Roaring Life of the 20s: Traditionalism and Modernism Clash
by Alicia Mata
| 12 Questions
The Clash Between Traditonalism and Modernism
Traditionalist: a person who has deep respect for long-held cultural and religious values. For them, these values were anchors that provided order and stability to society.
Modernist: a person who embraced new ideas, styles, and social trends. For them, traditional values were chains that restricted both individual freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
Compare and Contrast these two magazine covers. How do you believe these covers portray the culture of the 1920s? Which would showcase the Traditionalist viewpoint? the Modernist viewpoint?
Conflicting Responses to Immigration
From 1919 to 1921, the number of immigrants had grown almost 600 percent-- from 141,000 to 805,000 people. Congress, in response to nativist pressure, decided to limit immigration from certain countries, namly those in southern and eastern Europe. The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 set up a quota system, establishing a maximum number of people who could enter from each foreign country.
Write a 1 sentence summary on the graph above focusing on what it tells us about Central & Eastern European immigrants from 1861 to 1920.
Using the image and chart above, what trend occurs in the 1920s regarding KKK membership?
Look again at the chart regarding immigration trends in the early 20th century. What do you think is the connection between new immigration trends and the revival of the KKK in the 1920s? Do you think KKK members are traditionalist or modernists?
Which of the following statements below represents a modernist perspective on immigration?
A. Immigration enhances our society by bringing new cultures, religions and ideas to the United States.
B. Immigration has a negative impact on the United States and should be restricted so that people with radical ideas and beliefs do not enter.
Prohibition Divides America
In 1920, the 18th Amendment launched the era known as Prohibition, during which the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverage were legally prohibited.
Examine the pros and cons of each position. Which do you agree with? What other factors do you think would influence your position?
According to the video, what were the outcomes of Prohibiton? Consider negative and positive outcomes.
Which of the following statements below represents a traditionalist perspective on prohibition?
A. The banning of alcohol will help to preserve the family unit by preventing husband’s from being physically abusive and wasting money.
B. Drinking of alcohol is a part of social events to many different cultures and in moderation is not immoral.
The Battle Between Science and Religion
The Protestant movement grounded in a literal, or nonsymbolic, interpretation of the bible was known as Fundamentalism. Fudamentalists were skeptical of some scientific discoveries and theories; they argued that all important knowledge could be found in the Bible.
John T. Scopes was a biology teacher who challenged a Tennesse Law about a subject he was not legally allowed to teach. Look at the image above. Describe what you see in the photo. Decide what subject was taught. Why would fundamentalists be threatened by that subject? Explain.
The Changing Role of Women
The passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 granted women the right to vote—and fostered new attitudes among many young women. Nowhere was this more evident then in the short skirts, unbuckled boots, loose beads, and heavy makeup of the “flapper.” Daring-minded teenage girls shocked older generations with their outrageous fashions and attitudes.

What is a double standard? Do you think we have double standards in today's society? Explain why or why not.
Read the passage above. Why do you think the flapper became a major symbol even though relatively few women were flappers?
How are flappers unlike or like women today?
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