To what extent is the term "Roaring 20s" an appropriate name for that decade?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Overall, the term “Roaring 20s” is a very appropriate term for US society as a whole.  However, it is more apt for Americans living in cities than for those living in smaller towns or rural areas.

The term is partly appropriate for economic reasons.  The 1920s were a boom decade.  People were getting richer and standards of living were rising.  However, this was much truer in cities than in rural areas.  The American agricultural sector was actually in very bad shape in the 1920s.  The decade was not “roaring” for them.

The term is also appropriate for social and societal reasons.  This was a time when American society was “opening up.”  Women were now able to have a lot more freedom than they had had before.  This was the age of the “flappers.”  People had many more options for entertainment open to them.  There were movies and cars, for example.  The coming of jazz music and the somewhat lawless and daring attitude that went with that kind of music, with dances like the Charleston, and with going to speakeasies made American society seem much more exciting.  Again, however, this phenomenon was felt much more strongly in cities than in places like the less-settled areas of the South where religious fundamentalism and traditional values were much more in evidence.  This was also the time when the KKK became strong again as a group that meant to combat the new, urban ways.

So, the 1920s did “roar” but it roared most for people in the cities.

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