The Roaring Twenties

What a magical time

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Fads/Heroes (Ethan)

Babe Ruth was a popular American baseball player and icon throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Becoming one of the most well known athletes in the Unites States, there is no doubt that Babe provided the kind of hope and symbolism that America needed.


Babe was born on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. Babes parents worked long hours, leading him to act out as a kid. Because of this, Babe was sent to a catholic boarding school in order to be straightened out. In this school, Babe would spend most of his free time playing baseball, developing a passion for the sport. After he became good enough, Babe was drafted to the major leagues. In this laid a path to success.


Babes remarkable success in baseball dramatically increased the popularity and viewership of the sport. All eyes were on him when he hit his 714th home run, setting a iconic record which would not be broken for 34 years. While many Americans did not know the specifics of his accomplishments, no one could deny that he was by far exceptional at his sport.


Babe gave America something to focus on in both good times and bad. Throughout the great depression, watching Babe smash another homer provided both symbolic hope and a escape from the bland “real world.” In addition, Babe created what is know to this day as the greatest rivalry in all of sports: the Yankees versus the Red Sox. Those stationed in the north-east found a sense of pride when their 2 teams faced off, leading to major popularity in the sport of baseball.


Finally, Babe highlighted the concept of the “self-made man” in the United States. Starting out as a standard boy in the lower-middle class, Babe became a legend. There was nothing special about him, and still he became remarkably successful. Because of this, Babe inspired many other people to pick up a bat and follow in his footsteps.


When America was going through times of joy in the 1920s, Babe was there to represent its success. When America was going through time of trouble in the 1930s/late 1920s, Babe was there to show a sense of hope. When Babe died in the 1940s, a part of America died with him. In the end, no one can deny the impact Babe had on the United States.

Birth of a Mass Culture (Akwaugo)

The Roaring Twenties brought along many new inventions that became necessities and made almost everything easily accessible for Americans around the country commencing the birth of a mass culture. The radio allowed for local and world news to be available from your own home while the automobile industry, which became extremely popular over time, increased the efficiency of travel.

Radios were the first mass broadcasting product. Prior to the war, radios were very rare and expensive. They were used for advertisements during the war and as a source of entertainment. During the 1920s they became common household objects and were used for marketing purposes. The introduction of the radio created a mass culture because they broadcasted to the whole country. They were similar to how tvs are now with a wide assortment of programs from world news to baseball games. They were initially used for commercials hence the name commercial radio but later expanded its horizons to fit the wants of all kinds of Americans.

The automobile was the greatest advancement in the roaring twenties and changed transportation forever.Similar to the radio, cars were rare before the war, however the war started an economic surge in the United States which included mass production. After the war cars became must-have goods for Americans. By 1929 there was one car on the road for every 5 Americans. They were now more affordable and practical in the society. Not only did the automobile decrease transportation time, but it also affected other industries in the economy such as steel production and highway building. Many sectors sprung up to aid the accelerated production of cars. Cars contributed to the birth of the mass culture of America because they eventually became available to all Americans no matter what status or location.

Culture Civil War (Mahathi)

The culture of civil war that came about in the 1920s was a result of the various cultural changes that caused departure from long-held traditions.The Scopes Trial and Great Migration are clear examples of the cultural conflict, as one dealt with scientific advancements while the other dealt with growing (noticeable) presence of African Americans all throughout the country.

The Scopes Trial was a dispute over the theory of evolution being taught in school. This came during a time where many were seeking to expand their intellect and learn about the more scientific aspects of life (a result of the modernist tendencies that were becoming a part of popular culture).This conflicted with the Christian values of many Americans, as belief in theories like evolution discredited their faith. So, the trial was put forth as means of quashing the growth of the modern mind and keeping traditions in place.

As a result of World War I, there was a large influx of African Americans into the Northern States. The migration created a noticeable presence of African Americans, almost bringing their culture and lifestyle to truly become a part of American popular culture. This “noticeable presence” did sit well with many of the traditional white Americans. The traditional population attempted to go against this integration of black culture into America through organizations like the Klu Klux Klan. The supposed purpose of such organizations was to ensure the preservation of old America and its values.

