Analyzing cultural trends in the 1920’s
After world war one and the spread of industrialization, many cultural trends rose to prominence. One of these trends was nativism, faced with increasing immigration many people felt that the interests of native-born Americans were superior to the interests of immigrants, thus arose nativism. Another cultural trend was modernism; the core belief of modernism was that traditional beliefs are archaic and to move forward, humanity must reconcile traditional Christian beliefs with scientific knowledge. Modernism often conflicted with the cultural trend of fundamentalism, which believed in firmly holding onto strict literal interpretations of the bible. The unfortunate cultural trend of racism holds that some races are superior to others. Black Nationalism was the push by liberated black elites to acquire economic power and infuse a sense of community and group feeling among blacks.
The Ku Klux Klan emerged from extreme fundamentalist beliefs combined with racism and nativism. Klansmen were not only hostile to African Americans but also other immigrants including Jews. Ku Klux Klan reemerged in the 1920’s in the throes of a society dealing with the effects of urbanization, industrialization, and immigration. The 1920’s also saw the rise of black cultural renaissance. The key driver of black cultural renaissance was the mass migration of blacks from southern regions of America to northern regions. The mass migration of blacks also coincided with rising literacy levels among African Americans; this was the catalyst for the renaissance. The Scopes trial in Tennessee arose from conflicts between fundamentalist and modernist views. Modernists held that biblical creation should be reconciled with Darwin’s theory of evolution; this conflicted with fundamentalist’s literal biblical interpretation. When Thomas Scopes decided to teach the theory of evolution in state schools contrary to local laws, he was sued in what is now the famous Scopes trial.
Popular culture heavily influences social norms and morals; this is because popular culture dictates what actions are appropriate and how people should behave. The innovations that allowed for the spread of mass culture include the printing press and the telegram; these innovations allowed the rapid spread of ideas and culture across vast swathes of America thus making mass culture possible.