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● The Roaring Twenties refers to the decade
of the 1920’s in Western society or Western
● It was a period in history of dramatic social
and political change.
● It was the coming of a new America. People
began to ask questions and began to rebel.
● Mass culture played the biggest factor
during this time.
● The Roaring 20’s influenced the world as we
know it today.
THE ROARING 20’S
CHANGING WAYS OF LIFE
● During the 1920’s, urbanization began to accelerate.
● For the first time, more Americans lived in cities than on
● New York was a home to over 5 million people, and
Chicago was around 3 million.
● For small town immigrants, adapting to urban
environment demanded changes in thinking and everyday
● Americans found themselves caught up between the two.
A tug of what seemed to be safe, a small town with closed
ties, hard work and strict morals against a big city of
anonymous crowds, and moneymakers.
URBAN VS. RURAL
● More liberal, experienced,
freedom to new ways, more
● Supported prohibition (drinking
● Combined religion with science,
school became required and
● Safe, personal ties, morals,
hard work, traditionalists
● Strongly opposed
● Less effect on modern ideas,
evangelical religion, kids
worked on farm instead of
● During the 20’s, some freedoms
were expanded while others
● The 18th amendment declared in
1919, it banned all
manufacturing and sale of
● January 16, 1920, the federal
Volstead Act closed every bar,
tavern, and saloon in the United
● This drove the liquor trade
underground where it was
controlled by bootleggers and
SUPPORT FOR PROHIBITION
● Reformers had long believed alcohol led to
crime, child and wife abuse, and accidents.
● Supporters were largely from rural South and
● The church affiliated Anti- Saloon League and
the Women’s Christian Temperance Union
helped push the 18th amendment through.
● Despite the new legislation, Prohibition was
difficult to enforce.
● The increase of illegal production and sale of
liquor led to waning support of the prohibition by
the end of the 1920’s.
SPEAKEASIES & BOOTLEGGERS
● The word, Bootlegging, apparently came into
general use in the Midwest in the 1880s to
denote the practice of concealing flasks of illicit
liquor in boot tops when going to trade with
Native Americans. It is now used to define the
action of manufacturing or distributing alcohol.
● A speakeasy is an establishment where alcohol
was sold and drank illegally. People would go to
underground bars in order to drink.
● The most well known bootlegger is named Al
Capone. He was an American gangster and
businessman who is also known as “Scarface.”
● Capone organized a gang with a large amount of
people who would illegally sell alcohol, such as
● Moonshine remains illegal to this day because it
is made outside of a registered distillery.
GOVERNMENT FAILS TO CONTROL ALCOHOL
● Eventually, prohibitions fate was sealed by the government, which failed
to budget enough money to enforce the law.
● The task of enforcing prohibition fell to 1,500 poorly paid federal
● With the supply of alcohol from the mafia led to a rise in organized
crime that government could not overcome.
● While prohibition reformers envisioned improvements to society
through the elimination of alcohol, instead, unforeseen consequences
of the law led to its downfall.
● Almost immediately, they started to see people with an appetite and an
interest in alcohol trying anything to get it.
● The 1920’s was the biggest change for the life
of a women.
● Within this decade women were given the
freedom of making their own decisions for
● They were able to vote, drink, drive, express
themselves in any way they want, choice of
birth control, and more.
● Many thought that this was dangerous and
didn’t think it was right for women to have the
same rights as a man.
● They believed a women was meant to stay at
home, make babies, and do chores, and were
expected to not question it.
● Women saw this issue and wanted better for
the future of a woman.
NEW ROLES FOR WOMEN
● They could vote at last: The 19th amendment to
the constitution had guaranteed that right in
● During World War I, women entered the
workforce in large numbers.
● Millions of women would work in white-collar
jobs and could afford to participate in
burgeoning consumer economy.
● Margaret Sanger made strides in providing
contraception to women, sparking a wave of
women’s rights to birth control.
● The growth of automobiles increased due to the
lowering prices making it more accessible for
women to drive as well.
● The most familiar symbol of the Roaring
Twenties is probably the flapper.
