[2012] Nicholas Emken: Nicholas Emken-1920's

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[2012] Nicholas Emken: Nicholas Emken-1920's

Put into effect in January 1920, the 18th Amendment, known as Prohibition, outlawed the production, consumption and sale of all alchoholic beverages in the U.S. Prohibition was adopted due to lobbying by various religious and medical groups, who argued that alchohol was unhealthy, immoral, and that many men spent their money on alchohol instead of supporting their families. However, people bought illegal, or bootleg, alchohol at secret bars, speakeasies, made their own, or got prescriptions for medicinal alchohol. Prohibition was considered a failure and was repealed on December 5th, 1933, by the 21st Amendment.

President Harding's Secretary of The Interior, Robert Fall, accepted $400,000 in bribes from oil companies in return for all owing them to drill on government oil fields. Fall was sentenced to one year in prison, and the "Tea -Pot Dome Scandal" permanentaly soiled America's memory of Harding, who had appointed Fall to his cabinet, and his administration.

By 1929, Al Capone had become the underworld king of Chicago, but one gang, led by Georg "Bugs" Moran, still competed with him in the lucrative bootleg liquour market. To remedy this problem, on February 14th, 1929, Capone sent four men in police uniforms to the headquarters of the Moran gang. The gunmen lined the seven Moran gangsters up against a wall and shot them all dead. The gangsters then went outside and drove away, with people on the street none the wiser. The Saint Valentines Day Massacre turned public opinion against gangsters, who had prevously been seen as folk heroes, resisting Prohibition, an oppressive law.

Advertisements in the 1920's appealed to human emotions, desires, and humor; they used catchy slogans and boastful assurances of superiority. Before this, advertisements had straight-forward, giving technical specifications and such; it appealed to practicality. The emotion and humour in 1920's advertising reflected the frivolous, care-free mood of the decade.

The affordable Ford Model T represented the freedom and quality of life of the 1920's. The highly efficient assembly-line system, designed by Henry Ford, allowed Model T's to be sold at a low price, that the working class could afford. Early cars wre produced in small batches at a slow rate, as a result , only the very wealthy could afford them. Over 15 million Model T's were produced, opening up a new faster, easier, and travel friendly lifestyle to people around the world.

Many Americans bought expensive items, like cars and refrigerators, under the Installment Buying System in the 1920's. They would pay a small upfront price for the item when they bought it; they would then pay it off in monthly payments. However, many people bought too much on credit ( promising to pay mioney back later) , and became deep in debt. The Installment Buying system is a prime example of the financial irresponsibility of Americans in the 1920's.

A relatively new invention, the radio, became extremely poular during the 1920's; families would gather around their radio and listen to news and comedy shows. The young technology of motion pictures became wildly popular, and millions of Americans went to movie theaters to see films featuring the hilarious antics of actor Charlie Chaplin, among others. The entertainment supplied and heavily enjoyed in America was a major part of the happy, carefree feeling of the 1920's.

Despite Prohibition, many Americans still wanted alchohol, and were willing to get i it illegally. Gangsters, expanded their operations to transporting bootleg liquour from Canada and the U.S., and selling it to people at secret bars called speakeasies. Due to the highly lucrative nature of this enterprise, gangs competed fiercely amongst each other for larger shares in the market, resulting in 500 gang killings over the 13 years of Prohibition. Gang leaders, such as Al Capone, became very rich and notorious. The power, size, and influence of gangs dwindled with the end of Prohibition in 1933, because they had lost their primary market base.

Speakeasies were illegal, secret, gang-run bars that operated during Prohibition.People from all classes and walks of life gathered there to illegally consume alchohol, which was considered sophisticated to drink.

Model T

Installment Buying

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Prohibition

1920's Ads

Teapot-Dome Scandal

Radio

Speakeasies

Gangsters


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