6 December 2013
The 1920 Era
The United States of America has had its ups and its downs over the past few centuries. One high point in our American history is the 1920 era. This time period was full of prosperous and blissful citizens. The economy, being exceptionally strong after World War I, contributed to the wealth and happiness of many Americans during this time period. The Roaring Twenties were a time where people felt they could capture any dream they want. This period was known as a time of living the American dream. In 1918 the treacherous World War I had finally ended. This war with countries such as Austria-Hungary, the British Empire, China, France, the German Empire, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Russia, and the United States of America, resulted in over 10 million deaths, one-fourth of which were American deaths. A flu epidemic that hit America shortly after the end of the war killed double that number. The upcoming decade of wealth and pleasure was much needed to Americans (Kallen). At the beginning of the 1920s America had Woodrow Wilson as our president. Unfortunately for him, they elected Warren Harding to take over the government (Kallen). “Although Harding was known as an easygoing and amiable leader, his administration was rife with corruption” (Kallen 12). Harding then passed away on August 2, 1923 resulting in his Vice President, Calvin Coolidge, taking office (Kallen). President Coolidge’s “hands off” approach to federal directive was an influence in the roaring twenties economy. The 1920s became known as a power age. The use of electricity increased in the twenties compared to before the war. With many Americans becoming more affluent during this time, the cost of bills for things such as electricity and cars were not a worry at this time. The proportion of homes with electricity started at twenty percent in 1919 and rose to sixty-seven percent by 1927. The jump in electricity usage also created an increase in productivity in factories (Kallen). Many soldiers returning from war did not come back to the high pays and short days they were used to working. Wages were cut for some and working environments were harsh. These new working conditions caused many workers to go on strike during the 1920s (Sann). Another cause to the shorter pays of returning soldiers was the fact that women were now working. The women took over their jobs while most soldiers were away at war resulting in fewer jobs when they came home. The 1920s was a delightful time for women. The 1920 approval of the nineteenth amendment granted women the right to vote. Many conservative Americans were dismayed by the new roles women had acquired. They protested against these changes stating that the changes in traditional women’s functions would by an influence on the collapse of society (Hanson). Women’s participation in the war effort was a deciding factor in allowing them to have the right to vote. Although the House of Representatives passed the nineteenth amendment in 1918, it took two more years to be successfully passed by the Senate allowing women to participate in the 1920 election (Hanson). The roles of women had now developed in new ways. During the war, women were given the jobs left open by soldiers fighting in Europe. They were no longer just housewives who stayed home to cook, clean, and raise the children. Women now had jobs and careers and were given the opportunity to advance in the world (Hanson). The media spread the word about the new women revolution that was sweeping the country. Magazines, newspapers, and tabloids were the forms of media used to inform Americans of what was happening. As certain newspapers became more popular and started being published in more cities across America, less and less local city newspapers were being published. We also see the introduction of a tabloid during the 1920 era. The tabloid often prints...
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