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The Roaring Twenties. 1920s US Population: 105,273,049 (at beginning of decade). By the end of the decade: 122,288,177. The U.S. Census Bureau projected that on Jan. 1, 2014, the United States population will be 317,297,938. Unemployment 1920s: 2,132,000 5.2%.

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1920s US Population: 105,273,049

(at beginning of decade)

By the end of the decade: 122,288,177

The U.S. Census Bureau projected that on Jan. 1, 2014,

the United States population

will be 317,297,938.


Unemployment 1920s: 2,132,000 5.2%

Unemployment 1990s: 5.7%

Unemployment 2003: 6%

Unemployment as of March 2014: 6.6%


1920s life expectancy:

Males: 53.6 years

Females: 54.6 years

For those born in 2010

in U.S.A (of all races):

Males: 76 years

Females: 81 years


1920s number of people in the military:

343,000 (down from 1,172,601 in 1919)

Currently: 1.42 million in active Army, Navy,

Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard

851,000 in Reserves, Army and Air Force National Guard


Average Annual Salary: $1236

Equivalent today to: $12,741.38


Prior to 1920s:

World War I

US Economy goes Global

Technology takes off

Immigration Act of 1917

Red Scare



Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)

Calvin Coolidge (1923-1928)


United States emerges from WWI as the dominant figure in World Trade

Much money to be made in investments:

rich get richer.


19th Amendment-Ratified in August of 1920

Ensures no US citizen will be denied the right to vote based on gender.


Number of American farms with electricity by the end of the decade was:


Number of farms with running water by the end of the decade was:



Roads that had been paved for motor cars between cities left small towns isolated from the rest of the country.


Rural people were also cut off from colleges, which were becoming more and more necessary as new skills were required for industry.


Rural America is left behind.

For the first time in American History, more people lived in urban areas than in rural.

Four million farmers quit in the 1920s to move to urban areas


What else took off in the twenties?

Department stores

Wonder bread



Advertising billboards and commercials



Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Gerber Baby Food

La-Z-Boy Loungers

Fast Food


18th Amendment-Ratified

on January 16, 1919

This made illegal: the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes.

The Volstead Act of 1919 defined alcohol as any drink having an alcoholic content above 0.5 percent.


This led to the era known as Prohibition.

Its goal, in theory, was to reduce crime, poverty, the prison systems, death and disease rate, corruption, and other social problems.

Many historians believe it was a WASP backlash to exert superiority over minorities, a reaction to the overwhelming immigration of the first part of the century.



  • Very hard to enforce
  • Led to development of organized crime

By 1925, there were an estimated 100,000 Speakeasies in New York City.

Underpaid police officers were easily bribed into warning these Speakeasies about raids and feigning oblivion about the mob.

the flapper
  • During the 1920s, a new ideal emerged for some women: the Flapper
  • A Flapper was an emancipated young woman who embraced the new fashions and urban attitudes

New found freedom led to the rise of

the so-called “flapper”:




section 3 education and popular culture
  • During the 1920s, developments in education had a powerful impact on the nation
  • Enrollment in high schools quadrupled between 1914 and 1926
  • Public schools met the challenge of educating millions of immigrants
expanding news coverage
  • As literacy increased, newspaper circulation rose and mass-circulation magazines flourished
  • By the end of the 1920s, ten American magazines -- including Reader’s Digest and Time – boasted circulations of over 2 million

This issue of Life has a flapper on the cover. By 1925, when this magazine was originally published, organized sports were very popular. College football was really a big deal, as was golf and baseball, but professional football was taking off as well.

radio comes of age
  • Although print media was popular, radio was the most powerful communications medium to emerge in the 1920s
  • News was delivered faster and to a larger audience
  • Americans could hear the voice of the president or listen to the World Series live

While people listened to the premiere jazz musicians of the day, they danced all kinds of new dances, including the Charleston.

lindbergh s flight
  • America’s most beloved hero of the time wasn’t an athlete but a small-town pilot named Charles Lindbergh
  • Lindbergh made the first nonstop solo trans-atlantic flight
  • He took off from NYC in theSpirit of St. Louisand arrived in Paris 33 hours later to a hero’s welcome
the jazz age the meaning of jazz
The Jazz AgeThe Meaning Of Jazz

Total improvisational style, meant liberation for both the artist and the audience.

