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“The Roaring 20s”

“The Roaring 20s”

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“The Roaring 20s”

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  1. “The Roaring 20s”

  2. New Ideas • After WWI, America would become the world’s leading economic power. • But the 1920s would be a time of great change in America. Many people began to question traditional beliefs about the world.

  3. New Ideas • A religious revival at the beginning of the 20th century led to a growth in religious fundamentalism. • Religious fundamentalists believe that the Bible is literally true and, because it is from God, cannot contain errors. • Religious fundamentalists are more traditional people. They read the Bible literally, and used it to hypothesize that the world is around 6,000 years old. • On the other hand, “modernists” and “secularists” believed in the ideas of Charles Darwin and other scientists who say the earth is actually over 4 billion years old. • Furthermore, some people looked at the devastation of WWI and questioned the existence of God.

  4. Scopes Trial • The debate between modern scientific theory and traditional religious fundamentalism gained national attention in the “Scopes Trial” of 1925. • A teacher named John Scopes was arrested for violating a Tennessee law that forbade teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution, instead of the Bible’s account of creation. • In the trial, the prosecutor was William Jennings Bryan, and he took the stand to defend the Bible and the law which made teaching evolution illegal. • But while being questioned, William Jennings Bryan was asked many tough questions about the Bible from John Scopes’ lawyer.

  5. Scopes Trial • Scopes was ultimately found guilty and fined $100 after the jury deliberated for 9 minutes. • The law against teaching evolution remained in effect.

  6. New Technology in the 1920s • Henry Ford was able to make cars cheap enough for regular people to buy through “mass production” using the assembly line. • He also wanted to his workers to be able to buy his cars, so he paid them an unheard of $5 per day. By the 1920s, a Model T car cost only $260. • The car changed America. People could live in a different area than they worked, so neighborhoods started to spring up within cities. • Also, electric trolleys and street cars made it easier to get around the city and from home to work. • Suburbs started to spring up as people could live outside the cities and drive into the cities to work.


  8. Consumer Goods and Mass Media • The assembly line made “consumer goods” cheaper. Consumer goods are things that people use often through their lives, life refrigerators, sewing machines, and cars. • Sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, and washing machines greatly reduced the amount of time people had to do chores at home. • But, many people spent all of their money buying consumer goods. So, in order to buy more things, people bought items on credit, paying payments or “installments.” • Mass media also formed during the 1920s. Mass media are things that allow everyone to participate in a common culture, like radios, newspapers, magazines, etc.

  9. Consumer Goods and Mass Media • Because of the radio, people around the country enjoyed the same shows and hearing the same news reports. • The movie industry also boomed. The first movies were actually silent pictures, and then moved to movies with sound called “talkies.” • “The Jazz Singer” was one of the first very popular talkies.

  10. Women in the 1920s • By 1920, half of the American population lived in large cities. Large cities were different than the rest of the country. • People in the large cities were more “modern” and less “traditional.” As more people lived in the cities, people’s values began to change. • The movement of people to the cities changed the role of women during the 20s. • During WWI, women had taken new jobs that men had to leave to go and fight. When the men returned, they took their jobs back.

  11. Women in the 1920s • Many people were worried about the decline of morals during the 20s. They were especially worried about the decline of women’s morals. • Women began to change their dress and behavior. They started wearing shorter hairstyles and skirts. • They began going out on dates instead of having men come to their homes with their parents or a chaperone supervising. • These new women were called “flappers.” • Some of the behavior that people found unacceptable: premarital sex, using birth control, listening to jazz music, drinking, smoking, etc.

  12. Blacks in the 1920s • From about 1910 to 1930, blacks in the rural south began moving to urban areas (cities) in the Midwest and North. • In all, about 6 million blacks left the South to move to the North’s cities. This is called the “Great Migration.” • Jim Crow laws, violence, and lynching were “push” factors for blacks – meaning they were reasons why blacks LEFT the south. • Meanwhile, cultural change and jobs were “pull” factors for blacks – meaning reasons they CAME to the north. • A black middle class developed in the cities as blacks were able to hold steady jobs.

