Essay about Explaining The Twenties

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In 1920, for the first time, the United States census revealed that more Americans lived in cities than in rural areas. This fact speaks to a dramatic cultural shift that had taken place. The older ethnically homogenous white Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) culture, characterized by their traditional religion and farm life fell into decline. Overtaking its influence was a new, secular, urban mass culture rooted among diverse ethnic groups. It was a culture that provided more opportunity for equal participation to women and minorities than did the older traditional culture. Like all periods of change, however, the Twenties were accompanied by a reaction against these changes, as the older culture tried to reassert itself as the dominant…show more content…
To some historians, the Sacco and Vanzetti verdict represents one of the darkest moments for American democracy. Today, it is clear that Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested and convicted because of who they were- Non-Protestant, Non-Fundamentalists who believed in something different from the majority of the people. The battle between modernism and traditionalism is most apparent as a battle between the city and the country. In geographical terms, this was how the multi-cultural modernism and mono-cultural traditionalism were separated. Most non-Western European immigrants lived in large cities, and in the eyes of traditionalists, it was these immigrants who responsible for the problems of sin, alcoholism, and radicalism. These large cities were the center of liberal Protestantism while the small towns were the home of the “old-time religion.” No group symbolized the way in which these different strands of cultural reaction came together as much as the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK was prevalent in the Southwest and Midwest, where few African-Americans lived. While the Klan was profoundly racist, in the 1920’s, it was better known for its protests against Catholic and Jewish immigrants and the threat to traditional Protestant morality which Catholics and Jews represented. Aside from being racist, Anti-Catholic, and Anti-Semitic, the Klan also

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