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Contradictions of the 1920s (Essay Sample)


The 1920s was a decade full of contradiction. It was a time of optimism, youth and prosperity. However, it also saw a growing conservative trend, isolation and intolerance.
In a 3 page essay, explain two of these contradictions and how they contributed to the development of America in the 1920s and beyond. Use at least three sources including one referenced journal article.


Contradictions of the 1920s
Contradictions of the 1920s
The 1920s saw a period of exciting social development, economic growth, and profoundly improved standards of living such that it earned the name “Roaring Twenties.” Many Americans for the first time lived in cities because of the increasing national wealth that was enjoyed by many. However, for other groups the 1920s brought enduring pain and poverty. This is an era where intense cultural, civil conflicts and immigration intolerance was experienced by many other Americans. In this way, even though the country was appreciating great social and economic changes enjoyed by many, contradictions were witnessed that brought pain and suffering to others.
African Americans
The cultural conflict in America is one of the major contradictions of the 1920s as many African Americans experienced racism and intolerance from the white population. Many African Americans especially those in living in the South experienced intense racial discrimination. They could not enjoy the economic boom because many employers preferred white employees to blacks. This means blacks could not afford proper housing and basic amenities enjoyed by the majority of the white population. Blacks were so poor and discriminated such that they were forced to generate an income working the land in the sharecropping system. The sharecropping system offered little security because if the crops failed, the worker had to pay the white man by giving back the land (Schneider, 2006, p. 35).
Additionally, the African Americans suffered more racial discrimination as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) reorganized itself in the 1920s. The KKK worked underground to terrorize the black community and enhance white supremacy in the country. They encouraged the segregation laws of Jim Crow in the South that prohibited blacks from sharing public a...
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