Based on “The Flapper” by Dorothy Parker
EMB—Flappers in the Roaring Twenties defied their mothers’ ideals on when proper women ought to look like. After World War I when young American men returned, they experienced disillusionment and thus distrust for the government and eventually the whole of older society. Women experienced the same as they determined to differ from prior generations in style and culture. This affected not only fashion, but also their social views. As young women sought independence from men through employment, they also were cutting their hair into bobs and binding their breasts; such changes in appearance had the effect of giving flappers a boyish look, despite the shortened dresses they wore. Such a change was resultant from the decade’s woman desiring her own position in society among the men who dominated it. Mothers of these young women having grown up in a male-dominated society knew little else and therefore saw their daughters’ transitioning of female roles in society as risqué and entirely inappropriate. Fathers being men themselves and having grown up as the dominant gender were wholly uncomfortable with a shift of any degree of female roles. Sons had been disillusioned themselves and were therefore just as ready to live the fast-paced life as flappers were. Though in no way equal to today’s furthered gender equality, flappers managed to alter female roles in society through their dress, manner, and search for independence through honorable employment to the extent of disrupting the previously calm flow from one generation to the next; thus came about America’s first generation gap.

NDH--"We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land... we shall soon, with the help of God, be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this nation."

This quote by Woodrow Wilson was said in 1928 during his candidacy. The quote was said to convince the public to vote for him, as political condidates always do in predidential campaigns. Through use of rehetorical strategies, he attempts to make his audience beleive that he is the best candidate for presidency. He starts by saying, "we in America," this is to build a sense of ethos at the start. After this, with "nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land," he is claiming that with him, it will be the last attempt to slove poverty. The statement doubles as both the motif of his statement and to improve his ethical appeal. "We shall son, with the help of god ..." connects Wilson to his religious audience even more. The rest of the quote is a restatement of the motif with more of an emotional eppeal. The whole statement works by capturing the audience's emotions and linking them with trust for Wilson. He restates the same part of the sentence twice with both appeals just to create this effect. Though the argument was an effective one, Wilson's promise to end poverty was not enough to get him elected that year.

The Hills of Zion by H.L. Mencken was originally published in Baltimore’s Evening Sun in 1925. Mencken, who was against Fundamental Christianity, wrote this essay to show the foolishness of the Scopes trial. He describes an experience he had going up into the hills to observe the religious rituals of followers of the “old time” Christianity, because some of them were on jury for the trial and he wanted to see for himself what they practiced. Mencken did not only show the insanity of the Scopes trial, but also of Fundamental Christianity, which was making a resurgence in the twenties. In the area around Dayton, Tennessee, where the story takes place, Christian Fundamentalism was very widespread. Like other Mid-Western towns, this very strict religion gained popularity and, according to Mencken’s essay, led to the uptight and unswerving nature of its citizens in regards to good and evil.
Because of the nation-wide stir of Fundamentalism, this essay was aimed at the nation as a whole. However, different groups would have reacted differently. Those who were of the same opinion as Mencken in regards to the Scopes trial and Fundamentalism would have agreed with him, but true Fundamentalist Christians would have been indignant over the essay’s message. However, it may have led some to question the values of Fundamental Christianity and led them away from this religion.
Mencken’s description of the passionate religious ceremonies of the Alpine Christians compared with the strict rules of the Fundamentalist Christians sought to convince the reader of the foolishness of Fundamentalism, and may have succeeded in making some question their religious beliefs.

When recalling the 20s, most people recall the Gatsby-related glamour. While the music and style are almost un-relatable to that of today, the culture evolution parallels with that of today's generation. Culture gaps were born in the 20s as the war-generation began diverting from their conservative parents towards shorter hems and risqué music; it exposed a new controversy of modern against traditional values. It was a period of rebellion encompassing speakeasies and liberal actions of women. People were looking towards creating the future more than idolizing the past. Jazz was a main cause of controversy among the ages as white parents advised their children to avoid the music as parents today would avoid rap. Ragtime and its evolutionary results displayed the first socially acceptable black music that was getting even more widely accepted by whites, spreading as jazz from Louisiana to Chicago to New York where it rested in famous speakeasies like the Cotton club. In that era, associating with African American was always a controversial topic so adopting some of their culture, such as music, was very risqué. Speakeasies, themselves, went against traditional religious values surrounding alcohol consumption and religious morals- which had been the foundation for much of diverse American society since early America. As science was developing, it became the new center of attention as people questioned their beliefs. The changing role of women, however, developed the entire image of the twenties: flappers and single women enjoying their independence. Perhaps at the cause of the war, women had began to recognize their individual capabilities. Women were less soft-spoken and passive and more flamboyant and risqué through their attention-grabbing outfits and actions which completely defied their mother’s generation.
Today’s technology, we can blame, is the cause of much of the current generation gap relating to actions and style that attempt to parallel the media and music made popular by radio stations. Religious morals, however, have been growing out of the country as a whole since evolution has come to be taught in schools. Parenting styles are much more permissive as the culture gap grows wider and wider. The culture gap of the 20s was a controversial time that led to a complete evolution of a culture through the changing role of women, music, and values that parallels and relates to today’s changing culture.


