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How were jazz, laws, and other expressions of the 20s responsible for crime, the...

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booksrfun211 | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:37 PM via web

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How were jazz, laws, and other expressions of the 20s responsible for crime, the breakdown of the American family, and other social crises of the time?

The factors of responsibility of any topics such as prohibition, speak-easies, emergence of organized crime, flappers, and new social movements would be helpful in explaining.  The purpose of this question is to get analytically information (or sources) on how these expressions of the 1920s were responsible for social breakdown for an essay.

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:57 PM (Answer #1)

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The 1920's were indeed a crossroad in American culture.  The dominating economic force behind some of the changes you mention resulted from the fallout of World War I.  The United States became a creditor nation to Europe instead of a debtor, mostly due to its immense war production.  That increase in production during the war years then switched to consumer goods, which flooded the world market. If one speaks of the Roaring Twenties, part of that term came from the rapid economic expansion.

Culturally, the advent of Prohibition brought another aspect to the Twenties Roaring -- the legal alcohol market, now driven underground, caused the rise of rival gangs and bloodshed, and laid the groundwork for the rise of Organized Crime. It would be interesting to see the rates of alcoholism pre and post Prohibition; I'm guessing there was an increase during that time.  That, of course, impacted family structures.

The migration of African-Americans northward into the cities, where the industrial jobs were, altered demographics. This migration exposed more people to their culture, and exposed Jazz to a wider audience.

A bit of disillusionment came back with the veterans from the war; despite being sold on ideals for democracy in Europe, they returned with the hard knowledge of what warfare truly meant.

Women finally getting the vote in 1920 promoted them as an emerging cultural force; the changes in clothing, hairstyle, and attitudes were both reflective of their changing cultural position.

Drugs, music, women's rights, disillusionment with warfare, economic expansion......sounds a bit like the 1960's!

 

 

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