The 1920s Was a Decade of Tremendous Tension Between Forces of Tradition and Modernity

The 1920s was a decade of tremendous tension between forces of tradition and modernity, and with it came a difficult struggle for Americans between modernization and “traditional” values. Women began moving up in the world, bad habits started to form, and a more organized sense of racism was building. Americans started to establish a constant conflict within and between themselves on which metaphoric path they should take. After World War I, American women began to see themselves in a new light. Their image changed from the fact that their skirts got shorter to the women believing that they were indeed equal to men.

They even developed the idea to fight for their own right to vote. Americans who embraced modernization encourage women to fight for their right for jobs and voting while those who wanted to stick to the old ways were downright appalled by the sudden, drastic change in behavior. As the modern people moved to the “big city”, so came the life of it. Americans eventually adopted the habits of drinking, gambling, and casually dating other people. Those who saw the modernized behavior as blasphemy, decided to do something about it.

They created the Prohibition Act, which prohibited in the sale, manufacturing, and drinking of alcohol. Bootlegging and illegal selling of the substance sprung up, however, and the plan of quitting cold turkey failed. With the arrival of the Red Scare, racism and discrimination against immigrants escalated and Americans forgot the ideas that were set up on equality. New immigration laws were put into action, restricting 3% of the immigrants to enter the country based on people of the same race/nationality inhabiting an area already.

Organizations such as the Klu Klux Klan started to show their ugly heads once again. Members of the group started performing hate acts towards those groups they disliked. At the end of World War I, America was in yet another turmoil. This time, however, it was with itself. Those who were afraid of converting to the newly modernized ideals that came with the new nation shunned everything that had to do with it such as women’s rights and the behavior of big cities. Hate and judgment began to form between the two types of people that is even carried on today.

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The 1920s Was a Decade of Tremendous Tension Between Forces of Tradition and Modernity. (2017, Mar 17). Retrieved from