Babe Ruth Charles Lindberg Al Capone
Through the mid-1920s, America enjoyed unparalleled prosperity fueled by a great boom in automobile production and related businesses. Many people believed that the progressive ideal of an efficient, ordered society was at hand. The boom, however, masked problems. The prosperity was not equitably distributed through society; many workers and farmers, including most minorities, were excluded. The new ways forged by economic and technological advancement brought an unprecedented cultural nationalism, but they also aroused serious conflicts as both intellectuals and traditionalists attacked elements of the New Era culture. Presidents Harding and Coolidge, despite their contrasting styles, personified the pro-business policies of the Republican Party, which dominated American politics throughout the 1920s.
Brinkley, Alan (2007). American history: A survey. New York, New York: McGraw Hill.
Economic Transformation: The period from 1921 to 1929 was a period of significant economic growth for the United States, fueled by new technologies, new forms of production, and new techniques in marketing and production. Business leaders sought to consolidate their operations and reduce harmful competition through industry-wide agreements, often with government cooperation. At the same time, however, this prosperity was far from widespread. Union membership declined in the face of business, governmental, and popular hostility, while farmers continued to face serious problems of overproduction and an inability to organize to effectively communicate their demands.
Culture: Economic prosperity had a significant influence, both positive and negative, on American culture. The availability of consumer goods, the growth of radio and movies, and the increasing use of the automobile helped to create a more national culture than had existed previously, as people across the country had access to shared experiences. Many intellectuals, disillusioned by the failure of World War I to reform the world order and by what they saw as the crass materialism of American society, responded either by producing works that critiqued life in the United States or by withdrawing from American society altogether.
American Diversity: Following World War I, there existed a great deal of tension over who should be considered" American." The experience of fighting a wrenching foreign conflict, wartime patriotism, and fears of domestic subversion all contributed to hostility toward immigrants, minorities, and those who challenged the status quo. Congress responded during the 1920s by severely restricting immigration, while popular attitudes and actions resulted in a hostile climate for those perceived as "outsiders," as seen through the rebirth and rapid growth of the Ku Klux Klan and other groups. While the decade witnessed a flourishing of African American culture through the Harlem Renaissance, it was often a difficult decade for the nonwhite and non-Protestant.
American Identity: The profound social, economic, and political changes facing the nation raised fundamental questions about the nation's identity. Many Americans, particularly those living in rural areas, sought to maintain what they saw as the nation's traditional ideals in the face of trends such as urbanization, secularization, and modernization. The result was a series of disputes over immigration, Prohibition, religion, and other cultural issues. These disputes between supporters of tradition and modernity have continued to exist in varying forms throughout the remainder of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first-indeed, the conflicts of the 1920s represent in some forms a forerunner to the "culture wars" of the 1990s.
George, J. & Brown, J. (2007). AP achiever: Advanced placement american history exam preparation guide. McGraw Hill.
Biography of America
The Twenties (series 20)
The Roaring Twenties take to the road in Henry Ford's landscape-altering invention -- the Model T. Ford's moving assembly line, the emergence of a consumer culture, and the culmination of forces let loose by these entities in Los Angeles are all explored by Professor Miller.