How did the impact of new technology influence the people in the 1920s?

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emiliearmstrong123's profile pic

emiliearmstrong123 | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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The Roaring Twenties were a decade of prosperity in the United States. Technology and innovation were a large part of this prosperity, and impacted the lives of average Americans. 

The rise of technology allowed for increased leisure time and entertainment in many American homes. Expanded access to electricity made labor-saving devices such as refrigerators, irons, vacuum cleaners and washing machines more prevalent. These devices were especially liberating for women. 

Likewise, technology impacted entertainment in the 1920s. People enjoyed the radio and phonographs. The foundations for television were also invented in the 1920s. 

Perhaps most significantly, the automobile (Ford) was more widely used, which changed the way Americans traveled for both leisure and work. 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The 1920s are seen as the “Roaring ‘20s” or the “Jazz Age.”  The decade has been given these nicknames because it was a time when many Americans started to have more leisure and fun in their lives.  This was due in part to the impact of new technologies.

One way that technology helped was that it made life easier for women.  The 1920s was a time when many new technologies emerged that made housework easier and quicker.  This freed women to do more things for fun. 

A second way that technology impacted the society of the 1920s was by providing opportunities to have fun.  This was the decade in which both the movies and radios became much more widespread than they had been before.  The radio allowed people to be entertained in their own homes without having to entertain themselves.  Movies gave them a new and exciting form of entertainment for more social occasions.  Finally, the boom in auto production also provided more opportunities to have fun.  People could, much more than ever before, go wherever they wanted to engage in recreation. 

These innovations gave people more opportunities for recreation, and the availability of recreation changed society.  For one thing, it gave people the idea that life was supposed to be fun, not just about work and responsibility.  In addition, the new technologies changed ideas about the relations between men and women.  Now, young men and women could go out together, without supervision, to the movies or to wherever they wanted to go in their cars.  This was very different from the old ways in which unmarried men and women had very few opportunities to be alone together.

In these ways, the new technologies changed influenced people in the 1920s.  They influenced people to change the ways in which men and women related to one another and they influenced people to orient their lives around fun and recreation more than they ever had before. 

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