The 1920s and Organized Crime

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  • Topic: Gang, Prohibition in the United States, Crime
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The 1920s was a decade of exciting social changes and reflective cultural conflicts. For many Americans, the growth of cities, the rise of a consumer culture, and the so-called “revolution in morals and manners” represented a liberation from the restrictions of the country’s Victorian past. But for others, the United States was changing in undesirable ways. The result was a veiled “cultural civil war,” in which a pluralistic society classed bitterly over such issues as foreign immigration, evolution, the Ku Klux Klan, and race. The decade was both a decade of bitter cultural tensions as well as a period in which many of the features of a modern consumer society took cause.

The 1920s in most commonly thought of as a self-indulgent interlude between the Great War and the Great Depression, a decade of dissipation, jazz bands, raccoon coats, bathtub gin, flappers, flagpole sitters, bootleggers, and dancers. So many new things, ideas, ways of life were established in this time. In accordance to this, World War I had shattered Americans’ faith in reform and moral crusade. The younger generation continued to rebel against the formal traditions while the older generation was occupied by a group of speculation (The 1920s”).

World War I may not have made the world safe for democracy, but it did help to lay out the groundwork for this decade of American economic expansion. The 1920s saw the growth of the culture of consumerism, which changed the politics of American society and set the tone for American attitudes about money in the decades after. Americans hoped for prosperity, so they elected three Republican Presidents during this decade (“H102 Lecture 15: The Politics of Prosperity: The 1920s”).

New technology played a very big role in shaping the economy in the 1920s. The culture was so different compared to the years before this decade. The technology that was invented at this time made the economy what it turned out to be. It also made an image into what a person’s lifestyle should be like. It’s kind of like the media today, we see all of this advertising for certain things or we see the way famous people are and we want to be like them in a sense. In reality we know that we can’t exactly be like them. This is kind of what the new technology was doing to people in the 1920s. When cars first came out, they saw their neighbor have one, so they felt like they had to get one. This was like a snowball effect. Everyone saw these new things coming out and had to have them. People looked at what other people were doing and saw this change and felt like they had to change right along with it. This changed the economy in a huge way. Culture was so different before all these new inventions came out. People did not have refrigerators, cars, movies, and this changed their way of life. They did not have to use an ice block anymore, no more walking everywhere, and no more listening to the radio.

This did not just impact American economy, culture, and society but also impacted people’s lives and caused what is known to be the Great Depression. After everyone had a car, the manufacturers were still producing them with no one left to buy their cars from them. How could they pay the people that worked for them? They couldn’t, and many people lost their jobs because of this. This was not only happening with the car industry, but it happened in all sorts of factories. The Great Depression was a horrible time of the 1920s, but it made American society what it is today.

Without the rebellion and wild happenings of the 1920s we would not have half of the things we would today. The 1920s was a roaring decade that shaped the American dream, for everyone, what it is now. So much happened during this time, some for better and some for worse. We learned from our mistakes and can realize what we have done wrong. If it weren’t for the 1920s, we would not know half of the stuff we do today. We also would not have half the stuff we do either. After...
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