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American History: the 1920s - Essay Example

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The Roaring 20's was a watershed period that defined modern America. It was a period where the new and the old collided head on and produced a tension that would only subside once one would emerge victorious.
With America's reemerging isolationist policy as the backdrop, certain aspects of the traditional and the modern butted heads - capital goods versus mass consumerism, old-stock Americans versus immigrants, and religious Fundamentalists versus Modernists (Kennedy et al…
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American History: the 1920s
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Download file to see previous pages It even started to be overly suspicious of foreign beliefs, and lifestyles ("America in the Twenties").
This suspicious nature fanned the flames of anxiety throughout America. Americans were particularly wary of Red Russia, especially following the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, and were quick to attribute any suspect activities to Leftists and Russian sympathizers - a prime example of this was the Red Scare of 1920, hysteria over the Reds that led to a crusade against left-wingers (Kennedy, et al., 381).
America also worried greatly over such issues as gangsterism - which came to fore following the Prohibition. Rampant organized crime and ineffective administration added to the already mounting anxieties of Americans (Bailin, et al., 703). A prime example of gangsterism was the romanticized exploits of Al Capone, a notorious crime boss - who, ironically, was not sent to prison for his murderous crime spree, but for tax evasion.
American citizens also began to fear for almost anything different from them - Jews, Blacks, Catholics, and others. They began to believe that they needed protection from them all and had to band together to the effect (Bailin, et al, 703).
The 1920's saw the rise of organized forms of bigotry, intole...
Intolerance
Americans, at this period, was very suspicious of people other than original American settlers - white Protestant with northern and western European ancestors.
The 1920's saw the rise of organized forms of bigotry, intolerance, and antiradicalism. Common targets of these organizations were those that did not represent the traditional American - blacks, Jews, immigrants, and others. These people, aside from suffering economic and social problems, were prime targets of hatred since their very presence was said to influence corruption in the American society. (Bailin, et al., 702). By the 1920's many Americans had begun to justify this bigotry, by rationalizing that these people - blacks, immigrants, Jews, and all - were of inferior breed and that allowing them into American society would be tantamount to creating as Kenneth Roberts, a popular writer then, says "a hybrid race of people as worthless and futile as the good-for-nothing mongrels of Central America and southeastern Europe" (702)
America developed a radical sense of conservatism that found organizational manifestation in organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan - an ultraconservative group that was fundamentally "antiforeign, anti-Catholic, anti-Black, anti-Jewish, ant pacifist, anti-Communist, anti-internationalist, antievolutionist, ant bootlegger, antigambling, ant adultery, and anti-birth control" (Kennedy, et al., 381).
They manifested outward hatred toward these peoples by means such as the lash, tar and feathers (ibid ).
Hedonism
With the advent of modern consumerism, mass production, and marketing during the 20's (Kennedy, et al., 389), more and more citizens were drawn into the notion of pampering oneself and fulfilling many material desires.
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