● a young woman, with bobbed hair, and short
skirts that drank, smoked, and said what
might be termed “unladylike” things in order
to be more sexually “free.”
● They were known for their energetic
freedom, embracing a lifestyle viewed by
many at the time as outrageous, immoral, or
● They pushed barriers in economic, political,
and sexual freedom.
● They expressed themselves through fashion,
wearing designer and bling everywhere..
They also said goodbye to corsets and hello
● Parties were extremely popular in the
20’s. They held many “rent parties” that
is a social occasion where tenants
would hold large parties in order to
raise money to avoid eviction.
● These parties also helped the growth
and development of jazz as a music
● These parties were very extravagant
with champagne, and glitter
● Parties were the place for flappers
where they would dance all night and
giving a show as well.
● They would have live performers
playing music for the party.
THE CHANGING FAMILY
● Urban life is much different than living in
rural. The children had worked in jobs in
the city such as, selling newspapers,
shining shoes, or in factories.
● For leisure time, city families had better
access to movie theaters, or they would
listen to the radio at home.
● There was a decrease in births due to
the influence of contraceptives. Women
were given the choice when and when
not to have a baby.
● School was mandatory for children to
attend where as in rural areas
children would work on the farm.
● The town and workforces took on a
more diverse look during the 1920’s.
SCIENCE & RELIGION
● The religious party believed that every one person on earth was put
here by one superior being. They also believed that anyone who
didn’t believe would go to “hell.”
● Now for the scientific party, they believed that there was, and is a
logical explanation for everything. For example the topic of were we
(humans) came from, the scientists believed that, thanks to Darwin's
theory of evolution, humans came from monkeys.
● They thought that without science we would never understand the
● These different point of views started a riot as well as accusations
against scientists who wanted to educate others on evolution.
● The debate over evolution, and whether an irreconcilable divide
existed between religion and science, had raged long before John
Scopes entered the classroom, and continues to this day.
● The Scopes Trial, also known as the Scopes Monkey
Trial, was the 1925 prosecution of science teacher
John Scopes for teaching evolution in Tennessee public
school, which a recent bill made illegal.
● Scopes wasn’t clear on whether he had precisely
taught the subject, but was sure he used materials that
● He taught physics and math, and while he said he
accepted evolution, he never taught biology.
● It was announced to newspapers the next day that
Scopes had been charged with violating the Butler Act,
and the town wired the ACLU to procure its services.
● The trial was viewed as an opportunity to challenge the
constitutionality of the bill, to publicly advocate the
legitimacy of Darwin’s theory of evolution, and to
enhance of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
EDUCATION & POPULAR CULTURE
● Developments in education had a powerful impact
on the nation.
● Enrollment is high schools quadrupled between
1914 and 1926.
● Public schools met the challenge of educating
millions of immigrants.
● The 1920’s pop culture was a crazy and bizarre
mix of sports, events, economy and spectacles.
● One thing that shaped the 20’s was the the 20’s
car. People could go where they wanted, when
● The automobile were a symbol of independence
more than the fashions, the jazz, the booze,
because they made those things possible.
● Although radio transmissions were broadcast as
early as 1912, commercially licensed radio
broadcasting in the U.S. didn’t start until 1920.
● Crystal radios came out first and required earphones
to listen. Newspaper businesses feared that radio
would replace them so they started radio stations like
● Radio broadcasts included news, music, sports,
weather, lectures, and stock market activity.
● No longer did anyone have to wait to read about
events in the newspaper.
● By the end of 1922, there were over 500 radio
stations across the U.S.
RADIO COMES OF AGE
THE JAZZ AGE
● One notable event was the introduction of a new music genre and
dance styles, Jazz, in 1922. The radio played a big part on the growth
and development of this genre.
● Originating in New Orleans as a fusion of African and European
music, jazz played a significant part in wider cultural changes in this
period, and its influence on pop culture continued long afterwards.
● The Jazz Age was an era for the youth. Young people used jazz and
fashion to rebel against the tradition of culture of previous
● It led to the creation of new dances such as the One Step, the
Charleston, and the Black Bottom.