Expressed the desire to break with tradition.

Jazz becomes the symbol of the new “American rebel.”

1920s Jazz Band

the jazz age background
The Jazz AgeBackground

Music form developed in New Orleans by black musicians near the turn of the century.

A purely American creation, relied on traditional black themes and improvisation.

Would spread throughout America and be adopted by white musicians and audiences.

Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong

louis armstrong
  • Jazz was born in the early 20th century
  • In 1922, a young trumpet player named Louis Armstrong joined the Creole Jazz Band
  • Later he joined Fletcher Henderson’s band in NYC
  • Armstrong is considered the most important and influential musician in the history of jazz
african american performers
  • During the 1920s, black performers won large followings
  • Paul Robeson, son of a slave, became a major dramatic actor
  • His performance in Othello was widely praised
edward kennedy duke ellington
  • In the late 1920s, Duke Ellington, a jazz pianist and composer, led his ten-piece orchestra at the famous Cotton Club
  • Ellington won renown as one of America’s greatest composers
bessie smith
  • Bessie Smith, blues singer, was perhaps the most outstanding vocalist of the decade
  • She achieved enormous popularity and by 1927 she became the highest- paid black artist in the world
radio background

Developed in the late 1800s, would be used for the military during World War I.

First commercial radio station is created in 1920 with KDKA in Pittsburgh.

KDKA In The Roaring Twenties

movies early films
MoviesEarly Films

First major film: The Great Train Robbery, 1903.

First major epic: Birth Of A Nation, 1915.

Directed by D.W. Griffiths, was about the Reconstruction South.

The Great Train Robbery

movies early films1
MoviesEarly Films

First talking movie: The Jazz Singer, 1927.

Stars Al Jolson, sees Jolson in black face in parts.

Scene From The Jazz Singer

The Jazz Singer Movie Poster

entertainment and arts
  • Even before sound, movies offered a means of escape through romance and comedy
  • First sound movies: Jazz Singer(1927)
  • First animated with sound: Steamboat Willie(1928)
  • By 1930millions ofAmericans went to the movies each week

Walt Disney's animated Steamboat Willie marked the debut of Mickey Mouse. It was a seven minute long black and white cartoon.

movies early films2
MoviesEarly Films

Other key films.

The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse (1920), The Sheik (1921), Robin Hood (1922), The Thief Of Baghdad (1924), The Torrent (1926), The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom Of The Opera (1925), Ben-Hur(1925), Wings (1927), Steamboat Willie(1928).

Steamboat Willie

The Sheik

Phantom Of The Opera

movies success as an art form
MoviesSuccess As An Art Form

Originally only accepted by immigrants and low-income families.

Most people who could afford it went to plays, instead going to “nickelodeons” = small, simple theaters charged five cents for admission and flourished from about 1905 to 1915.

Old 1920s Nickelodeon

movies success as an art form1
MoviesSuccess As An Art Form

Developed into an art form.

Actors, actresses, writers, and producers from Broadway begin to make the crossover.

Bring their professionalism and training techniques to the big screen.

New techniques are introduced, including close-ups, panoramic shots, lighting effects, and fade-out, capturing the realism of human emotion.

1920s Broadway Show

movies success as an art form2
MoviesSuccess As An Art Form

Targeted themes popular with the general public.

Most of the more successful movies incorporated one or more of the following themes into the story: crime, war, romance, comedy, and luxury.

movies key figures of the silent early golden age
MoviesKey Figures Of The Silent & Early Golden Age


Walt Disney.

Walt Disney & Mickey Mouse

movies key figures of the silent early golden age1
MoviesKey Figures Of The Silent & Early Golden Age

Directors, producers, companies.

Columbia Pictures, RKO, Republic, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, Universal Pictures, United Artists, Warner Brothers, Paramount, 20th Century Fox.

