The Roaring 20's
Karen Lin, Taisei Hirakawa, Lauren Gaggini, Armon Montazeri
Fads and Heroes
Charles Lindburgh, an American pilot, is the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean displaying his exceptional feat of bravery. During the 1920s, the hero status arose from sports, movie films, and other pop cultural fields. Political and economical figures that were considered heroes in the past eras were excluded during this era as the mass became more exposed to the mass media and entertainment.
Birth Of A Mass Culture
Radio and Automobiles:
With advancements in both communication and transportation technology, American culture has transformed into one dependent on mass production, mass consumption, and interconnectedness.
With the radio now being open to not only the public but middle class households as well, anybody could afford the radio and in turn, be informed with current affairs. Anything of importance - ranging from music, entertainment, news, and advertisements - were now available to more than 10 million American households by 1929. More universally, the radio connected people despite regional and lifestyle differences while simultaneously bringing racial discrimination into secluded white households.
Furthermore, the automobile brought by Ford and his assembly line production in factories allowed for an accessibility to middle class citizens to afford cheap transportation. This led to not only an increase in infrastructure via roadways but also an increasing in housing outside the city in the form of suburbs. With this new commonality of automobiles in american culture, mass production became a huge characteristic of middle class households.
Culture Civil War
During the 1920s both the Scopes Trial and the “New Woman” movement contributed to a confrontation of modern and traditional ideals in America.
During this time period, religion was redefined through the scopes trial. In this trial, The Tennessee law banning the teaching of evolution in schools was debated. Although the Tennessee government ended up winning the case, the large amount of media coverage on the trial started a discussion of what it meant to be christian. The trial publicized scientific research on evolution, and highlighted the growing concern evangelists had about the undermining of old fashioned Christian morals. Because of the theory of evolution, many christians began to stray away from a traditional, literal interpretation of the bible, and this caused growing concern in conservative christians who believed in keeping to traditions.
Another sphere of conflict had to do with the role of women in society. The passing of the 19th amendment gave women political power, because of this their involvement in society increased drastically. The “New Woman” movement gained power, and many women began to condemn traditional roles of women such as being domesticated, chaste, and subdued. An example of this is the flappers, who were young, socially dynamic women whose main goal was to have fun and defy previous standards of women in society.
Because of things such as the 19th amendment and the Scopes Trial, many antiquated american values were challenged, causing tension between modern and traditional cultural values in America.
The mass culture of the automobile and industry, allowed for many workers to live outside the city, and as a result, influx to their jobs in the city. As these individuals commute, they must go to eat, get gas, or make other necessary stops. All of these new changes in the 1920s boomed the economy as it brought in more revenue that was never experienced in the past. For example, Ford Motor company allowed a medium for citizens to purchase cheap goods on a mass production scale.
The end of World War 1 caused a shortage on the job market, and many veterans who returned home became unemployed.
Involvement in the Great War caused was one of the reasons for the Stock Market crash of 1929, by failing to secure repayment for cash loans and goods extended to the European allies. Furthermore, domestically here in America, bonds made by many citizens were lost and many individuals lost all of the money that they invested.(Bank Speculations)
During the era of The Roaring 20s, multiple technological and communicational innovations created a nation standardized by mass and affordable production. With this standardization, modern ideals conformed to the middle class family despite the appearance of international conflicts such as immigration, world wars, and economic instability.
Due to the increased wage earnings of the common man, a greater proportion of the American population was able to take part in the consumer economy. People spent leisure times watching movies, participating in sports, and going on vacations. Through the affiliation of these characteristics the middle class people were exposed to these modern values of using excess spending money on leisure activities rather than survival.
Pressures of migrations did not affect the evolution of the American mass culture because the majority of immigrants were placed below the middle class and excluded from leisure activities. The great war actually catalyzed the mass modernization as other European countries became dependent on America after the destruction in Europe. Production of not only weapons but household objects were exported in large quantities to aid the European powers. Finally, economic distress caused many companies to utilize cheap resources and labor to continue their mass production, which in turn, still allowed middle class citizens to participate in mass consumption.