By Yuhka, Michelle, Michael, Nick, Lane, and Logan
Economic Boom Consumerism Ads in the 1920’s Credit and Installment Buying Henry Ford: The Production Line Communication Advances Celebrities The Scopes “Monkey” Trial- the Battle Between Evolutionism and Creationism “Hicks” vs. “Slicks”- The Battle Between Urban and Rural Racial Tensions ACLU Post War World I Disarmament Post-War Isolationism Sports in the 1920’s
By Yuhka Niki
During the 1920s, economy in the United States was very good. The GNP, (Gross National Product), was riding during the 1920s. This time period is just after WW1, and the United States were one of the big powers that had victory in WW1. They also had been supplying weapons and food for soldiers, so they had been able to make a lot of money from that. Also, that means that the industries that used to be making supplies for the war were switching over to making products for everyday use. In the 1920s, work hours also had changed. Before, people would have to work all day everyday, but now, because of the new labor laws, it limited people to only work 40 hours during the weekdays. This left people free time, and they had not experienced that before. Now, they had time to do what they liked and that would often cost money. There were also new ways that people could purchase things. Instead of just paying everything at once, installment buying and credit were possible. Installment buying was when you could pay little by little for an item, but the buyer would already have the item while still paying for it. The other new way of paying was credit. This was where you could get the item now, and pay later for it. The down side of that was that you gain interest, and the amount would depend on how long it takes you to get the money to pay it off. So, to sum it all up, the 1920s was a time of pleasures. Although not everyone had plenty of money, many did, and it helped the economy of the United States.
Above: Graph of the economic boom during the 1920â€™s
Consumerism Consumerism is the protection or promotion of the interests of the consumers. As a result of WWI, the American industry expanded substantially. Consumerism in the 1920s went hand-in-hand with advertising. People were seeing/hearing advertisements on tv/radio, and then went out and bought stuff. The 1920s was the beginning of impulse buying, which means buying things whether you needed them or not. The vacuum, the washing machine, and the cooker were all among the new technologies people were buying in the 1920s. they also gave women a lot more free time. Then they needed ways to entertain themselves, so they bought more stuff.
Left: Cars were something that consumerism was increased
By Michelle Liu
People during the 1920s were brimming with confidence and optimism. World War 1 had just ended so everybody decided that it was time to let loose. Scientific questions were being asked every day, there were noble pursuits, and many other events made the US seem like it would propel forward to everyone’s ideal future. Thus, the 1920s became a revolutionary time for advertisements. Having fun was an extremely important part of the 1920s. Companies started selling saws as instruments, because what better way was there than to spend an evening in the city, smoking a smoke-less cigarette and playing a saw? That bright and cheery attitude found its way into the actual presentation of the ad, creating a distinct new style that is still recognized today. Also, new scientific discoveries were being made every day so people felt safe advertising outrageous, futuristic items. Soaps that removed fat deposits in your body crowded for space against other products that protected you from all ailments, fixed broken backs, or reshaped a person’s nose. In fact, “science” seemed to have a little too much trust placed in it.
A very popular new invention that was created in the 20’s really caused problems since it was the first of its type of thing to appear. It was credit, or installment buying. It was a system by which a buyer pays for a thing in regular installments while enjoying the use of it. Installment buying was like a credit card but since it was just introduced to the public, people thought they could buy whatever they wanted without having to pay for it. This caused a lot of debt. During the repayment period, ownership (title) of the item does not pass to the buyer. Upon the full payment of the loan, the title passes to the buyer. Installment buying is a social innovation that expands the economy with additional income. Cyrus McCormack (1809-84, one of the inventors of the harvesting machine) pioneered it in the early 19th century US, and Issac Singer (1811-75, one of the inventors of the sewing machine) made it a common practice. The UK term is hire purchase.
By Logan Stuart
“A motor car for the great multitude."
Above: Model T’s on the assembly line.
Below: Finished Model T’s rolling off the assembly line, ready to be sold.
Henry Ford, the man who revolutionized industry. Using ideas such as interchangeable parts, continuous flow, division of labor, and reducing wasted effort, Ford Motors was able to increase their vehicle output, building his ten millionth Model T by 1924. The assembly line sped up the time to build a single car by almost ten hours, allowing Ford Motors to produce 6 cars in the time it used to take to make one. The Model T and the assembly line created cars affordable for the middle class, and set a precedent for industry that continues to this day.
The 1920’s was a time when a lot of new technology was beginning to develop. One of the things that were created was the radio. When the radio was invented people had a new source of information that was a lot quicker to access than the newspaper. In the mid-1920s, a significant portion of radio stations were operated by nonprofit organizations, and college and universities. Another thing that was created in the 20’s was movies. Movies were very popular as people of the time had never seen something like this. At first movies had no voices, “silent films,” later in their life they had voices added to them. Movies are trill.
