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The 1920s the shaping of the american nation

As we have seen in recent programs, the administrations of President Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge were a time of economic progress for most Americans. Many companies grew larger during the 1920s, creating many new jobs. Wages for most Americans increased. Many people began to have enough money to buy new kinds of products.

The strong economy also created the right environment for many important changes in the day-to-day social life of the American people. The 1920s are remembered now as an exciting time that historians call the "roaring twenties.

The United States Turns Inward: the 1920s and 1930s

Young soldiers returned from the world war with new ideas. They had seen a different world in Europe. They had faced death and learned to enjoy the pleasures that each day offered. Many of these young soldiers were not willing to quietly accept the old traditions of their families and villages when they returned home. Instead, they wanted to try new ways of living. Many young Americans, both men and women, began to challenge some of the traditions of their parents and grandparents.

For example, some young women began to experiment with new kinds of clothes. They no longer wore dresses that hid the shape of their bodies. Instead, they wore thinner dresses that uncovered part of their legs.

  • Comedies, such as the slapstick masterpieces starring Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, enjoyed great popularity as well;
  • He nourished, however, no brooding rancor against the U;
  • As a result of the "Black Sox" scandal, eight players were banished from the sport.

Many young women began to smoke cigarettes, too. Cigarette production in the United States more than doubled in the ten years between 1918 and 1928.

Many women also began to drink alcohol with men in public for the first time. And they listened together to a popular new kind of music: Young people danced the Fox Trot, the Charleston, and other new dances. They held one another tightly on the dance floor, instead of dancing far apart.

It was a revolution in social values, at least among some Americans. People openly discussed subjects that their parents and grandparents had kept private. There were popular books and shows about unmarried mothers and about homosexuality.

The growing film industry made films about all-night parties between unmarried men and women.

  • The 1920s was also a time of much excellent work in the more serious arts;
  • The automobile gave millions of Americans the freedom to travel easily to new places;
  • Henry Ford and his system of cheap mass production of automobiles for people of modest incomes was regarded as symbolic of the new era;
  • Many women also began to drink alcohol with men in public for the first time;
  • And many Americans -- rich and poor -- followed with great interest each new game, dance, and custom.

And people discussed the new ideas about sex formed by Sigmund Freud and other new thinkers. An important force behind these changes was the growing independence of American women. In 1920, the nation passed the 19th Amendment to the constitution, which gave women the right to vote. Of equal importance, many women took jobs during the war and continued working after the troops returned home. Also, new machines freed many of them from spending long hours of work in the home washing clothes, preparing food, and doing other jobs.

Education was another important force behind the social changes of the 1920s. More and more Americans were getting a good education. The number of students attending high school doubled between 1920 and 1930. Many of the schools now offered new kinds of classes to prepare students for useful jobs. Attendance at colleges and universities also increased greatly.

  • They required an arms embargo that would deny the sale of munitions to belligerents during a time of international war and prohibited loans to belligerents and the travel of Americans on ships owned by belligerents;
  • Recovery was Roosevelt's first task;
  • Like radio, movies created a new popular culture with common speech, dress, behavior, and heroes;
  • By the 1920s, the industry had relocated to Hollywood, drawn by its cheap land and labor, the varied scenery that was readily accessible, and a suitable climate ideal for year-round filming some filmmakers moved to avoid lawsuits from individuals like Thomas Edison who owned patent rights over the filmmaking process.

And colleges offered more classes in such useful subjects as teacher training, engineering, and business administration. Two inventions also helped cause the social changes.

  1. Many of these young soldiers were not willing to quietly accept the old traditions of their families and villages when they returned home.
  2. They were the automobile and the radio. Grolier Online Discover the content connection—the definitive, fully integrated database collection and online research portal.
  3. Another event that caught public attention was a murder trial in the eastern state of New Jersey in 1926. Women gained the right to vote.

They were the automobile and the radio. The automobile gave millions of Americans the freedom to travel easily to new places. And the radio brought new ideas and experiences into their own homes.

  1. There were popular books and shows about unmarried mothers and about homosexuality.
  2. Each year, Hollywood released nearly 700 movies, dominating worldwide film production.
  3. The stock market crash of October 1929 initiated a long economic decline that accelerated into a world catastrophe, the Depression of the 1930s.
  4. And they listened together to a popular new kind of music.

Probably the most important force behind social change was the continuing economic growth of the 1920s. Many people had extra money to spend on things other than food, housing, and other basic needs.

They could experiment with new products and different ways of living. Of course, not all Americans were wearing strange new "flapper" clothes or dancing until early in the morning.

Millions of Americans in small towns or rural areas continued to live simple, quiet lives. Life was still hard for many people including blacks, foreigners, and other minority groups. The many newspaper stories about independent women reporters and doctors also did not represent the real life of the average American woman. But three of every four women still worked at home.

Most of the women working outside their homes were from minority groups or foreign countries.

COLLECTIONS

The films and radio stories about exciting parties and social events were just a dream for millions of Americans. But the dreams were strong. And many Americans -- rich and poor -- followed with great interest each new game, dance, and custom. The wide interest in this kind of popular culture was unusually strong during the 1920s.

People became extremely interested in exciting court trials, disasters, film actors, and other subjects. For example, millions of Americans followed the sad story of Floyd Collins, a young man who became trapped while exploring underground.

Newsmen reported to the nation as rescue teams searched to find him.

Even the "New York Times" newspaper printed a large story on its front page when rescuers finally discovered the man's dead body. Another event that caught public attention was a murder trial in the eastern state of New Jersey in 1926.

Newsmen wrote five million words about this case of a minister found dead with a woman member of his church. Again, the case itself was of little importance from a world news point of view. But it was exciting.

The United States Turns Inward: the 1920s and 1930s

And Americans were tired of reading about serious political issues after the bloody world war. The 1920s also were a golden period for sports. People across the country bought newspapers to read of the latest golf victory by champion bobby jones.

In fact, five Americans reportedly became so excited while listening to the fight that they died of heart attacks. However, the greatest single sports hero of the period was the baseball player, Babe Ruth.

Ruth was a large man who could hit a baseball farther than any other human being. He became as famous for his wild enjoyment of life as for his excellent playing on the baseball field. Babe Ruth loved to drink, to be with women, and to play with children.

The most famous popular event of the 1920s was neither a court trial nor a sports game. It was the brave action of pilot Charles Lindbergh when he flew an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping.

'Roaring Twenties' a Time of Economic and Social Change

He was the first man in history to do this. Lindbergh flew his plane alone from New York to France in May, 1927. His flight set off wild celebrations across the United States. Newspapers carried story after story about Lindbergh's success. President Coolidge and a large crowd greeted the young pilot when he returned to Washington.

And New York congratulated Lindbergh with one of the largest parades in its history. Americans liked Lindbergh because he was brave, quiet, and handsome. He seemed to represent everything that was best about their country. The 1920s was also a time of much excellent work in the more serious arts.

We will take a look in our next program at American art, writing, and building during the exciting "roaring twenties". Your reporters have been Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant. Our program was written by David Jarmul.