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The 1920's
Where's the Party? - Prohibition and the Mood of the Roaring Twenties



Where's the Party? - Prohibition and the Mood of the Roaring Twenties
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.37

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    anti-alcohol, bohz, gamecock, illicit, lager, morphing, sleazy, suppliers, uptown, induce, posh, brewery, intellect, liquor, best, nation-wide
     content words:    Great War, Temperance Movement, Civil War, Post-war American, Anti-Saloon League, World War I., Volstead Act, Noble Experiment


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Where's the Party? - Prohibition and the Mood of the Roaring Twenties
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     It was 1918. The Great War was over. America was giddy with relief. Life was good on many fronts. Wages were up, at least a little. Prices were down. Pleasure and entertainment became the business of life. Jazz, a scintillating new sound, kept flappers and their beaus (bohz) "hoofing" on the dance floor. Women's styles and attitudes became more daring. Accepted roles and morals were morphing into a new social order.
 
2     The party mood of this post-war era caused alarm in some circles. The use of alcoholic beverages had long been a concern of anti-alcohol groups. The Temperance Movement had become strong after the Civil War. Its members were mostly women. They held rallies and other functions to persuade Americans to give up alcohol.
 
3     At the same time, millions of immigrants entered the country. They brought with them their European ways. These lifestyles took the enjoyment of alcohol for granted. The Italians drank wine. Germans were partial to beer. The Irish favored whiskey and stout. These cultural tastes caught on with the American public. The liquor industry was growing.
 
4     German lager beer grew particularly popular. Large brewing companies sprang up. They marketed their wares by setting up saloons. Each saloon advertised and sold the product of one large brewery. Competition was fierce. The more saloons a company had selling its beer, the greater share of the market it could claim. Beer joints sprouted up on every corner. Post-war American cities had one saloon for every 150 to 200 people.
 
5     By all accounts, most saloons were pretty sleazy. The joints touted their free lunches salty fare designed to induce thirst. Free food and cheap beer drew patrons, but they didn't make a profit for saloon keepers. Many saloons branched out. They offered gambling and gamecock fighting on the side. They did their best to lure new customers, especially young men.

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The 1920's
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