Boom and Bust

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This chapter follows the new social attitudes and cultural changes that defined the 1920s.

7.1 A Clash of Values

Section 1 explains how the 1920s saw clashes between Americans' traditional and modern values. In the early 1920s, economic recession, increased immigration, and racial and cultural tensions led to a general rise in nativism and racism. The pseudo-scientific belief of eugenics reinforced nativism, and a new Ku Klux Klan targeted groups it considered "un-American." Many Americans who worried that immigration would threaten traditional social orders applauded new laws that limited immigration and heavily discriminated against certain groups. Other societal changes swept through the nation during the 1920s. A new morality glorified youth and personal freedom, and women enjoyed new economic, social, and intellectual freedoms that were reflected in their fashions and behaviors. As Americans responded to what some saw as a decline of American morality, a new religious movement called Fundamentalism emerged, and interest in the temperance movement renewed. The Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act made prohibition a federal cause, but public response to the laws ended up encouraging organized crime.

7.2 Cultural Innovations

Section 2 describes how the modern age of the 1920s strongly influenced American art, literature, and popular culture. During the 1920s, writers, artists, and intellectuals challenged traditional ideas as they searched for meaning in an industrialized world. Artists worked in a diverse range of styles, each trying to express the individual, modern experience. The works of many poets, playwrights, and novelists often had tragic underpinnings as they described the human experience with concise, realistic images. The 1920s offered many Americans more time and money to enjoy leisure activities. They eagerly attended movies and sporting events, participated in sports, and listened to radio broadcasts. Sports figures, movie stars, and aviators emerged as the new American heroes. During the 1920s, mass media not only helped broaden Americans' interests, but they also enhanced Americans' feelings of a shared national culture.

7.3 African American Culture

Section 3 discusses how the African American voice found new expressions during the cultural renaissance of the 1920s. During the Great Migration, hundreds of thousands of African Americans abandoned the segregated Southern society and poured into the industrial cities of the North. One neighborhood in New York City stood out as the center of African American cultural rebirth and expression. The artists of the Harlem Renaissance expressed their frustrations and their dreams in an explosion of literary, musical, and theatrical works. Artistic achievements of the Harlem Renaissance reinforced racial pride and fueled interest in community and political involvement. African Americans found a political voice with their votes and in organizations such as the NAACP. While some worked to improve the political and economic positions of African Americans, other groups emphasized black pride and advocated African American separation from white society.

Choose one of the artists,poets,writers,sportsfigures, or film actors mentioned in this chapter and research his or her career. Create and complete a "pro brochure" biography of this person, be sure to emphasize his or her contributions to American culture in the 1920s.
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TEMPLATE: Pro Brochure.pages

Part 1
A Clash of Values

Vocabulary Define: anarchist, eugenics, source, aspect, flapper, ethic, evolution, creationism, police powers, speakeasy.
People and Terms Identify: Ku Klux Klan, Emergency Quota Act, Fundamentalism.


  1. What were causes and effects of anti–immigrant prejudices. ( should have 4 of each)
  2. write down the specific events that led to a rise in nativism.
  3. Place the following acts of Congress in the order in which they were passed.
  • National Origins Act
  • Newlands Reclamation Act
  • Emergency Quota Act

As you read, complete the following sentences to help you summarize the lesson.

  1. Many people believed the prohibition of alcohol would help reduce ,XXXXX , and. XXXXX
  2. The XXXXXX specifically granted the federal government, as well as the state governments, the power to enforce prohibition.

  1. Why was there a rise in racism and nativism in the 1920s?
  2. Of what did the clash of values in the 1920s and the changing status of women consist

Part 2
Cultural Innovations

Vocabulary Define: emerge, diverse, mass media, unify.
People and Terms Identify: Bohemian, Carl Sandburg, Eugene O’Neill, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald.


  1. How did the explosion of art and literature reflect the disillusionment of 1920s artists?
  2. What effects did sports, movies, radio, and music have on popular culture of the 1920s?
  3. What were the main characteristics of art, literature, and popular culture?
  4. As you read, compare the sports, movies, radio, or music of today with the discussion of those topics in the 1920s. Summarize your thoughts in a paragraph. Be sure to include ways that popular culture of the 1920s was similar to and different from popular culture today.

Part 3
African American Culture

Vocabulary Define: sought, author, jazz, blues, impact.
People and Terms Identify: Great Migration, Harlem Renaissance, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Cotton Club, Marcus Garvey.


  1. How did the Harlem Renaissance lead to a rediscovery of African American cultural roots?
  2. Why was there an increase in African American political activism?
  3. List 3 writers mentioned in this section
  4. List 6 persons involved in Jazz,Blues,and theTheater mentioned in this section
  5. As you read**, write down three details about African American politics in the 1920s.