A Changing America Essay, Research Paper
A Changing America
The 1920 s, one of the most important era s in American history. It carried high prestige because of the fact that the 1920 s changed everything, from the way people thought about themselves to the way people had fun and kept themselves entertained. It was an era that had drastic changes in political attitude, economic attitude, and cultural values. The topics addressed in chapter 12 reflect a changing America in that American values and attitudes all changed due to the new wave thinking brought on by the 1920 s.
The first major change in American society was the change that occurred in America s political attitude. The most major change in political attitude was due to Americans newfound hatred of immigrants. Because the 1920 s instilled a sense of national pride and nationalism many Americans were against immigrants. People did not like immigrants because of the fact that they felt they were un-American and gave America a bad name. Since the 1920 s made people feel important because of new found income and entertainment, it made people believe that any time there was a problem in America it was not because of an American. Therefore a lot of the blame was placed on immigrants. So in order to keep America American the government put heavy restrictions on immigrants. One of these restrictions was the Act of 1921, which limited the amount of immigrants entering the United States from Europe. Then in 1924 the American government decided to lower the amount of European immigrants and exclude all Asian immigrants. Another occurrence in the 1920 s that explains the changing political attitude was Prohibition. Prohibition was a law that was passed through a new Amendment that outlawed the consumption and sale of alcohol. This was yet another attempt by the American government to eliminate all things that they felt brought America down. Even though Prohibition decreased domestic abuse and death it also caused the formation of something called the Mafia which was a crime cartel that dealt in the illegal sale of alcohol. The beginning of this new crime wave created a lot of new crime and was responsible for numerous homicides and other problems.
Another way in which America was different in the 1920 s was in economic attitude. The boom of consumerism in America reflected the way America had changed economically. The increase of consumerism in America was largely due to the advertisement of goods through different media s. There were many different ways in which products were advertised, newspapers, radio stations, billboards, and national magazines were the most prominent. This new found form of advertisement showed Americans what they should buy with their new high income. It was a way of telling people how to look, feel and act and it worked because after advertisement began consumer spending went through the roof. Because of the new technology and mass production there was a large growth in new consumer products. Some of the new things people were able to buy were refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, toasters, electric irons, and washing machines. People were able to buy these things because of the increase in money they had to spend. This was in turn due to the mass production of cars, which created more new jobs for people who were previously broke.
During the 1920 s culture changed dramatically. Transportation was one reason the culture of America changed. It did so because since people were now able to drive cars they were able to come together much easier than before. Teenagers used cars for privacy, and families used them to go out together on weekend outings and trips. Also transportation allowed city workers to move away from the slums of urban society and into the quiet suburban areas, because it made their commute to and from work much quicker. Sports were another way in which culture in America was changed. The newly discovered form of entertainment brought crowds of people together on certain days and made people feel as though they could escape reality for the time period of one sporting match. It also provided positive role models for American youth to look up to which in turn helped values that American children had. Artistic groups such as the members of the Harlem renaissance and The Lost Generation writers also reformed American culture. They did this by criticizing the new materialism in America which ironically was started during the same period. This was a change because people previously had not taken a stand against popular culture and shown personal identity like the members of these groups did. It was the dawn of individualism in America. Religion also changed in the 1920 s due to the new need for entertainment. Many evangelists during the 1920 s such as Aimee Mcpherson used drama and show business to get their religious beliefs across to followers in an interesting and entertaining way. The last important change in cultural attitude was the uprising of terrorist groups who were usually out to get different races. The Klu Klux Klan was the most famous group during the time. They were against any one who they considered un-American. These people were blacks, Mexicans, Asians, Jews, and many others. They felt the problems of America were due to the people who were not from America or who were not White. This was just another attempt to prove that Americans were perfect and that anyone else was just a problem or the cause to a problem.
The 1920 s was a very interesting era because of all the drastic changes that took place. The changing political, economic, and cultural attitudes reflect how America changed as a whole during the 1920 s. The newly found sense of nationalism was the main theme behind the changes that occurred during the time period.