The Roaring Twenties

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good


One of the most common things that are thought of when people hear the 20's are flappers. A flapper is, "a fashionable young woman intent on enjoying herself and flouting conventional standards of behavior" These women liked to have fun and brought joy to many women by inspiring them to do the same. During this time many women wanted to be rebellious. They consumed alcohol and smoked, even though that was thought to be the role of a man. Wearing heavy makeup and knee high dresses were popular among flappers as well. In my opinion this was a very good thing that happened during the 1920's because these women were eliminating double standards and motivated other women to do the same in other ways such as now taking on the man's role.

The Automobile Age

The 20's was also nicknamed the automobile age because during this period Henry Ford came out with the Model-T. This was an event that made the 1920's roaring because it allowed people to do things they never knew was possible. They could now vacation, live in the country because they could drive between work and the city, and it also used the assembly line which created a lot of jobs and cheaper products. The automobile also gave teens freedom to go out and socialize with their friends. Another huge thing is it restored some of the farming aspect of American life by giving people the opportunity to again travel back and forth from town, which wasn't as efficient before. In the end the automobile shows a very bright period in the 1920's because Americans could now do things without the boundary of transportation.


During the 1920's some of the greatest innovations of the time were things like the moving picture, the Model-T, and the refrigerator, but in my opinion the greatest thing of this time was the radio. The radio brought news and entertainment to many American homes. Bringing news to homes was essential because during wars, the families of soldiers could now get news right away when it came. The radio also created villains and heroes in the sense that as soon as something happened it was broadcast and that person became known to the country in the matter of hours. For example when Lindbergh flew across the ocean, he was a celebrity over night. The radio was a huge thing in the 20's and it has been repeatedly updated into the radios that we have today which we still enjoy. This was another good moment in the twenties because of the enjoyment and consistent news it brought to many households.

The Bad

Consumer Economy

During the 1920's, America became a consumer economy. Everyone started buying things that they didn't actually need, just to buy them. Another huge thing was buying on credit. "Buy now, pay later" was a big slogan during this time, but ultimately credit hurt more people than it helped. Some became addicted to buying things and didn't pay back their credit and were then in debt. Becoming a consumer economy was good for our nation because just leaving the WWI it was helping the country's economy get out of debt, but the adjustment to wealth and money proved to be challenging for some as many could not handle the responsibility. In the end the consumer economy was a bad thing for our country because it was basically people spending money that they did not have, and their actions hurt them especially in coming years when the great depression hit.

The Scopes Trial

The Scopes Trial was one of the biggest court cases in the 20's. John Scopes was a teacher in Tennessee, where it was illegal to teach the theory of evolution. Scopes was testing the law when he decided to teach the theory of evolution to one of his classes. Eventually Scopes was convicted and fined $100, which the courts of Tennessee then overturned his conviction. This was a bad thing during the twenties because it tore the nation apart as far as religion. It was good that people were out exploring new ideas and concepts, but it created a rivalry between evolutionists and Christian fundamentalists. It was great that Scopes was trying to teach evolution, and it sparked courage for people to go out and be themselves, but it also really says something about our nation at the time because they convicted him based on religious reasons. So the Scopes Trial was a bad thing in the twenties because it created a rivalry between two very opinionated groups, that is still around today and opposed people exploring new concepts.

The Ugly

The Red Scare

The red scare was a very bad time during the 20's. The red scare turned many people in the United States against immigration. They were scared that immigrants from Russia were going to come from a communist state and try and change our democracy, which wasn't necessarily true. Communism was a scary thing to citizens in our country because everyone saw the problems with it. One of the worst things about communism in the eye of an American was that you had no rights. We had fought many wars to ensure our rights, and just giving that up was very un-appealing, so many people opposed immigration during this time. Wrapping up, this was an ugly time in the 1920's because our country lived in fear and it created a mindset for people that all immigrants were suspicious and shouldn't be welcomed into the country.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

February 14, 1929, havoc struck. Al Capone's gang bribed local police forces in Chicago to give them uniforms and a police car to pull it off. Then they 'pulled over' a rival gang from the North side for bootlegging alcohol. They lined them up against the wall and shot all seven of them with sub machine guns. This is a very dark spot in the 1920's. It highlights how much gang violence happened during this time, and also how loose police forces were. Seven people whose family would be left wondering why, seven possible brothers, fathers, and sons, gone because the rivalry got out of hand. On top of that the police who were supposed to be there to protect, accepted a small bribe that equated into the loss of these seven lives that day. This was another very ugly time during the twenties because it really brings to attention how much gang violence there was, and how little the police were doing to stop it.

The 1920's are often over-glorified, but it is stories like these that people don't know about or choose not to speak about. After this project it makes me question how 'roaring' the twenties really were, there were some good things but it my opinion the bad outweighs the good during this time period.