American Sports, 1910-1919

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Book Chapter

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Encyclopedia of Sports in America: A History from Foot Races to Extreme Sports


The 1910s marked a period of economic growth, technological advancement, and rising consumerism for many Americans. Perhaps nowhere was this more visible than in the automobile industry. Led by the Ford Motor Company, which developed the moving assembly line to produce the Model T in 1913, American automakers had produced two million cars by 1920. Economic expansion led to an increased need for global markets and to more international economic ties, a significant factor in U.S. policy regarding World War I. Members of the middle class, who had begun to feel some of the benefits of industrialization and mass production, enjoyed greater freedom and more time for leisure activities. Innovations such as x-rays, airplanes, audio recordings, and moving pictures, as well as advances in medicine and transportation, led to a sense of optimism and possibility. At the same time, rising urbanization, immigration, economic disparity, and social problems created feelings of uncertainty and danger that galvanized reformers.


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