Sunday, November 22, 2009

1920’s America and How Similar It Was to America Today


1920's America and How Similar It Was to America Today

I'm reading a book The Great Crusade and After, by Preston W. Slosson (1930), which is a contemporary social history covering the period from 1914-1928, and I've realized more than ever before just how similar the America of the 1920's is with today's America. In fact, during the past eighty years or so, America hasn't really changed all that much. For instance, during the 1920's…

There was a large influx of Mexicans into the U. S. due to the need for cheap labor.

Famous and well paid sports and movie celebrities began to make their appearances.

College sports programs, especially football programs, were accused of taking money away from the more important academic programs.

People began moving from the country to the city in search of better paying jobs.

American citizens became much more migratory, moving from city to city and from job to job, thanks to the (new) automobile.

The phenomenon of "suburban sprawl" began.

The prohibition of alcohol led many shop owners to sell—openly and legally—everything necessary for the home manufacture of intoxicating alcohol, just like today's "head-shop" owners have done with their—open and legal—sales of marijuana paraphernalia.

The money from black market liquor sales, due to prohibition, empowered illegal liquor manufacture and distribution cartels with cash, guns (including automatic weapons), and power. Just like today's drug cartels.

The U. S. refused to join the new International World Court.

There was a fear of foreign terrorists (in the twenties, it was the fear of the radical Bolshevik bomb-thrower).

The State of New York's passed new "Tough on Crime" legislation, including a new "four strikes (felonies) and you're out (sent to prison for life)" law, just like today's State of California has done with its "three strikes and you're out" law.

The climates of Florida and California became tourist attractions and lured many northerners to vacation and to settle there.

The American woman was liberated, gaining the right to vote and feeling free to throw off the old traditions of dress, hairstyle, behavior, and place in American society.

Women, during the World War, began—for the first time—to work jobs that had previously been performed only by men.

Conservationism, which is similar to today's environmentalism, became of great concern to many Americans, especially regarding logging.

Large retail chain-stores began to appear.

The use of terms like "Big Business" and "Big Finance" began to be used, also, the use of such terms as "African-American" and "Italian-American", became very popular.

There was great concern with how to deal with an increase in juvenile crimes and with how juveniles should be punished.

There was a recognition of the existence of well organized crime syndicates (the growth of which was fueled by the profits made from large-scale illegal liquor trafficking).

There was popular disgust with widespread corruption in both government and business.

A tabloid-style sensationalistic journalism prevailed.

There was a new menace: the "drunk driver".
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