An Introduction To Web

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					The Paradox of the 1920s
 What made the Twenties “roar?”
 Contradictions and Paradoxes
• A seemingly contradictory statement that
  may nonetheless be true: the paradox that
  standing is more tiring than walking.
• One exhibiting inexplicable or
  contradictory aspects: “The silence of
  midnight, to speak truly, though apparently
  a paradox, rung in my ears.”
 Paradox of the 1920s - Prohibition
• Americans supported the enactment of
  Prohibition, yet a significant subculture
  emerged around distributing and drinking
  illegal alcohol
• Era’s boldest moral reform
      America Experiments with
• Prohibition received popular support
• Americans continued to drink – ALL
• Widespread illegal drinking offered huge
  profits – organized crime permeated
  society                 Al Capone

• The law was not repealed until 1933
 Paradox of the 1920s - Prohibition
• Passed under Democratic administration
• Found its greatest support within the
   Republican Party
Why is this so very ironic?
             Republican Platform:
  Involved greater government intervention,
    while promising to reduce government.
        Effects of Prohibition
• Organized crime
• New popular culture emerges
  – Glorified drinking, gangsters, and having a
    good time
• Restricted private enterprise
• Women divide over prohibition
     Paradox – Culture Clash
Decade of rapid social and cultural changes
 (ethnic enclaves flourished around urban
 neighborhoods, social clubs)…
   Changes Spark a Backlash
• While many Americans welcomed social
  and cultural change, others looked to
  traditional values
• Fundamentalist efforts to outlaw the
  teaching of evolution in public schools
  reached a climax with the Scopes trial
• The Ku Klux Klan re-formed to terrorize
  blacks, Jews, and Roman Catholics
     Presidents in the 1920s
          Warren G. Harding Administration
 (1921-1923) was marred by scandal yet
 achieved major domestic and foreign
 policy initiatives
Reconversion of the nation’s economy
  – The Jones Merchant Marine Act 1920
  – The Esch-Cummins Act 1920
  – Cut taxes for wealthy
    Presidents in the 1920s
        Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)
Harding never really wanted to be
Role of chief executive was very stressful
and his mind and body could not endure
He died suddenly in 1923
Death prevented humiliation of a corrupt
cabinet (Albert Fall – Interior Secretary)
       Presidents in the 1920s
           “Silent Cal” Calvin Coolidge
  (1923-1929) espoused the values of free
  enterprise yet extended federal regulatory
  powers over business
• “The best thing a president could do for a
  nation was to do very little” – economy
• Won re-election in 1924 and did not run for
  a second term in 1928
        Presidents in the 1920s
            Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) called
  himself Progressive but left office in the midst of
  an economic depression
• Hoover personified the American success story
• Hoover had little time to enjoy his victory – within
  one year after his election, the American
  economy began a frightening spiral downward.
  (October 29, 1929)
• “do nothing” president
           A decade of
• The 1920s were a decade of prosperity
• Americans enjoyed a higher standard of
  living and a better quality of life than ever
• MASS CULTURE spread thanks to
  advancements in technology
• American consumers went on a buying
  binge – extension of consumer credit
  allowed American families to buy
           A decade of
• Automobile became a symbol of the
  decade (Henry Ford Company)
• Effects:
  – New freedom, decline of railroad,
    advancement of assembly line, road
    development, day trips
           A decade of
• Although prosperity characterized the
  decade, not all groups participated equally
   Agriculture did not prosper, nor did
              cotton textiles,
               railroads, and
                coal mining
Media Recreates Mass Culture
• America starts going to the movies…
 Media Recreates Mass Culture
• America starts listening to the radio…
                         Effects: evangelizes the
                                  nation, music
 Media Recreates Mass Culture
• America starts listening to music…
  – Because of radio and the phonograph
    Americans could enjoy the same recording
  – Ethnic music
  – Jazz
  – The Harlem Renaissance: center of black
    American cultural and intellectual life (artists,
    poets, authors, musicians, and painters)
 Media Recreates Mass Culture
• America starts listening to music…
Media Recreates Mass Culture
• The Harlem Renaissance
       Personalities Emerge
• Mass media created heroes and
  – Movie stars, radio personalities, sports heroes
  – The greatest hero – Charles Lindbergh
           THE RED SCARE
• First RED scare was the result of the Bolshevik
  Revolution in Russia in 1917
• Americans, supported by government believed
  that communism was on the rise
• Bombing = Paranoia swept the nation
• Nativist sentiment consumed the nation
  – Reemergence of KKK
  – Immigration restrictions (Emergency Quota Act 1924,
    Immigration Act 1924)
  – The Sacco and Vanzetti Trial
   Key Concepts of the 1920s
• The 1920s were dominated by
  conservative Republican presidents.
• Americans experienced an unprecedented
  burst of consumer activity as new mass-
  produced commodities were made
• Tensions prevailed between rural and
  urban America.
   Key Concepts of the 1920s
• The decade witnessed a rise in nativism
  and racism.
• The period was culturally vibrant as new
  forms of music and art became popular.
• The US government persecuted radicals in
  the red scare.