Though the Roaring Twenties were seen as a divergence from traditional Victorian morality, are the romantic images of the 1920s (gangsters, flappers, speakeasies, movie stars) really accurate?  

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is always a challenge to explain the nuances of an entire decade.  At some point, cultural stereotypes are always going to be incomplete.  They will be lacking in presenting an entire picture.  Certainly, part of the divergence from Victorian morality that was such a part of the 1920s is accurate.  There was a wide emergence of gangsters, flappers, speakeasies, and other cultural phenomena that help to fill out what the impression of the time period was.  This is valid and a part of the narrative. 

However, the 1920s featured more complexity than simply the gangster and flapper stereotypical caricature.  The emergence of a strong movement of conservative thought emerges in the time period.  This is the time period that gave birth to the Ku Klux Klan and featured the Scopes Monkey Trial as part of a reversion to traditional morality.  At the same time, the 1920s featured the nation's first Red Scare and the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti as a part of this.  The feelings of nativism that defined a xenophobic fear of immigrants were also an indelible part of the 1920s.  Indeed, the divergence from Victorian morality is an accurate part of the time period.  Yet, there was so much more to the "roar" that was the 1920s.