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The 1920 s were a very important era in which rural and unhurried Americabecame a place of fast growth and changing society. After World War One thehopes of the American people that life would return to the simplicity of before werealtered by the industrialization and alteration of morals American society lives by.With industrialization came a quickly growing economy. The post war recessiondidn t last long. The country had become obsessed with the idea of starting newbusiness. Everyone was spending more and the economy was growing at a recordhigh. A new decade brought on the consumer desire for new products such asradios and electric refrigerators. Mass production methods were so successful thatthe work day was reduced from twelve hours to eight hours and wages were raised. With all the business started the ideas of installment plans and credit. This causedconsumers to buy larger items which also boosted the American economy.Another change in the economy was the idea of store chains. The public was fondof the chains because of the convenience and ability to cut the costs through volumepurchasing. Stores weren t the only blooming business. By 1922 movie theaters sold 40 millionadmissions a week, which doubled throughout the decade.Cars were on the top of every consumers list. Not only did cars transform thecountries economy, they also provided a way for families to move away from townor go on family trips. Cars changed drastically through the twenties. At thebeginning of the decade the few standard model cars hardly compared to the arrayof styles, colors and brands. But with these perks the prices rose. And with thecars came chains and campsites all along the roads.Out of all these newly sprung businesses came boosters such as Rotary and KwanisClubs in which businessmen tried to project local business and try to maintain theneighborhood virtues. As business grew so did stocks. But as stocks started to go down investors had toput up additional margin. Between October and November of 1929, stocks lost40% of their total value, $30 billion in paper values. This was what was to becomethe beginnings of The Great Depression.The government of this decade took on a new outlook. In the election of 1920 thepresent president, Woodrow Wilson, ran against Warren Harding. The Americanpeople elected Warren Harding to start off the new decade because of his somewhatadolescent thinking. Along with this adolescent outlook came, as the nation wouldsee in his presidency, he refused to face responsibility. Harding s presidency wasfilled with complications such as his Secretary of States involvement in an oilscandal and his Attorney General s salary scandal. Harding , before he could carryout his presidency, died of a heart attack on August 2, 1923. Calvin Coolidge tookover and kept basically the same way of tending to the government. The nation atthis time , didn t feel that the government was as necessary because the troubleswere solving themselves. The only scare to the government in this decade was thefear of communism. Over 6,000 people suspected of communism were rounded upin Red Raids and thrown into jail. The last incident that occurred which had a hint

of communistic ways was when an anarchist bomb had exploded on Wall Street. By the end of the year it was over but it left the nation with a feeling of distrust. Even though the fear of communism came and went , America still had to worryabout another political group, the KKK. Colonel William J. Simmons becameintrigued with the stories of the old Reconstruction clan. By the end of the 1920 snewly initiated clansmen were burning crosses and initiating new recruits.The 1920 s had a social scene of its own. People started to feel the need to be thesame by showing that they were just as stylish and social as the next person, and ,at the same time, wanted to different so as to be credited with the latest craze. Activities such as crossword puzzles , yo yos and roller skates became popular.People were constantly competing in contest such as chair derbys, dance marathons,champion pea-eater, kisser, or talker. The twenties have always been branded the Jazz age. Jazz, which started in NewOrleans, was mainly herd in Harlem and Chicago. This was a time for such greatsas Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke,and King Oliver. King Oliver s Creole JazzBand was named the best group by the Negroes of Chicago s South Side . Anothermusical star of the twenties was George Gershwin. George Gershwin didn t writeJazz, but his songs became jazz standards in which jazzmen would love to play andimprovise around.In 1921 the first Miss America Pageant was held in Atlantic City. In the firstcontest only eight girls entered. But by 1924 the number grew to 83.The twentiesheld the record for attendance to American Athletic events. Never have sportsheroes ment so much to a nation. This was a time when every sport pushed thelimits and new records were set. The twenties were also a time for such sportsgreats as Babe Ruth ,Gertrude Ederle and Jack Dempsey.Although the National Prohibition Act had just been passed on January 16th , 1920,alcohol was still a major part of the social scene. Even though President Hooverthought well of this amendment to the constitution, the public had violated this lawmore than any other in history. The amendment seemed to bring on the productionof more alcohol as well as drinking more of it. Speak-easies became social placeswhere people consumed large amounts of alcohol and where the invention of thecocktail started. This became even easier because people were able to pay offpolice with alcoholic beverages. America found many ways of keeping alcoholwith them at all times by hiding it in false books , coconut shells, and water bottles. The nation also became more interested in what was happening across the nationinstead of just their own back yards. Newspaper circulation went from 25 millionin the earlier part of the decade, to 40 million near the end. Magazines also were hitwith an unexpected new amount of readers. In 1919 came the first tabloid. Tabloids were very popular among the American people. They were smaller, whichmade them easier to carry around, and they were illustrated with great headlines. The 1920 s played a great part in the way America is today. Many of the eventsand inventions of that time are what things have expanded and grown off of.The twenties will be remembered as a decade that helped the progression of thiscountry.


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