The Roaring Twenties 1920–1929

  • Postwar U.S. economy prospers, thanks to pro-business administrations and boom in automobile industry
  • Intolerance thrives in both society and big business as African Americans and immigrants are pushed to margins of society
  • Harding, Coolidge lead United States toward isolationism in reaction to World War I
  • Freewheeling culture of Jazz Age conflicts with previous generations’ notions of right and wrong
  • Severe economic depression brings prosperity to screeching halt in 1929

1920 In reaction to Russian Revolution, Palmer Raids arrest or deport thousands of U.S. residents on suspicion of Communist affiliations

First commercial radio broadcast airs

Warren G. Harding elected 29th president, promising “return to normalcy”

19th Amendment grants women’s suffrage

1921 Congress sets quotas on immigration

Federal Highway Act allots aid for construction and maintenance of state roads

1922 Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union or USSR) established with Vladimir I. Lenin as leader

1923 Harding dies; Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes 30th president

1924 Lenin dies; Joseph Stalin becomes leader of USSR

Teapot Dome scandal exposes massive corruption in Harding administration

Dawes Plan eases war reparations against Germany

National Origins Act limits immigrants from Asia, Eastern and Southern Europe

Coolidge elected president

1925 Scopes Monkey Trial popularizes debate over teaching evolution in schools

F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes novel The Great Gatsby

1926 More than 60 nations sign Kellogg-Briand Pact condemning war in any form

Ernest Hemingway publishes novel The Sun Also Rises

1927 Charles Lindbergh completes world’s first solo flight across Atlantic

Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti executed for murder; controversial verdict leads to charges that executions were politically motivated and unjustified

Film The Jazz Singer popularizes “talkies” and signals end of silent era

Babe Ruth hits 60 home runs for New York Yankees

1928 Herbert Hoover elected 31st president

1929 Young Plan further reduces Germany’s war reparations

William Faulkner publishes novel The Sound and the Fury

Stock market crash (“Black Thursday” on October 24, “Black Tuesday” on October 29) launches Great Depression

Credits: Sparknotes

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