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Discover_our_World_Yellow / Lesson 6: The Roaring 20's and the Stock Market Crash of 1929

The Roaring Twenties &

The Stock Market Crash of 1929

The Roaring Twenties or The Jazz Age

  • In the 1920s The United States enjoyed an era of prosperity for almost the entire ten year decade and therefore the 1920s was nicknamed "The Roaring Twenties"
  • The new music of the decade was Jazz Music
  • The 1920s was a time of leasure and fun--this was and age of new inventions (washing machines & vacuums), more free timeand shorter work days--the eight hour work day was developed
  • Some of the women of the Twenties wore short skirts with short hair with beads and feathers in their hair and these women were called flappers
  • There were silent movies and cartoon movies, radio, speakeasies, automobiles, air shows, baseball, horse races, and theme parks with roller coasters, etc.

Jazz Music

  • Jazz music was a new music of the 1920s
  • Jazz music was very popular in the 1920s
  • Jazz music was one of the first forms of music in the United States to make the rhythms of the bass instruments as important as the melody.
  • Duke Ellington was a famous jazz composer of the 1920s-he played the piano
  • The 1920s was nicknamed "The Jazz Age" because Jazz music was so much a part of the culture and of the societal changes in people and art, but the 1920s was also called "The Roaring Twenties" because of the rich lavishness of the time

The Harlem Renaissance

  • Harlem, NY City was a neighborhood where many African Americans Lived
  • During the 1920s many African Americans began to create cultural pieces of art and literature
  • African Americans in the 1920s composed jazz music, wrote books, plays and poetry, they created paintings, sculptures and other works of art, etc.
  • A famous African American poet who lived in Harlem was Langston Hughes-he wrote a famous poem which described his feelings about the 1920s called "Harlem Night Song"
  • Example of a few lines: "Night-sky is blue
  • Stars are great drops Of golden dew. In the cabaret /nightclub/ The jazz-band's playing..."
  • One place where many people went to hear Jazz music was in Harlem, New York

Writers of the 1920s

  • There were many famous writers of the 1920s
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the magic and the essence of the 1920s in his book called "The Great Gatsby" which has become one of the most famous pieces of literature about this decade
  • Fitzgerald described the 1920s as "The greatest, gaudiest spree (Lively party) in history."
  • Other famous writers of the 1920s were Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner
  • A famous female writer of the 1920s was Dorothy Parker
  • Dorothy Parker wrote various pieces of poetry, short stories, reviews of books & plays, but she was most famous for her writings about the flapper:
  • The flapper was woman who expressed her freedom by wearing short skirts and hair and by dancing. Typical flappers wore sleeveless, fringe cut, knee length dresses that flapped when they danced. Flappers wore beads around their necks, with feathers in their hair, with lots of makeup and high heels.
  • High heels became famous in the 1920s and there were many colorful high heeled shoes for women.
  • Flappers often danced to the popular Jazz music in nightclubs or bars called speakeasies.


  • In 1919 AD the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed.
  • The 18th Amendment made it illegal to make or sell alcoholic beverages.
  • Prohibition was the name of the law (18th Amendment) that made the buying and the selling and or making of Alcohol illegal in the United States.
  • Many gangsters of the 1920s still bought and sold alcohol illegally.
  • Also many speakeasies (bars or nightclubs in the 1920s) still bought and sold alcohol from gangsters.
  • Many people broke this law---however there are pictures of police and prohibitionists who supported this law ---breaking up bottles of beer and destroying barrels of alcohol.

