1920: Prohibition, the Roaring Twenties, and the Jazz Age

The American History Webinar Series

National Association of Scholars

In the 1920s, life in the United States took a dramatic turn towards modernity. Cars, telephones, radios, and appliances began to see widespread use. Old traditions and cultural institutions began to give way to new forms of music, dance, lifestyle, and fashion. During this time, America saw the rise of Prohibition and the development of a new style of music that came to define the more free-wheeling style of the decade — jazz.

What was the dominant feeling in the nation during these years? How did jazz exemplify that feeling? How did Prohibition affect the counter-cultural ethos of the decade?

This event features Debby Applegate, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher and Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age; Sean Beienburg, Assistant Professor in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University; and Donald L. Miller, John Henry MacCracken Professor of History at Lafayette College. You can download a PDF with links to their books here.


Photo: Jazz for Bears. , None. [Between 1920 and 1932] Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2001697391/.

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