Part One
1920s Culture

This section explores the culture of the 1920s.  It is in the 1920s that we can see fully formed the shape of culture in the modern era.  The emergence of advertising and mass media, technological advances such as radio, airplanes and automobiles--all irrevocably changed America and Americans.

Questions/Thinking Points

Lecture One:  Consumerism and Culture

Lecture Two:  Culture and Discontents

Art, Music and Literature

1920s Culture
Web CT
Part Two
Business and Government

This section explores the relationship between business and government in the 1920s.  Americans, disillusioned with reform and their failure to achieve their goals at the Versailles Conferenced, turned their backs on Wilson and Progressivism.  In 1920, they elected a Republican, Warren G. Harding, to be their new president.  Harding was an inept leader, but he did assemble a cabinet of visionary men whose belief in the salutary powers of business led them to transform the purpose of the government agencies established by the Progressives.  Andrew Mellon and Herbert Hoover, in particular, used their positions at Treasury and Commerce, respectively, to place business at the heart of American government.  Mellon's tax breaks to business helped fuel the subsequent specualtive boom in stocks, while Hoover's articulation of moral arguments on behalf of business, all contributed to this transformation of business.  Harding's successor, Calvin Coolidge, carried forth in this tradition with his worship of business.  All of these factors combined to a blind America to some fatal weaknesses in their economic structure--weaknesses that led to the Great Crash of 1929. 

Questions/Thinking Points


Lecture One
"The Great Barbecue"

Lecture Two
The Economics of Republicanism

Lecture Three
"The New Era": Business Ethics and Morality in Babylon

Lecture Four
The Times, They are a Changin': 1928-29

Lecture Five
The Great Crash

Business and the Twenties

This page last updated October 25, 2007
©  Kahne Parsons, 2007-08