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Unit_11: The 1920s & 1930s

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The Big Picture:

The end of World War I led America into a decade of wealth, prosperity, and social change known as the “Roaring Twenties.” America’s “return to normalcy” meant a retreat into neutrality and return of laissez-faire policies and encouragement of business growth. Mass production and new technologies led to an increase in consumer goods, urbanization, new forms of transportation such as the automobile and airplane, new forms of entertainment such as radios and “talking” movies, and an increase in standard of living for most citizens. African-Americans and women experienced new cultural opportunities. However, fears of such rapid social and cultural changes, especially changes in American cities, led to an anti-socialist “Red Scare,” a rise in nativism and new immigration restrictions, and a commitment to religious fundamentalism.
The roaring twenties came to a screeching halt on October 29, 1929 when the stock market crashed.  Such factors as overproduction, underconsumption, unequal distribution of wealth, depressed farms, and stock market speculation plunged the United States into the Great Depression.  Widespread unemployment followed and had a variety of social and political impacts on our nation.   When Franklin Roosevelt became President in 1932, he began initiating a series of reforms known as the New Deal.  These reforms attempted to resolve issues that had led to the Depression, as well as provide new jobs for unemployed Americans.  Many of the institutions established by the New Deal still exist today.