The American Culture and Society in the 1920

July 25, 2017 Cultural

In Lynn Dumenil’s history of the epoch normally referred to as the “roaring twenties” in The Modern Temper: American Culture and Society in the 1920s there is an knowing accent placed on the attempt to chase away the popular impression that the new. radical transmutations in civilization and society that took topographic point at this clip in history were direct consequences of the First World War. In the position of this less insightful agencies of analysing the 1920’s in America by presuming that the station war epoch was a direct creative activity and effect from the war. the writer offers the suggestion that the seeds of the mid-twentiess were planted much earlier during the industrial revolution and through the effects of a civilization quickly industrialising in a capitalist society. The war period merely served to hasten the procedure by lending to the economic roar that created the prosperity of the mid-twentiess. triping the migration of the rural population of African Americans and Whites into urban countries. and by increasing chances for adult females in the work force.

Furthermore. Dumenil goes even as far to state that the popular image and intension of this epoch being a clip of alone prosperity and success in America is besides slightly inaccurate. For the most portion. this position of America going an evermore deluxe society during this period is right. but. merely as in many other facets of American society. non everyone had an equal portion of this abundant prosperity. The writer mentions how the agriculture industry had ne’er to the full recovered from the negative economic effects of war which caused many husbandmans to populate in poorness throughout the full period of the mid-twentiess.

Additionally. African Americans and other minorities were still victims of racial inequality and were non able to partake in the increased chances for work that would procure a more comfy life. The chief donees of the capitalistic. industrial growing in America were the in-between and upper category White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. or WASP’s. who lived in of all time spread outing urbanised countries. It was these fortunate members of society who more frequently enjoyed the addition of the criterion of life brought approximately by the mass production of goods such as electric chainss and vacuity cleaners that contributed to the simplification of life’s mundane undertakings.

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A cardinal subject that pervades many of the factors that contributed to the displacement in American civilization that made this period so alone is the rapid urbanisation that was taking topographic point. Harmonizing to the 1920 nose count. precisely one half of the American population lived in the metropolis. the largest per centum to day of the month. However. this computation can be slightly deceptive when one considers the fact that the cutoff point for an urban population was 2. 500 people. Even during this clip in history 2. 500 people was non a significantly high figure in respects to population. Regardless. the effects of this tendency were clear.

Dumenil describes how this procedure of urbanisation was a natural and obvious development from the old Victorian epoch into a period that mirrors our ain modern manner of life. One major factor that helped lend to this terminal was the migration of African Americans to northern metropoliss in hunt of work and flight from the racialist South ; nevertheless. this tendency was non sole to African Americans. Other minorities such as Mexicans and rural Whites besides moved to the metropolis in hunt of good paying occupations created by the economic roar.

As the metropoliss grew and became more diverse the cultural pluralism contained in this formed a foundation of cardinal bitterness of aliens that has survived in one signifier or another to this twenty-four hours. The most concentrated method in which this nativism surfaced was in the metempsychosis of the Ku Klux Klan. Started in our ain backyard in Stone Mountain. the “new” KKK had a new policy that was much more modern and unfastened minded every bit compared to its predecessor. Alternatively of reserving their hatred merely for African Americans. the new Klan thought all who were non WASP’s as they themselves were should hold an equal entitlement to their hatred and persecution. This new policy was a direct consequence of the increased competition that immigrants and African Americans brought into the metropoliss as they all franticly scurried there to happen work.

Washington was non unmindful of this head set either as statute law was passed during this period that had the aim of restricting the figure of possible immigrants into America by puting a barrier depending on each country’s past in-migration degrees. Many immigrant communities besides saw prohibition as a blazing onslaught on their life style by enforcing a specific cultural value on them that they did non portion.

Womans of this epoch. conversely. were able to derive much headroom in their pursuit for gender equality. Puting more accent on the more legitimate. professional agencies of release instead than the flapper ideals. the writer spells out how the women’s right to vote amendment did much to heighten women’s function in political relations and how the war helped increase chances available to adult females in the work force. Even though adult females were merely able to acquire few grants politically. were still paid less than work forces for the same work. and when the work forces came back from war the stereotypically male occupations were rapidly given back to the work forces. many triumphs for gender equality were won during this period by the adult females of the state. Again. nevertheless. these triumphs seldom meant much to minorities as they were seldom given equal intervention.

There are facets to this period that I feel this peculiar text does non give proper recognition to. Dumenil does a good occupation of demoing the predominating air currents of the clip and analysing the forces that pushed society frontward into what it is today ; nevertheless. small is said about the opposing forces that tried to jointly draw back the reigns of capitalist economy. secularism. and urbanisation. These forces. which came in the signifier of the Industrial Workers of the World. William Jennings Bryan. and many others who attempted to retain the Victorian manner of life besides played an instrumental function in determining society through their wide scope of dissent from the way of urbanisation and secularisation that America traveled throughout this period.

Throughout this text. Dumenil attempts to paint a more accurate image of how American society was formed in the pique of the mid-twentiess. She accomplishes this by accurately capturing the fire of this explosive epoch and by documenting the assorted cultural and political alterations taking topographic point to give greater lucidity as to the influence these events had on our society. While carry throughing this terminal. a calculated accent is placed on showing thoughts that transcend the basic political orientation about the cause and effects of the events that transpired during the boom mid-twentiess.


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