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The Old America Vs. The New America

948 words - 4 pages

Date
The 1920s to the 1980s were a period of tension between new and changing attitudes on
one hand and traditional values and nostalgia on the other. What is your opinion?
The 1920’s is a period that defines the United States. Conflict and opposing values were increasingly prevalent in the American society. The country was torn between new political practices, views on the role of women, religion, social and artistic trends, science and more traditional beliefs. These were ideologies that were surfacing during the 1920’s. Much tension between the 'new America' and the 'old America' was caused by a number of wars and outbreaks (Lyndon).
Religion and culture become one of the major conflict fronts. The American natives and the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) fought against the new cultural practices brought in by the immigrants. Traditional Protestants retained their religious beliefs but fought Catholicism and Judaism brought by the new immigrants. This created many mishaps and tension. Some politicians failed to win their seats because of their religious affiliation. Preachers tried to woo national audiences through media outlets like radio. The move was considered sophisticated but was surprisingly used to restore religions.
Political differences also created tension during this period. For instance, the Tennessee Revolution Case, also known as the ‘monkey trial’ which made headlines in 1925. There was conflicting views over teaching or not teaching evolution in schools. The presence of the KKK intimidated the Jews, blacks and Catholics who demanded to be represented in politics. 100% Americanism movement and the KKK put pressure on the government showing the grassroots uprising tension in the country. The KKK group represented a yearning for the old America which was quite nostalgic. This was shown in an article written by a journalist who was also an advocate of the Ku Klux Klan. The African Americans also had their own different political views, and they named their movement ‘black nationalism’. They were discriminated upon by the Ku Klux Klan who, together with the nativists, was very dangerous (Joseph). They expressed their political view artistically, mainly through music and graffiti. In conjunction with the Lost Generation of Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Stein used art mediums to manifest tension in the society. They criticized the America’s ‘return to normalcy’.
The other issue that created tension was new technology. Automobiles replaced railroads as they were faster. Cars enabled the Americans to move with ease. At the same time, they tested old morals since they allowed an unsupervised dating. Other new technologies like radio and telephones created tension in America. Mass communication carried morals, ideas and conflict to grassroots. Ideas like evolution spread through airwaves. There were improved modes of communication although (Franklin). Americans started to ignore the church and praise material wealth. Film stars like Valentino and...

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