Jennie Szefer Mr. WileyU.
S A.P History 19 January 2018The 1920’s were full of dramatic social and political changes. It was the time for the United States to be propelled into the future where greater and sometimes worse things lay. Urbanization, new technologies like the radio and the car, but that was only the surface level of the 1920’s. Under the surface was an intense cultural conflict which changed the United States. These conflicts arose due to the intense changes the country was going through. The three major cultural conflicts of the 1920’s were Prohibition, Religion, and Immigration. Religion and Prohibition came hand in hand due to the origins of these problems.
The issues of Immigration originates long before the 1920’s due to the ideals of ” All American country”. Attempts to regulate these conflicts resulted in mixed results which shaped the United States in and beyond the 1920’s. Prohibition was one of the most troubling and intense conflicts of the 1920’s. Most of the conflicts started from the beginning of Prohibition. Before the 1920’s, The temperance movement ( The Women’s Christian Temperance Union) wanted men who drank all the time and depended on alcohol to put their time and money towards their families. The 18th amendment had prohibited the sell and drinking alcohol in every state.
Prohibition was greatly liked by the religious communities that found alcohol and it’s consumption to be a work against god. This amendment was easily overlooked by people in the 1920’s who had found ways to sell and consume alcohol right under the law. Smuggling from foreign countries, brewing secretly at home, speakeasies ( undercover bars/taverns) became common. The speakeasies became a place where regardless of social status, everyone had gone to for a drink. Organized crime had begun to rise around the country since the illegal business of alcohol began uncontrollably rising making it impossible to avoid running into crime and mobsters, who owned and ran many speakeasies. This cultural conflict was among many German immigrants during World War 1. Since the United States was against Germany during the war, many citizens were opposed to helping the “enemy”. corruption had flooded the United States.
The Prohibition was supposed to be a good thing to help people stop drinking excessively and focus on more important things like helping support their family, but the Prohibition only brought more bad outcomes than good ones. Prohibition was ended in 1933 with the 21st amendment ending its negative effects on the Nation. This cultural conflict had people thinking about how maybe the past could be forgotten and the future more exciting. Religion is the next intense cultural conflict of the 1920’s. Religion had always played a role in our country.
Religion was one of the main reasons that people had come to Ameria, mainly to avoid religious persecution. Before the 1920’s religion had influenced people’s everyday lives. In small towns, religion was major but when Urbanization became more popular, people had begun to place religion in the backseat in their minds.
More important things had begun happening, new technologies, growing cities, expanding job opportunities. With the influx of different people coming from Europe and Asia, more religions made their way to the United States which made groups like the KKK angry. The Ku Klux Klan had grown some influence in the 1900’s. They had appealed to the traditional Protestantism which was anti-Catholicism. The KKK had wanted people to return back to their old ways of life. outcomes of all the cultural conflict about religion in the 1920’s included the KKK restricting what children were taught in schools in the south ( focused mainly on Bible-teachings), Some southern states had tried to prohibit the teaching of evolution which had led to the Scopes Trial. The Scopes Trial was in 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee where a teacher had tried to teach his students about evolution which was seen by the state as violating a law. In the end, the verdict was that the teacher was found guilty.
Overall, since religion was a small backseat cultural conflict it had only a small impact on people but still lingered in their minds. Finally, we reach Immigration. Immigration had always been a cultural conflict in the United States. The origins of Immigrations was full of bad decisions made by the government trying to prevent more immigrants and their cultures spreading around the United States.Before the 1920’s immigration had flourished in the United States. Immigrants were coming from all over. During the 1800’s immigration had risen four times more than usual. With the influx of immigrants coming into the country, many of the labor unions had issues with them.
The labor unions had believed that the new coming immigrants would act as strikebreakers and would take their jobs. The fear of Eastern Europeans grew when the west Europeans stopped flooding into the states. Anti-Chinese and Anti-Japanese groups rose during the late 19th and early 20th century. People feared that these new people had come to steal their jobs. In California, during 1913, the Alien Land Act, had forbidden “aliens” from buying nor leasing land. The Immigration Act of 1917 had set boundaries for new immigrants from coming into the country. In 1919, the fear of radicalism bloomed in people’s minds. They had believed that immigrants would bring radicalism into the country.
Nationalism, Nativism, and Racism soared due to the constant influx of immigrants in the 1920 ‘s. During World War 1, Pro-American activism began rising up mainly against German Americans. Many German-American citizens were arrested for even speaking in German. This had stirred up issues with people from many different countries, with the fear of being The outcomes of Immigration was a difficult journey for people. With the Great Depression causing unemployment, many Americans had lost their jobs because of the Immigrants. Immigrants were paid less, sometimes even working without pay but they had worked long and hard hours when Labor Unions had been on strikes. The outcomes of Immigration were, in my opinion, horrendous, the horrendous acts that were an outcome were The Married Women’s Act of 1922 which announced that any women marrying an alien would immediately cease being an American citizen.
In 1924, the Johnson-Reed Act had limited almost everything for immigrants. It included Preventing Asian wives from coming to the United States to meet up with their husbands, Had divided the world into 5 colored races, Discriminated against Southern and eastern Europeans. The Chinese- Exclusion act had temporarily banned Chinese immigrants from entering the states.
The “old” immigrants from Northern and Western Europe had seen the new immigrants from eastern and southern Europe as cultural and economic threats to their lives. ( the newcomers might be able to steal their jobs since they will do anything to work. ) Another outcome which was horrendous was that Sterilization became a big thing in the 1900’s because of the thought of ” Not spreading the inferior and bad immigrant genes.” People had thought that Sterilization was a good method to control the immigrant population from spreading. In the 1920’s the Ku Klux Klan had become more powerful, the group had promoted 100% Americanism and dislike anybody who was an immigrant regardless of race or religion. The Ku Klux Klan had terror attacks done against everybody else. With the KKK gaining power, the hate crimes not only included African Americans, it had included all minorities including Jews, Catholics etc. In conclusion, the 1920’s was a time of great change.
People had left the old ways for the newer, innovative way. In the 1920’s these cultural conflicts had boiled over and exploded to the surface. These cultural conflicts had changed the way many people had viewed, religion, immigration and breaking the law just to drink. The 1920’s was a time where the old ways were now forgotten. The new age in America began to flourish with new ideas, technology, and morals. The old age of America was now swept under the rug where people had now stepped over it.
The cultural conflicts had brought a separation between the American people. These cultural conflicts were hand in hand with each other which made it harder for them to be dealt with separately. Prohibition , Religion and Immigrants had all made good and bad impacts on the United States.