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America in the 1920s

America in the 1920s

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America in the 1920s

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  1. America in the 1920s • America was changed by the industrialism of the Gilded Age & the economic boom of WWI • During the 1920s: • The USA was the richest & most developed country in the world • Wages rose, hours declined, & Americans had access to new, innovative consumer goods

  2. The Second Industrial Revolution The increase of national name brands (rather than locally produced goods) linked Americans more than ever • From 1922 to 1929, the U.S. had a 2nd industrial boom: • Mostly in consumer durable goods like appliances, cars, radios, furniture, & clothing • Electricity replaced steam power • Corporations used salaried executives, plant managers, & engineers to increase efficiency

  3. The Second Industrial Revolution • To stop the growth of labor unions companiesusedwelfare capitalism • Offered employees stock, house-purchase, & insurance options • Used an “open shop” & offered non-union workers the same rights that unions gained • After WWI, the federal gov’t & Supreme Court reverted back to a pro-business stance

  4. Henry Ford revolutionized the assembly line, the “$5-day,” new marketing & advertising techniques, & annual model changes The consumer goods revolution was best seen in the auto industry “The work moves and the men stand still” The auto industry stimulated the steel, sheet metal, rubber, glass, petroleum industries Henry Ford’s River Rouge plant emphasized uniformity, speed, precision, & coordination

  5. The auto industry led to the construction of roads & new filling stations…

  6. …and new suburban shopping centers: Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza was the 1st U.S. shopping mall (built in 1924)

  7. 1920s consumerism led to luxury living: • New appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, & vacuums Glenwood Stove Ad

  8. 1920s advertising

  9. 1920s consumerism led to luxury living: • Radios & movies boomed 100 million Americans went to the movies in 1929 per week The first “talkie” NBC was the 1st successful radio network

  10. Economic Weaknesses • The “Roaring 20s” was not as prosperous as it appeared: • RR, cotton textile, coal industries suffered due to new competition • Farmers boomed during WWI but a decline in demand after the war deflated farm prices Farm per capita income was $273 per year vs. the U.S. average of $681 per year

  11. Economic Weaknesses • Union membership dropped due to improved conditions & links to Debs’ “radical socialism” • Northern migration of blacks grew but workers gained menial jobs & faced racism • Growth in income was unequal with middle-class managers, bankers, engineers benefiting the most from the new affluence

  12. Social Changes in the “Jazz Age”

  13. Women and the Family • Change (& continuity) for women: • Female workers after WWI were limited to teachers, nurses, & other low-paying jobs • The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote but few women voted

  14. Alice Paul’s National Women’s Party (NWP) failed to pass an Equal Rights Amendment

  15. Women and the Family • “Flappers” rebelled against Victorian customs • Divorce rates doubled But…most women looked forward to lives as a mother and a wife “The creation and fulfillment of a successful home…compares favorably with building a beautiful cathedral.” —Ladies Home Journal

  16. Women and the Family “I have been kissed by dozens of men. I suppose I’ll kiss dozens more.” —character in F. Scott Fitzgerald novel • Families became smaller due to greater access to birth control • Children were no longer need to work to support their families • Teens began to “discover” their adolescence & revolt against their parents by drinking, having premarital sex, & searching for new forms of excitement

  17. The Flowering of the Arts • The Harlem Renaissance reflected the explosion of black culture & the “New Negro”: • Jazz & Blues expressed the social realities of blacks; Louis Armstrong became very popular • Langston Hughes’ poetry, novels, & plays promoted equality, condemned racism, & celebrated black culture

  18. Josephine Baker, internationally renowned singer/dancer “You could be black & proud, politically assertive & economically independent, creative & disciplined—or so it seemed”

  19. The Flowering of the Arts “The Waste Land” focused on a sterile U.S. society • The 1920s gave rise to a new class of intellectuals who condemned the new American industrial society & materialism: • Pessimistic Literature: TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, Sinclair Lewis, F Scott Fitzgerald, Hemmingway • Playwrights: Eugene O’Neill • Music: Gershwin & Copland Poetry discussed a “botched wasteland” “Main Street”–narrow-minded small towns “Great Gatsby”—human emptiness Romantic individualism & violence Plays of tragic pipedreams

  20. Marcus Garvey • Marcus Garvey was the preeminent civil rights activist of the 1920s • Oppression in the U.S. necessitated strict segregation & black nationalism • He formed the United Negro Improvement Assoc & advocated a return to Africa “The most dangerous enemy of the Negro race” —W.E.B. DuBois

  21. Closure Activity: The Long Road to Women’s Suffrage • What was a typical woman’s role in each era in American history? • Colonial life • Revolutionary era • Antebellum South • 19th century “sphere” & reform • Progressive era

  22. Essential Question: • To what extent did the new economic, social, & urban changes of the “Roaring 20s” conflict with the traditional values of rural America? • Warm-Up Question: • How did the 1920s change Americans’ lives?

