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Ch 15: 1920s America

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons and learn about the cultural developments and political scandals that occurred during the 1920s, including the Harlem Renaissance and the Teapot Dome controversy.

1920s America - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Through the videos in this chapter, you'll have the opportunity to travel back in time and revisit the Roaring 20's, a time of dramatic cultural, economic and political change in America. At the beginning of the chapter, you'll learn about the differences between rural and urban cultures and values, including how the latter came to serve as an icon for the period. You'll also learn about the important economic shift that took place during the decade, as well as the rise of American consumerism, the influence of mail order catalogs and the introduction of installment credit.

As the chapter continues, you'll learn about the dishonorable activities associated with Warren Harding's presidency, including how drilling at a Wyoming oil deposit led to the Teapot Dome Scandal. Prohibition and its relationship to organized crime will be covered, along with the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the Red Scare. Key trials of the decade will be discussed, including how they served to highlight the conflicts between conservatives and progressives, racial issues and reactions to change.

When you've finished your video journey, you should be familiar with the following historical highlights of the 1920s:

  • Black Friday and the stock market crash of 1929
  • Coolidge prosperity and the development of consumer culture
  • Government corruption and the power of big business under President Harding
  • Prohibition, including its repeal and influence on organized crime
  • Key artists and movements of the Roaring 20s, including the Harlem Renaissance
  • Racial issues of the 1920s, as evidenced by the growth of the Klan and the Scottsboro Trial

Video Objective
1920s American Culture: City Life and ValuesSummarize urban life and values in 1920s America.
President HardingProvide a brief biographical sketch of President Harding and the events associated with his administration.
American Economy in the 1920s: Consumerism, Stock Market and Economic ShiftDescribe the American economy of the 1920s, including aspects associated with consumerism, economic shifts and the stock market.
American Politics in the 1920s: Transition, Corruption and the Teapot Dome ScandalSummarize the American political scene of the 1920s, including government corruption and the Teapot Dome Scandal.
Prohibition of the 1920s: Definition, 18th Amendment and ResultsDiscuss the prohibition movement and the constitutional amendment that banned the use of alcohol.
American Art, Pop Culture and Literature of the 1920sProvide an overview of American cultural life during the 1920s, with references to art and literary figures.
Art and Culture of the Harlem Renaissance: Artists, Poets, Authors and MusicIdentify the artists associated with the Harlem Renaissance.
The Ku Klux Klan, Eugenics and Nativism: Definition, Movement and Social ReactionsDefine the following terms: eugenics and nativism. Describe the influence of the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s.
The Red Scare of the 1920s: Definition, Summary and CausesSummarize anti-Communist and radical sentiments during the 1920s, including their causes.
The Scopes Trial and Scottsboro Trials: Summaries and SignificanceProvide an overview of the Scopes and Scottsboro trials, including their historical and legal significance.

10 Lessons in Chapter 15: 1920s America
1920s American Culture: City Life & Values

1. 1920s American Culture: City Life & Values

The 1920s was a time of enormous cultural change. In this lesson, we will examine urban culture during the 1920s. We will compare urban values with those of rural locations and see how urban culture became a symbol of the decade as a whole.

President Harding: Election, Achievements & a Return to Normalcy

2. President Harding: Election, Achievements & a Return to Normalcy

Warren Harding was the 29th president of the United States. His campaign promise was to try to return the country to the state it was before World War I. He accomplished some of his goals but not nearly as many as the people had hoped for when he was elected.

American Economy in the 1920s: Consumerism, Stock Market & Economic Shift

3. American Economy in the 1920s: Consumerism, Stock Market & Economic Shift

In this lesson we will learn about the American economy throughout the 1920s. We will explore the role of consumerism and the stock market during this time, and we will learn how the prosperity of the decade came to a crashing halt.

American Politics in the 1920s: Transition, Corruption & the Teapot Dome Scandal

4. American Politics in the 1920s: Transition, Corruption & the Teapot Dome Scandal

Americans looked forward to the start of a new decade in 1920. They also looked for a president that would ease their fears and return the nation to 'normal,' but big business and corruption would come to symbolize politics of the decade.

Prohibition of the 1920s: Definition, 18th Amendment & Results

5. Prohibition of the 1920s: Definition, 18th Amendment & Results

The 18th Amendment outlawed all alcohol in the United States. The prohibition era defined a decade and the people of a modernizing America. In this lesson, develop an understanding of prohibition and the 18th Amendment.

American Art, Pop Culture & Literature of the 1920s

6. American Art, Pop Culture & Literature of the 1920s

In this lesson, we will examine the art, literature and popular culture associated with the 1920s. We will identify several key terms and figures related to the culture of the period, and understand them in historical context.

Art and Culture of the Harlem Renaissance: Artists, Poets, Authors & Music

7. Art and Culture of the Harlem Renaissance: Artists, Poets, Authors & Music

In this lesson, we will learn about an artistic and intellectual movement called the Harlem Renaissance. We will identify the major figures associated with the movement and identify their contributions.

The Ku Klux Klan, Eugenics and Nativism: Definition, Movement & Social Reactions

8. The Ku Klux Klan, Eugenics and Nativism: Definition, Movement & Social Reactions

The decade of the 1920s saw older, traditional values of American society challenged by the rapidly changing Modern Age. Elements of the nation reacted to such change with fear. Develop an understanding of the reborn Ku Klux Klan, the eugenics movement and nativist sentiments of the 1920s.

The Red Scare of the 1920s: Definition, Summary & Causes

9. The Red Scare of the 1920s: Definition, Summary & Causes

The Red Scare of the early 1920s would not be the last. During this time, post-WWI America felt vulnerable and turned its fear on a perceived leftist or 'Red' threat. This lesson will help you to develop an understanding of the Red Scare of the 1920s.

The Scopes Trial and Scottsboro Trials: Summaries & Significance

10. The Scopes Trial and Scottsboro Trials: Summaries & Significance

In this lesson, we will examine two important legal cases: the Scopes 'Monkey' Trial and the Scottsboro Trials. We will highlight the events surrounding the cases, and explore the impact they had on American society.

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