Life in the Roaring Twenties Questions and Answers

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What was the impact of the radio on politics in the 1920s?

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1924 was an important year for the impact of radio on American politics: it was in this year that the two parties's National Conventions were broadcast live for the first time. Radio manufacturers advertised their products with the promise that customers could experience a front seat as the Democrats and Republicans chose their presidential candidates. Broadcasting the selection of candidates live on national radio made the whole process much more open, bringing a previously secretive, backroom procedure into millions of American homes.

The Republicans proved much more adept at exploiting the new medium. In an extraordinarily prophetic internal memo, a party staffer predicted that the successful use of radio required a different kind of language. This meant that speeches must be short—certainly much shorter than...

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