The Technology Boom of the 1920s

  • There was a technology boom in the 1920s--Silent movies & cartoons like Mickey and Minnie Mouse came out
  • Electricity became widespread across the country
  • The first radio station started broadcasting in 1920-programs included jazz music, sporting events, comedy and radio soap operas
  • News and magazines became more widespread and national
  • Automobiles were owned by many Americans for the first time instead of horses
  • Motels became popular across the country as the U.S. became more national through radio and automobiles

Hollywood & Silent Movies (1920s)

  • Thomas Edison's "moving pictures" were popular in the 1920s

  • Hollywood, CA became the center of production for the "Silent Films"

  • Many movie stars of the 1920s were: Charlie Chapman, Al Jolson, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford & Rudolph Valentino

The Pilots of the 1920s

  • A popular airplane pilot of the 1920s was Charles Lindbergh-in 1927 he flew across the Atlantic Ocean alone from New York to Paris, France in about 33 and 1/2 hours
  • Lindbergh's baby was kidnapped and that became a famous news mystery of the 1920s
  • Amelia Earhart was a famous female pilot of the 1920s ---she flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928 on the 25th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight in 1903
  • Amelia disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while she attempted to fly around the world-no one has ever found her

The Nineteenth Amendment to the constitution was passed

  • In 1919 on August 26---The Nineteenth Amendment was passed---which gave women the Right to Vote
  • Women had been working for the right to vote or suffrage since 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony first began the movement
  • Women soon used their new rights and freedoms to work in various jobs
  • Women became lawyers, nurses, teachers, factory workers, painters, actresses, models, etc.
  • Women also went to universities and colleges in the 1920s
  • Suffrage leaders of the 1920s included Carrie Chapman Catt

The Gangsters of the 1920s

  • Gangsters were popular in the 1920s
  • Gangsters participated in many crimes like racketeering, illegal buying, stealing, selling and making alcohol, killing people who got in their way and etc.
  • A famous Gangster was Al Capone who lived in Chicago in the 1920s-he killed many people-but the police could not catch him-until they finally noticed that he cheated on his taxes-he was arrested for tax evasion
  • Al wore business suits and smoked cigars

Other Events of the 1920s

  • Baseball was popular in the 1920s-and Babe Ruth was the famous baseball player of the decade---as he hit more home runs than anyone
  • Babe Ruth bragged about making more money than the President of the United States
  • Also a white hate group organization called the Ku Klux Klan grew powerful in the 1920s and many of its members burned crosses in African American homes and secretly killed African Americans at night-they wore white masks and dresses

Miscellaneous information about the 1920s

    Warren G. Harding             Calvin Coolidge

  • Popular Phrases of the 1920s: You are the Bees Knees (means you are cool)
  • This is the Cats meow (the best)
  • Popular games of the 1920s: Mahjong
  • Betty Boop was a popular cartoon
  • Presidents in the 1920s were Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

The Scopes or Monkey Trial

  • The Scopes Trial of 1925 pitted lawyers William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow (the latter representing teacher John T. Scopes) in an American court case that tested a law passed on March 13, 1925, which forbade the teaching, in any state-funded educational establishment in Tennessee, of "any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals."
  • This is often interpreted as meaning that the law forbade the teaching of any aspect of the theory of evolution. It has often been called the "Scopes Monkey Trial".

  • Bryan won the trial and evolution was not allowed to be taught in schools and the Butler Act passed-but 5 days later he died. Darrow, the evolutionist lost this trial but a year later he had the law overturned and evolution was allowed to be taught in schools.

The Stock Market and the Stock Market Crash of 1929

  • In the 1920s: Stocks credit cards and installment plans were popular across the country
  • The Stock Market was special market in which people exchanged shares of stock in companies or businesses that are bought or sold
  • The Stock Market was very lucrative until 1929
  • In 1929 in September the stock prices began to drop and the investors who had money in the stocks began to sell them-soon everyone wanted to sell and no one wanted to buy the stocks which made the stocks worthless
  • As a result on a day called Black Tuesday in October 1929-The Stock Market Crashed
  • As a result businesses and companies lost money and they fired people who lost jobs and this created poverty
  • Farms raised prices because other things became expensive and people who had lost all their money were devastated and some even committed suicide
  • The stock Market ended the 1920s and led to a Great Depression in the 1930s

  • The Twenties was a an exciting time for the people of the United States---but once the stock market hit everything changed