America 100 Years Ago: From Al Capone to the Scopes Trial

Michael Kazin

What Was Life Like in the 1920s in America?

There might never be another decade quite so fascinating than the 1920’s, when culture and society took America by storm. There was Prohibition and the exploits of the gangster Al Capone (who eventually went to prison on tax evasion charges). Also the motion picture industry and the new production codes that sought to reduce sexuality in films, as well as the remarkable 1925 State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes trial, in which a high school teacher faced charges of unlawfully teaching evolution in a state-funded school. Then, in October 1929, the Stock Market crashed, which ushered in the Depression which changed everything.

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