Since the end of the 20th century, the economic strength during the 1920s has drawn close comparison with the 1950s and 1990s, especially in the United States of America. These three decades are regarded as periods of economic prosperity, which lasted throughout nearly each entire decade. Each of the three decades followed a tremendous event that occurred in the previous decade (World War I and Spanish flu in the 1910s, World War II in the 1940s, and the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s). The 1920s marked the first time in the United States that the population in the cities surpassed the population of rural areas. This was due to rapid urbanization starting in the 1920s.
However, not all countries enjoyed this prosperity. The Weimar Republic, like many other European countries, had to face a severe economic downturn in the opening years of the decade, because of the enormous debt caused by the war as well as the Treaty of Versailles. Such a crisis would culminate with a devaluation of the Mark in 1923, eventually leading to severe economic problems and, in the long term, favour the rise of the Nazi Party.
Calvin Coolidge was the 30th President of the United States. A lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state. His actions during the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight. He was elected as the 29th Vice President in 1920 and succeeded to the Presidency upon the death of Warren G. Harding. He was elected in his own right in 1924, and gained a reputation as a small-government conservative. In many ways, Coolidge's style of governance was a throwback to the passive Presidency of the nineteenth century. He restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor's administration, and left office with considerable popularity. Many would later criticize Coolidge as a part of a general criticism of laissez-faire government, especially in times of economic hardship, such as the Great Depression. His reputation underwent a renaissance during the Reagan administration, but the ultimate assessment of his presidency is still divided between those who approve of his reduction of the size of government and those who believe the federal government should be more involved in regulating the economy.