Roaring 20's

Daniela Silber, Malvika Sridhar, Eric Lee, Bralen Dulin

Birth Of Mass Culture

In the 1920’s , the prevalence and popularity of radio and movies influenced the mass culture. Due to these forms of news and entertainment were so widespread, they contributed to the unity of America how they established a common culture among a very diverse America. By 1929, around 10 million US households listened to the radio. Although the radio was essential to communication-as it brought news, entertainment, and advertisements to many households-it was also in part responsible for reinforcing racist stereotypes. For example, a popular radio show at the time, “Amos n, Andy” , spread negative racial stereotypes about African Americans. The popularity of movies as an entertainment form contributed to the idea and essence of glamour and sophistication as part of 1920’s mass culture. These movies exemplified fads such as the flapper. Overall, both the movies and the radio constituted a large part of the American mass culture of the 1920’s.




During the Roaring 20’s, the United States was in a much better state than many European countries, following the first World War, and Americans experienced one of the best economic periods in American history. Americans had plenty of money to invest in their economy. Additionally, Henry Ford’s new method of production, the assembly line, meant that goods could be produced on a larger, more efficient scale, making prices fall. Republican presidents of the time also promoted freedom in the economy through a Laissez-Faire system, leading to further expansion of American economy. The Fordney McCumber Tariff Act of 1922 created more domestic consumerism because it taxed imports, enticing people to buy American goods. In combination, introduction of the credit system meant that people could purchase things they could not previously afford, and by 1927, 75% of all cars were purchased on credit. Finally, reduced taxes at the time led to people investing more in factories and other sectors of the economy, further promoting American commerce in the 1920’s.



Towards the end of the twenties, the once booming American economy was hit hard, leading to the American Depression soon after. Primarily, in 1929 the Wall Street crash dramatically hurt American investors’ confidence due to steeply falling stock prices. Credit became a huge problem for many people since they originally believed they could repay loans quickly, however; the stock crash led to a decreased demand for goods, which led to layoffs in many factories. Due to inability to payoff credit loans, banks began to fall when their investors demanded their money after the economic scares on Wall Street. Due to the US acts to tax imports and promote domestic goods, European countries did the same, which meant that American companies could not depend on exporting goods to improve the economy due to import taxes in many countries. Many of the causes of the economic boom of the 1920’s ultimately led to the bust of the economy, leading to depression.

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Babe Ruth A Living Legend In The 20's

Babe Ruth was seen as an influential and important figure during the 1920’s. He was famous nationwide for his success in baseball. Because of his success, baseball became more popular and attracted more viewers. Thus, baseball became an even more essential part of American culture. It showed a prime example of the American dream - how an average Joe from a normal background could, through hard work, grow to become a nationally famous athlete. This inspired hope in the people of the USA and served them as evidence that the American dream was truly achievable.
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Culture Civil War: Jazz Age and New Woman

The 1920’s was a period of liberation: a period of new and radical ideas ranging from gender stereotypes to voting rights. Of course, with these changes came opposing cultural groups such as the conservatives and the progressives With the application of the 19th amendment, the view on women change from women as housewives to independent citizens of the nation. With this, the radical idea of the “New Woman” was introduced. The concept of a flapper,‘a young woman with bobbed hair and short skirts who drank, smoked, and said what might be termed “unladylike” things,’ was brought up . In addition, many women became more sexually active without being discriminated like they would've been if they had been the same way just 10 years ago. Another idea that helped to shape the Cultural Civil War was the introduction of the Jazz Age. Derived from the music style common to the African and southern immigrants, Jazz was unlike any music genre introduced at the time. Jazz lacked a set musical structure that was common to most of the previous genres. Heavily relying on spontaneous improvisations, Jazz quickly became the embodiment of the liberal ideas of the period. Also, with less need to prepare a formal performance setting, this style of music became the breeding ground for illegal individuals to gather. Both its music style and performance setting became an issue to the conservatives. The progressives, advocating liberal thinking, saw this as an acceptable form of music. In conclusion, the new social standards on women and untraditional form of music became a source of conflict for the liberal Progressives and the traditional conservatives during the Cultural Civil War.

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Final Response

The Roaring Twenties was a period of radical innovations and conflicts. New ideas such as Jazz the New Woman surprised the nation and brought it together through debates and agreements on the topic. Also, due to the economic boom, people were able to devote less time in their financial conditions and enjoy new American pastimes such as baseball. Influential social giants such as Babe Ruth also helped to bring the nation to a common interest. In conclusion, despite the great deal of migration that confused the social status of the United States, captivating technological influences and common social figures allowed the people to put their differences aside to discuss their opinions on revolutionary controversial ideas to influence the nation for many years to come.
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