AP Chapter 24 The New Era
Commonly known as the “Roaring
Twenties”, this new era for America
was the backdrop for a clashing of
old and new, traditionalists vs.
liberalism, country life vs. city life. It
was a time of significant change in
terms of social, economic and
• The 1920’s was an era of rapid change and
clashing values. Many Americans believed
society was losing its traditional values and
they took action to preserve these values.
Other Americans embraced new values
associated with a freer lifestyle and the
pursuit of individual goals.
• A disillusioned America turned away from
idealism after WWI and many turned toward
social conservatism—they turned inward and
became hostile to anything foreign or
1. Themes: 1920’s common themes-
• Return to normalcy
• US turned inward---isolationism
• Jazz Age
• first modern era in the U.S.
• change from a rural society to an
The War’s Impact
• Racial Unrest: As hundreds of thousands of
white American soldiers from Europe returned
home looking for a job, clashes occurred with
the African Americans who had moved north
during the war to take those jobs. Frustration
and racism combined to produce violence. In
the summer of 1919, over 20 race riots broke
out across the nation.
• The worst violence occurred in Chicago. On a
hot July day, African Americans found
themselves at a White only beach.
The Red Scare
• Americans had become very anti-German as
the war progressed, and when the
Communists withdrew Russia from the war,
they seemed to be helping Germany.
American anger at Germany quickly expanded
into anger at Communists as well. Americans
began to associate communism with being
unpatriotic and disloyal.
• The fear and prejudice many felt toward
Germans and Communists expanded to
include all immigrants. This triggered a
general rise in racism and in nativism, the
desire to protect the interests of old-stock
Americans against those of immigrants.
• Immigration returns
• Economic recession
• Racial and cultural tensions
• Fear and prejudice toward Germans and
• Both Italian immigrants (anarchist)
• Convicted of murder during a robbery
• Evidence was insufficient, found guilty and
executed in 1927
Return of the KKK
• At the forefront to restrict immigration, the
new KKK targeted not only African Americans,
but also Catholics, Jews and other groups
believed to represent “un American” values.
• By 1924 membership in the Klan exploded,
reaching nearly 4 million.
• After WWI, American immigration policies
changed in response to the postwar recession
and nativist pleas to “Keep America American”.
• In 1921, President Harding signed the Emergency
Quota Act, which established a temporary quota
• Only 3% on the total number of people in any
ethnic group already living in the US could be
admitted in a single year.
•The U.S. Government began to restrict certain
“undesirable” immigrants from entering the
•Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act of
1921, in which newcomers from Europe were
restricted at any year to a quota, which was set
at 3% of the people of their nationality who
lived in the U.S. in 1910.
•Immigration Act of 1924, the quota down to
2% and the origins base was shifted to that of
1890, when few southeastern Europeans lived in
• After the recession of 1921-22 ended, the US
economy experienced a time of remarkable
growth and prosperity.
Let the good times roll!
Sales of Consumer Goods 1915 - 1930
Overall, the output of American industry doubled in the 1920s
For every one …
There were 167
Shopping centers Tourist camps
Car repair shops
styles of homes
New towns due
Impact of the
The New Culture—A Consumer Society
• Per capita income $522-1921 $716-1928—
greater than anywhere in the world.
The Second Industrial Revolution
U.S. develops the highest standard of
living in the world
The twenties and the second revolution
electricity replaces steam
Henry Ford’s modern assembly line
Rise of the airline industry
Modern appliances and conveniences
begin to change American society
• New technologies led to electrical
conveniences during the 1920s
• Cars, airplanes, radios, telephones were
all innovative technologies of the time
• Women used new electric household
appliances like refrigerators, vacuum
cleaners & electric stoves
• Advertising: Propaganda had been effective in
the war, so now ad agencies targeted their
message to certain groups
The Advertising Industry
• The growth of business produced the advertising
• Businesses offered the installment plan, which
allowed consumers to use credit to purchase
expensive items a little at a time
• America became a consumer society for the first
time (status was measure by how many “things”
• However, people were going into debt and saving
Labor in the New Era
Employers hoping to avoid any
interruption in production provided
benefits, paid vacations, and
shortened work weeks. Only a small
number of workers were involved.
The 1920’s were not a good time for
Women and Minorities in the Work
• Women: “Pink Collar” jobs-low paying service
occupations—secretaries, sales clerks,
• African Americans: “Great Migration”
produced many unskilled workers who took
jobs as janitors, dishwashers, garbage
collectors, laundry attendants, domestics
• Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters-1925-
• A. Philip Randolph
• Railroad employees- powerful labor union
• Asians: Chinese Exclusion Act kept the Chinese
out. Japanese took their place. The Issei
(Japanese immigrants) and the Nisei (children
born in American of Japanese parents) did have
some success by establishing their own
businesses. So much in fact that legislation was
passed against them between 1913 and 1920 to
make it much more difficult for them to purchase
• ½ million entered the US in the 1920s. Most
lived along border states. Living conditions
were poor. Barrios in cities-no services like
running water and sewage. Worked in
factories, shops, mines, migratory farm
The American Plan
• Unions were weak due to the strength of the
corporations. Unionism was equated to
subversive activities. Employers wanted an
“open shop” rather than union's. This was
called the American Plan—requiring no
worker to join a union.
The Movies and Broadcasting
• Silent films were well attended, but in 1927
the first “talkie” The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson
was an huge success. The son of a Jewish
Cantor must defy his father in order to pursue
his dream of becoming a jazz singer.
