Historical Context

The Roaring Twenties
Victory in World War I and the economic boom that followed it brought about a period of carefree living and a sense of well-being in the United States. America underwent a cultural transformation, having solidly established itself as a major military and economic leader in the world. Advances in technology affected almost every aspect of society, from science to the family kitchen. The construction industry was busy with high demand for residential and commercial buildings, which included hotels, banks, and chain stores. Mass-produced items and improved household appliances made everyday life easier, and increased production of airplanes and automobiles added a decidedly modern aspect to American life.

Expanding industry offered increased work opportunities in cities. As a result, city populations soon surpassed rural populations. While this was good for businesses, it created new social challenges. Population density and diversity brought about conflicts over issues such as religion, prohibition of liquor, race relations, and immigration. Many of these contentious issues carried over into the depressed years of the 1930s.

Although the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbade the making, sale, and distribution of liquor, Americans who wanted liquor were able to find it. Organized crime groups ran clubs where people could buy drinks, dance, and listen to music. “Bootleggers” sold liquor to individuals who wanted to drink in their homes or at parties.

Women became more independent in the 1920s. Flappers were women who rejected convention,...

(The entire section is 663 words.)