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10 Incredible Things the Oldest People Have Lived Through

World War I

During World War I, every citizen was called upon to do something to help the war effort: be it by fighting, volunteering, or by scrimping. Even though the U.S. was only in the war from 1917-1918, those who lived through this time would have seen their family members ship off to battle. Neighbors would move to Washington to work for the War Department. Rationing meant they had to eat on a war time diet that used less meat and wheat, and emphasized no waste. The slogan “food will win the war” was used by the Food Administration to encourage civilian participation, with posters and signs displayed publicly. Resistance to the newly-reinstated draft was strong and draft dodgers were strictly punished, though many young men were also incapacitated by the Spanish Influenza and their service postponed. The last U.S. WWI veteran died in 2011.

World War I soldiers marching

Via/ Flickr

The Rise of Cars

The 1908 creation of the Model-T by Henry Ford made owning a car a feasible dream, and as other car-makers followed the assembly-line techniques of Ford, automobiles became more prevalent than carriages. The car was invented in 1885 by Karl Benz, a German engine designer; however the high prices and slow production time kept the general public from being able to enjoy this new machine. Folks born in the early 20th century saw the automobile replace horse-drawn carriages and buggies, and watched as hitching posts became parking spaces for cars.

Women’s Suffrage

Though the first bill for women’s suffrage was proposed in 1868, the fourteenth amendment defined all voters as male. Opposition was so strong that the Anti-Suffrage Party was formed 19 years before the founding of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Some states began to grant votes to women as early as 1910, but it wasn’t until 1920 that the suffragettes finally got the vote. Thanks to the efforts of men and women across the U.S., women’s suffrage was eventually made into law.

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