The Roaring Twenties

Alex Johnson


Prohibition an alcohol are essential parts of the 1920s. After the eighteenth amendment was passed in 1919, the morals of society did not get better. In fact, organized crime exploded and speakeasies flourished. Gangsters such as Al Capone made millions illegally distributing alcohol, and there were plenty more just like. Speakeasies, or not clubs that illegally served alcohol, became an essential part of American culture where many new dances were created.


The profile of the average women changed dramatically in the 1920s. Women in WWI and the nineteenth amendment was merely the start. Women demanded more freedom to go about their lives how they wished. The invention of the automobile gave them some of this freedom, but many women took it into their own hands in the push for more sex appeal. Flappers epitomized this by smoking cigars and drinking alcohol at speakeasies while wearing more revealing clothing than traditionally worn.

Harlem Renaissance

After the Black's Great Migration northward, their culture exploded in the Harlem Renaissance. Jazz, a syncopated and expressive form of music, evolved and many blacks found this as a great escape route from poverty. Louis Armstrong in particular became the father of Jazz on the trumpet. Many dances spawned in Harlem and the blacks quickly formed a strong cultural identity. As more and more blacks gained money and popularity among white crowds, their culture began to seep into the overarching American culture.


Invented by Henry Ford, the Model T car became a symbol of the growing middle class. With spare money in their pockets, many people could now afford cars and other consumer products. Cars gave women more freedom, and they allowed full families to explore the world passed their hometown, breaking down the barriers of provincialism. Furthermore, cars gave rise to many new industries such as rubber, glass, steel, gas stations, repair garages, and drive in movies and restaurants.

The Success of Big Business

As big businesses thrived, they were able to give their workers more money and benefits, giving rise to welfare capitalism. Welfare capitalism boosted the economy and the working class. Companies gave their workers more benefits such as medical care, and they allowed people to buy stock, and share profits. As the working class pocketed more money consumerism grew and the banks gained more trust in people so they were comfortable handing out more loans. The stock market became a large part of business where people were allowed to buy stocks on margin with loans that they took out from banks. Because business could hand out a little more money to their employees, money started to flow a lot faster and between a lot more people.


After World War One, the rate of European immigration surged once again. People came over so quickly that Congress had to pass the Emergency Quota Act in 1921 and then the Immigration Act in 1924. World War One was the source of anti-immigrant feelings, but the presence of immigrants from so many various European countries, some of which were our enemies in war, propagated the anti-foreigner thoughts that were spreading across America. Instances such as the Sanco Vanzetti Trial show the prevalence of these feelings because Sanco and Vanzetti were convicted almost solely because they were Italian, atheists, and anarchists.

The "Roaring" Twenties