● Benny Goodman, Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong were among the
most famous people that defined the Jazz era. It was the soundtrack
of the twenties.
AMERICAN HEROES OF THE 20’S
● Gertrude Ederle was
a champion swimmer
by her late teens, and
competed in the 1924
● Babe Ruth was
known for his
records, but he
was most widely
known for his 714
home runs for the
● Amelia Earhart
was the first
woman to ever
fly the Atlantic
● Years before
her mission she
did not come
back from her
● Charles Lindbergh became an instant
American hero and one of the 20th’s
Century’s first international
superstars for his nonstop solo flight
across the Atlantic Ocean.
● Charles piloted the Spirit of St. Louis
down the dirt runway of Roosevelt
Field in New York on May 20, 1927.
● Many doubted he would successfully
cross the Atlantic Ocean.
● Yet he landed safely in Paris less than
34 hours later changing history as
we know it.
● He changed the public opinion on the
value of air travel, and laid a
foundation for the future
development of aviation.
● After World War I, the American
economy boomed, and young people
embraced more modern lifestyles.
● This arts responded to all of these
trends. During this time, the theater
became fertile ground for exploring
● Many films concentrated on the new
attitudes about morality and the effects
on traditional domestic lifestyles.
● The most dramatic change in motion
picture was the growth of “silent films” to
● An example would be the infamous Three
Stooges which is still very well known
ENTERTAINMENT & ARTS
● Famed composer George Gershwin merged
traditional elements with American Jazz.
● Painters like Edward Hopper depicted the loneliness
of American life.
● Georgia O’Keeffe captured the grandeur of New York
using intensely colored canvases.
● There were two important art movements in this
decade: Surrealism and Art Deco.
● Although jazz was very popular, the 1920’s were
broadway’s prime years. There were over 50
musicals opening in just one season.
MUSIC & ART
● Reading was popular in the 1920’s as more and
more became literate.
● Before the radio and television, people got their
facts from reading newspapers, magazines, or
● Authors started to win Nobel Prizes for their work.
● Important authors of the decade included F. Scott
Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Edith Wharton, Willa
Cather, and more.
● F. Scott Fitzgerald was a popular novelist best
known for his novel The Great Gatsby. He spoke of
the negative side of the period’s “gaiety and
WRITERS IN THE 20’S
● The Great Depression was a severe
worldwide economic depression that took
place mostly during the 1930’s, beginning
in the U.S.
● It lasted until the late 1930’s, it was the
longest, deepest, and most widespread
depression of the 20th century.
● It caused drastic declines in output,
severe unemployment, and acute
deflation in almost every country of the
● The fundamental cause of the Great
Depression in the U.S. was a decline in
spending, which led to a decline in
● The 1920’s was not an exceptional boom
period; prices had remained constant
throughout the decade.
THE GREAT DEPRESSION
● I believe the 20’s was the most influential decade in history. It was the first time society
went against tradition and people began to make their own decisions and having their
● This decade brought us everything we know today. Women were given the right to vote,
prohibition failed, and media and technology began to spike. Which changed our world
● Many legacies of important people live on from this decade and are remembered
● Although it is known as the “Roaring Twenties,” it came with many issues. 100 years
later, it is now 2020. People began this year thinking it would be the “Roaring Twenties,”
but like history it came with much more than just fun. I wonder what the world will be
like in 2120.
Billings, Sean. “Why Prohibition Failed.” Newsweek, Newsweek, 24 Jan. 2019,
“Charles Lindbergh's Transatlantic Flight.” Enoch Pratt Free Library,
History.com Editors. “Scopes Trial.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 17 Nov.
History.com Editors. “The Roaring Twenties History.” History.com, A&E Television
Networks, 14 Apr. 2010, www.history.com/topics/roaring-twenties/roaring-twenties-
Lee, Karen. “Jazz Age - Topics on Newspapers.com.” Topics, 17 July 2020,
Hernandez, Paul “The Roaring Twenties: Overview.” NIST, 27 Mar. 2019,