Presentation on theme: "Chapter 16, Section 3. The 1920s were the first decade in which more people lived in urban rather than rural areas. There was a growing division in."— Presentation transcript:
The 1920s were the first decade in which more people lived in urban rather than rural areas. There was a growing division in society between urban and rural citizens, and that was evident in the emerging two schools of thought: modernism and fundamentalism. Modernism emphasized science and secular values; Fundamentalism focused on the basic truths within religion, and that everything in the Bible was the literal truth.
At the center of this clash was the debate over the teaching of evolution in schools. Biology teacher John Scopes violated Tennessee law by teaching the theory of evolution to his class. When the case went to trial, Scopes was defended by renowned attorney Clarence Darrow. As an ‘expert’ witness on the Bible, the prosecution called William Jennings Bryan. The trial was broadcast over the radio, connecting thousands of Americans to the trial.
Nativists disliked the growing immigrant population in the United States. This dislike increased with the Red Scare. New legislation was passed that established a quota system for various countries This meant that only a certain amount of people could come to the U.S. in a given year from that country. The quota system specifically targeted Asians, and used 1890 numbers, benefitting western and northern Europeans.
The dislike for immigrants was not central to northern cities, though. In the south during the 1920s, there was a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan that began at Stone Mountain, Georgia. The ‘new’ KKK not only targeted Blacks, but Jews, Catholics and immigrants as well.
The temperance movement in the U.S. had been around for years, but found a surge during the Progressive Era, when alcohol was blamed for the many societal problems. In 1919, Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment which banned the manufacture, sale and transport of alcohol. The Volstead Act was the law that enforced it. Rural citizens especially supported these two. However, prohibition also generated more bootlegging (illegal sale) and organized crime.
With the consumer revolution of the 1920s, American wages grew 30%, but the standard of living remained the same. This provided more disposable income. Americans used this disposable income for leisure activities such as spectator sports, movies, and radios/phonographs. The first movie with sound was The Jazz Singer in 1927. Both movies and radio helped create a shared culture because of its mass distribution.
The popularity of spectator sports grew in the 1920s– baseball, football and boxing. No other sports star was as iconic as Babe Ruth. Mass media also helped capture the major events of the time period, such as Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic in his plane, The Spirit of Saint Louis.
Women’s roles changed socially, politically and economically during the 1920s. Socially, women had more freedom. The symbol of social change for women was the flapper– a young woman who wore short dresses and had short hair. Politically, women gained the right to vote in 1920. With its passage, women became more politically active. Economically, women returned to housework, but benefitted from the emerging modern conveniences.
Art and literature changed after the war to reflect new ideas and thoughts of the American people. Art reflected the uncertainty of what direction to go after the war, conflicting with traditional artistic themes. Similarly, postwar writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and T.S. Eliot reflected a growing disconnect in traditional ideas. They wanted their writings to reflect new ideas and influences.
The prominent African American leader of the 1920s was Marcus Garvey. Unlike Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, Garvey wanted the races to be separate. Garvey promoted black nationalism and organized a “Back to Africa” movement. However, when Garvey was deported back to Jamaica on mail fraud, the movement died.
Jazz, a musical style that blended African and European forms of music, emerged from New Orleans in the 1920s. Major musicians included Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. It was not limited to a specific race. Jazz moved North during the Great Migration as African Americans looked for industrial jobs.
The Harlem Renaissance was an expression of African American culture in the United States by poets, novelists and writers. Langston Hughes, Claude McKay and Zora Neale Hurston to name a few. Major themes from the Harlem Renaissance included the diversity of African American life and the desire for freedom of expression for both men and women.