The Roaring 1920s

Katie Lederhaus

Major Changes

The 1920s were a time of major changes in society. New inventions were emerging, women's roles were changing, and so much more. The 1920s decade is nicknamed the "Roaring Twenties" because of all the changes that were happening and the fast paced lifestyle that many people were living.


Before World War 1, women were nicknamed "Gibson girls" and wore very restrictive and concealing clothing, mostly long dresses. The opportunities that they had in the war to take on new jobs while all the men were fighting had allowed women to change the way they were viewed in society. Their outfits became shorter and looser and the short "bob" hairstyle was popular. This made dancing a lot easier. Moves like the Charleston and the Lindy Hop were created during this time. The Lindy Hop involved one partner (usually the man) would pick up the other partner (the woman) and swing her around in the air. This dance was inspired by Charles Lindbergh flying from New York to Paris. Womens' behaviors changed too. They wore makeup and even drank and smoked in public. A lot of the older people during this time weren't as supportive of these changes, but the young people were willing to break tradition. That's how it seems to be today too. Older people are sometimes still living in the past and can't keep up with the changes in society that are happening today.
Charleston -- Original Al & Leon Style!!

Technoloy and Mass Culture

New technologies changed life in the 1920s. Cars became more affordable during this time, allowing people to travel more just for fun. The Ford Model T cost only $260 in 1924! At the beginning of the 1920s , cars were just affordable luxuries, but by the end, they were necessities. By 1929 there was one car on the road for every five Americans. The automobile industry was born, and along with it came motels and gas stations. People also bought radios in the 1920s. The first station in the U.S. was in Pittsburgh in 1920. By 1923 there were over 500 stations to choose from. Movies also grew in popularity, especially movie theaters. It is estimated that three quarters of Americans saw a movie at a theater every week. Jazz music was also popular. The radio and records helped spread it.


Refrigerators helped increase the amount and types of food people could buy and comsume. Technology in farms allowed them to produce more food faster, making prices low. Americans mostly ate meat and potatoes, but as vitamins were discovered earlier in the 1900s, people were eating more vegetables. People also gravitated towards readty to eat processed foods. Before, all meals were made from scratch by women.Processed and canned foods made the cooking process a lot faster. Condiments introduced by immigrants also gave foods more interesting flavors. Manufactured foods made in the 1920s include Wonder bread, Velveeta Cheese, Popsicles, Kool-Aid, and many more.


Prohibition was part of the Eighteenth Amendment and began on January 16th, 1920. The law made transporting, selling, and making alcoholic beverages illegal. It was supposed to lower the amount of crime, reduce social problems, and improve health. All it really did was make things worse. People smuggled it in from other countries, opened underground bars called speakeasies, and made their own to get around the law. People even got prescriptions from their doctors to get whiskey. Prohibition also caused a lot of alcoholic poisoning because people would get alcohol from other people who had made it themselves and spiked it with other chemicals. Since the law only banned the making, selling, and transport of alcohol, people stock-piled it before the law was put into effect and could continue to serve it legally. The only alcohol that was made was made by the government for religious purposes. This law wasn't fully removed from all areas of the U.S. until 1966.

My Reaction

The 1920s were so fun to learn about! That time seems like it would be a pretty fun time to live in, so I think that's why. I'm glad the women were able to wear looser dresses because it would be really, really hard to do the Charleston in a Gibson Girl dress. The Lindy Hop dance sounds really fun to me. I think I would fit in with the "young people" of this time because I am a "young person" and I like change. The Prohibition law sounded to me like a good idea until I read that it really just made things worse. It's amazing what people will do to get find loopholes. I mean getting a prescription for whiskey? People must have been very desperate for alcohol. Besides that, the 1920s would have been a great time to be alive and I wish I could have been there.

Works Cited

"1920s Fashion & Music." 1920s Fashion & Music. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2016.

"Charleston -- Original Al & Leon Style!!" YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.

"Digital History." Digital History. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2016.

"The Roaring Twenties." A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 06 Feb. 2016.

Scott, Robert. "" The 1920s. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.