  23. The Rural Counterattack

  24. The shift in focus from the countryside revealed that urban life was different; traditional ties of home, church, schools were absent City Life in the Jazz Age • The 1920 census revealed for the 1st time that more Americans lived in cities than the countryside The New York City skyline in 1930: Skyscrapers gave cities a unique architectural style

  25. The Rural Counterattack • Rural Americans identified cities with saloons, whorehouses, communist cells, & immorality • The 1920s saw an attempt to restore a “Protestant” culture in America & an attack on any “un-American” behavior like drinking, illiteracy, & immigration

  26. Prohibition • In Jan 1920, Congress passed the Volstead Act to enforce the 18th Amendment (1919) • 26 states had already banned alcohol but the real conflict came when prohibition was applied to urban ethnic groups • Rural America became dry & urban consumption dropped but was severely resisted A rural, Protestant attack on the “social disease of drunkenness”

  27. Per capita consumption of alcohol (1910-1929)

  28. The Ku Klux Klan • The rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan in 1915 (Stone Mtn, GA) was aimed at blacks, immigrants, Jews, Catholics, & prostitutes • The “Invisible Empire” sought to ease rural anxieties in the face of changing cultural attitudes • Used violence, kidnapping, murder, & politics to affect change

  29. The KKK provided a sense of identity to its members: Women’s Order, Junior Order for boys, Tri-K Klub for girls, Krusaders for assimilated immigrants Klan violence met resistance & membership declined by 1925

  30. D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915) was one of the most controversial films in movie history. Set during & after the Civil War, the film glorifies white supremacy & the KKK

  31. The Fear of Radicalism Including the bombing of Attorney General Palmer’s house in 1919 • The most dramatic rural reaction was the Red Scare (1919-1920): • A general workers strike in Seattle, police strike in Boston, & series of mail bombs led to fears of anarchy & socialism • Deportation without due process, searches without warrants, & imprisonment of innocent people was initially backed by the American people

  32. Palmer’s “Soviet Ark” The solution is simple: “S.O.S.—ship or shoot” “Place the Bolsheviks on ships of stone with sails of lead” “Stand them up before the firing squad and save space on our ships”

  33. Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco & Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed for armed robbery & murder without evidence The judge in the case even referred to Sacco & Vanzetti as “those anarchist bastards”

  34. Immigration Restriction This act still allowed over 500,000 immigrants mostly from South & East Europe • Many feared mass immigration to the U.S. among Europeans escaping post-war rebuilding: • The Immigration Act (1921) placed a cap on European immigration to 3% of each ethnic group’s U.S. population • The National Origins Quota Act (1924) limited U.S. immigration to 150,000 total; Allocated most spots to British, Irish, Germans Immigration restrictions (unlike the Red Scare, Prohibition, or the KKK) lasted beyond the 1920s (into 1960s)

  35. The Fundamentalist Challenge Pentecostals, Church of Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses all grew in membership • The most long-lasting reaction of rural America was a retreat to Christian beliefs • Aggressive fundamentalist churches provided a haven for rural American values • The Scopes “Monkey Trial” revealed the rural attack on evolution in schools

  36. Conclusions • Urban America came to define all of the United States in the 1920s: • Radio, movies, advertising reflected urban culture • Consumer goods were made in American cities • Small-town whites, blacks, & immigrants moved to cities • But, conservative rural Americans (religious fundamentalists & KKK) attacked these new, urban ideas

  37. Closure Activity:The Urban vs. Rural Debate • Examine the list of events of the 1920s. For each, describe how urban and rural perspectives • Discussion questions: • Why did the rural counter-attack occur in the 1920s? Why not earlier? • Are any of the arguments among rural Americans justified? Explain