Wanna Be a Flap Dancer? Go back into time in the 1920’s

In the 1920’s it was depicted as a time characterized that Americans had prosperity and optimism. One of the times in the 1920’s was the Jazz Age. The Jazz age was  a time period were music and dance emerged. The dance were known to be danced by Flapper women. These women were now entering work force at the end of the first war. This depicted the idea of equality and free sexuality. The created new dances for the jazz age time period.


Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The roots of the “Roaring Twenties” can easily be traced to the unprecedented growth of the new American automotive industry. Basically created because of Henry Ford’s perfection of the process of mass production with his development of the moving assembly line in the early part of the 20th century, the rapid expansion of the industry gave way to one of the most prolific eras of economic boom in American history.

1920's Automobile Factory

In chapter 20, Foner mentions that “The automobile was the backbone of economic growth.” Citing that the production of cars had tripled annually during the 1920’s. What is the most significant aspect in measuring the success of the 1920’s with the explosion of the auto industry, however, is that although Automotive factories would seem to replace the steel and textile factories that were the driving force behind the inturstrial boom of the late 19th century, it would actually bring expansion and success to the production of  “steel, rubber, oil production, road construction, and other sectors of the economy. It prompted tourism and the growth of suburbs…” (Foner, 722)

Many economists believe that the production of steel is one of, if not the, most important factors in determining the health, and direction of the economy – high levels of steel production mean high levels of new construction, and in the production of cars. This still holds true today (for further explanation see,  \”Steel Industry Will Signal Recession\’s End\”).

-C. Salama


March Madness


Above is a video of The Ku Klux Klan marching in Washington D.C. in the year 1928. Unfortunately there is no audio for this clip, but the video is all we need. We see thousands of Klan members, sporting their white robes. Notice how they are marching in the center of the capital of our country. This is almost like a message that the Klan is sending; The Klan is here, and they will take over the country. There does not seem to be much opposition, probably because it would lead to death. During the 1920’s the Klan had a huge revival, and became even worse than the Klan of the 1800’s. They targeted many other groups of people besides black people, and their influence in the government made them nearly impossible to stop.

The funniest part about this video is how calm and nice it seems. It almost makes you want to join the Klan, if you did not know what they were about. The day is beautiful, and the white robes give off a symbol of purity. It does give us a great picture of how big the Klan became, and seeing that March on TV would be a scary sight to any person not considered “American.”


Meyer v. Nebraska


 After World War I, Americans were not in favor of all German related things. Language was a major principal focus of legislation at the state and local level. The performance of German music at symphony concerts and the meetings of German-American civic associations were things that Americans find objectionable. Some states and towns even banned the use of German language. On April 9, 1919, Nebraska enacted a statute called Siman Act, a restrictionrelating to the teaching of foreign languages in the state of Nebraska”.

 On May 25, 1920, Robert T. Meyer, when an instructor in Zion Parochial School in Hampton, Nebraska taught the subject of reading in the German language to 10-year-old Raymond Parpart, a fourth-grader. The school charged Meyer with violation the Siman Act. He was found guilty in the Nebraska Supreme Court, he then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. As protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. In a 7 to 2 decision, the Court held that it was indeed a violation of the Due Process Clause (an violation of people’s liberty). This was one of the very first cases in which the Court found that people had liberty rights not specifically listed in the Constitution.



Hooverwille a place filled with poor people who are forced to live in shacks because of the great depression.


During the great depression things got really difficult for people. Million of people started to lose their jobs and everyone who suffered. Since many became jobless soup kitchens popped up everywhere in order to feed the people as much as they can. The people started to also build their own houses out of cardboard and wood called shacks, and later on became known as Hooverville. Everyone was affected by the Great Depression especially the children. The children had to stop going to school to help provide for their family.


I Ain’t “Lying”, But I’m Still Roaring

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The roaring twenties became a time where Americans broke away from their old traditions. People starting becoming more involved in doing things that haven’t been done. Such things are people spending more and more of their money on leisure activities such as vacations, movies and sporting events. Radios owners exponentially increased and served as their daily entertainment resource. With that, the radio also became a great asset to spreading information. With this sudden upscale of the quality of living for Americans, the roaring twenties ended with the Great Depression in 1929.


Corruption in the Government

Business and government were interconnected. They were helping each other.  Government officials took bride from big business and in return, they give big business the promise of  government “hands off” policy. Such corruption made business once again unregulated, many progressive era ideology were fading away and lassie faire was back in action. Most corruption occurred under president Harding when his cabinets were accepting bribes to help business leaders. Such corruption continued when president Coolidge took office. from this image, we can see that the government can not do anything to the big business people and seems like they are the one in control of the congress instead of the government officials. Such corruption eventually will hurt the economy in the long run.


