The decade following World War I is often called "the Roaring Twenties," it was a time of unprecedented prosperity . The nation's total wealth nearly doubled between 1920 and 1929, manufacturing rose by 60 percent, for the first time most people lived in urban areas — and in homes lit by electricity. They made more money than they ever had before and, spurred on by the giant new advertising industry, spent it faster, too. Americans bought washing machines and refrigerators and vacuum cleaners, 12 million radios, 30 million automobiles, and untold millions of tickets to the movies, that ushered them into a new fastliving world of luxury and glamour their grandparents never could have imagined. What was the economy like in the 1920s? What did people spend money on?
Lost Generation: Social Upheaval: Post World War One
The spirit of the Roaring Twenties was marked by a general feeling of elation, change, rebellion and wild disregard for previous morality. However, there were dark sides to this nine year party. Youth felt a discontinuity associated with modernity, a break with traditions. Sometimes called the ―Lost Generation‖: the youth of post-world war one America enjoyed prosperity, but also a feeling of alienation and lack of purpose. World War One was the ―war to end all wars‖ it was the most horrific and massive war yet in history, and many responded to the war with a feeling of recklessness, horror, and the absurdity of society and its rules. There was a huge rise in immigration to the United States as many people fled the wreckage of Europe post-World War One. The rise in immigration also caused a lot of political and social upheaval in the U.S. One result of the rising immigrant population was the rise of the Klu Klux Klan. There was also a demand for worker’s rights, as immigrants and lower economic classes banded together to form unions. Ideas such as anarchy and communism rose in popularity as many disenfranchised workers reacted against capitalism. Meanwhile, at the polls and in the workplace as well as on the dance floor, women had begun to assert a new independence.Women’s suffrage (the right to vote) became an important issue. . Describe the spirit of the 1920s. How did World War One impact America in the 1920s? (2 ways) What were some of the changes brought about by the rising immigrant population?
Prohibition: alcohol is made illegal by the 18th amendment called ―The
Volstead Act‖ "Bathtub gin" got its name from the fact that alcohol, glycerine and juniper juice was mixed in bottles or jugs too tall to be filled with water from a sink tap so they were commonly filled under a bathtub tap. The speakeasy (the illegal bar where illegal alcohol was sold and consumed) got its name because one had to whisper a code word or name through a slot in a locked door to gain admittance. Speakeasies became more popular and numerous as the Prohibition years progressed, and also became more commonly operated by those connected to organized crime. Although police and federal Bureau of Prohibition agents would raid such establishments and arrest the owners and patrons, the business of running speakeasies was so lucrative that such establishments continued to flourish throughout the nation. In major cities, speakeasies often were elaborate, offering food, live bands, floor shows, and stripteases. Corruption was rampant; speakeasy operators commonly bribed police either to leave them alone or at least to give them advance notice of any planned raids.Other slang terms for an establishment similar to a speakeasy are blind pig, and gin joint or gin mill. National Prohibition not only failed to prevent the consumption of alcohol, but led to the extensive production of dangerous unregulated and untaxed alcohol, the development of organized crime, increased violence, and massive political corruption.