Both the aforementioned events showed the conflict that created the cultural civil war of the twenties. The root at the cause for this civil war was the increasingly progressive attitudes that were gaining momentum through events like World War I. Though many were progressive in their mindset, there were also some who preferred the traditional way. It was this clash in belief that set the stage for the cultural civil war.

Economic Status (Samarth)

The roaring twenties was a period dominated by substantial economic growth. With the advent of mass culture, the demand for mass produced goods was higher than ever. With the Great War just over, many Americans looked to material goods in order to celebrate their prosperity. As a result the concept of consumerism integrated into the mass culture at the time, pushing for greater spending of money as well as greater accumulation of material goods. This new ideology of lavish spending as well as new techniques in production helped bolster the American economy to great heights making it the richest country in the world at the time. Examples of this include Ford’s Model T, which due to it’s incredibly affordable price of just $260 in 1925 ($3,521.40 with inflation) was achieved through the pioneering of the assembly line. This in turn significantly reduced the cost of the car and allowed for many middle class families around America to own their own car. With many families everywhere now owning their own car, the idea of every family in America owning a car became integrated into the mass culture. This in turn boosted economic prosperity in America due to higher demand, as well as reinforce the idea of consumerism. Additionally with the advent of radio, the American people were now part of the mass culture more than ever. The radio gave birth to two new concepts: radio shows that were a new form of entertainment at the time as well as mass advertising. This form of advertising was revolutionary as it was able to reach hundreds of thousands of people at once, and thus having a very strong influence on the mass culture at the time as these adverts often shaped people’s perceptions on what they want. Once again, the influence of mass media on mass culture reinforced the idea of consumerism and strengthened the demand for goods, boosting the American economy.

However this era of prosperity came to a sudden end brought by the Wall Street Crash of 1929, bringing about the Great Depression that characterized the next decade. The crash can be mostly attributed to the values that the culture held at the time, of one of great wealth, excess, and optimism. These values were reflected in investors at the time who believed that the growth of the stock market was limitless and continued to invest higher and higher amounts without safeguarding for potential dips in value. As a result, when a dip in the stock market did occur on October 24th, the drop in value wasn’t nominal, it was substantial. As a result it led to continual selling of stock as investors struggled to recoup their losses, resulting in an even greater drop in value of the stock market. All in all the Dow Jones average dropped over 20% causing devastating losses and trashing the American economy.

Final Response

The roaring twenties was a period marked by a dramatic transformation of American society. With new technologies such as the radio and automobile within the reach of the average American, these technologies played an important role in shaping America’s mass culture. The evolution of communications and transportation technologies greatly increased cultural diffusion that united all types of Americans regardless of internal conflicts.

Technology played a large role in the birth of mass culture in the 1920s. The radio and automobile became very popular because they were both cheap and produced in plentiful quantities. As a result of the cheap prices made possible through mass production these new products were within reach of many people, greatly adding to their popularity. They were very cheap making it affordable to many Americans. Additionally, radios allowed for the introduction of mass advertising which caused the American public to want and buy the same things. This reinforced the idea of consumerism by building on the idea of a mass culture influencing Americans to buy the same products. Radios broadcasted events such as baseball games highlighting this common interest among Americans. Players such as Babe Ruth became a national symbol of America as a representative of the American culture. The automobile, similar to the radio, decreased in price making it a household object. Americans could now get from one place to another in a small amount of time. All Americans could participate in this industry as it created many jobs such as highway building while still remaining a highly used commodity. Along with the spread of mass culture through technology, there was also a cultural diffusion that was evident in events like the Great Migration. The large-scale migration of African Americans to the north caused the spread of African American culture to the predominantly white society of the North.

In conclusion, the dramatic transformation of American society throughout the 1920s was sparked by new technologies such as the radio and the automobile. These inventions both shaped American society and led to massive cultural diffusion. It can truly be said that the 1920s were a time of massive change for the United States.