Charlie Chaplin, Silent revolution and mass production in 1920s

Charlie Chaplin, a silent movies actor, had become an icon in 20s with the emergence of movie theaters as a form of mass entertainment. In 1929 weekly attendance of movie theaters had reached 80 million people according to E. Foner, which was double the amount in 1922. Popularity of movies along with proliferation of radio stations throughout the country fueled by the additional leisure time and income, people gained as a result of industrial progress, had brought about the celebrity culture in the form known to us today. Not accidentally, it was the 1927th when the tradition to install stars with “limbprints” of actors into the sidewalks by theaters in Hollywood took place. Among the very first ten stars were the star of Charlie Chaplin (source: http://www.filmsite.org/20sintro.html). The flourishing movie industry in 20s was a part of a larger trend of quickly developing mass production and mass consumption during the booming economic growth of the decade, a trend so large that it had completely changed the culture of the society.

Video tribute to Charlie Chaplin with lots of scenes from his movies and some techno)


Sacco & Vanzetti


Nicola Sacco  and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were anarchists who were convicted of murdering two men during a 1920 armed robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts. After a controversial trial and a series of appeals, the two Italian immigrants were executed on August 23, 1927.

There is a highly politicized dispute over their guilt or innocence, as well as whether or not the trials were fair. Very little evidence linked them to this crime. The dispute focuses on small details and contradictory evidence. As a result, historians have not reached a consensus.


I have the right to?

The prohibition of alcohol was a long and debatable topic. Everything was truly against the law, drinking, selling, importing, manufacturing and transportation. Prohibition was instituted by the 18th amendment which was ratified in 1919. Prohibition can also be defined as a legal term which analyzes the environment where the law was actually enforced! Eventually what prohibition did was worse than good, it created an atmosphere of illegal and criminal behavior. It created a route for “organized crime.” If an individual could not get it the right way, they found it another way. The life term of this amendment was not very long, its unpopularity forced it to be taken back into courts, and in 1933, it was up to the individual states to do as they pleased with alcohol.


The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a massive cultural movement among African Americans that took place in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Nearly one million African-Americans left the south following the end of WWI. They sought new opportunities up north and many found themselves heading to cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago and of course New York City. During the 20’s these cities black population more than doubled, and Harlem, NYC became known as “the capital of Black America”. Though many faced hard times during this era, a great artistic movement began. Cultural poetry, paintings, musical composers, intellectuals and novels began to emerge. Most notably was the production and development of outstanding Jazz musicians, such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. The Apollo theatre in Harlem became the pride of Harlem, and was the only place in the city that hired black performers. In these theatre seats both black and white patrons watched shows together, and it can be considered a place of equality. The Harlem Renaissance was a massive step forward in the movement for civil rights.


Billy Sunday Wants YOU!

According to Foner, while  many American were enjoying the new statements being made in society during the 1920’s, Billy Sunday was among the flamboyant apostles who was rebelling against this. The protestants felt threatened by the decline of value and increase in visibility of Catholicism and Judaism. The Fundamentalists ended up launching a campaign to rid Protestant denominations of modernism and to combat the new individual freedoms that seemed to contradict traditional morals. Billy Sunday was able to draw very large crowds between 1900 and 1930 through speeches denouncing topics from  Darwinism to alcohol. The video below shows a speech of Sunday preaching against alcohol and its effects on the community. This video is a great visual of one of the speeches that drew many people around him.

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Hawley-Smoot Tariff

This video is a Yellow Hat Production. They made this for History class and tried to make it as entertaining as possible.
At 1930 the president Hoover passed the Hawley-Smoot Tariff which is increasing tax on foreign products in order to help domestic products win the competition. However, this act made the economy getting worse, because other countries also increased tax on American products. As a result, American reduced the international trade and raised the unemployment rate.


History teaches us not to repeat our mistakes. I guess Texas BOE failed history class.


In 1925, there was a trial of a Tennessee public school teacher, John Scopes. Scopes was said to have violated the state’s Butler Act which forbade teaching evolution. Scopes was convicted but later appealed and the judgment was overturned due to a technicality. The trial (also known as the Monkey Trial) was actually a publicity stunt in order to gain Dayton, Tennessee some attention. Scopes even convinced students to testify that he taught evolution in class. Regardless of this back story (which was unknown to me) this trial is a very important part in scientific history as well as that of the United States. It indirectly contributed to the National Defense Education Act as well as struck a blow to fundamental theologians. The video posted above is a collection of pictures and recordings from the actual trial as well as scenes from the 1960s movie, Inherit the Wind. Within the video you see and hear every major player in the trial including, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Bryan.


Step Aside for the Flappers!

