around the unequal distribution of wealth and the speculations in the stock market. Once again, American corporations came out on top, due to the disparities between the rich and the middle classes. The stock market crash, a result of excessive stock speculations in the late 1920's, created a very unstable economy yet at the same time helped to foster the growing monopolies in American industries.
The Great Depression continued well into the 1930's, but with the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1931, the economy began to turn upwards and the working man, for the first time in more than half a century, experienced some financial gains. Roosevelt's "New Deal," designed to stabilize the economy and create a more equal society, included among others the Agricultural Adjustment Act and the Wagner National Labor Relations Act. In essence, Roosevelt's "New Deal" took power away from the wealthy business owners and gave more power to the growing labor unions which represented the working man. Yet with the onset of World War II in 1941, American corporations found themselves in another advantageous position which increased their power and wealth and helped to form the current system of corporate "Manifest Destiny" in American society.