Roaring Twenties

Roaring Twenties Facts
The Roaring Twenties is a phrase used to refer to the 1920s in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The decade had a distinctive cultural edge in New York City, Chicago, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, and many other major cities during a period where the economy was doing very well - hence the "roaring" twenties. See the fact file below for more information.
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  • The 1920’s were a time of change in the United States. For the first time in history, more people were living in cities than in the country. The United States was also more wealthy than it had ever been.
  • The first movie theaters, called palaces, opened in 1915 in New York City. Historians estimate that by the end of the decade, three-quarters of the American population visited a movie theater every week.
  • Prohibition occurred between 1920 – 1933. This period of time was when the Eighteenth Amendment was in force and alcoholic beverages could not legally be manufactured, transported, or sold in the United States.
  • Prohibition gave criminals a way to illegally make money. Gangsters, men who worked in criminal gangs, began selling alcohol on the black market. They were also involved in many other criminal activities. The most notorious gangster in American history was Al Capone in Chicago.
  • In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave women the right to vote, and declared that they deserved full citizenship.
  • A young woman emerged during the 1920’s who was very different in her appearance, attitude and behavior. She was called a flapper. She had bobbed hair and short skirts. She behaved in ways that many people called unladylike.
  • Henry Ford was an American industrialist who revolutionized factory production with his assembly-line methods during the Roaring Twenties. The most important consumer product of the 1920s was the automobile. Low prices (the Ford Model T cost just $260 in 1924) and generous credit made cars affordable. In 1929, there was one car on the road for every five Americans. Motels and gas stations were created to serve the needs of this new mobil society.
  • There were other greats musicians playing music at the time, but Louis Armstrong is credited with putting Jazz on the musical map. The 1920’s and 1930’s became known as the
    “Jazz Age”.
  • During the 1920’s, people had extra money to spend. They spent it on clothes (prior to this time most clothing was made at home) and appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. People also bought radios. The first commercial radio station was Pittsburgh’s KDKA. It hit the airwaves in 1920. Three years later, there were more than 500 stations in the nation. By the end of the 1920s, there were radios in more than 12 million homes.
  • The 1920’s came roaring in with energy, but ended in horror with the crash of the stock market in 1929. Many people lost all the money they had and unemployment soared. This time marked the beginning of the Great Depression.