Life in the Roaring Twenties Questions and Answers

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To what extent were the policies of the 1920's a rejection of progressivism?

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The 1920s were a decade of "normalcy" in American foreign policy—or isolationism—and growing materialism on the home front. The high ideals of Progressivism were largely discarded as the United States became more dedicated to the pursuit of self-interest, both at home and abroad. Though initially popular, there was a sense that progressive reforms had perhaps gone a little too far. Prohibition, for example, though still operating throughout the twenties, was becoming increasingly unpopular, not least because it was leading directly to the growing enrichment of organized crime. In the popular mind, progressivism became associated with groups of middle-class busybodies telling people how to live their lives and Prohibition was held up as the prime example of this.

The twenties were also characterized by a headlong pursuit of wealth by both individuals and businesses alike. If you've ever had a chance to read The Great Gatsby you'll see how the obsession with achieving the American Dream...

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