Prohibition was an amendment that could never have been expected to survive successfully. With so many flaws and loopholes in addition to the federal government’s inability to enforce it, its downfall was only expected and its unintended consequences were hardly worth the cost. Its first issue was that the amendment only illegalized the transport and manufacture of it; consumption and possession was perfectly legal which presented the population with plenty of opportunities which they took advantage of. Thus dawned the practice of bootlegging which occurred in large groups, not just individually. Its next problem was that it was a federal amendment which meant that many state police did not enforce it properly. The result was upwards of thousands of speakeasies across the nation. Since so much of the population did not take the amendment seriously, it was the beginning on an era more involved with organized crime. Both the running of speakeasies and bootlegging were completely held together by large groups of people who successfully managed to avoid being caught. Criminals became increasingly more creative in their concealment of the alcohol that was being transported by increasing the speed capabilities of their cars and even placing alcohol within the car doors. Rum-runners and bootleggers were becoming increasingly common because so much of the population just didn’t take the amendment seriously. This was a gateway to future crimes of not taking the law seriously.
One of the biggest issues with the amendment was that the law was attempting to take away alcohol from those who weren’t abusers. Alcohol was a part of many cultures who drank it respectively. Even the wine at churches was then considered illegal.
The prohibition amendment was, quite frankly, a joke to much of the American population. Deception, organized crime, and federal government rebellion were becoming commonplace aspects of American culture involved in bootlegging and speakeasies, potentially serving as a gateway for future deception of law within the nation, thus making prohibition an utter failure.


"The business of America is business." - Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge said this quote in his January 17, 1925 address to the Society of Newspaper Editors. The sentence after this quote in his speech clarifies what Coolidge meant, he says, "They [Americans] are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world." These two statements are generally regarded as indicators of the economic overconfidence of Americans before the Great Depression. Considered America's "golden age" by some, the 1920s was a time when people began heavily spending money on things dedicated to pleasure or desire, such as extravagant clothing, rather than things dedicated to practicality and survival like in earlier times. Since the American public was more concerned with spending money on things purely for entertainment, self-improvement, and superficiality, people were therefore more concerned with acculmulating wealth, which in some cases resulted in greed. Such greed was so pervasive in fact that Coolidge realized this and warned Americans of greed in the same speech by saying, "[...] the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence, but we are compelled to recognize it as a means to well-nigh every desirable achievement. So long as wealth is made the means and not the end, [...]." This feeling of wealth and excess money, shared by many middle and upperclass citizens, caused people to become overconfident in their spending. The consequences of this overconfidence were amplified by the advent of credit cards, which allowed people to spend money they did not have, forcing them into debt. The overconfident spending of Americans is significant enough to the point that it is considered one of the several causes of the Great Depression. Thus it can argued that America's profound concern with "producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world" allowed the United States to be so susceptible to the effects of the Great Depression.

During the 1920s, the question of the new values and behaviors of women (as contrasted with the demure, obedient housewife of previous generations) was hotly debated, as can be seen in the extreme opposing views of H.L. Mencken in “In Defense of Women” and those of Sheila Kaye-Smith in her article “The New Woman”. However, while the place of women in society was an important issue and factor in the great societal changes of the 1920s, the opposing viewpoints represent more than that particular argument. They are indicative of a generational shift that was characterized by the battle between the conservatives and the liberals of the day. The change in the mindset of the youth, particularly the young women, was undeniably evident. The issue, then, was that the older generations simply turned a blind eye to the notions of liberation, unorthodoxy, and a new acceptance of sexuality that characterized the Jazz Age.
Mencken, like other liberals, embraces the change in his article, essentially applauding women for their ability to break free of convention and to place themselves on equal social (and particularly sexual) standards with men. This was the viewpoint of the new generation – and the social and cultural miscommunication, essentially, which caused America’s first major generational gap. Those of the conservative viewpoint, such as Kaye-Smith, attempted to argue that women were not in need of any new rights – their place was in the home, dealing with professions most suited for motherhood. What they failed to understand was that this was the very reason for rebellion – youth of the 1920s no longer wished to be constricted by popular convention. Young women saw it impossible to be married and a housewife and to still remain independent of the will of a husband, which was the freedom and liberation which they sought. However, to be free of the constricting principles of older moralities, they found it necessary to take “liberation’ to an extreme degree and to fully demonstrate their sexual and social equality. In this way, conservative and liberal became old and young, and the contrasting bodies of thought developed in such opposite directions so as to remove nearly all understanding between generations.