  13. 1900

  14. Blacks in the 1920s • As the black middle class grew, blacks began taking pride in their history and culture. • A movement of writers, artists, and musicians in New York City during the 1920s drew attention to black culture. • This movement was called the Harlem Renaissance. • Two of the major writers of this movement were James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes. • This movement helped draw attention to the fact that blacks were still second class citizens.

  15. The Red Scare • Communism is when the government owns all property and tries to create a society in which there are no classes, meaning everyone has the same amount of property. • When the government of Russia became communist, people in the United States began to become afraid that communists would take over the government here. • This led to a period of time in the 1920s known as the “Red Scare.” The Red Scare was a period of time in which Americans were accused of being Communists or anarchists. • Immigrants were the ones most often targeted with accusations of being communists or anarchists.

  16. The Red Scare • The United States Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, was especially afraid of communists and anarchists. • He authorized the Palmer Raids, when police arrested and jailed 4,000 people who were believed to be Communists. Many of them were actually just immigrants who were innocent. • More than 500 people were deported back to their home countries. • Palmer predicted that there would be attacks in the U.S. by anarchists and Communists. This never happened, and people stopped taking him seriously.

  17. Anti-Immigration • During the 1920s, xenophobia was widespread. Xenophobia is hatred of outsiders or immigrants. • Many who believed in Social Darwinism thought that the U.S. should not allow so many immigrants to freely enter. • So, during the 1920s, immigration quotas were passed. Quotas are limitations on the amount of immigrants who could enter the country from certain areas. • For most countries, the quota was set at 2% of the amount of people in that country. • Example: only 2% of Italians could come to the U.S. each year. • The quotas were aimed at preventing immigration from three areas: Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, and Asia.

  18. The (2nd) Ku Klux Klan • During the 1920s, the KKK made a resurgence. • In order to attract new members, the KKK started targeting other groups besides blacks. • They targeted Jews, Catholics, and immigrants. The Red Scare helped to fuel the growth of the KKK. • During the 1920s, the KKK grew to become a national organization. People in small towns and cities across America joined the KKK, even in the Midwest and North. • The KKK saw themselves as helping to improve and shape the morals of society. • They targeted bootleggers and gamblers, burning crosses in their yards and beating or lynching them in public.

  19. The (2nd) Ku Klux Klan • The KKK during the 1920s was different than the one after the Civil War. During the 1920s, the KKK was more organized and targeted more groups. • Also, in 1915, the movie “Birth of a Nation” intensified racism against blacks. It was a recruiting tool for the KKK. • The movie portrayed blacks as being sexually aggressive towards white women.

  20. Gainesville, FL

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  22. Prohibition • Since the 1830s, many groups supported temperance, which means the reduction of the use of alcohol. • Most of the supporters of the temperance movement were women. • During WWI, the support for prohibiting alcohol grew stronger. • This was due to the fact that there were grain shortages because of the war. Also, there was anti-German sentiment – and German immigrants were some of the biggest grain farmers. • Finally, during WWI, the 18th Amendment was passed. • The 18th Amendment made selling alcohol illegal.

  23. Prohibition • It did not, however, make the consumption of alcohol illegal. • Soon, illegal sources of alcohol were being established all over the country. These secret bars were called “speakeasies.” • Organized crime also developed as a result of Prohibition, as gangs began selling illegal alcohol. • The government did not have the power to stop these gangs from selling alcohol. • It was impossible to enforce the Prohibition law. So, in 1933, the 21st Amendment was passed. This amendment ended Prohibition and made alcohol legal again.

  24. Prosperity During the 1920s • During the 1920s, America seemed very prosperous. • Industrial production (how much factories were producing) was up, as well as average income. • But this was deceiving because there was a growing gap between the rich and the poor. The rich were getting very wealthy, while the poor were staying the same. • The majority of Americans lived below the poverty line in the 1920s. • The poverty line was $2,500 in 1929 dollars. • Companies were making more money, but wages for their workers dropped or stayed the same for most. • In order to buy things that they wanted, people began buying goods on credit and setting up installment plans to make payments.