American History / 1920’S


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Autor:  anton  27 March 2011
Words: 1150   |   Pages: 5
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During the 1920’s sometimes referred to as the “Jazz Age”, America was taking its last final steps from the traditional period to new era of modernization. It was a time in which American popular culture reshaped itself in response to the urban, industrial, consumer- oriented society America was becoming (Brinkley 641). In this reshape two sides stood in defense of their beliefs, the traditionalist who wanted America to stay the same or go back to the way it was. Rebelling against the new customs and morals of the urban middle class, they sought to defend older values. However, the new modernist looked forward to change; embracing the future and its fore coming traditions and ethics.

During these time a mass consumer culture submerged, a society in which people could buy items not just because of needs but for pleasure. Middle class families could afford to purchase new appliances like electric refrigerators, washing machines, electric irons and vacuum cleaners which had a dramatic impact on the lives of women. Men smoked cigarettes and women bought cosmetics and fashionable clothing (Brinkley 647). But above all was the automobile, affecting life in countless ways. The automobile was America’s way to venture out farther away from home. It allowed a chance for farmers to get off the farm and travel into the big cities, and for the city folk to get away from the daily pressures of city life. With easier travel people could drive from rural areas to the city to work. Automobiles permitted young adults to get out from under the eyes of their over-protecting parents. The automobile was often a means of a different kind of escape. It allowed them to move easily away from parents and family and to develop social lives of their own (Brinkley 648). Dating changed from just eating dinner with the other family, to a nice cozy night on the town.

Many Americans especially those living in urban areas challenged the rules and inhibitions of traditional public culture. They looked instead for freedom, excitement, and release (Brinkley 652). Motion pictures took America by storm, probably the most identified mass communication product at the time. Americans flocked to the movie theaters, with over 700 featured films produced a year during the 1920s to choose from, was more than ten times the number created by any other nation. Americans started to develop a night life, and there was nowhere to be more vigorously and visibly than in nightclubs. A dancing craze swept urban America, sending young people from out the house to dance halls filled with powerful pulsing new music and dazzling lights, to show off new clothes and hairstyles. Over 10 percent of the men and women between the ages of 17 and 40 in New York went dancing at least once a week. These dance halls encouraged all kinds of uninhibited behaviors sexual dancing, drugs and alcohol. Flappers were women who smoked, wear seductive clothes, and makeup, often went to dance halls alone to find excitement and companionship.

One event that impacted the 1920’s was the upcoming movement in music, jazz. Equivalent to rock and roll in the 50’s and 60’s, and today’s hip hop era, was said to have caused a lot of issues because of its African American background. One issue was young white kids would go out to Jazz Clubs and dance to jazz performed by black musicians. These was frowned upon by the older white society, by just the thought of their children running off into the night listening to “jungle music”, drinking bootleg liquor, mingling with large groups of blacks, and possibly ending the night with a little back-seat action, made them frantic.

The significance of Document 3 was it told about George F. Babbitt going out and speaking to immigrant workmen. Babbitt was district leader on floral heights, but his district was sore and he longed for stouter battle his convention paper had given him the beginning of a reputation for oratory so the republican democratic central committee sent him to the seventeenth ward and south Zenith to address a small audience of workman and clerks and wives uneasy with their new voters he a acquired fame for a week (Breen Document 3). People felt motivated and uplifted from Babbitt’s words.

In Document 7 Hughes talks of a younger kid who wants to be a poet, a white poet. Only thing is that he is black, and stays with a middle class family, but his mom tells him don’t be like niggers when children are bad and a frequent quote from the father “look well a white man does things and so the word white comes to be unconsciously a symbol of all virtues (Breen Document 7). This is mainly destroys the kids mind state to be someone he is not, he will ever learn to trust or the truth about his own culture. Hughes speaks about the upper class Negros and how they have good jobs and the father was dark and his wife light, but not white but reminds him of one. He tells how they base their living after white people. He states that when your an artist you put your life and traditions and your individuality in it. Jazz have an effect of black people, but jazz is one of the most inheritable expressions of Negro life in America (Breen Document 7). Yet the lady is ashamed to say that her race created it and she does not like me to write about it the old subconscious “white is better” run through her mind (Breen Document 7). It is the duty of the younger Negro artist to change through the race of his art the old whispering “I want to be white”, hidden in the aspirations of his people to why should I want to be white? I am Negro and I am beautiful (Breen Document 7).

Document 6 is mostly a weep for assist. The two first letters explains how two black people are pleading for a job opportunity in a northern state when they are in the south and living conditions are bad. They felt that if they are given the opportunity, they would have not messed it up and would have worked the hardest. They had they specific profession but they were wiling to take whatever they could. The second was a thank you letter from a person whom received a job in Philadelphia, telling all their progress and how the job is going and that all was well.

Document 2 what we want in American declared warren Harding in 1920 is less government in business and more business in government. Puritan explains why business will lead to the salvation of America. What is the finest game business the soundest science business the trust art business the fullest education? Business the fairest opportunity business the cleanest philanthropy business the sanest religion is business (Breen Document 2).

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