Flappers went to jazz clubs at night where they danced provocatively, smoked cigarettes through long holders, sniffed cocaine (which was legal at the time) and dated promiscuously. They rode bicycles and drove cars. They drank alcohol openly, a defiant act in the American period of Prohibition. Petting became more common than in the Victorian era. Petting Parties, where petting was the main attraction, became popular. Flappers also began taking work outside the home and challenging a 'woman's place' in society. Voting and women's rights were also practiced. With time came the development of dance styles then considered shocking, such as the Charleston, the Shimmy, the Bunny Hug and the Black Bottom. In addition to their irreverent behavior flappers were known for their style, which largely emerged as a result of the musical style of jazz and the popularization of dancing that accompanied it. Called garçonne in French ("boy" with a feminine suffix), flapper style made them look young and boyish. Short hair, flattened breasts, and straight waists accentuated the look. Despite all the scandal flappers generated, their look became fashionable in a toned-down form among even respectable older women. Most significantly, the flappers removed the corset from female fashion, raised skirt and gown hemlines and popularized short hair for women. Harlem Renaissance. If you had visited Harlem in those days, you might have heard bandleader Duke Ellington playing "Take the `A' Train" (the subway to Harlem) at the Cotton Club or Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong shaking up
the jazz world with his trumpet playing at Connie's Inn. The place was swinging, but not just with music. Harlem was also the home of African American poets, novelists, actors, and philosophers. So great was the cultural explosion of Harlem during the 1920s and early 1930s that the period has since been called "the Harlem Renaissance." Renaissance is a French word meaning "rebirth." It is generally applied to any great outburst of artistic and intellectual creativity. Some of the famous names to come out of the Harlem Renaissance were: ―Duke‖ Ellington (Jazz Band leader), Jazz singers: Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Poets: Langston Hughes, Paul McCay, novelists: Zora Neale Hurston. Politics: Web Dubois (The souls of Black Folk) and Marcus Garvey (back to Africa)
jazz music which had once been the product of itinerant (poor) black
musicians, had become an industry, and dancing consumed a country that seemed convinced prosperity would never end. Older, more conservative Americans viewed jazz and the dancing associated with it as immoral and uncivilized. However, Jazz and the ―jazzy‖ styly of dancing was so popular that the 1920s were also known as the ―Jazz Age‖ (a phrase coined by Fitzgerald). People didn't think anything about going 150 to 200 miles to dance back in those times," one territory band veteran remembered. They'd say, "We came 200 miles to see y'all." Meanwhile, radio and phonograph records — Americans bought more than 100 million of them in 1927 — were bringing jazz to locations so remote that no band could reach them. The ―lindy hop‖ a popular dance, got its name from Charles Lindbergh. Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974) (nicknamed "Lucky Lindy" and "The Lone Eagle") was an American aviator, author, inventor and explorer. On May 20–21, 1927, Lindbergh emerged instantaneously from virtual obscurity to world fame as the result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo non-stop flight from New York (Roosevelt Field) to Paris (Le Bourget Field) in the single-seat, single-engine monoplane Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh, an Army reserve officer, was also awarded the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his historic exploit.
The immigration policy in the 1920s became increasingly impacted by racism (discrimination against people because of their colour/nationality). There was a fear among Americans that Catholics and Jews would swamp them, if immigration was not checked. In certain parts of the USA
they feared Black Americans. The Ku Klux Klan began in the South after the civil War. Poor whites resented the freeing of Black slaves and were determined to keep them in their ―place‖ below whites. Black who were considered "uppity" were tarred and feathered or even lynched. There was strict segregation (separation of the races) .On buses and in cinemas blacks had to sit in their own areas, which were not as comfortable. They were not even allowed to sit in the same restaurant or go to the same schools as whites. By 1925 there were 5 million members of the Ku Klux Klan and it was spreading to the north-eastern cities, e.g. Chicago, Cleveland, New York etc. This was because blacks were moving there to find jobs and a better standard of living than in the South. They found them, but still encountered widespread discrimination, though obviously not as bad as 'it had been in the South.
Bootlegging is the illegal manufacture and transportation of alcoholic
beverages. It may involve transporting them into a territory where their sale is banned, making them where their manufacture is illegal, or attempting to evade taxes on them. Bootlegging was widespread in the United States during the period of Prohibition (1920-1933). Although the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, demand for these products continued, and it remained a lucrative business Bootleggers also brought in illegal products from foreign suppliers. The law was so widely violated by the general public that officials were unable, and in some cases unwilling, to enforce it. The profits of the traffic attracted criminals.This would become the seed of organized crime and bootlegging across the newly expanding country. People were willing to drink, and the few willing to provide reaped the profits. All the illegal booze had given millions of dollars to gangs and crime families. This strengthened mobsters like Al Capone. Bootleggers and mobsters were making over 30 million dollars a year. Prohibition led to widespread disrespect for law. New York City alone had about thirty thousand speakeasies. Some desperate and unfortunate people during Prohibition falsely believed that the undrinkable alcohol in antifreeze could be made safe and drinkable by filtering it through a loaf of bread. It couldn't and many were seriously injured or killed as a result. National Prohibition not only failed to prevent the consumption of alcohol, but led to the extensive production of dangerous unregulated and untaxed alcohol, the development of organized crime, increased violence, and massive political corruption.
