Roaring Twenties

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The Roaring Twenties were the 1920s in the United States, called "roaring" because of the exuberant, freewheeling popular culture of the decade. The Roaring Twenties was a time when many people defied Prohibition, indulged in new styles of dancing and dressing, and rejected many traditional moral standards.[1]

Life in the Roaring Twenties

This first "new era" of the twentieth century took place during the 1920s. World War I had ravaged the developed world, central banks had been established across the globe, and the U.S. had become an economic and military world power. The Progressive Era had reinvented America, giving women the right to vote, establishing a federal income tax, and prohibiting alcohol across the nation. However, with the world at peace and a series of tax cuts in place, the U.S. had a prosperous if not stable economy during the 1920s.

The 1920s was also a decade that involved a technological revolution as important as the world has ever experienced. This was the decade when the airplane and automobile went into mass production. In communication, it was the onset of mass availability of the telephone and radio. Motion pictures were invented, along with electric household appliances such as the electric toaster and refrigerator. The use of petroleum products and electricity increased dramatically while the use of manual power decreased. Assembly-line production became ubiquitous and was seen as the key to industrial progress.[2]

Great Depression

Main article: Great Depression

This decade of economic boom and stock market bubble had ended with the Great Depression. Rothbard has shown that the principal cause of the boom and bubble was the Federal Reserve management of the nation’s money and banking systems. Its policy led first to overly optimistic capital investments and then to the inevitable correction via the bust in the stock market and unemployment in the economy. The length of the Great Depression is attributed not to the initial cause, but to subsequent government policies that were used to counter the symptoms of depression—policies that instead stymied the readjustment process.[2]


  1., "Roaring Twenties," in The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Source location: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. Twenties. Available: Accessed: December 12, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mark Thornton. "Mises vs. Fisher on Money, Method, and Prediction: The Case of the Great Depression" (pdf), p.6-7; December 2006. Referenced 2011-12-13.