• Birth of a Nation
• The really important communications
appliance was the radio. It developed news
programs, soap operas, farm shows, comedy
shows—just about anything one could ask for.
• Religion was taking a back seat to other forms
of family activities. But not by everyone..
• Fundamentalism is the belief that the Bible is
literally true, because it was written by God
and cannot contain contradictions or errors
• The rise of fundamentalism in the 1920s was
caused by the belief that traditional life was
• Fundamentalists attacked women’s suffrage,
education, and science
• Women’s suffrage was attacked by
fundamentalists who believed that it upset
traditional gender roles
• Evangelical ministers spread the word of the
fundamentalists at revivals & over the radio
The Scopes Trial
• New ideas & fundamentalism clashed
during the Scopes Trial--A historic trial that
pinned evolutionists and creationists
against each other.
• A Tennessee teacher, John Scopes, was
arrested and tried for teaching Darwin’s
Theory of Evolution instead of the Bible’s
account of Creation
The Scopes Trial
• Main Characters:
• John T. Scopes—science teacher who taught
• William Jennings Bryan—prosecutor,
represented the creationists
• Clarence Darrow—most famous trial lawyer at
the time, defended Scopes
Inherit the Wind
• Film about the Scopes Trial
Women in the 1920’s
• The Flapper—a modern women of the 20’s.
• Fashion took on a modern look during the
The Playful flapper here we see,
The fairest of the fair.
She's not what Grandma used to be,
You might say, au contraire.
Her girlish ways may make a stir,
Her manners cause a scene,
But there is no more harm in her
Than in a submarine.
She nightly knocks for many a goal
The usual dancing men.
Her speed is great, but her control
Is something else again.
All spotlights focus on her pranks.
All tongues her prowess herald.
For which she well may render thanks
To God and Scott Fitzgerald.
Her golden rule is plain enough -
Just get them young and treat them
by Dorothy Parker
Ongoing crusade for
Most women remain in
the “cult of domesticity”
Discovery of adolescence
Teenaged children no
longer needed to work
and indulged their
craving for excitement
• The 18th Amendment- making the
manufacturing, selling and distributing of
• Enforcing the new law proved to be very
difficult. Americans blatantly ignored the law.
Speakeasies, bootlegging and hip flasks
became part of common speech.
•Goal: was to reduce crime and poverty
and improve the quality of life by making
it impossible for people to get their hands
•Called the "Noble Experiment"
•Midnight, January 16th, 1920, US went
•The 18th Amendment, known as the
Volstead Act, prohibited the manufacture,
sale and possession of alcohol in America.
Prohibition lasted for thirteen years.
•So was born the industry of bootlegging,
speakeasies and Bathtub Gin.
•No other law in America has been violated so
flagrantly by so many "decent law-abiding"
•Overnight, many became criminals.
•Mobsters controlled liquor created a
booming black market economy.
•Gangsters owned speakeasies and by 1925
there were over 100,000 speakeasies in New
York City alone.
• Organized crime specialized in supplying and
often ran the speakeasies. Crime became big
business and some gangsters had enough
money to corrupt local politicians. Al Capone
became the most notorious gangsters of the
• An era of exciting and innovative
cultural trends, the 1920’s
witnessed changes in art and
literature. This period also saw a
dramatic increase in the country’s
interest in sports and other forms
of popular culture.
Poets and Writers
• Ernest Hemingway “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
• “ A Farewell to Arms”
• F. Scott Fitzgerald “The Great Gatsby”
• Many of these artist and authors were
distraught due to the lack of direction or
vision for America. The ideals of progressivism
were gone and were replaced by big business,
consumerism and politics.
A group of novelists and poets
including Ernest Hemingway
and poets Ezra Pound and T.S.
Eliot, abandoned the US for
Many writers expressed
disillusionment with the
materialism that they
• The economic prosperity of the 1920’s provided
many Americans with more leisure time and
more spending money, which they devoted to
making their lives more enjoyable.
• Baseball and Boxing
• He flew the first transatlantic flight in his
plane called the Spirit of St. Louis and became
a national hero
The Harlem Renaissance
• After WWI, black populations swelled in large
northern cities—particularly in the New York
City neighborhood of Harlem. It was there
that African Americans created an
environment that stimulated artistic
development, racial pride, a sense of
community and political organization. The
result was a flowering of AA arts that became
known as the Harlem Renaissance.
• One of the most prolific, original, and versatile
writers of the Harlem Renaissance was
Langston Hughes. He became a leading voice
of the African American experience in the US.
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the
world and older than the flow
of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the
I bathed in the Euphrates when
dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it
lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised
the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the
Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went
down to New Orleans, and I've
seen its muddy bosom turn
Jazz, Blues and the Theater
• Jazz-a new style of music influenced by
Dixieland music and ragtime, with its ragged
rhythms and syncopated melodies.
• Duke Ellington
• Louis Armstrong
• The Cotton Club
•Beginning of the Jazz Age in New
•Acceptance of African American
•African American literature and
African American Politics
• The racial pride that sparked the artistic
achievements of the Harlem Renaissance also
fueled the political and economic aspirations
of many African Americans.
• A dynamic black leader from Jamaica, of
millions of African Marcus Garvey captured
the imagination Americas with his call for
“Negro Nationalism” which glorified the black
culture and traditions of the past.