How was American culture transformed during the 1920's?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An argument can be made that the America we know today was forged during the 1920's. The period that followed the Great War was one of great economic growth and social change. America's wealth grew because of an industrial boom and the rise of the consumer economy. Americans bought goods that were not available at an affordable rate for their parents. Automobiles and household appliances drove this consumer economy and more Americans had disposable income than at any time in history. Those that could not purchase goods charged them with consumer credit, another new development.

The 1920's also saw a great change for women. Many shunned restrictive traditional conventions of dress and behavior. They entered colleges in larger numbers and pursued careers that their mothers would never have dreamed of pursuing. Women were also granted the right to vote with the Nineteenth Amendment and were now expected to be involved in the political process. African-Americans also fought for similar opportunities during the decade of the 1920's.

The Twenties are also the decade of mass popular culture. For the first time, Americans felt a sense of community due to transportation technologies. Radio and motion picture introduced Americans to movie stars and sports icons. Jazz music was also introduced as a very popular music form. With more leisure time and expendable income, Americans treasured their pop stars and invested in entertainment.