The Dark Side of the Roaring Twenties

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The Roaring Twenties, most of the things we hear about the twenties are of good, happy times and of advances in technology and medicine. When we picture the twenties, we picture people dancing, listening to jazz and driving Model Ts. Also, in the twenties, the pretty was quite prosperous. But, there was a dark side to the Roaring Twenties. Those years there were some troubling trends and events, which many forget when thinking of that decade; prohibition, organized crime, nativism and the return of the Ku Klux Klan.

Ironically, the twenties are often thought of as a time with careless drinking, when actually, it was illegal in that decade to sell or consume alcohol. On January 16th, 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment went into effect. A ban on the manufacturing and distribution on alcohol was written into the United States Constitution. This ban was called Prohibition. People held mock funerals the day before the amendment came to pass. Some people and businesses even spent the weeks prior to the amend.ent stockpiling liquor.

Prohibition came to be due to almost a century of effort that started with the temperance movement in the early nineteenth century. After the years of the American Revolution, there was a huge increase in drinking and alcohol consumption. Saloons began to pop up everywhere as hard working men tended to escape loneliness and exhaustion by drinking. Saloons also provided settings for other illegal activities such as prostitution and gambling.

A number of people noticed the effects of alcohol consumption and began to try and stop it. First, they encouraged people to just limit their intake of alcohol; however, they eventually began to encourage complete abstinence. As time went on, these reformers went to political action and government intervention. Also, medical research began to show evidence on how alcohol consumption affected people’s health. Concern also arose about how much power breweries wielded as they pursued high profits. More...
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