The Roaring 20's

By: Alyssa B, Michael M, Saniya G, Abhi L

Babe Ruth

-One of the greatest outfielders in baseball history

-Established the sport as America’s pastime, the 20’s were the golden age of sports.

-Led the Red Soxs to the world series twice and the Yankees four times

-One of the first 6 people inducted into the the Baseball Hall of Fame

-He brought hundreds of thousands of people to the Yankee games due to all his home runs.

-Because they became so popular they were able to build a stadium and called it “The House That Ruth Built"

-He held the record of 714 home runs in 1935 and wasn’t broken until 1974

-He held the record of 60 home runs in a single season

-He hit the longest home run ever at Wrigley Field


Birth of a Mass Culture

During the 1920s, economic prosperity resulted in extra money to spend for many Americans to spend. This, along with advances in culture, the innovations in technology,and changing social roles, brought the creation of the mass culture.

The introduction of radio was a prominent part of the birth of the mass culture. For the first time in history, people across the country were tuned into the same radio station. By the end of the 1920s, there were radios in more than 12 million households and more than 500 stations.Radio was cheap and convenient, and kept many people informed about local news as well as world affairs. The widespread use of the radio furthered the influence of popular culture around the nation as people heard about latest consumer goods and other fads in the country

Technological innovations also brought another important consumer product in the 1920s: the automobile. Low prices made cars affordable luxuries and by the end of the century, they were common household needs. The Ford Model T, invented by Henry Ford, was a watershed model that brought the widespread production and consumption of automobiles. This invention furthered the birth of the mass culture because it caused an expansion in factories, creation of more jobs, and improvement of the economy.


Culture Civil War

The Great Migration of African Americans from the South to Northern cities and the increase of black culture—jazz and blues music, for example, and the literary movement known as the Harlem Renaissance (black writers such as Langston Hughes and Rudolph Fisher gained popularity)—discomforted some white Americans. In reaction to this, Millions of people in places like Indiana and Illinois joined the Ku Klux Klan. To many racist white families, the KKK represented a return to all the “values” that the African-American influenced Jazz Age was trampling.

Also, an anti-Communist “Red Scare” in 1919 and 1920 led to a widespread nativist movement. This led to extreme restrictive immigration law, the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, which set strict immigration quotas that excluded many immigrants such as Eastern Europeans and Asians. Palmer Raids took place, which were a series of raids in which the department of justice tried to catch communists and anarchists, such as the infamous Sacco and Venzetti; two Italian anarchists who had executed an armed robbery in 1920.


Economic Status

The Roaring Twenties actually began with an economic whimper; the transition back to peacetime after World War I was a difficult adjustment. Labor unions, which had grown strong during the war due to increased demand for labor, fought to maintain their power and independence through a series of strikes in 1919. The labor turmoil and difficulties of the transition back to peacetime production caused a short but sharp recession in 1920-1921, with unemployment briefly exceeding 11 percent. After the failed strike wave of 1919, government cracked down on radicals by arresting thousands across the country. These arrests decimated America's radical groups and made the decade safe for free-market capitalism. In addition, thanks to Herbert Hoover's success in convincing major industrial leaders to voluntarily increase wages and production in order to pull the entire economy out of its slump. By 1922, the economy was growing, a pattern it would follow more or less continuously until the Great Crash of 1929. The Roaring Twenties were a great time to be rich, as investors enjoyed one of the greatest bull markets in American history. Meanwhile, the explosion in new mass-production industries fueled by the spread of technologies like electricity and the assembly line provided ample opportunities for profitable investment, and the stock market began its famed ascent during the 1920’s. This “richness” even extended to the middle working class, as their wages were continuously increased due to falling costs of wonderful new mass-production goods.

However,there was another smaller, side to the great depression, as the large minority of Americans who made their livelihoods in agriculture suffered throughout the roaring twenties. This, along with the stock market crash where billions of dollars evaporated, led to the decline of the roaring twenties and the beginning of the Great Depression.

Sources- 11.doc

Final Response

Even under the pressures of cultural conflicts between groups, the increased economic prosperity resulted in communication and transportation innovations, such as the radio and the automobile, and spread modern values and what it means to be an American, which overall created a large mass media.

After the Great War, there was an increase in cultural conflicts between different groups due to economic or social insecurities in places around the country. Two prominent examples are the beginning of the Ku Klux Klan and the widespread Red Scare. However, they didn’t defer the rising national mass culture.

The roaring 20’s birthed many new modern ideals and values through the Jazz Age. The rise of a modern African American culture through music, poetry, and other artistic mediums caused a backlash of racism, because of the fear of change in American “values” that had excluded black Americans until this time.

As the presence of radios in every household became the norm, every American became connected to the news and culture of the country. This allowed for the facilitated spread of modern ideas and values. With the incorporation of Henry Ford’s assembly line, the prices of automobiles and goods dropped, which allowed middle class people to buy more goods and in turn stimulated the economy. Increased wages and cheaper goods led to shorter work hours which allowed for more leisure time and led to the popularity of sports.

The roaring 20’s was diverse time with an increase in economic prosperity as well as cultural conflicts. However, the most significant development was the expansion of the national mass media, through radio and automobile innovations, which expanded modern values and what it means to be American.