The Roaring 20s: A Favorite Decade of American History

Consider the decade of the Roaring 20s and you’ll undoubtedly begin to picture lavish parties, well-suited gangsters, flapper girls, and prohibition. Also known as the Jazz Age, this decade of American history continues to fascinate pop culture. 

roaring 20s

From War to Freedom & Consumerism

The 1920s began with the end of a global war and pandemic. WWI was a particularly brutal war in which our soldiers faced new kinds of warfare. Machine guns, tanks, and poisoned gasses had never been used in conflict before, and our boys came home with more trauma than anyone had anticipated. The Spanish flu had killed over half a million citizens and the country was tired and depleted.    

Photography By Krisleen

There was a celebratory scent in the air as men and women began seeking new, freer lifestyles. Returning soldiers and young women claimed the kind of lifestyle they had been witnessing in magazines and new radio ads… a carefree life.

The financial drain of both the pandemic and war had lessened and Ad Men (advertising agents who spurred on the new way of American business) grew adept at “selling the sizzle instead of the steak.” New products popped up at a rapid pace while the population turned into the more modern definition of “consumers”, gobbling up whatever radio, newspaper and new television ads convinced them they needed. 

Photography By Krisleen

A Decade of Firsts

The 1920s was a decade of firsts. The first television was demonstrated and Henry Ford’s Model T was lining streets country-wide. Penicillin and insulin saved lives for the first time and talking movies debuted. America was introduced to the first issue of the New Yorker, the opening of the Grand Ole Opry, and witnessed the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Photography By Krisleen

This time the launching pad of classics such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, fashion by Coco Chanel, and flight records set by Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald introduced us to new musical sounds and Charlie Chaplin had theater-goers rolling in the aisles. 

Photography By Krisleen

Women’s Rights & Prohibition

Slowly building around all of this commotion was the women’s rights movement, steadily gaining momentum through activists such as Susan B Anthony.  Flapper girls flooded the American landscape with their short hairstyles, short skirts, votes, and birth control. 

Photography By Krisleen

Our country’s love/hate relationship with alcohol had come to a rather lackluster resolution with the 18th amendment which made the selling and purchasing of alcohol illegal… a law that no one wanted to follow or enforce. Regardless of how many Americans took this law seriously, it created a new structure coined “organized crime” that we had never experienced before. 

Photography By Krisleen

The 1920s was a time like no other that continues to capture the attention of today’s most modern citizens. As we explore this decade we invite you to listen to some 20s jazz music, rent a classic film, or curl up with an ageless novel as you immerse yourself in a time that was like no other.

Continue in the1920s series with Part 2: Prohibition: Our Favorite Party Guest and Part 3: Unsung Heroes of the 1920s.

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