The Roaring 20’s
• Section 1- A Booming Economy
• Section 2 – 1920’s Politics
• Section 3 – Social and Cultural Changes
• Section 4 – Popular Culture
• Section 5 – The Harlem Renaissance
• Last Slide
What does this video tell you about
the 1920’s in America?
• What type of music would you say
is most popular today? Why is it
popular, what is it’s theme, who
does it appeal to, etc..?
The Roaring 20’s
1) Automobile Drives Prosperity
a) Henry Ford – carmaker, revolutionized
production, wages and working conditions.
• Mass production – rapid manufacture of
large numbers of identical products
• Model T – first car for the average
• Scientific Management – improving
Automobile Changes America
• Stimulated growth in other industries
• Road Construction/Highway system
• Freedom to travel
• Growth of suburbs, decline of cities
• Consumer Revolution – 1920’s saw a flood
of new affordable consumer products.
–Installment Buying – putting down a
small down payment, paying back the
rest over time
–Buying on the Margin – buying stocks
Who was hurt?
• Farmers – saw a drastic reduction in
prices of farm goods (grains, corn,
• Cities – suburbs were growing at the
expense of some cities
• Do you think that it would be
interesting to be alive during the
1920’s in America? Why or why not?
• Describe the
political poster to
the left. What is
1) Harding campaigns on “bringing America back
to “normalcy.” What does this mean?
a) Andrew Mellon – Secretary of Treasury –
supported policies that advanced business
• Oversaw a massive reduction in taxes ($18
billion to $3 billion)
c) Ohio Gang
d) Teapot Dome Scandal – Secretary of Interior,
Albert Fall sells naval oil field for bribes
1) Calvin Coolidge
a) Placed his trust in business, and believed in the
traditional virtues of America.
b) Troubles in America – farmers, discrimination,
• Coolidge did not believe in gov’t fixes to
An End to War?
1) Washington Naval Disarmament Conference –
aimed to prevent a naval arms race
2) Kellogg-Briand Pact – a treaty to “outlaw” war
3) Collecting War Debts
a) Dawes Plan - loan money to Germany to help
them pay off France and Great Britain
Traditionalism vs. Modernism
• Urban vs. Rural
– Urban areas experienced the consumer
• Modernism – emphasizing science and secular
values over traditional ideas about religion.
Changes in Society
• Education – 1920 – 16.3% graduate high school
1930 – 28.8%
• Fundamentalism – belief that every word in
the Bible is literal truth.
– Many Christians grew concerned over the
growth of secular views.
• 1925 Tennessee law outlaws the teaching of
• The ACLU convinces John Scopes to violate the
law (to challenge it).
• Clarence Darrow (an ACLU lawyer) defends
• Scopes loses and is fined $100.
• The trial emphasizes the growing conflict over
traditional values and modernism.
• Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and National
Origins Act of 1924 establish a quota system.
– Limiting the # of immigrants from certain
– Who did they want to keep out?
• The Ku Klux Klan strengthens – group of white
men who wanted to terrorize African-Americans
who sought to vote.
• Prohibition – the banning of alcohol, led by the
• 18th Amendment – forbade manufacture,
distribution, and sale of alcohol.
• Volstead Act – was passed to enforce the
Prohibition and Crime
• Bootleggers – make and sell illegal alcohol
• Speakeasies – underground bars
• Organized crime and gangsters such as Al
Capone grow by selling illegal alcohol.
• Does this cartoon favor or oppose prohibition?
1920’s Popular Culture
• How did the 20’s allow for a popular
culture to emerge?
–Shorter work days and shorter work
–The growth of cities
Movies – Popular Culture
• Movies at the beginning of the 20’s were
• Charlie Chaplin was one of the most
famous silent movie actors for his role as
the Little Tramp
• In 1927, the first movie with sound came
out The Jazz Singer
Phonograph and Radio
• First public radio station started in Pittsburgh,
Pen. in 1920, by 1923 there were 600.
– Radio allowed people across the country to
get the same news and listen to the same
• In 1920’s the grooved disc took the place of
earlier machines with poor quality.
• Babe Ruth – home run king
• Charles Lindbergh – made the first flight
non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean
Culture - Women
• Flappers – young women with
shorts skirts and hair cut short in a
Literature and Art
• WWI caused writers and artists of the
1920’s to be pessimistic about the future
• Sigmund Freud – psychologist who argued
that human behavior is driven by
• F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
• Ernest Hemingway – A Farewell to Arms
What led to the birth of Jazz as a musical art
The Harlem Renaissance
• During the Great Migration of the 1910’s,
many African-Americans move north in
seek of a better life.
• Many find a better life…. but…
–many African Americans were forced to
settle in the worst housing and labor in
the lowest paying jobs.
New “Black Consciousness”
• A call for racial pride
–Marcus Garvey – promotes black
nationalism and a “Back to Africa”
–In 1926, Garvey’s movement dies when
he is thrown in jail for mail fraud.
–His movement, the Universal Negro
Improvement Association dies, but his
ideas do not.
The Jazz Age
• Jazz – a musical form based on
• Early jazz artists get their start in
Storyville, a section of New Orleans
known for it’s nightlife.
–Louis Armstrong – the “ambassador of
–Bessie Smith – adds lyrics to jazz (known
as the “Empress of Blues”
The Harlem Renaissance
• Harlem Renaissance – authors, artists, poets
explore the dynamic of race relations in
America, African-American culture begins to
• Langston Hughes – novelist, wrote books
celebrating the African-American culture
• How does the Harlem Renaissance end?
• List two events, people or inventions that you
think most shaped the culture of the 1920’s.