Monday, March 9, 2009

Living It Up in the Roaring Twenties (4)

The 1920s was a decade that was distinguished by such creative people and their great works as in "The Beautiful and the Damned" (1922) and "The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Also in his book "This Side of Paradise (1920)" F. Scott Fitzgerald expresses the atmosphere of the Jazz Age. Other noted works such as Babbitt (1922) Main Street (1920) by Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" (1929) , Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy "(1925), Willa Cather's "Death Comes for the Archbishop" (1927)as well as Emily Post's Etiquette (1922) flooded the reader's market across the entire nation and world..

Celebrities with their Vaudeville Acts were at an all-time high. Eddie Cantor's big hit "Making Whoopee," ; Mae West, appearing in "Pleasure Man" and Joan Crawford a new uprising Hollywood star of the popular 1928 film "Our Dancing Daughters, relishes her place in the camera's spot-light.

It was an era where gangsterism with its fast cars, ra-ta-tat machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, prostitution, gambling, illegal booze, racketeers, corrupt officials, Al Capone, disrespect for the Law, and organized crime was dominant. The Prohibition era began at midnight on January 16, 1920. Bootleggers, Speakeasy and the gangster were popular terms used during this era. Profits available to criminals from illegal alcohol corrupted almost every level of government. Bootleggers fought bloody battles for a monopolistic position... Anyone who opposed would be gunned down with machine guns as seen in the Valentine Day Massacre of 1929.

For the first time in its history foreign immigration became restricted during the 1920s with The Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act). "The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia." (5)

The 1921 arrest and trial of Sacco and Vanzetti had coincided with the period of the most intense political repression in American history, the "Red Scare" 1919-20.(6)


5) The U.S. Department of State, "The Immigration Act of 1924 (The Johnson-Reed Act)

6) Famous American Trials "The Trial of Sacco and Vanzetti 1921

To be continued: (5)


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