Perhaps the most familiar symbol of the “Roaring Twenties” is probably the flapper: a young woman with bobbed hair and short skirts who drank, smoked, and said “unladylike” things, in addition to being more sexually “free” than previous generations.
The Roaring Twenties was a period in American history of dramatic social, economic, and political change. For the first time, more Americans lived in cities than on farms. The nation’s total wealth more than doubled between 1920 and 1929, and gross national product (GNP) expanded by 40 percent from 1922 to 1929. This economic engine swept many Americans into an affluent “consumer culture” in which people nationwide saw the same advertisements, bought the same goods, listened to the same music, and did the same dances. Many Americans, however, were uncomfortable with this racy urban lifestyle, and the decade of Prohibition brought more conflict than celebration. But for some, the Jazz Age of the 1920s roared loud and long until the excesses of the Roaring Twenties came crashing down as the economy tanked at the decade’s end. The 1929 crash ended on a sour note. Although the surge of laissez-faire still resonates today.