Social Issues In The 1920s

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The 1920s, commonly referred to as the “Roaring Twenties”, is generally viewed as a time period of economic prosperity and extravagant living. However, these stereotypes were not the reality for many Americans and such illusions hid the deep cultural conflict that was bubbling beneath the surface. New, liberal ideals began to rise to the surfaces that conflicted with the traditional, conservative beliefs held by many Americans. The 1920s became a “cultural battlefield”, to quote Professor Mintz, with people clashing over such issues as immigration, alcohol, race, and evolution. A “cultural civil war” ensured as some supported the resulting “liberation” from America’s past, while others objected to the “decaying” morals that supposedly accompanied such changes. Although Americans conflicted over a number of different issues, they were especially divided over three issues in particular: immigration, alcohol consumption, and race. The cultural clashes over the issues of immigration, race, and alcohol consumption fueled the “cultural civil war” of the 1920s and deeply divided Americans, the remains of which can still be seen to some extent today. Immigration was one of the…show more content…
Many people, following the beliefs of the Temperance Movement of the Progressive Era, sought to ban the both the consumption and sale of alcohol. These people, who were often female reformers, tried to link prohibition to several social causes from the Progressive Era, arguing that prohibition could end corruption and “Americanize” immigrants. In January of 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which legalized prohibition, was ratified, even though it did not take effect until a year later. Although, prior to the ratification of the 18th Amendment, almost twenty states had already restricted or banned the sale and consumption of alcohol. However, this amendment ultimately failed and was repealed
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