Scopes Monkey Trial: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
offered to defend anyone accused of teaching the theory of evolution in defiance of the Butler Act. The Butler Act prohibited the teaching of the theory of evolution.
However, many states required teachers to use a textbook which explicitly described and endorsed the theory of evolution, and that teachers were therefore effectively required to break the law. Scopes was a biology teacher and high school football coach who agreed to the defendant in a case challenging the Butler Act. became an increasingly willing participant, even incriminating himself and urging students to testify against him. He was indicted on May 24, after three students testified against him at the grand jury, at Scopes' behest. Scopes was charged with having taught from the chapter on evolution to an April 7, 1925, high school class in violation of the Butler Act (and nominally arrested, though never detained). His bail of $500 was paid by Paul Patterson, owner of the Baltimore Sun. The trial was followed closely in the national news, and became a hot topic of debate among Americans. The divide between conservative, religious Americans and more modern, science minded Americans was widened.
Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of the murders of Frederick
Parmenter, a paymaster, and Alessandro Berardelli, a security guard, during a payroll robbery of US$15,776.51 Both men were then tried for the Braintree robbery-murders and convicted. After several unsuccessful appeals Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in the electric chair on August 23, 1927 along with a third man, Celestine Madeiros, who had confessed to the murder. Many aspects of both trials were challenged at the time (and since) for being highly prejudicial against the two men. In particular, the presiding judge in both cases (and several appeals) was seen by some as forcing the trial towards conviction and execution. The case was also highly politically charged -- Sacco and Vanzetti were members of the Galleanists, a militant Italian-American anarchist group suspected of a string of bomb attacks in the United States including the September 1920 Wall Street bombing that claimed over 30 lives, and which may have been a reprisal against Sacco and Vanzetti's arrest and indictment. Both men claimed to be victims of social and political prejudice and both claimed to be unjustly convicted of the crime for which they were accused. However, they did not attempt to distance themselves from their fellow anarchists nor their belief in violence as a legitimate weapon against the government.
and Information Skit
Assignment: You will write a skit that your group will perform for the class. Your group’s skit must take place in the 1920s. The conversation should include 1920s slang. The conversation must be about your assigned 1920s topic. Step One: Read your assigned topic. As a group, decide what the most
important information is and write that down. (a list of at least 6-10 facts/ideas ) Step Two: Brainstorm together on how to convey the information in your scene. What is the scenario? Who are the characters? What are they talking about? Why are they talking about it? Step Three: Write the script together. The performance should cover the most important information from your assigned reading and use some 1920s slang. Yo are welcome to research for additional information on your topic (cite your sources!) Be sure to balance the slang with the actual information. Your audience should be able to understand what you are saying. Step Four: Type and title your script. Type the dialogue in play format: Name: (stage directions) The words the character says. Include a glossary of the slang terms you used. Step Five: Practice! Points given: Script format: Typed, titled, play format, glossary (on a separate page). Script content: Covers and clearly conveys important information from reading, uses 1920s slang in a well integrated way (blended in smoothly) creativity, collaboration, effort Demonstrates use of in class practice time well. Stays in character using action, body language and facial expressions that convey who their character is in an appropriate way. Includes some actions appropriate to the scene Appropriate volume and tone inflection (feeling conveyed by voice) Creativity, collaboration, effort ADDITIONAL POINTS given for: costume, props, music, memorizing lines.