What arevthe similarities and differences between the early twentieth century and today?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are similarities between the early 20th century and today. One similarity is the struggles workers face. In the early 20th century, workers faced many obstacles. They worked in large factories with poor working conditions, long hours, and low pay. There were few unions that had the power to help them. Today, workers are finding their pay and benefits are being cut. Workers are expected to be available beyond the workday either by phone or computer. Some workers are discouraged from taking time off from work. Unions are less powerful, so, in these cases, workers are forced to deal with issues on their own.

Discrimination and inequality exist today. While it might not be as severe as it was in the early 20th century, it still exists. African Americans and women lag behind white men economically. Opportunities for advancement in the workplace aren’t as good for women as they are for men. African Americans also have fewer opportunities for advancement. Stereotypical attitudes exist about different racial, ethnic, and gender groups. It is very hard to change attitudes.

New products are being invented rapidly. In the early 20th century products like washing machines, irons, disposal facial tissues, and radios were new products available to consumers. Today, there is a whole host of technological inventions being made. 

Differences also exist. Today, communication is much faster. With computers and phones, communication is nearly instantaneous The world has become much smaller in terms of getting from place to place. Faster and improved forms of transportation have made it easier to get to places. Women have been able to move out of traditional roles. While women still face some obstacles in the workplace, more women are working outside of the home. Women are able to run for political office, and they are getting elected. Women are able to speak their mind on various issues of national concern. Laws banning segregation have been passed. While there still is progress to be made in the area of race relations, it is now illegal to segregate based on race in public areas. There are more political opportunities and fewer political restrictions for African Americans. 

Thus, there are many similarities and differences between the early 1900s and the early 2000s.