Above: A radio in the 1920’s Below: A phone from the 1920’s
Impact of Celebrities In the 1920s, lots of new technology was becoming available. As a result, a new class of people was formed: celebrities. Celebrities were people who were known by almost everyone in the country, usually actors or athletes who were in movies, on television, or on the radio. Because celebrities were so popular, many people imitated their clothing, style, lifestyle, etc. Many of the things celebrities did helped shape the culture of the time. Celebrities were also starting to be used in advertising. People like Babe Ruth would show up on an ad for cigarettes, and then everyone would want to go out and buy those cigarettes. Babe probably didn’t even smoke those cigarettes. But that didn’t change the effect it had on the sales.
Above: A movie theatre, the place where actors became stars Below: A popular celebrity in the 1920’s
During the 1900â€™s, many ideas were being introduced and questioned, creating many controversies and dividing people between those who wanted to cling to the past, and those who wanted to take a step ahead. One of these famous controversies was brought to public attention through the Scopes â€˜Monkey Trialâ€™: evolutionism vs. creationism.
Evolutionism is the belief that all living things evolved from simpler life forms, which is the basis for the theory that humans evolved from monkeys. This was a universally accepted theory by many well-known scientists. However, this theory directly contradicted the creationism theory, where it was believed that God created everything there is today and that the Bible should always be literally interpreted. This theory was supported by Christians who still held tightly to their religion, one of whom was William Jennings Bryan.
Recently, a law had been passed that banned biology teachers from teaching evolutionism in class. George W. Rappelyea, a supporter of evolutionism, disagreed with this law and decided to directly confront it. He had his fellow colleague, John T. Scopes, teach a biology lesson on evolutionism, and after securing him a defense team, Rappelyea went to the police to have Scopes arrested.
On the day of the trial, many people flocked to the small Tennessee mining town. Clarence Darrow was Scopes defendant, and he testified against Bryan. They both agreed that this trial had become far more than just a trial to find Scopes guilty. It became a “contest between evolution and Christianity ... a duel to the death". When Darrow asked Bryan, "Do you claim then that everything in the Bible should be literally interpreted?”, Bryan answered with "I believe everything in the Bible should be accepted as it is given there ..." Darrow questioned Bryan about events that happened in the Bible, and Bryan proved that he truly believed what was in the Bible. However, he became increasingly uncertain and confused, and Darrow used that to his advantage.
Darrow: "Do you think the earth was made in six days?" Bryan: "Not six days of 24 hours ... My impression is they were periods ..." Darrow: "Now, if you call those periods, they may have been a very long time?" Bryan: "They might have been." Darrow: "The creation might have been going on for a very long time?" Bryan: "It might have continued for millions of years ...“
This proved that Bryan indeed didn’t interpret the Bible literally, as the Bible states that the universe was created in six 24-hour days, not six periods, as Bryan had stated. Also, the Bible indicates that the creation of the universe was completed in six days and ceased to continue on the seventh, contrary to Bryan’s explanation.
Within ten minutes, Scopes was declared guilty and fined $100. The previously reluctant Scopes said, "Your Honor, I feel that I have been convicted of violating an unjust statute. I will continue in the future ... to oppose this law in any way I can. Any other action would be in violation of my idea of academic freedom" Thus, the great trial that started many other controversial conflicts, came to a close.
During the 1920s, rural people felt like urban traditions were undermining traditional American customs and styles. In a desperate attempt to stop trends from threating American ideals, laws were passed and clans were formed to attempt to stem the flow. Prohibition was one of the big battles between the rural and urban dwellers. Rural people wanted to “purge” the immigrants living in America and decided that stopping them from drinking was one step closer to making them respectable “Americans”. Urban dwellers, however, was strongly against prohibition, saying that it would turn America away from democracy and into a police state. Getting the whole nation to stop drinking a certain type of liquid required far more power than the current government, at the time, had access to.
The second Ku Klux Klan rose up during this time. So many rural people believed that traditional American ideals were becoming more and more of the past that they formed the second Ku Klux Klan, focused on bringing back traditional American ideals. For a short while, the Ku Klux Klan was a powerful group, wielding respectability and political power. However, due to its violent tendencies and the passing of new government laws, the Ku Klux Klan gradually lost all of its supporters and power, and it was once again known as an extremist lunatic group. Also, “traditional Americans” fought to end immigration to the US. They felt like the immigrants were bringing in “backward” cultures and “alien” beliefs, so limiting the number of immigrants would help preserve American traditions. It was believed that because of limited immigration, among other reforms and changes, America could finally be saved.
