During the Twenties, Americans prospered and had access to many different ideas and subcultures through mass media and mass society, and mass production enabled the consumer lifestyle that is still a part of current society. The United States was politically a republican fundamentalist country by electing three republican presidents who all shared a basic ideal of old-world, traditional values. Finally, the economy and Americans saw an increase throughout the majority of the Twenties until the stock market crash of October 24th, 1929 (Davidson, 2006).
Changes and Advances The 1920s was a time of change for Americans socially, politically, and economically. American society expanded and evolved through the women’s movement, mass society, and mass production of goods. The women’s movement involved the acceptance of women wearing revealing clothing, working, and voting, which started the battle that would eventually lead to where women are and can be in society today. Mass society and entertainment aided in the new consumerism lifestyle that was spreading across America during the Twenties.
The mass production of clothing, cars, and other material goods allowed more people to have more things, which perpetuated the consumer lifestyle. “Americans in the 1920s were the first to wear ready-made, exact-size clothing. They were the first to play electric phonographs, to use electric vacuum cleaners, to listen to commercial radio broadcasts, and to drink fresh orange juice year round,” (Mintz, 2007). The political changes that occurred involved a solidarity movement toward a republican, nationalistic point-of-view.
The first president elected during the Twenties, “Warren G. Harding’s campaign slogan, “A return to normalcy,” aptly described American politics for the entire period,” (n. a. , 2009). The mass media (e. g. radio and newspapers) made following and understanding the information about politics simpler and easier for the majority of Americans. The economic changes involved business expansion, mass production, the Bull Stock Market, and the stock market crash of 1929 (Davidson, 2006).
Mass production lowered the cost of goods and materials and increased the availability of those goods. Specifically automobiles were made more accessible to more people by way of credit or loans and by “1925, Americans made 75% of all automobile purchases on the installment plan,” (Schultz ; Tishler, 1999). World War I’s Effect on America The social effects of World War I (WWI) were a feeling of nationalism for many Americans, specifically traditionalists. Americans were unhappy with the amount of soldiers and money that was forfeit during WWI, which allowed Warren G. Harding to become president by running a campaign based on nationalism and normalcy. Politically the United States became republican fundamentalists, who wanted to return America to its once traditional ways. During WWI there was some prosperity from the amount of money made from supplying other countries with ammunition and weapons. There were many displaced soldiers who were no longer needed after the war. Economically America did prosper, but there were former soldiers who had trouble locating new employment. Mass Society
Mass society describes an increase in the quality and standards of life for the majority of city-dwelling Americans. Mass society also made the independence of women, youth culture, jazz, and baseball available to many Americans because of the modernizing of mass media. Mass media includes radio, newspaper, and film, which made information easily available. Film had a distinct effect on American culture by introducing the idea of celebrity. Movies made people famous and those people became more famous as movies became more popular.
There was also an increase in people wanting to be celebrities because of the interest in the lives of celebrities of the Twenties. Modernists v. Traditionalists Modernists were consumer-driven revolutionaries who supported women’s rights and suffrage, birth control, and the changing of gender roles in society and family. Traditionalists were interested in business expansion, religion, segregation, nativism, and an old world way of living. Modernists and traditionalists were polar opposites, which in one way or another still exist in modern society.
Traditionalist Backlash The traditionalists attempted to stop the modernist movement by implementing prohibition, which was called “a Nobel Experiment,” though it was eventually repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933 (Davidson, 2006). The Scopes’ “Monkey Trial” was another attempt by the traditionalists, which involved a teacher being put on trial for teaching evolution. There was also the National Origins Act that limited the number of immigrants allowed to enter the United States.
Conclusion. Throughout the majority of the Twenties, Americans prospered and were able to learn about many different movements through mass media and mass society, and mass production enabled the consumer lifestyle that is still a part of current society. Politically, the United States was fairly linear throughout the decade by electing three republican presidents who all shared a basic ideal of old-world, traditional values. Finally, the economy saw an increase throughout the majority of the Twenties and ended with the stock market crash of October 24th, 1929 (Davidson, 2006).
1.Davidson, J. G. (2006). Nation of Nations: A Concise Narrative of the American Republic (4th ed., Vols. 1,2, and Combined). Boston: McGraw Hill. 2.Mintz, S. (2007). The Consumer Economy and Mass Entertainment. Retrieved December 5, 2009, from www.digitalhistory.uh.edu: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=454 3.n.a. (2009). Politics in the 1920s. Retrieved December 5, 2009, from www.cliffnotes.com: http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/Politics-in-the-1920s.topicArticleId-25238,articleId-25200.html 4.Schultz, S. K., ; Tishler, W. P. (1999). The Politics of Prosperity: The 1920s. Retrieved December 5, 2009, from us.history.wisc.edu: http://us.history.wisc.edu/hist102/lectures/lecture15.html