Schools, Media & Culture in the 1920s

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: 1920s Dances: Styles, Moves & Music

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 New Morality
  • 0:51 Education
  • 1:39 Consumerism
  • 2:34 Media
  • 3:34 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson explores middle and upper class life and culture in the 1920s. It discusses the new morality and how it affected education, business, consumerism, and mass media.

New Morality

If you've ever gone through a really rough time, you know coming out of it makes you want to exhale and have some fun! This sort of sums up middle and upper class America after World War I. The fighting had ended and it was time to party. To put a bit of an academic slant on this, let's take a look at the changes in education, culture, and mass media during the Roaring '20s.

For starters, the 1920s are often credited with producing a new morality. Although this idea really only applied to middle or upper class society, it asserted that individuals should be free to live life as they see fit. Many young girls dressed as flappers, smoked, danced, and dated, while most young men were rather happy about it!


Besides new fashion and dating, the new morality brought changes in education. During the '20s, places of higher learning became much more open to the idea of co-education. Many universities opened their doors to women, and women walked in! Yes, many stuck to the field of home economics, and many may have been hoping to snag a husband. However, they were there! Standing on the new morality, they earned degrees and opened the doors for future generations!

Apart from women, education as a whole changed. Under the name progressive education, it became more student-centered and student-driven approach to education. Driven by men like John Dewey, a proponent of progressive education, progressive education sought to strengthen the individual, not just the whole.


Moving away from education, the '20s also had a fascination with making and spending money! Within the prosperity of the post-war era, production took off. Individuals got in on the action, too. Consumerism, the promotion of the interests of consumers and an interest in buying and spending, took center stage. Rather than just making railroad ties, plane parts, and war paraphernalia, companies upped their production of washing machines, toasters, and gadgets for the family.

To aid the happy consumer, buying on credit became a handy option. In fact, some sources report that by 1927 $6 billion of consumer goods were purchased on credit! For those with money to spend, the idea of buying for necessity got overshadowed by the notion of buying for happiness.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account