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Hist 2112 17 Online US History since 1865 Spring 2020 CO Some see the 1920s as a party decade Others looking at the same evidence conclude that the 1920s gave birth to tremendous social repression Based on the evidence you ve seen in this unit explain this apparent paradox and describe the 1920s as fully as possible American history is filled with paradoxes as one historian noted when speaking of the sentiments towards immigrants in the 1920 s Many immigrants arrived from Eastern and Southern Europe searching for the hope of an American dream But they were not initially met with open arms Partly due to the Bolshevik revolution which had occurred in Russia in the early 1900 s This event combined with World War 1 drove many Americans into panic and fear of an anarchist state or a communist ideology These years were known as the Red scare Americans became very suspicious of its immigrant population Many immigrants were suspected of nefarious deeds and some even deported But in the case of Sacco and Vanzetti two members of the anarchist party wrongfully accused and executed by the government The 1920 s saw the progress of the women s suffrage movement when the 19th amendment was passed Gender roles were being challenged as women gained more rights and voices The 1920 s was a time for celebration for many people as the common worker was more prosperous and the US became more powerful and richer This time period was referred to as the Roaring 20 s for the dynamism and explosion of industry as well as the buying power of a new middle class However not everyone was celebrating There were a series of clashes The Prohibitionist movement vs the anti prohibitionist movement black Americans still fighting for their place as 1st class citizens These clashes caused fragmentation in the Democratic party but not in the Republican party The Democratic party had weakened tremendously by the 1920 s while the Republican party rose in popularity and prominence with relative ease World War 1 had ended and Europe was trying to rebuild after it had been ravaged European land and its people were ravaged by the financial expenses and blood expended from war but in contrast America was experiencing an industrial and economic boom American life was in the process of transformation after the war New music was being adopted new technology was revolutionizing the way people interacted and travelled Like the years immediately following the Reconstruction years in the south There were now new challengers in the marketplace of ideas in a richer more technologically advanced America The technological advancements affected the way people consumed information entertained themselves communicated and travelled A new prosperity enabled new expression and a broader and more stable consumer base ushered in a consumption period Workers were getting paid more than they had been paid in prior generations creating a new age of consumer buying power and an age of consumption It was Henry Ford who discovered paying employees a higher wage was good business practice Higher wages for employees meant a larger consumer base and more buying power for more people And since the Ford company also made automobiles more affordable more Americans were driving than taking the train or trolley cars Before the 20 s the were thousands of cars on the road after 1929 there were over 23 million cars on the road Ford also paid African Americans the same wage as white Americans this sparked the Great Migration from the southern cities rife with Jim crow and the stripping of civil rights Northern cities weren t perfect but blacks could access the right to education and voting More cars spurred the government to construct more roads New businesses opened alongside the roads like hotels eateries and shopping venues The affordability of the personal car some as low as 5 transformed the human interactions of young people Young people opted out of formal dating in place of non supervised outings New technologies emerged in the 1920 s and captured the attention of Americans changing their moral existence social characteristics and even sexual habits Jazz music created in the early 20 s developed in the black community and also brought about new styles of dress and dance Women had the power to vote now and felt empowered to express themselves in social life as well As evidenced by the book Discovering The American Past More married women were employed whereas in prior generations mainly single and unmarried women were more likely to seek jobs Birth control allowed for a more casual relationship between men and women Many people from prior generations found the new style of dress and social norms unacceptable however Things once again were changing quite rapidly in America And just like after the Reconstruction years there were new people to cooperate with such as the immigrants There were new ideologies to contend with and some people who felt their influence and place in society was threatened tried to fight back As stated earlier many blacks had already left the South to leave the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow behind But the KKK had found more people to add to their target for hate the catholics the Jews and any other non Anglo Saxon group of people in the US The Ku Klux Klan was inspired by the film Birth of a Nation and book by the Klansman where the protagonists were the KKK saving America from blacks Jews and black governance Though the government disapproved of the KKK passing anti mask laws to deter membership America still passed Immigration laws like the National Origins act of 1924 which limited immigration to a quota system In fact President Coolidge declared America must be kept American Though black people made progress they still battled the racial strife in the south and some areas of the northern cities Black people were fighting to find their place in American society but some vehemently disagreed with American freedom activists like Marcus Garvey wanted to establish a new freedom on a separate land The Harlem Renaissance saw a new consciousness of black Americans develop as they developed art music and poetry with Afro centric themes This was a time to celebrate nowhere on earth was as rich or powerful as America but there was still vestiges of class tension and governmental malfeasance from the Gilded age

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MGC HIST 2112 - Essay 5- 1920s

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