I. The Economy That Roared
A. Boom industries
1. Interrelated forces stimulated the economic
of the 1920s.
2. Wartime and past war profits supplied investment
to mechanize mass production techniques stressing standardization of
and the assembly line.
3. The expansion of electricity cuts costs and
manufacturing while spurring demand for new home products.
4. The automobile industry drove the economy and
5. The aviation, chemicals, radio, and motion
industries also experienced rapid growth and expansion.
B. Corporate consolidation
1. Corporate mergers rivaled those of the turn of
2. The spread of oligopoly, the control of an
by a few companies, was particularly evident.
3. The automobile, electric light and power, banking
national chain stores led the corporate consolidation.
4. Americans accepted the idea that size brought
C. Open shops and welfare capitalism
1. In the 1920s, business attacked labor seeking the
shop to break union-shop contracts and collective bargaining.
2. Businesses used boycotts, yellow dog contracts,
and strikebreakers to weaken unions.
3. Welfare capitalism was presented as an
to unions and provided medical services, insurance programs, pensions,
vacations for workers.
4. Companies also promoted company unions.
5. Union membership fell from 5.1 million in 1920 to
million in 1929, partly from business pressures and partly from
union policies that neglected ethnic and black workers.
D. Sick industries
1. Not all industries prospered in the 1920s.
2. Coal mining, textile and garment manufacturing,
railroads declined as a result of excess capacity, shrinking demands,
returns, and labor-management conflicts.
3. American agriculture never recovered from the
depression with surpluses and shrinking demand forcing down prices
improves techniques and mechanization.
4. Racial discrimination worsened conditions for
and blacks in farming.
II. The Business of Government
A. Republican ascendancy
1. Republicans gained control of Congress and the
House in 1920.
2. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover and
of the Treasury Andrew Mellon shaped economic policy throughout the
3. Hoover worked to expand prosperity by building
with leading sectors of the economy and supporting business efficiency.
pushed for tax reduction on businesses and the wealthy.
4. Republicans also curtailed government regulation
a more collaborative relationship with business.
B. Government corruption
1. Harding’s administration witnessed substantial
including the Teapot Dome Scandal that leased government oil reserves
C. Coolidge prosperity
1. Coolidge confined government’s role to helping
and won reelection on the platform of Coolidge prosperity.
D. The fate of reform
1. Reformers experienced few
III. Cities and Suburbs
A. Expanding cities
1. Urbanization impacted every region.
2. Older industrial cities of the Northeast and
Midwest grew the most, attracting migrants from the rural South and
3. Rural Southerners also flocked to southern cities.
4. Western cities grew rapidly, especially Los
that became the nation’s fifth largest city in 1930.
5. The population growth altered the urban landscape
land values soared and developers built skyscrapers.
Map: Population Shifts, 1920-1930
B. The great black migration
1. While southern segregation and violence
migration attractive to blacks, northern job opportunities made it
2. Over a million and a half blacks moved to
northern cities in the twenties where they crowded
ghettos and worked at jobs that offered salaries less than those of
3. Migration brought black communities political and
power, autonomy and increased racial consciousness.
4. Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement
espoused racial pride and black nationalism.
1. Hispanic migrants also came to the city in
twenties, creating communities call barrios.
2. Puerto Ricans migrated to New York City but
supplied the most immigrants.
3. Racism restricted Hispanics to racially defined
4. In 1929, the League of United Latin American
organized to advance civil rights for Hispanics.
D. The road to suburbia
1. Suburbs grew twice as fast as cities in the
2. Automobiles created the modern suburb which was
and dispersed and the single-family home surrounded by a green lawn
the social ideal.
3. Many suburbs excluded Jews, African American,
and working-class people.
4. The rise of suburbs stimulated highway
and with the automobile led to the creation of new industries,
shopping centers, drive-in restaurants, and fast food
IV. Mass Culture in the Jazz Age
A. Advertising the consumer society
1. Advertising’s focus on consumption helped shape
new society. Traditional virtues of thrift, prudence, and avoidance of
were replaced by consumption.
2. Via print, skywriting, and new media, advertisers
Americans to buy a growing number of goods and services.
3. Advertisers sought to create a single mass market
consumed brand-name products.
4. The home as the focus of consumerism, especially
electricity spawned new household appliances.
B. Leisure and entertainment
1. Recreation and leisure were important features of
new mass society.
2. Elaborately decorated theaters attracted
Movies helped spread common values and helped set societal trends.
1914 In his
second big-screen appearance, Charlie Chaplin plays the Little Tramp.
Winsor McCay unleashes
Gertie the Dinosaur, the first animated cartoon.