D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille, Erich von Stroheim.

D.W. Griffith

Cecil B. DeMille

Erich von Stroheim

movies key figures of the silent early golden age2
MoviesKey Figures Of The Silent & Early Golden Age

Charlie Chaplin.

Created the character known as “The Tramp,” combined comedy with satire and realism.

Key movies included The Tramp, The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator.

Charlie Chaplin As The Tramp

music and art
  • Famed composer George Gershwin merged traditional elements with American Jazz
  • Painters like Edward Hopper depicted the loneliness of American life
  • Georgia O’ Keeffe captured the grandeur of New York using intensely colored canvases

Radiator Building, Night, New York , 1927Georgia O'Keeffe


Hopper’s famous “Nighthawks”

golden age of sports emergence of the superstar
Golden Age Of SportsEmergence Of The Superstar


Key sports figures who dominated their sports and captured the public attention.

1920s Wheaties Ad Featuring Babe Ruth

golden age of sports boxing jack dempsey
Golden Age Of SportsBoxing: Jack Dempsey

The “Manassas Mauler,” dominated the Twenties with knockouts.

Greatest fight: Dempsey vs. Tunney.

Lasted fifteen rounds, with Tunney dominating the bloody bout.

Jack Dempsey

golden age of sports tennis golf
Golden Age Of SportsTennis & Golf

Tennis: “Big Bill” Tilden.

Golf: Bobby Jones.

The Tiger Woods of the era, would win both the American and British titles in 1930.

Big Bill Tilden

Bobby Jones

golden age of sports swimming gertrude ederle johnny weissmuller
Golden Age Of SportsSwimming: Gertrude Ederle & Johnny Weissmuller

Ederle was the first woman to swim the English Channel.

Weissmuller won 5 Olympic Gold Medals and 1 Bronze, would go on to play the title role of Tarzan in 12 movies.

Gertrude Ederle

Johnny Weissmuller

golden age of sports football knute rockne red grange
Golden Age Of SportsFootball: Knute Rockne & Red Grange

College football was king, not the newly formed National Football League.

People associated with their alma mater or their hometown college.

Fight songs, mascots, and histories begin to develop.

Beginning of the Bowl games between champions of opposing leagues.

Knute Rockne

Red Grange

golden age of sports football knute rockne red grange1
Golden Age Of SportsFootball: Knute Rockne & Red Grange

Rockne was the legendary coach of Notre Dame, leading the college to six national championships and a 105-12-5 record before his untimely death in a plane crash in 1931.

Four Horsemen Of Notre Dame

golden age of sports football knute rockne red grange2
Golden Age Of SportsFootball: Knute Rockne & Red Grange

Grange was the most dominant running back, perhaps ever.

Averaged over 10 yards per carry in college, setting the then-single-game record of 268 yards.

The only player ever to score four touchdowns on four consecutive carries.

Played for the Bears in 1925, earning $42,000 for his first two games.

Red Grange

golden age of sports baseball george herman babe ruth
Golden Age Of SportsBaseball: George Herman “Babe” Ruth

Baseball’s Golden Age.

Hall of Fame names included Lou Gehrig, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, Grover Alexander, Eddie Collins, George Sisler, Mickey Cochrane, Frankie Frisch, Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell, Pie Traynor, Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Paul “Big Poison” Waner, Lloyd “Little Poison” Waner, Dizzy Dean, Rabbit Maranville, Bill Terry, Ted Lyons, Max Carey, Edd Roush, and others.

The Waner Brothers

golden age of sports baseball george herman babe ruth1
Golden Age Of SportsBaseball: George Herman “Babe” Ruth

Although this was baseball’s Golden Age and the largest number of Hall of Famers came from this era, none were bigger than Ruth.

Known as the “Sultan of Swat,” is perhaps the most well-known sports figure in any sport ever.

