The 1920’s was a very strange decade a lot of things happened, a lot of people lost a lot of money, the great depression happened and all the stock markets crash in 1929 (khan academy). The president couldn’t save America anymore he tried and he just made it worst. The Great Gatsby really explained and went through the rough times of the 1920’s but there was also good times like how Gatsby made most his money of the 1920’s. “He owned some drug stores, a lot of drug stores. He built them up himself.” (Fitzgerald 116) this quote explains that Gatsby owns a lot of drugs stores but for what reason why would he own drugstores. In the 1920’s there was a lot of stuff happening and some of that stuff was alcohol becoming illegal. Bootleggers were a thing in the 1920’s which is were people sold alcohol illegalling and made a lot of money off of it (The mob museum/Prohibition).
Gatsby was known to be a good man and also known to be a bad one you will figure out which one he actually is later on in the story. Everything I have been talking about is prohibition and it was a huge part of the 1920’s, the amendment that banned alcohol and the sale of alcohol is the 18th amendment which was appealed later on. The prohibition era was filled with a lot of stuff including everything that was just talked about and everything that’s about to be talked about, great things arrived in this era but bad things also came forth.
In 1920’s there was so much going on everyone still talks about it today. One of the biggest things that happened and that will never be forgotten was Women’s right to vote in 1919 but it really started going into effect in the early 1920’s. The roles of Women in the 1920s varied considerably. The majority of women remained in the traditional role of housewife. However, the number of working women increased by 25% as a result of the work they had undertaken during WW1. Roles of 1920’s women in the workplace included factory workers, secretaries, sales clerks and telephone operators. The number of women attending college rose to 10% of the population by the end of the 1920’s(prohibition era women rights). Women started to become a lot more independent in America, by them getting the right to vote and more of a opportunity to change their styles and clothes, they were cutting their hair and wearing short skirts. One of the biggest things women were starting to do was getting more important jobs like congress or just in the government. Women didn’t need a man anymore they could go get their own jobs and play sports and raise kids without them, they made their own income and just didn’t need the mans support anyone they had become independent (Morris).
The 1920’s was called The golden age of sports, because some of the greatest athletes and the biggest sports to this day were starting to emerge. In the 1920’s it was ok for women to play sports like basketball but they were expected to play more lady-like sports like golf, swimming, tennis, and field hockey. The woman in the 1920’s started a management team for all the sports that they played. It was called The Big Six because there was six sports that they could play basketball, swimming, hockey, hiking, track, and tennis, and there was a manager for each one of those sports and that’s why there were six girls in the management. The college of wooster which is where this information was found made the women at the school take a swimming class before they could graduate. So, the college did that which made it mandatory for women to learn how to swim and I think that is a great thing. One of the famous women that came from this was in the women sports association, In 1921, Kathleen Lowrie, came in the, making an impact on the women sports association as well. She served as Chair of the Department of Women’s Physical Education from 1921 to 1953 (Wooster college). She was responsible for a lot of things but one of the main things that she did was developing the Women’s Athletic Association.
I talked about this earlier, bootlegging, the illegal sale of alcohol, and if you don’t understand there was a amendment in the 1920’s that made alcohol illegal it was the 18th amendment. No one liked this amendment, almost everyone was breaking the law by buying and selling the alcohol. The buyers of the alcohol could get it everywhere some people get it from their friends or others got it from drugstores or other stores. In The Great Gatsby there was a man who was very bad that worked with Gatsby his name was Wolfsheim and he ran Gatsby drugstores and sold the alcohol from them. Crime was one of the best ways to get money in the 1920’s selling alcohol was a big business, everyone wanted it but not everyone could get it. So if you had it you can make money off of it at any time. While the sale of alcohol was banned during Prohibition, there were some loopholes. Many people got doctors’ prescriptions for medicinal whiskey (Chicago History Museum).
The worst thing about all this is how bad the some of the people actually were that was selling the illegal alcohol. The 1920’s was the rise of the American Mafia which is italian-american organized-crime network with operations across the United States. The two biggest cities that rose to success by selling illegal alcohol was New York and Chicago. After Prohibition, the Mafia moved into other criminal ventures, from drug trafficking to illegal gambling, while also infiltrating labor unions and legitimate businesses such as construction and New York’s garment industry. Some of the biggest mafia bosses to this day is Al Capone and John Gotti. Al capone was a american gangster that lived and stayed in Chicago he was a Chicago boss for seven years. He is the co-founder of the chicago outfit, he is also known for being nicknamed Scarface. His reign of crime came to a stop when he was thirty-three years old. He later died in jail January 25, 1947 by pneumonia (FBI). John Gotti was an Italian-American gangster who became boss of the Gambino crime family in New York City. Gotti and his brothers grew up in poverty and turned to a life of crime at an early age. He was one of the biggest mafia bosses there ever was.
Bertram said in his article that sixteen years after Gotti death he is still a huge figure in popular culture. John Gotti was a murderer and a theft and a huge criminal and he is still talked about to this day. Some people don’t realize how much a bad person can be talked about, he died on June 10, 2002. He died from head and neck cancer. Bootlegging and crime in the 1920 was crazy so many people were doing it, not that many people were caught because they did it in secret spots like speakeasy. Speakeasy’s are pretty much just private bars, to get in you had to know the password.