JGF - “Today women are on the whole much more individual. They possess as strong likes and dislikes as men. They live more and more on the plane of social equality with men... [and] there is more enjoyable companionship and real friendship between men and women.” Margaret Sanger, A More Perfect Union (c. 1925)
Margaret Sanger will forever be a hero to contemporary men and women. Her views on birth control womanhood and feminism were ahead of her time. Though on the surface this quote seems to state the obvious, after examining the indicated change over time it’s astonishing to see that in addition to where society was headed – a liberal, equal plane – Sanger addresses where society has been – a stark place where women previously did not posses “strong likes and dislikes” or enjoy “companionship and real friendship” with men. Those are difficult concepts to understand for someone who has always appreciated the world as it is today: a socially, if not economically or politically, equal place for members of both genders to coexist.
An important thing to remember about Sanger, though, in addition to the generous contributions she made to the United States with her development of Planned Parenthood, is that she lived in a world far different from the modern one. Her views on racial issues were at times archaic, and she expressed the belief that birth control should be implemented in a form of controlled Darwinism to reduce the numbers of immigrants and Catholics. Those ideas were controversial even in her time, but still, her gifts cannot be ignored.
Her quote demonstrates both an appreciation for women and a condescending tone that contradicts her message. She states that women are “more individual [today],” which implies that in previous years they have been less individual – that they needed someone to tell them to be individual now. Other than that the quote seems to give harmless social commentary. Sanger’s quote simply makes note of the improvements being made to women’s social status in terms of comparing them to men. Women are now increasingly “on the plane of social equality with men” and men and women are now enjoying “companionship and real friendship.” Sanger’s celebration of feministic ideals is very representative of sentiment during the 20s.

JT “America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration.” –President Warren G. Harding
This quote, from President Warren G. Harding, characterizes America after World War I. As President, Harding had to see the big picture of the effects of the war on the U.S. and tried to coax America through the bewildering disillusionment that plagued returning soldiers and many artisans of the time. This quote refers to what is now called the “Lost Generation,” all of whom were looking for something new and concrete to believe in, driving many of them to Europe. The youth of the U.S. began to stray from their parents’ traditional ways in order to refresh their confusing lives. Many older people wished that this would come to an end, and therefore called for a return to normalcy and a restoration of old beliefs, as mentioned in Hardings’ quote. He was trying to appeal to working class Americans in order to boost morale and inspire a strong drive to continue working and living in the normal patterns of life. Many returning soldiers felt they had been tricked by their government, and Harding certainly tried to sympathize with them in this quote. They had gone into war believing that it would be glorious, like the Spanish America War was, but those who returned were deeply scarred and bewildered by the atrocities they had endured and watched others suffer through. Harding’s quote was a great attempt to blanket the damage that World War I had done to American society, but was not completely successful, as there was not a return to normalcy, but a redefining of what was acceptable and normal in America.

VB- "I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they're the one who keep me walking the floor at nights!" - Warren G. Harding

This quote appeared in a statement given by President Warren G. Harding while talking to a reporter who was also a friend. As scandals within the Harding administration were exposed, Harding became frustrated that his close friends and cabinet members were betraying his trust. Scandals such as Charles Forbes’, Teapot Dome, Miller Scandal, Daugherty Scandal exposed the inefficiency and lack of trust for the Harding administration. Although it is unknown to what extent Harding was aware about each scandal, this quote conveys a sense of innocence and elicits sympathy from the person who hears this. His lack of fear of his enemies means that he could condemn his rivals through speeches; however he could not do the same for his friends. His friends were going behind his back and being a part of affairs that exposed their greed. Although Harding had approved many papers set in front of him it is questioned whether this results in him being implicated directly with these scandals. Since the Statement was delivered after some of the scandals were exposed, it can be assumed that President Warren G. Harding was frustrated by the actions of his own friends. It can be interpreted that Harding is stating that he was unaware of everything that was occurring within his cabinet. The impact of the text was to exonerate himself from the actions of his colleagues, as to keep a high popularity with the public. Harding’s personal distain for the selfish actions of his friends is conveyed in the quote. CJD-
“A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”
-H.L. Mencken
Known for his satire and criticism of culture and society in the United States, H.L. Mencken often directed his humor at the nation’s leaders. This example of derision of politicians is easily defended when examining the period up to the Great Depression. Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge were the American presidents during the Twenties. The former was known for his dishonesty and association with men who stole from the American people. Many controversies surrounded Harding’s presidency such as the Veteran’s Bureau Scandal and Teapot Dome Scandal. To call Harding a “good politician” is certainly difficult; ironically, the questionable acts that took place during his leadership of the United States make him seem like more of a burglar. Calvin Coolidge, while not having such a dubious presidency as his predecessor, is criticised for not accomplishing much during his period of power. The meaning of “good” in Mencken’s proclamation can be interpreted as meaning “good for the nation,” but more likely relates to ethics and morality. In either case, the Twenties did not yield a promising outlook on leaders in the United States. H.L. Mencken’s quote pertains to all of history and every part of the world though, not just the U.S. during the 1920s. Mencken sought to agitate Americans who disagreed with him; the way he criticised both politicians and democratic government left little room for defense of the United States political system. Neither the people who lead a country nor those who choose the leaders are suitable, according to Mencken. He held a very cynical viewpoint on this matter, as did many other members of the Lost Generation, who found America to be barren in culture and brimming with ignorance.