The Babe

In 1929, Americans spent $4.5 billion on entertainment (includes sports)
  • People crowded into baseball games to see their heroes
  • Babe Ruth was a larger than life American hero who played for Yankees
  • He hit 60 homers in 1927
golden age of sports baseball george herman babe ruth2
Golden Age Of SportsBaseball: George Herman “Babe” Ruth

Started his career in Boston as a pitcher, but had a talent for hitting home runs.

Soon moved to the outfield so that he could play everyday.

Would be traded to the Yankees in 1920 by Red Sox owner Harry Frizzee in order to fund a Broadway play (which failed in a week).

Ruth would go on to lead the Yankees to seven American League pennants and 4 World Series championships.

The “Curse of the Bambino” would plague the Red Sox from 1919 until their first World Series win in 2004.

Classic Babe Home Run Pose

writers of the 1920s
  • The 1920s was one of the greatest literary eras in American history
  • Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize in literature, wrote the novel, Babbitt
  • In Babbitt the main character ridicules American conformity and materialism
writers of the 1920s1
  • Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald coined the phrase “Jazz Age” to describe the 1920s
  • Fitzgerald wroteParadise Lost and The Great Gatsby
  • The Great Gatsby reflected the emptiness of New York elite society
writers of the 1920s2
  • Edith Warton’s Age of Innocencedramatized the clash between traditional and modern values
  • Willa Cather celebrated the simple, dignified lives of immigrant farmers in Nebraska in My Antonia
the lost generation
  • Some writers such as Hemingway and John Dos Passos were so soured by American culture that they chose to settle in Europe
  • In Paris they formed a group that one writer called, “The Lost Generation”

John Dos Passos self – portrait. He was a good amateur painter.

writers of the 1920
  • Ernest Hemingway, wounded in World War I, became one of the best-known authors of the era
  • In his novels,The Sun Also Risesand AFarewell to Arms, he criticized the glorification of war
  • His simple, straightforward style of writing set the literary standard

Hemingway - 1929

the harlem renaissance
  • Between 1910 and 1920, the Great Migration saw hundreds of thousands of African Americans move north to big cities
  • By 1920 over 5 million of the nation’s 12 million blacks (over 40%) lived in cities

Migration of the Negro by Jacob Lawrence

harlem renaissance impact of ghetto life world war i
Harlem RenaissanceImpact Of Ghetto Life: World War I

Wanted more equality, freedom, political participation, and opportunity.

Now settled into large, concentrated communities that would be referred to as ghettoes.

Harlem Hellfighters Returning From WWI

harlem renaissance impact of ghetto life
Harlem RenaissanceImpact Of Ghetto Life

Even though life was hard in the ghetto, it did produce some advantages.

Enabled African-Americans to elect representatives of their own by having one solid voting block.

Stimulated self-confidence, offering economic opportunity, political rights, and freedom.

A “black world” where African-Americans could act like themselves and develop their own culture.

Harlem Ghetto In The 1920s

harlem renaissance why harlem
Harlem RenaissanceWhy Harlem?

Largest Black city in the world, would become the cultural capital of Blacks, as well as a place for Whites to flock to experience jazz and other forms of African-American culture.

The Famous Cotton Club

harlem new york
  • Harlem, NY became the largest black urban community
  • Harlem suffered from overcrowding, unemployment and poverty
  • However, in the 1920s it was home to a literary and artistic revival known as the Harlem Renaissance
harlem renaissance writers
Harlem RenaissanceWriters

Expressed a range of emotions from bitterness to joy and hope.

Included Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and James Weldon Johnston.

Langston Hughes

african american writers
  • The Harlem Renaissance was primarily a literary movement
  • Led by well-educated blacks with a new sense of pride in the African-American experience
  • Claude McKay’s poems expressed the pain of life in the ghetto


langston hughes
  • Missiouri-born Langston Hughes was the movement’s best known poet
  • Many of his poems described the difficult lives of working-class blacks
  • Some of his poems were put to music, especially jazz and blues
zola neale hurston
  • Zola Neale Hurston wrote novels, short stories and poems
  • She often wrote about the lives of poor, unschooled Southern blacks
  • She focused on the culture of the people– their folkways and values