There are quite a number of things that happened in the history of America in the 1920s. It was a time of great social change, a time for conservatism. There was also the world shifting from the world of fashion where power cashed out and created an unparalleled explosive. This is the time that America celebrated the historic First World War victory, and in the 1920s it enjoyed great prosperity. However there was a darker side to this life. From the World War 1 America growth in stature was steady as a military and economic power. The senate of the United States didn’t ratify the Versailles treaty which was imposed by its allies which were on the central power which were defeated (Gordon 198). United States in stead chose to pursue what is called unilateralism. In simpler terms unilateralism is could be isolation. The shock after Russia’s October revolution resulted in fear of communism in America which led to a three years of what was termed as red scare. This era also called the era of the roaring twenties was an era of the great expansion in the economic growth and the unprecedented prosperity which was driven by government growth initiatives and building expansion, as well as the rapidly increasing need for consumer goods such as automobiles. The economy successfully transitioned to peacetime economy from the war time economy and although there were some stagnant sectors such as mining (Brown 157-165). The United States was recorded the richest country in the world based on the massive production n in the industries and the rise in the consumerism in the society in general. The roaring twenties, however, ended with the stock market crash in the late 1929 and this became the onset of great depression.
In 1920s the eighteenth amendment banned the sale manufacture export and sale of alcohol. This ban encouraged illegal brews and the dealers to made substantial amounts of by the illegal selling of alcohol. This banned failed because America lost a lot of people who died from the illegal brews. KKK was reformed and gathered almost 4.5 million members by the end of 1924. It was then that the immigration act of 1924 was passed to restrict immigration to the country by foreigners.
The 1920s is also known as the roaring 1920s due to the economic prosperity during this period. America saw a very rapid expansion of agriculture in the early 1920’s. This was largely due to the new technologies and especially the mechanization in farms. Even Russia and Europe’s rivalry had vanished as a result of the world war in which both were defeated. Thus the agricultural goods had a large market in America and were shipped around the world. New technologies like the combined harvester meant that the farms which ran efficiently were large in size and thus there was a gradual change which saw the smaller farms model being replaced by large sized farms. The world war one had led to a lot of destruction and poverty thus creating a high demand for an atmosphere of high demand for agricultural goods and thus the higher the prices were (John 97-101). The American farmer during this period enjoyed a period of as the production rapidly expanded so ass to fill the gap that as left as the Europe and Russia found themselves unable to produce food and the demands for exports surged. Then there was overproduction which resulted to plummeting of prices and which in turn led stagnation of market conditions and the standards of living for farmers. Thousands and thousand of farmers had taken out loans and mortgagees to buy out the neighbors’ property so as to expand the farms were then unable to meet the financial burdens. The cause of this was attributed to collapse of land prices after the war when the farmers used very high prices in buying the neighbors’ farms and thus burdening them with heavy debts. Farmers however blamed the defensive tariff and foreign market decline (Cory 167).
Mass production of industrial goods also occurred in the roaring 1920s due to industrial growth, making technology affordable to the middle class. During this time, the moving radio and chemical automobiles skyrocketed. The most important was the expansion of the automobile industry. Before this expansion cars were luxury in America. Mass production of vehicles in the 1920s became common throughout America. The expansion of automobile industry had had wide spread effects which contributed to growth of such industries such as highway building, service stations, motel, used car dealership and also the housing due to range of massive transit. The radio industry too boomed in this period. The radio had become the first medium of mass broadcasting. The radios were expansive but they proved revolutionary because of their mode of entertainment. Through advertisement the radio became the fuel to mass marketing (Jane 57-63).
Hollywood industries also boomed during this period. They produced a new form of entertainment which led to shutting down of the old vaudeville style. Watching movies was accessible and cheap. Crowds would surge into the new down town places of movies and in the neighbor wood theatres.
The new technologies in the market resulted to a heavy need for new infrastructure which was funded largely by the government. The construction of roads was important for the motor vehicle industry. A number of roads were thus upgraded highways and the expressways were constructed. There was class of Americans with surplus money and thus had the desire to spend more and this sparked the demand for consumer good which especially were the automobiles. There were also telephone lines being stung across the continent and especially Americas.
Urbanization at this period reached a climax. It was the first time most Americas lived I the cities more than I the small towns or the rural areas. The country was then fascinated by the great metropolitan center which held more than 15% of the population. Chicago and New York had vied in the building of the skyscrapers when then New York pulled ahead when the Chrysler and the empire state buildings were put up. At this time insurance and finance industries doubled (Allen 218-221).
The culture also at this time changed. Women discrimination and male dominance in the society as a way of life was fought tooth and nail. It was at this period that women were given the right to vote. On the 18th of august in the year 1920s Tennessee State became the last of the 36 states that were required to ratify the 19th amendment that would grant the women the right to vote. The equality in the poll marked a historical moment in the movement of women rights (Elizabeth 136). The women’s rights movement motivated by this achievement now focuses becoming even more vocal in the fight for women for example the right to run in the elections. They however didn’t stop at this and went ahead to fight for equal representation in the arms of the government. This was a miles change yin the peoples way of life as before this a woman as supposed to only undertake the household chores and leadership was only designated for men. The young people at this age too became a lost generation. Coming out of the world war they were disillusioned and were cynical about the world. Most of then went into drugs and addictions during this period and were forever lost as they were unmotivated. This age was also called the jazz age as jazz music became instilled in the veins of Americans. Jazz music which was promoted bur he technology of radio became popular with the people and many gathered to dance hall to enjoy its entertainment.
It was at this period to that the racism skyrocketed. Many blacks who prior had been slaves had come from the war and were now informed. Having been promised better life’s they started to form movement which they would use to fight for the promises (George 183-184). This in indulgence is some form of war created tension and the whites who believed they were superior fought back against the black society which at this age had started to recognize rights. This made racism even terrible with blacks not ready to submit anymore.
- Allen, Frederick. Only yesterday: an informal history of the 1920’s. New York: Wiley and Sons, 1997.
- Gordon, Colin. Paterson, Thomas. Major Problems in American History. United States: Cengage Learning, 2010
- Brown, Sinclair. Impacts of the World War 1. New York: Norton publishers, 2003
- John, Stuart. America in the roaring 1920s. United States: University press, 2009
- Elizabeth, Michael. Women voting rights in America. United States: Cambridge press, 2005
- Cory, Daniel. Agricultural revolution in America. Washington: Taylor and Francis, 2007
- Jane Francis. The age of industrialization. Harvard: Harvard press, 2001
- George, Johnson. The fight against racism. United States: University press, 199