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The Culture of Modernism in the 1920’s and Reactions to Modernism

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1 The Culture of Modernism in the 1920’s and Reactions to Modernism

2 Postwar Prosperity Scientific and technical innovations caused the 1920’s known as the "Second Industrial Revolution." Electricity became widespread Industrial production became more efficient Mass produced goods became available at attainable prices. Communication innovations contributed to the homogenization of ideas that led to national popular culture Americans began using credit, which further fueled consumerism. Consumerism led to advances in advertising techniques.

3 Postwar Prosperity The cycle that created the business boom in the 1920's: standardized mass production led to more efficient machines, which led to higher production and wages, which led to increased demand for consumer goods, which perpetuated more standardized mass production.

4 Postwar Prosperity Industries began to employ automated machinery and "scientific management" to increase efficiency. The reorganization of work to maximize production resulted in more spare time and disposable income for average workers. Scientific management practices also led to a decline in the importance of skill and craftsmanship in favor of discipline and subordination.

5 The Automobile and American Culture
The explosive growth of the automobile industry revolutionized American life. Henry Ford's innovative production techniques made cars affordable for average Americans and set new standards for industry. By the end of the decade, there were enough cars on the road for every one in five persons. Related industries sprang up including service facilities, filling stations, and motels.

6 Mass Culture: The Movies
With mass communication came the parallel ascendancy of consumer culture and the cult of celebrity. A new culture of youth and celebrity emerged with the popularity of the movies. Films celebrated themes like consumerism, romance, exotic locales, and new fashions. Young people emulated the glamorous Hollywood elite just as they do today, raising much concern among parents.

7 Mass Culture: The Movies
Although it was not the first film to incorporate an element of sound, the 1927 Warner Brothers film The Jazz Singer is widely credited with heralding in the age of "talkies" and the end of the silent film era. The star Al Jolson appears in blackface in the film.

8 Mass Culture: The Movies
Mary Pickford, known as "America's Sweetheart" in the 1910's and 1920's appears in an advertisement for beauty cream. Pickford embodied the movie icon as a marketing tool in the new era of mass culture and consumption.

9 Mass Culture: The Movies
Rudolph Valentino and Clara Bow- two sex symbols and film icons of the Jazz Age.

10 Mass Culture: Radio After war-time restrictions on civilian radio use were lifted, amateurs began experimenting with broadcasting. After years of limited broadcasts by amateurs and experimental stations, large corporations such as AT&T, Westinghouse and GE began to recognize the profit potential in radio. As the popularity of radio expanded, advertisers began sponsoring radio shows to appeal to consumers. By the end of the decade, 40% of homes had radio receivers.

11 Mass Culture: Music and the Music Industry
Although the phonograph first became available at the turn of the century, the device became more popular as sturdy disc recordings replaced delicate wax cylinders during World War I. As America developed mass culture through film, advertising, and radio, previously isolated musical styles blended to produce lively and often rebellious radio hits. Record companies profited as Americans snapped up dance records and new, exciting types of music.

12 Literature and Poetry in the Jazz Age: The Harlem Renaissance
In the wake of the black exodus from the South, known as the Great Migration, the Harlem section of New York City became home to a number of African American intellectuals, artists, and writers. The seminal magazine feature "Harlem: Mecca for the New Negro" in Survey Graphic summarized the cultural phenomena this way: "If The Survey reads the signs aright, such a dramatic flowering of a new racespirit is taking place close at home among American Negroes, and the stage of that new episode is Harlem."

13 Literature and Poetry in the Jazz Age: The Harlem Renaissance
“Epilogue” by Langston Hughes I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, I'll sit at the table When company comes. Nobody'll dare Say to me, "Eat in the kitchen," Then. Besides, They'll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed,-- I, too, am America.

14 Literature and Poetry in the Jazz Age: The Lost Generation
F. Scott Fitzgerald often wrote critically about the illusions of wealth and fame, while at the same time partaking in the excesses of celebrity and striving for immortality in literature. Fitzgerald succumbed to alcoholism and his wife to mental illness after years behind the facade of glamour and celebrity. Ernest Hemmingway’s dense, understated writing style became a model for generations of writers. He wrote for "the lost generation," of young men who came of age in the trenches of World War I and were unable to settle back into the norms of traditional society.

15 The New Woman and the New Morality
The image of the flapper and the "new woman," who bobbed her hair, wore make-up, danced to jazz music, and smoked cigarettes is synonymous with the 1920's. The emerging advertising industry and mass media promoted more sexualized images of women, thus, giving license for young women to shed some of the old sexual mores that were perceived as "Victorian." Actress Louise Brooks, an icon of flapper glamour.

