Time to Party
Detroit, Michigan during its peak in the 1920's
The 1920s was an era of dramatic social and political change. It was during this time period that more Americans were living in cities than on farms for the first time in our nation’s history. The country’s total wealth more than doubled in this decade. This economic growth ushered many Americans into an affluent new type of economy - a “consumer society.” People across the nation could now buy the same goods, thanks to nationwide advertising and the spread of chain stores, hear the same music and do the same dances, and they even began using the same slang! For many Americans, the 1920s brought more conflict than cause for celebration, as most were uncomfortable with the new urban culture and the often-racy behaviors of their fellow citizens. For a smaller group of well-to-do young people, the 1920s were “roaring”!
There were several elements that played into the social changes of this era. During the later part of the 1910s and early part of the 1920s, many important situations occurred that affected change that still impacts us today, such as the first World War, prohibition (of alcohol), and the women’s liberation movement, leading towards women’s right to vote.
The first World War, which we call World War I, was known then as The Great War. This war began in 1914 and ended in 1918. The USA became a major world power as a result of their engagement in WWI. The war also contributed to the rapid growth of the middle class in the United States. American youths became angry about the US involvement in the war and the resulting loss of millions of young men, considering the older generation’s soldiers to have murdered those millions. As the sudden wealth and angry youth combined, with the end of the war mixed in, rebellion against the current social norms prevailed.
As the nation entered the 1920s, Prohibition was enacted and women won the right to vote. The American youth felt liberated from some of the binding social expectations of the previous generations and began to push the culture to embrace their new values.
History.com Staff. “The Roaring Twenties.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010, www.history.com/topics/roaring-twenties.
“1920s Women's Fashion.” 1920s Fashion for Women, fashion.just-the-swing.com/1920s-womens-fashion.