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The 1920's in America is known as the "roaring twenties," the "golden twenties," and the Jazz Age

external image President_Harding_Electric_Locomotive_Cab.jpg

The picture to the right shows President Warren G. Harding in the cab of a Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad ("Milwaukee Road") Electric Locomotive, 1923.

Topics on the page

The Great Migration
The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921
Presidents in the 1920s
Women in the 1920s
The Scopes Trial
Native American Experience and Citizenship
The Stock Market Crash of 1929

rotating gif.gifLink to United States History II.10 on struggles between traditionalism and modernity in the 1920s with material on the following topics.
  • Prohibition
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Women's Roles and Women's Suffrage
  • The Scopes Trial
  • The Red Scare
  • The Boston Police Strike of 1919
  • Post-War Prosperity and the Automobile

book.pngLink to The Great Gatsby Influential Literature page for materials related to F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.31.08 AM.pngLink to Dramatic Event Lesson Plan on Prohibition Era Songs of Reform

Multimedia.pngFilm Review: Prohibition Historian Tona Hangen examines Ken Burns's documentary.

Rotating_globe-small.gifThe Great Migration

  • African Americans left the South for the industrial opportunity that presented itself in the North during what would be called The Great Migration. African Americans headed northbound where in many cases they would find better pay, better living standards, and an improved political prowess.

podcast icon.pngFor more, listen to an NPR podcast, The Great Migration: The African American Exodus North (September 10, 2010).

primary_sources.PNGChicago: Destination for the Great Migration from the Library of Congress African-American Mosaic.

Rotating_globe-small.gifTulsa Race Riot of 1921
Destruction from the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot
Destruction from the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot

Remember the Tulsa Race Riot from Teaching Tolerance Magazine. This riot, started on May 31, 1921, was the bloodiest attack on African-American citizens in U.S. history.
  • For more information, see Tulsa Race Riot from the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture and Tulsa Race Riot from the Tulsa Historical Society.

primary_sources.PNGTulsa Race Riot Photographs from the University of Tulsa Library.

primary_sources.PNGThe Eruption of Tulsa: An NAACP Official Investigates the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 from Nation, June 29, 1921.
Multimedia.pngTulsa Race Riot: Survivors and Descendants Recall posted on YouTube.

President Calvin Coolidge
President Calvin Coolidge

WhiteHouseSouthFacade.JPGThe Presidents and their Accomplishments

  • 28. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) Established his "14 Points" during WWI which led the the creation of the League of Nations.

  • 29. Warren G. Harding (1921-1923) Although his presidency was littered with scandals,
Harding did sign a joint resolution officially ending the state of war between Germany and America.

  • 30. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929) was best known for his Laissez-Faire approach to economics. His most contentious issue was providing relief for struggling farmers, who to this day are viewed as people who need to be protected in a global economy. The 30th President of the United States "Silent Cal" is best known for proclaiming that " the business of America is business"

  • 31. Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) was the president during The Great Depression. Hoover was in China during the Boxer Rebellion (1900), and he organized the relief efforts for trapped foreigners.

For information on foreign policy, see 1921-1936: Interwar Diplomacy from the State Department's Office of the Historian.

American Jazz Culture in the 1920'sRotating_globe-small.gif
  • According to Paul Reuben of the Perspectives in American Literature website, the "Harlem Renaissance (HR) is the name given to the period from the end of World War I and through the middle of the 1930s Depression, during which a group of talented African-American writers produced a sizable body of literature in the four prominent genres of poetry, fiction, drama, and essay."

Female_Rose.pngWomen in the 1920's

  • August 18, 1920 - Women are given the right to vote when the 19th Amendment to the United States constitution grants universal women's suffrage.
    • Also known as the Susan B. Anthony amendment, in recognition of her important campaign to win the right to vote.
    • Visit here for a summary of the legal fight for the amendment.
primary_sources.PNGVisit here for the National Archives image of the 19th amendment (as well as related teaching materials).

It is important to note that the effects of the 19th Amendment were not immediately felt, but that the women's movements in the 1920s laid the foundation for social change in the following decades.
Louise Brooks, 1927
Louise Brooks, 1927

  • June 17th, 1928 - Amelia Earhart became the first woman and second person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Perceived social norms became obsolete. Young women began to express their personalities with new hair styles and more modern, shorter clothes.
    • To the older generation, these women were known as flappers. Young women began to be arrested for what society at the time saw as indecent exposure.

The Scopes Trial

  • July 10, 1924 - The Scopes Trial or "Monkey Trial" began.
  • John T. Scopes would later be convicted of teaching Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory at a Dayton, Tennessee high school
    • violated Tennessee law.
      • A fine of 100$ would be given to Scoped.
  • Darwin's evolutionary theory is still a contentious topic today in education, for it counters the Christian belief of creationism.

Documents and Teaching Materials on the Scopes Trialfrom the National History Education Clearinghouse

Native American Experience and Citizenship

external image 1924_Indian_Citizenship_Act.jpg
Rotating_globe-small.gifrotating gif.gifPresident Calvin Coolidge signed legislation granting citizenship to Native Americans. For more on Native American history, see United States History II.4

Photo to the left is U.S. President Calvin Coolidge with four Osage Indians after Coolidge signed the bill granting Indians full citizenship, 1924

primary_sources.PNGIndian Citizenship Act of 1924

The Collapse of a Prosperous Decade and The Stock Market Crash of 1929

Graph of the 1929 crash on Wall Street
Graph of the 1929 crash on Wall Street