16 The New Woman and the New Morality
Changes in the feminine ideal: The well-bred Gibson girl of the turn of the century and the decidedly more dangerous flapper of the Roaring 20’s.

17 The New Woman and the New Morality
In 1920, the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. The notable birth control activist Margaret Sanger campaigned across the country to educate women about family planning, remove the social stigma attached to contraceptives, and make safe birth control accessible to every class of women. Sanger began her campaign for birth control after spending years as a nurse in poor communities.

18 Prohibition, "A Noble Experiment"
Along with the social changes of the interwar era came reactions to those trends. Prohibition went into effect in January 1920 as a result of decades of campaigning by temperance groups, rural Protestants, and some progressives who felt that alcohol represented a scourge on family life and a catalyst to crime. Although the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act outlawed the sale, transport, and consumption of intoxicating beverages, many otherwise law-abiding Americans defied the regulations. The black market for alcohol was a boon for organized crime. Detroit police discover a clandestine still.

19 Nativism and Immigration Restrictions
As cities underwent explosive growth, rural populations and traditionalists sometimes felt threatened by foreign cultures and modernism. As Catholic and Jewish immigrants from southern and eastern Europe began to outnumber those from northern and western Europe, nativist sentiments inflamed by the war coalesced into a "100% American" movement fueled by pseudo-scientific theories of race. Ellis Island, 1920

20 Nativism and Immigration Restrictions
The 1921 Immigration Act: limited new arrivals to 350,000 and set caps for European countries- the maximum number of immigrants from a given country could not exceed 3 percent of the number of its natives already in the United States as counted by the 1910 census. The 1924, the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act: further restricted immigration by cutting the maximum total of immigrants to 164,000 and changed the caps to 2 percent from a given country, as counted by the 1890 census (when even fewer natives from these countries resided in the U.S.)

21 The Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan
One of the most disturbing manifestations of nativist sentiment in the United States in the 1920's was the brief resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. Originated after the Civil War as an instrument of white terror against the newly freed slaves, the Klan's influence and membership faded by the 1870's. In the 1920's, the new Klan added advocacy of "100% Americanism" to its agenda, which engendered hatred of Jews, Catholics, foreign born citizens, and communists in addition to African Americans.

22 The Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan
The Klan's purported "law and order platform" made it appealing to those who rejected modernism and saw the organization as a champion of patriotism, female purity, temperance and Christian morality. In many circumstances, the Klan represented itself as an opportunity for people to socialize feel connected by ritualized gatherings. In some states like Texas and Indiana, Klan members were influential in politics and law enforcement.

23 The Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan
The membership of the KKK rapidly declined from around 3 million in 1925 to several hundred thousand in the late 1920's, due in part to the implication of its leaders in various scandals. In response to growing disillusionment and defection by its members, the KKK staged a march down Pennsylvania Avenue in August 1928.

24 Religious Fundamentalism
Nostalgia for the past in reaction changing social mores characterized the growing influence of religious fundamentalism in the Jazz Age. Conservative Christians struggled to maintain their beliefs and the beliefs of their children in the face of the culture of consumerism, changing gender roles, the teaching of evolution, and the influence of mass media. Fundamentalism centers on belief in the literal truth of the Bible and claims adherents in all denominations of Christianity. Former baseball player and famous revivalist Billy Sunday delivered dynamic and impassioned sermons nationwide.

25 Religious Fundamentalism
The tension between liberal and fundamentalist Christians, often within the same congregation, was symptomatic of the larger struggle between modernists and those who longed to "get back to basics" in interwar America. The division between these groups would become a national preoccupation with the drama of the Scopes Trial in 1925 Evangelist and faith healer Aimee Semple McPherson used showmanship to engage her congregations.

26 Hunter’s Civic Biology- the text Scopes’ students saw.
The Scopes Trial The Scopes Trial provides the most dramatic illustration of the cultural tension of the Jazz Age, pitteing secularists and modernists against traditionalists and fundamentalists in a carnival atmosphere that was tailor-made for the tabloids and new mass media. The 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial" in Dayton, Tennessee was not a spontaneous occurrence. In response to legislation outlawing the teaching of evolution, the ACLU offered to finance the defense of any teacher willing to challenge the law. 25 year old biology teacher John Scopes agreed to participate after some urging by local townspeople. Hunter’s Civic Biology- the text Scopes’ students saw.

27 The Scopes Trial The trial was not about whether or not Scopes was guilty, nor was it about the $100 penalty he faced. Scopes’ agnostic lawyer Clarence Darrow wanted to appeal the case the to the Supreme Court and have the law declared unconstitutional. Populist and former presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan was motivated by a need to defend Christianity and the integrity of the fundamentalist cause. Although, as expected, Bryan won the legal case, Darrow triumphed in the court of public opinion.


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