In the 1920s, a group, known as “flappers,” emerged into society. Flappers were defined as young, single women who strayed away from the traditional identity and role of women in previous generations. The birth of flappers was the result of the success in attaining women’s suffrage through the 19th Amendment. Granted with political rights, women now have more say and power. Therefore, flappers were a representation of change. Flappers typically had bob haircuts, wore short skirts, and smoke and drank in public venues. This is illustrated in the pictures above. On the left, is a picture of a flapper smoking. On the right, shows a flapper holding guns in both hands. These pictures illustrate how women were radically different in terms of fashion and behavior. If these pictures were taken a decade ago, it would have draw massive criticism and disapproval. This comes to show that times have changed, and the definition of a “woman” is evolving.


Hollywood Adopts the Hays Code

Morality became a divisive issue during the 1920s in the United States. One focal point of the cultural debate was Hollywood and its movies. Known for promiscuity, gambling and alcohol, Hollywood developed an image as a hotbed of immoral behavior. In the early 1920s the town was rocked by a series of scandals which brought widespread condemnation from civic, religious and political organizations. In 1921, one of America’s most popular movie stars, comic Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, was accused of raping a young actress, Virginia Rappe. After she died of internal injuries, he was indicted for manslaughter. Arbuckle was eventually acquitted, but the public outcry about Hollywood’s lack of morals became deafening.

In 1922, after some risque films and a series of off-screen scandals involving Hollywood stars, the studios enlisted beacon of rectitude and Presbyterian elder Will H. Hays to rehabilitate Hollywood’s image.



This video clip is produced by Kmcldukel in 2009. Schenck was a leader of the socialist party and was protesting against the draft.

During the WWI, Schenck was arrested and convicted for publishing and distributing literature that encouraged men to resist the draft. Schenck claimed his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and press had been violated.

The Supreme Court ruled that there are limit to free speech. The court said that free speech should not used to protect someone from causing panic by falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. Total free speech could not be allowed in the face of a “clear and present danger.” The decision became a guide by which to measure the limits of free speech.


President Harding and The Teapot Dome Scandal

Warren G. Harding was the 29th President of the United States (1921-1923). A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential self-made newspaper publisher. His conservativism, affable manner, and ‘make no enemies’ campaign strategy made Harding the compromise choice at the 1920 Republican National Convention.

After Harding won an election, he rewarded friends and political contributors, referred to as the Ohio Gang, with financially powerful positions. Scandals and corruption eventually pervaded his administration.

Polls of historians and scholars have consistently ranked Harding as one of the worst Presidents. His presidency has been recently evaluated in terms of presidential record and accomplishments in addition to the administration scandals. The most recent Presidential rankings have had various low results for President Harding.

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Teapot Dome Scandal

This video clip is produced by Gary Leevnthal in 2009. The 29th President of United States Warren G. Harding and Albert Fall are depicted in the video, as they involved in the Teapot Dome Scandal.

The most notorious scandal was the Teapot Dome affair. The affair took its name from Teapot Dome, a rock formation in Wyoming that looked like a teapot and, more importantly, stood atop a large government naval oil reserve. Teapot Dome is a simple case of bribery. Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall, a former senator from New Mexico and a friend of Harding’s, was convicted of taking bribes from oil executives. Oilman Harry Sinclair obtained leases to drill for oil at Teapot Dome, Wyoming, and Edward Doheny acquired leases for reserves at Elk Hills, California. Fall received in the neighborhood of $400,000 in cash and gifts from Doheny and Sinclair. Like the details of the various Enron accounting maneuvers, the details of the oil leasing were complicated. For the public it was reduced to Fall granting favors to friends who had given him a great deal of money.


The Stock Market Crash of 1929

After World War I, the United States had an extensive economic expansion due to new technologies and enhanced production processes. The Stock Market benefited from the expanding economy. Eventually the Stock Market Crashed on 1929. Many banks tried to collect loans made to stock market investors since their holdings were worth nothing at all. When people found out that the banks’ assets contained uncollectable loans, depositors rushed to withdraw their savings, concerned about the security of their bank. Several thousand banks began to fail due to the panic. In result of the Stock Market Crash, many people lost their entire saving, many companies failed, and peoples’ faith in banks was destroyed. This event triggered the beginning of the Great Depression.


The Emerging Black Culture

During the 1920s, there was a huge surge of black americans moving into northern urban cities from the south. With a huge spike in population, black culture began to emerge and self expression began to expand. New York’s Harlem was recognized as a “capital” for black americans and their expression through the arts. For the first time there were black actors performing on broadway shows. A few of the greatest writers and poets of all time were from Harlem such as Langston Hughes and Claude Mckay. Harlem boomed with new writers, poets, painters, musicians and entertainers that introduced a whole new perspective in all art fields. The Harlem Renaissance gave birth to many talented people and allowed blacks to create and thrive within their own culture and community separate from whites. The video above displayed a number of paintings, poems, pictures, writers, and songs that depicted the period of the Harlem Renaissance.