Best and Worse Times of the 1920s

By: Eric Baranda

Social, Negative

  • The Red Scare- A postwar that occurred because of the fear bombs, communism, and labor unrest. The red scare is one of the worse events of the 1920s because many people died or were imprisoned.
  • Prohibition- An event that had a ban on alcohol. The prohibition is one of the worse times of the 1920s because breweries, distilleries, and saloons were forced to close their doors. Many people were worried that alcohol lead to wife beating and child abuse, Industrialists were also worried about employees drinking on the job.

Social, Positive

  • Labor Tensions- Tensions in the workplace. The labor tensions is one of the best events of the 1920s because organized labor had grown in strength during the war, many unions won recognition, and because the 12 hour work day was abolished.
  • New Pulp Fiction- New literature finds a wide audience. New pulp fiction had a positive impact of the 1920s because new literature attracted many new readers who were interested in more significant books.

Economic, Negative

  • Massive Unemployment-WW1 created great economic prosperity in the United States. Massive unemployment had a negative impact on the 1920s because many war time production factories had closed, which means a higher level of unemployed citizens. The army also discharged millions of soldiers, leaving them jobless.
  • Inflation- Economic upheaval results in inflation and recession. Inflation had a negative impact on the 1920s because prices of food and clothing rose. Many Americans saw their standard of living drop as prices rose.

Economic, Positive

  • Economic Growth- New economic opportunities. Economic growth had a positive impact on the 1920s because new opportunities like buying cars, appliances, and stylish-clothing helped make tensions less significant, such as cultural tensions.
  • The Automated Assembly Line- Revolutionizing American manufacturing. The automated assembly line had a positive impact on the 1920s because by revolutionizing American manufacturing, the cost of automobiles greatly reduced.

Political, Negative

  • Civil Liberties Suffer- Tactics trample on basic rights guaranteed by law. Civil Liberties suffering had a negative impact on the 1920s because some states made laws that revoked freedom, such as some states made opposition to the government a crime.
  • Loss of Public Support and Membership- Unions loss public support. The loss of public support had a negative impact on the 1920s because of bad public hostility and because of Americans viewing unionism as being a threat to their way of life.

Political, Positive

  • The Election of 1928- At stake in the presidential election of 1928 was whether the United States could elect a Catholic president. The election of 1928 had a positive impact on the 1920s because it shifted the African American vote towards democrats. It also awakened a great army of immigrant voters in the big cities, such as the Jews, the Italians, the Polish, and the Irish.
  • Women's Voting Rights- The rights for women to be able to vote. Women's voting rights had a positive impact of the 1920s because female voters voted for cleaner politics, an improved society, and an end to discrimination.
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Cultural, Negative

  • The Ku Klux Klan- A group of whites who used terrorist tactics to intimidate different races such as Roman Catholics, Jews, African Americans, and foreigners. The Ku Klux Klan had a negative impact on the 1920s because they killed people who didn't show "true Americanism".
  • Immigration Restricition- The United states restricts foreigners from migrating into the U.S. The restriction of immigration is a negative impact on the 1920s because it prevented migration to the U.S. due to American fears. Americans believed that foreigners threaten the nation's true culture. Americans also feared that American workers' wages would decline if unskilled immigrant workers flooded the labor market.

Cultural, Positive

  • Mass Entertainment- New technologies impact American culture. Mass Entertainment had a positive impact of the 1920s because new inventions produced a decade of artists, musicians, and writers who were among the most innovative and creative in the country's cultural history.
  • Spectator sports- sports that you watch. Spectator sports had a positive impact of the 1920s because it attracted great audiences. Certain team players were looked at as heroic. Baseball was more interesting than football. Baseball also regained its popularity due to Babe Ruth.
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Resources: Digital History articles, History Alive textbook (Ch. 26-29)