1915 D. W. Griffith's Civil War epic, The Birth of a Nation,
introduces the narrative close-up, the flashback and other elements
that endure today as the structural principles of narrative filmmaking.
1921 The Sheik debuts and establishes star Rudolph Valentino as
cinema's best-known lover.
1923 German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin becomes film's first canine star.
1924 Walt Disney creates his first cartoon, "Alice's Wonderland."
1925 Sergei Eisenstein makes Potemkin, a revolutionary portrait
of mutiny aboard a battleship. In the hands of Eisenstein, montage is
raised to the highest structural role in filmmaking, serving as the
unifying element of the medium.
Ben-Hur, costing a record-setting $3.95 million to produce, is released.
1927 Vaudevillian Al Jolson astounds audiences with his nightclub act
in The Jazz Singer, the first feature-length talkie.
Disney introduces Galloping Gaucho and Steamboat Willie, the first
cartoons with sound.
3. Radio and the phonograph also
and popular culture.
4. Country, blues, and especially jazz music became
5. Professional sports also prospered and became
commercialized. Baseball, boxing, and football drew huge crowds.
C. The new morality
1. The promoting of consumption and immediate
weakened traditional self-restraint and fueled the need for personal
2. Sexual pleasure became an open objective.
3. Young people embodied the new morality, embracing
dances, bootleg liquor, smoking, revealing clothing, and sexual
4. The new morality was not as widespread or as new
and advocates suggested.
D. The searching twenties
1. Many writers rejected the materialism,
and provincialism of the developing mass culture. Their criticism made
twenties a fertile literary decade.
2. Called the Lost Generation, these writers had
to the brutality and hypocrisy of the war with disillusionment and
V. Culture Wars
A. Nativism and immigration restriction
1. After years of campaigning for immigration
nativists succeeded in passing legislation that imposed a literacy test
2. The National Origins Act of 1924 placed strict
on immigration that worked against eastern and southern Europeans.
3. In western states, Japanese were prohibited from
or leasing land and were blocked from becoming citizens.
4. Filipinos were not subject to the National
Act and migrated in heavy numbers to the United States.
B. The Ku Klux Klan
1. A revived Ku Klux Klan attracted several million
by the mid-1920s.
2. The Klan had a very public stance, sponsoring
picnics, parades, charity drives, and other social events.
3. The Klan exploited racial, ethnic, and religious
campaigning against alien creeds.
4. The Klan was rooted in the countryside but
many urban residents.
5. The Klan showed some political power but scandals
exposes led to its quick decline.
C. Prohibition and crime
1. To enforce the 18th Amendment, the Volstead Act
passed to outlaw the manufacture, sale, and distribution of liquor.
2. Especially in urban areas, evasion of prohibition
3. To supply the growing demand for liquor,
crime developed elaborate distribution networks.
4. Support for prohibiton waned throughout the 1920s.
D. Old time religion and the Scopes Trial
1. Protestant fundamentalism that stressed the
of the Bible was challenged by the theory of evolution.
2. Fundamentalists demanded strict biblical
and supported efforts to outlaw the teaching of evolution.
3. John Scope, a high school biology teacher tested
Tennessee law leading to a sensational trial where Clarence Darrow and
Jennings Bryan faced off as opposing attorneys.
4. Fundamentalism was mocked before a national
but the issue remained unresolved.
VI. A New Era in the World?
A. War debts and economic expansion
1. The United States was the world’s major economic
in the 1920s. The war had changed it from a debtor to a creditor nation.
2. An unstable system of American loans, high
and European payments was installed to pay off war debts. A constant
of money from the United States kept the system afloat.
3. As exports of manufactured good soared, American
became multinational companies.
4. The government helped open doors for American
in other nations.
B. Rejecting war
1. Popular reaction against World War I stimulated a
2. Naval disarmament conferences were held in
in the early twenties.
3. In 1928, the U. S. helped draft the
Pact that renounced war and was signed by 64 nations.
C. Managing the hemisphere
1. The United States continued to dominate Latin
to support its interests.
2. The Inter-American Conference denied the right of
nation to interfere in the internal affairs of another nation.
VII. Herbert Hoover and the Final Triumph of the
A. the 1928 election
1. Republican Herbert Hoover faced Democratic candidate
Smith in a campaign that pit rural fundamentalism,
prohibition, and nativism against an urban Catholic opponent of
connected to an immigrant constituency
2. Hoover was elected president in1928 on the
of the final triumph over poverty.
• The New Era of the 1920s changed the United States.
• Technological and business innovations combined with new labor
a growing concentration of corporate power, and government policies to
• Social changes included a massive migration from rural to urban
the rise of consumerism, new media, and growing tensions between
and modern culture.
• The impact of the decade’s trends was uneven as some profited
others lost as change proceeded.