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Understanding Life In The 1920s
Understanding Life In The 1920s
Understanding Life In The 1920s
Understanding Life In The 1920s
Understanding Life In The 1920s
Understanding Life In The 1920s
Understanding Life In The 1920s
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Understanding Life In The 1920s

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  • 1. Understanding Life In The 1920s
  • 2. The Role of Women
    • Women won the right to vote with the ratification of the 19 th Amendment in 1920
    • Women, expressing newfound political rights, shed their petticoats, bustles, and ankle length skirts in favor of simpler, lighter, and more practical garb
    • Flappers wore short skirts, cut their hair, and applied lipstick
    • Bathers wore daring new swimsuits which gave them grater freedom of movement in the water
    • Women held on to gains made in the work place during the Progressive era and WWI, but made no new breakthroughs
    • Cultural attitudes toward women changed but few intellectually satisfying and well-paying careers became available
  • 3. Prohibition
    • In 1917 the Congress approved the 18 th Amendment which prohibited the manufacture or sale of beverages containing more then one-half to one-percent alcohol (a level that made beer and wine illegal)
    • When the amendment was ratified in 1919 Prohibition began
    • Opposition to Prohibition was so great in the eastern cities that the law proved impossible to enforce
    • Smuggling of liquor was rampant
    • Organized crime made a fortune in “bootleg” liquor
    • It was not until 1933 that the 21 st Amendment was ratified, ending the Prohibition era
  • 4. Sports Mania
    • All areas of entertainment became big business in the 1920s , and sports was no exception
    • Sports reporters eagerly followed every move by heroes such as Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb
    • College football, once a pastime for students and alumni, became a major commercial enterprise in the 1920s
    • Boxing became a spectacle for the masses
    • The 1927 Dempsey-Tunney fight grossed more than 2.6 million at the gate
  • 5.
    • The industrial developments of the 1920s differed from the earlier Industrial Revolution focused on heavy industry (steel production, machine tools, and locomotives)
    • The 1920s focused more on consumer items such as automobiles, radios and iceboxes
    • Supermarkets opened in the theory that goods would sell themselves, often to consumers who did not know they wanted an item until they war it on the shelf
    • The development of cellophane in 1926 enhanced the ability of goods to sell themselves because customers could handle and inspect products without damaging them
    Changing Consumer Habits
  • 6. Advent of the Movies
    • The motion picture became a popular pastime during the 1920s
    • Early films did not identify the actors but movie studios soon discovered that the public had clear favorites and would buy tickets to see them again
    • The age of the movie star had begun, as Clara Box, Mary Pickford, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, and Lillian Gish became celebrities
    • On October 6, 1927 the first talking movie was released, The Jazz Singer , staring Al Jolson
    • The movie’s great success signaled the end of the silent era
  • 7. New Forms of Transportation
    • About nine million automobiles were registered in the United States in 1920 and by 1930 registration had more than tripled
    • Between 1921 and 1929 surfaced road mileage in the United States almost doubled. With good roads, car owners no longer had to live close to their jobs in cities
    • The new mobility caused a boom in the growth of suburbs
    • With Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 transatlantic flight from Long Island to Paris, the age of air transportation began
    • After Lindbergh’s flight, Americans took to the skies in increasing number
    • Air passenger figures quadrupled in 1928, although to travel across the country in the late 1920s passengers still faced a 48 hour trip and had to switch to trains for night travel

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