America in the 1920s
America in the 1920s
In 1919, soldiers from World War One returned back to America and were not used to society. Many Americans wished for normalcy and believed the United States should go back to the way it was before the war. President Warren Harding was most popular for his promised actions toward normalcy. After becoming President, Harding did not change much of America and also died of a heart attack eight hundred and eighty one days into office. The main objective of normalcy was to get rid of fear from WWI and fears from future wars.
The act of prohibition upon Americans, the delivery of a new mass culture, and changes in social conflicts marked the 1920s, in many ways. With all of these new inventions and ideas being made, there were still some ideas like the rebirth of prohibition that did not succeed. During the 1920s, women and children created a prohibition to stop the unnecessary abuse of alcohol. The first attempt at a prohibition was the Temperance Movement of the 1800s. It was an organized effort to end alcohol abuse and all of the problems it created.
Women and children were suffering because of husbands and fathers abusing alcohol. In the times of WWI, a support for prohibition grew again. Veterans who were having problems when returning home from battle began to abuse alcohol to cope. The main goal of prohibition was to cut down on drunkenness. Without alcohol, there would be fewer accidents at work because people sober people have more awareness and coordination. The first effect of prohibition was it becoming the eighteenth amendment in the U. S. The prohibition created bootleggers who would secretly make and transport the alcohol illegally.
With the supply of alcohol, speakeasies began to occur where secret clubs and parties would happen illegally. The growth of organized crime developed in cities. Local gangs began to supply alcohol to speakeasies. This organization of gangs started to encourage prostitution, gambling, and fighting again. The mobs became so powerful and wealthy that they could remain free of crimes by simply paying off the police. The Amendment did not last long because in 1933, prohibition was ended in America. The stop to prohibition was known as the twenty first Amendment.
Even with most people in the city still drinking, there was a reduced amount of alcoholism and related deaths overall which led to new ideas and a new mass culture. In the 1920s, several forms in culture like music, movies, radio broadcasts, art, and literature began to spread across the U. S. Soldiers were returning from WWI scared and lacking sources of happiness. There was a need for new inventions and for the American citizens to feel happy again. A type of entertainment available at the time was movies without words and would only play music in the theater.
Another kind of entertainment was radios, but they did not have any broadcasting stations. The newest craze in music was Jazz. Jazz would come from African American roots with improvisation, syncopation, and usually a regular or forceful rhythm. Harlem, New York became the capitol of Jazz with over five hundred clubs. The most famous club was the Cotton Club. Movies became one of the most popular types of entertainment in the 1920s. At the time, eighty million tickets were being purchased per week. The movie industry quickly grew to the fourth largest industry in the U. S.
The first talkie, or movie with words, was the “Jazz Singer,” starring Al Jolson. In 1924, the Hollywood Land sign was built to reflect on the success of the movie industry. Radios were not a new device in 1920, but had new features that would change the world forever. The first radio broadcast was KDKA in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Stations involved with the broadcasts were CBS and NBC. Citizens would listen to music, jokes, and shows from NBC on their radios. All the new forms of culture from African Americans is however what sparked all the racial problems and discrimination in the North and the South.
During the 1920s, many changes in society like the challenge on religious beliefs, the possible truth and explanations of science, and lack of equality for all races were put into play. The prior religion of America has been closely linked to Christianity. The nation was founded itself off of Christianity. Fundamentalism is what interpreted the bible as truth, rather than science. Besides religion, inequality was a big problem in America. Slaves were African Americans in the U. S. since the 1600s. During the times after the Civil War when the South lost, the Ku Klux Klan began to terrorize the African Americans.
In the 1920s, people began to question their God or Gods. The truth of the bible was also being questioned. Many Americans were still against the belief that a God does not exist. Another part of the science versus religion was the Scopes Trial. John Scopes taught the theory of evolution in a Tennessee Science class. 22 States did not allow teaching against the bible in the 1920s. The case was taken all the way to the Supreme Court and was ruled in favor of Scopes. In the 1920s, there was a rebirth of the KKK and the development of other organizations.
Violence began in the North and South against African Americans; this was odd because the North was usually with the African Americans. The Africans faced discrimination, lynching, and the threats from the KKK. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Marcus Garvey’s establishment of the Universal Negro Improvement Association were organizations trying to stop discrimination towards the blacks. The extreme amounts of racism and discrimination that is in American heritage during the 1920s cannot be covered up. The 1920s of America were influenced by prohibition, a new mass culture, and social conflicts.
In the 1920s, Prohibition was established in an attempt to rid America of alcohol because of its unnecessary effects of gambling, prostitution, accidents, and fighting. Several new forms of entertainment came out like talking movies, new forms of art, Jazz music, and radio broadcasts. Several social conflicts in the U. S. like racism and discrimination happened in the U. S. Even though the 1920s was filled with unforgettable racism and discrimination, it still was marked as one of the most economically boosted periods of U. S. history.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 25 December 2016
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