Chapter 14 Section 2 Life in the Twenties
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Chapter 14 Section 2 Section Objectives 1. What impact did Prohibition have on crime?
2. What were the characteristics of the new youth culture? 3. How did celebrities and new forms of popular entertainment help create a mass culture? 4. What did the religious movements of the 1920’s and the Scopes trial reveal about American society?
Chapter 14 Section 2 Life in the Twenties The 1920’s became the 1st time in American history that we had a truly “mass culture” Radio, movies and the auto increasingly linked our country coast to coast.
Prohibition The 18th Amendment passed in 1919 prohibited the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcoholic beverages. The Volstead Act was then passed to enforce prohibition. In some places prohibition was strictly enforced, but in cities it was frequently ignored and many people went to speakeasies to drink. Moonshine and smuggling from Canada, Mexico and the West Indies were big business.
Prohibition and Crime • • • • • • • •
Bootlegging became very profitable Criminal gangs controlled liquor sales Al Capone ruled Chicago’s underworld Violent wars were raged by gangs for turf St. Valentines Day Massacre- 1929 The Kennedy’s gained their wealth Widespread breakdown in law and order-corruption Prohibition was repealed with the 21st Amendment in 1933 *Prohibition did actually reduce alcoholism and alcohol related deaths
St Valentine’s Day Massacre
Federal Prohibition Bureau The FPB was set up to stop bootlegging. Most law enforcement was corrupt BUT Elliot Ness and his agents were relentless and completely honest. They earned the nickname the Untouchables because they couldn’t be influenced by bribes. Elliot Ness was a media and cultural hero
1920’s Youth Culture Some members of the youth culture openly rejected the values of the older generation • The “New Woman”- Stylish, adventurous, independent and career minded. • Flappers were an ex.- They wore their hair short, no corsets, short skirts and transparent silk hose and might even smoke • Many of these women sought financial independence and worked at nontraditional jobs, flying trucking, taxis *Most women though were traditionalists and worked as nurses, teachers and domestic servants
College Life Between 1900 and 1930 college enrollment tripled
• Most were from middle and upper classes • They had a huge influence on popular culture • Had a college look- baggy flannel slacks and sports jackets • Advertising, movies and magazines focused on their styles and lifestyles
Leisure Fun and Fads • Dance Marathons- could last days • Beauty Contests • Flag Pole SittingAlvin ‘Shipwreck” Kelley • Marathon Bike Riding
Mass Entertainment Many Americans had bigger paychecks and more free time than in the past. To help fill their time many turned to radio, movies and professional sports for entertainment
Radio Commercial radio began in the early 1920’s and by 1929 more than 800 stations reached over 10 million homes • • • • •
Early 20’s radio broadcast a wide variety of programs Advertising soon followed Businesses would often sponsor shows NBC began offering local stations packages of programs A BIG effect was that Americans, coast to coast began developing a shared culture- jokes, music, ads, serials
Movies- The Silver Screen Originally movies were silent , the people loved them. • Cecil B DeMille directed a new style of movie with epic plots and complex characters-The Ten Commandments, Forbidden Fruit • Hollywood became the movie center • Some of the early stars were : Lon Chaney, Tom Mix and Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin as the “Tramp”
Talkies 1927 saw the end of silent movies with the first “talkie” called The Jazz Singer starring recording star Al Jolson Overnight movies changed with musicals and newsreels bringing in 80 million viewers each week
The rapidly changing standards of morality and sexuality disturbed many Americans. Sex symbol Rudolph Valentino created a lot of controversy with The Sheik. In 1922 Will Hays became head of a movie group to limit offensive matereial
Sports became a major entertainment in the 1920’s. Baseball was king with millions of fans. Babe Ruth was #1, but others like Ty Cobb and Lou Gehrig had huge support. Red Grange was a major college football star that launched pro football. Bobby Jones in golf, Tilden in tennis and Tunney in boxing among many others were popular stars Baseball had an enormous scandal in 1919 with “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and others being banned for life. That is why baseball has a commissioner
Books and Magazines New weekly and monthly publications entertained millions • Book- of –the- Month-Club: sold directly to consumers • Colliers and The Saturday Evening Post entertained with cartoons, short stories and ads • Reader’s Digest was a huge hit with its reprinted and shortened stories
Celebrities and Heroes The mass appeal of movies, radio and sports created hordes of fans who shared in their heroes accomplishments and copied their behavior
Heroes of the 1920’s Babe Ruth- baseball superstar Jim Thorpe- A star in every sport at his Indian school, went to the 1912 Olympics- 1st man to win both the pentathlon and the decathlon. Charles Lindbergh- 1st man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean Amelia Earhart- 1st woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean
Religion in the 1920’s The declining moral standards of the 20’s alarmed many and launched a new religious movement called Revivalism Some revivalists like Aimee Semple McPherson combined a strong message with the glamour of Hollywood. Her services had sets, props and an orchestra. Her movement was closely tied to Pentecostalism. Pentecostalism: • Multidenominational • Experiencing the “Holy Spirit”- baptism, faith healing • Emotional services, speaking in tongues • Appealed to a diverse audience, particularly those with little formal education • Very successful- 11 million in the US and 100’s of millions worldwide
Fundamentalism Was a conservative response to the changing times. The goal was to get back to the “Fundamentals” of Christianity Fundamentalists felt the Bible should be interpreted literally and felt other Christians who embraced science “Modernists” and particularly evolution were sell outs and contributing to the moral decline of the nation. A major fundamentalist figure was Billy Sunday who through his revivals and radio programs kept the audience spellbound with his rousing attacks on card playing, drinking and dancing
The Scopes Trial The Scopes Trial was a symbolic battle between the forces of modernity- science and evolution- vs the fundamentalist’s beliefs . Short version: John Scopes a biology teacher accepted the ACLU’s offer to test the Tennessee law against teaching evolution. Clarence Darrow agreed to represent him. William Jennings Bryan -a noted fundamentalist -agreed to prosecute Scopes. Darrow used a 1st amendment defense and the case was stacked against him. In the end Scopes was fined $100 but the withering cross examination of Bryan lowered some people’s perception of fundamentalism *It became a circus in Dayton Tennessee