The Monkey Trial and the Rise of Fundamentalism: Did You Know? - The Frenzied Twenties
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In the 1920s, as conflicts between "fundamentalists" and "modernists" heated up, change in American culture was accelerating. Some Christians celebrated these dramatic changes; others pointed to the following items as proof that things were only getting worse:
All through the 1920s, with Prohibition in force, criminal gangs battled to control the illegal liquor business—most notoriously in Al Capone's Chicago. Between 1920 and 1927, 250 people were murdered in Chicago gang warfare.
Women were given the vote in 1922 (conservative Christians were against suffrage ten-to-one, but two notable supporters of women's suffrage were fundamentalists Billy Sunday and William Jennings Bryan). In 1925, the first woman governor was inaugurated in Wyoming. In 1928, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a plane.
Optimism about the economy (and greed) produced an era of wild speculation in the stock market. On September 3, 1929, stocks reached an all-time high—only to crash to an all-time low by October 29. President Herbert Hoover still claimed the economy was "on a sound and prosperous basis."
By the end of 1921, knee-length skirts had become the standard fashion, causing much comment in the secular and religious press. In the 1920s, "flappers" (right) were "thoroughly modern" women who smoked, danced, wore short skirts, drank, and bobbed their hair.
In 1920 radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh broadcast the results of the presidential election, even though few could tune in. By 1922 500 radio stations had sprouted, and Americans were spending $10 million on radio sets and parts—and more and more time entertained by the new medium.