Although life seemed great and fun in the 1920s, not everything was perfect. There were still a lot of racial tensions in America. The Jim Crow laws were still in action, which made it legal to have races separate, as long as they get equal treatment. This though, was not always that deal, and most times, whites got better treatment while the colored people did not. This caused racial tension between whites and colored. Technically, there were supposed to be equal rights for all races in America. That didn’t happen though, and many thought whites should get more power in America. People refused to sell things to non-whites, and acts of violence were aimed at them. There were also a lot of social tensions between whites and non-whites. One way of showing tension was the Ku Klux Klan. This was started in Georgia, but spread across most of the country. It was created in the years following the Civil War, and reached about 4 million members at its peak. This was a group of people that believed that whites should have supremacy over all others who are not. They wanted the “old American” way, and tried to hurt those who did not follow that. The ways they hurt people were not only physically, but socially and economically, like excluding them, or refusing to sell them products. Mob violence was also common in this era. Mobs of whites would often times gang up on a colored person. One form of violence was lynching. Lynching was murder that was performed by a mob. Although there were racial tensions in the 1920s, lynching was more popular in the years before then, and started declining between 1920s and 1930s. This led to riots, and one famous riot, the Tulsa Race Riot (1921), killed about 300 people.
Left: KKK members
By Logan Stuart
Organization known as the American Civil Liberties Union steps in to stop the Palmer Raids! Founded in 1920 by Crystal Eastman, Roger Baldwin and Walter Nelles, this organization was created to stand for your rights. Originally protesting arrests of “radicals” by Attorney General Mitchell Palmer, this group has evolved and has had a part in many historic court cases, such as the Scopes trial, and Brown vs. Board of Education. This union has over 500,000 members, the President of the Union is Susan Herman, and the Executive director is Anthony Romero. Today, the ACLU is fighting for gay rights, legalization of abortion, more rights for women and minorities, and are working to abolish the death penalty. The American Civil Liberties Union works to uphold their motto, “Because freedom can’t fight for itself.”
ACLU protesting for free speech.
In the 20’s there were a lot of political powers that influenced the way that the US and or world worked. One of these people was Charles G. Dawes. He made an attempt to make a plan to help with reparations to Europe after WWI. It succeeded. The plan provided for an end to the Allied occupation, and a staggered payment plan for Germany's payment of war reparations. The Allied occupation of the Ruhr industrial area contributed to the hyperinflation crisis in Germany, partially because of its disabling effect on the German economy. Because the Plan resolved a serious international crisis, Dawes shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925 for his work. It was an interim measure and proved unworkable. The Young Plan was adopted in 1929 to replace it.
ď‚§ Disarmament ď‚§ Disarmament is the act laying down arms and downsizing militaries. In an effort to end wars, the U.S. and 8 other countries got together to discuss disarmament. The Washington Naval Conference took place from November 12, 1921 to February 6, 1922. The conference set limits on the number of tons of battleships and aircraft carriers that each country could have. ď‚§ The treaty worked relatively well. The 3 major countries involved (U.S., Britain, and Japan) kept their militaries within the limits. For the most part everything was peaceful. The treaties lasted until 14 years later when Japan ended participation.
Above: A battleship like those restricted by the Washington Naval Conference
Post-war Isolationism was a big topic in the 1920s. After WW1, many people just wanted to isolate America from the rest of the world to reach peace and avoid conflict. The advocates for isolationism wanted no involvement in European or Asian conflicts, and didn’t want to be a part of international politics. One strong supporter for isolationism was President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921). Woodrow Wilson, one of the big supporters of postwar isolationism said, “Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America, my fellow citizens- I do not say it in disparagement of any other great people- America is the only idealistic Nation in the world.” He wanted to keep America the way it was, and they were already doing so well in economy. Although many people showed interest in internationalism in the years after WW1, many were also wanting isolationism. This idea was mainly supported by traditionlists. The main reason was to avoid conflicts with Italy, Japan, and Germany in the years following WW1.
By Logan Stuart
Babe sets a new record! The Bambino did it again! With 60 homeruns in one season, George Herman Ruth holds another record for most homeruns in a season, after a win against the Washington Senators in 1927. The Sultan of Swat broke his own record of 59
Ederle navigates the channel Gertrude Ederle, the 19 year old swimming wonder has become the first woman to swim the English Channel! Not only the first woman to swim the English channel, but the world record-holder, beating the menâ€™s record by over 2 hours!
homeruns from 1921, ensuring a spot in the Hall of Fame, and in baseball history.
Left: The king of baseball Right: Gertrude Ederle after her swim across the channel
Dempsey vs. Carpentier, the fight of a century As Jack Dempsey and George Carpentier faced off in the ring, history was about to be made in another way, this match between the American and European boxing champions would be the first sporting event to bring more than 1 million dollars in from spectators alone.
Below: thousands of spectators watch the fight of the century.
American Sports in the World America is becoming competitive on the world level in more than economy. During the 1924 Olympics, the United States showed off their athletic abilities on the world stage, winning 45 gold, 27 silver, and 27 bronze medals, winning more overall medals than any other country. Sports became something Americans were proud of.
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