I need a cultural overview of urban life in the 1920's regarding Prohibition.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that a full overview of the culture of the time period will have to continue beyond here.  This can only start a reflection of such a time.  I think that the primary element of the 1920s Prohibition era was the emergence of a counter culture, based in organized crime and focused on being "cool."  The need to be recognized in a social manner revolved around alcoholic consumption, after hours, in dark corners of cities all over the nation, most prominently in Chicago and New York.  The speak easy was where alcohol was freely consumed and was also the place "to be seen."  Culture of the time period was rooted in the idea of being "free" to do whatever one wants, but also in the need to be acknowledged by others.  Such a simultaneous convergence and divergence is where alcohol consumption was able to confound cultural notions of the good at the time period.  The Volstead Act that banned alcohol consumption gave rise to organized crime, and its presence in the urban landscape of the time period was undeniable.  Organized crime was both feared, but also glamorized of the time period as forceful and magnetic personalities that dominated the landscape.