The Roaring Twenties was a time of prosperity and enjoyment. It was a time where the old and new generations differentiated the most. Both economic conditions and developments in entertainment gave the 1920s the reputation of being the Roaring Twenties. This was largely due to the financial and entertainment growth occurring among the younger generation.
There was large scale economic growth, especially in the industrial and financial segments of the American economy. This growth led to increasing economic consumption, especially among the upper class and upper middle class. They bought cars, entertained more lavishly, spent money going out on the town, including to changing forms of entertainment. During this time credit had also come into play. The lower middle class and the lower class could now use credit to buy houses or tools to farm. This increased the amount of spending done by Americans.
The entertainment industry changed drastically. The motion picture industry was really coming of age, releasing more sophisticated movies and cultivating “stars” like Charlie Chaplin, Clara Bow, and Buster Keaton. Movies were now starting to play with sound and music became brassier and up tempo. New dances moves were created and at the time women began pushing their boundaries. Women began showing more skin and acquiring more jobs. This also caused women to believe that she had a right to live for herself so she had short hair, more make-up, and less conservative clothing.
Radios were also a source of entertainment during the 1920s. They not only allowed people to enjoy their days but also advertised businesses. Billboards also helped to encourage more consumer spending. Radios also played jazz and almost everyone had one. Radios broadcasted news and brought joy to the Americans. It allowed them to relax and enjoy themselves in these prosperous times. Alcohol was another major part of the Roaring Twenties. Even though at the time alcohol was illegal, people would go to speakeasies to loosen up and have a good time. Americans would be completely drunk and at the speakeasies a lot of women were there. All the class separations and responsibilities were thrown away at the speakeasies which gave people the ability to enjoy themselves.
Taken together, one gets the image of a glamorous party. People arriving at someone’s estate in their shiny cars, dancing the Charleston while wearing the latest fashion, eating elaborate food. If one imagines hard enough, one can see the numbers of staff who were working during these affairs rather than enjoying them. And from this one can understand that while most people have a glamorous image of the Roaring Twenties, in some ways our image really only applied to the wealthy.