Prohibition was the ban of alcohol, but that didn’t mean people still couldn’t get there hands on it. There was a lot of ways people got alcohol back in the 1920’s. They could get them from speakeasy, they could get them from the mafia’s, you could get some from a random guy if u wanted to. One of the main ways was crazy though because it wasn’t illegal to get it this way. You could get alcohol and not be arrested or in trouble. The Volstead Act included a few interesting exceptions to the ban on distributing alcohol( Andrews). Sacramental wine was still legal for religious reasons, the number of priests and rabbis skyrocketed after they knew this exceptions. Another exception was the drugstores, the doctors could sell medical whiskey for anything from a foot ache to a broken arm. With a physician’s prescription, patients could legally buy a pint of hard liquor every ten days. Many speakeasies started to say that they were pharmacies and acted as if they were doctors and they were prescribing alcohol to their patients(Andrews).
The craziest thing about the prohibition era was how many people died from it. You think how would people die from alcohol becoming illegal, well they tried to get the alcohol. The alcohol was illegal so u had to get it from random people that probably shouldn’t be making or selling alcohol. The moonshine that people called the bathtub gin had a famously foul taste, and those desperate enough to drink it also ran the risk of being struck blind or even poisoned. People were dying from drinking alcohol quicker than usual. It killed around 10,000 people before the amendment was finally appealed. Usually alcohol kills people slowly but when people poorly made the alcohol it hurts them faster and poisoned them and killed them.
Temperance movements had long been active in the American political scene with the goal of promoting abstinence from drinking alcohol. The movement was first organized in the 1840s by religious denominations, primarily Methodists. This initial campaign started out strong and made a small amount of progress throughout the 1850s but lost strength shortly thereafter. Woman’s Christian Temperance Union were the people that wanted prohibition and were also the people that started the dry movement in the 1880’s, they didn’t like how alcohol affected men and how they acted with their wives and children, they thought of alcohol as a home killer. One of the monumental figures from this early period was Carrie Nation. Founder of a chapter of the WCTU, Nation was driven to close down bars in Kansas. The tall, brash woman was known to be vehement and often threw bricks into saloons. At one point in Topeka, she even wielded a hatchet, which would become her signature weapon. Nation would not see Prohibition herself as she died in 1911 (Spruce Eats).
The prohibition party was also known as the dry party because they didn’t drink so they were dry and sober. They wanted everyone to be sober nationwide, but they believed that it can’t be achieved under the leadership of either democratic or republican parties. Dry candidates ran for local, state, and national offices and the party’s influence peaked in 1884. In the 1888 and 1892 presidential elections, the Prohibition Party held 2 percent of the popular vote (Spruce Eats). It was getting really bad in America people were drinking a lot more than they should have. Alcohol dependence was a growing problem in the U.S. for over a century before Prohibition came into law. In 1830, American boys and men aged fifthteen and older drank an average of 88 bottles of whiskey per year, three times what Americans drinks today. Drinking wasn’t a new thing alcohol had been an important part of the American food culture since Colonial times. Americans routinely drank at every meal breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the early 1700’s, the most common drinks were weak beer and cider, which were only mildly intoxicating. Americans replaced weaker ciders and beers with these more distilled liquors. Before long, alcohol dependence became a widespread epidemic. Men lost their jobs and wasn’t as nice or spent enough time with their families, under the spell of “demon liquor.” Societies dedicated to sober living formed in several major cities (Avey).
Most people will never really understand prohibition. Prohibition was the ban of the manufacture and sale of alcohol, that doesn’t mean that u can’t drink the alcohol that u had before. So if you had a bunch of alcohol right before prohibition u can still drink it but u can not sell or transport it. It is actually illegal to bring the alcohol that u already saved to someone else’s house that counts as transportation. You couldn’t get arrested for drinking alcohol in the prohibition era you could only getting arrested for selling it to one of your friends or making the alcohol. Something that was also happening was some states were not going to listen to the amendment, they were not going to become a dry state they did not believe in it. One of the main state’s that did this was Maryland. Under the Prohibition Amendment, both the federal government and the states shared responsibility for enforcing alcohol laws. Maryland was the only state that refused to pass a law to enforce the unpopular law. The governor throughout the entire period of Prohibition opposed it.
The Prohibition era crimes were skyrocketing, women were finally being given their rights, businesses were going out of business, and stocks were dropping like crazy. After the 1920’s we got a better president because the one before the one we had messed everything up and pretty much caused The Great Depression. The Great Gatsby related to this decade because that’s when it was, it was based in the 1920’s. Gatsby made his money off of the stock markets and off of the illegal alcohol. That’s how a lot of people made their money back in that time, it was honestly ok to do illegal things back then because it wasn’t really illegal or it shouldn’t have been illegal at least. Prohibition wasn’t a good thing and it really made no sense, people just thought it would help families but if anything it taught families that doing illegal things is ok because even though it was a illegal they still did it. The roaring twenties was a crazy thing most likely one of the craziest decades ever, so much was starting up and ending at the same time.