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AP US History--Roaring Twenties: Home

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Roaring Twenties


How Modern Were the Roaring Twenties?


  1. Due by 11:59 pm, March 8.  Upload material to OneNote.
  2. Using the lens of biography, research an individual who exemplifies the ‘traditional’ values of American society or the ‘modern’ values of American society during the 1920s.
  3. Using the image and the clue – or reverse imaging online – to determine the identity of your famous figure.
  4. Using the textbook and the Lib Guides provided online, research the life and times of your individual.
  5. What made your person an exemplar of ‘modernity’ or ‘traditionalism’ during the decade?  To do this, you should keep in mind the following:
    1. What does ‘modern’ mean in this context?
    2. What does ‘traditional’ mean in this context?
    3. Analyze differences of opinion regarding the broad cultural, political, and economic trends that shaped these years. 
      1. For example, if your author seemed to exemplify ‘modernity,’ tell me something about the field of American literature before the 1920s – what were common literary themes? What were the popular novels? How does your author depart from these themes? Might they reinforce these themes?
      2. If you have an artist or musician – what was art like before the 1920s? What were the popular forms of music?
      3. Or politicians and politics – what made your political figure ‘modern’ or ‘traditional’ – was one political party more ‘modern’ or ‘traditional’ than the other?  Why?
      4. Or, celebrities and criminals – what made them examples of the best American values? The worst American values?  Were they rejected ‘modernity’ or ‘traditionalism’? Did they represent a ‘threat’ to these ideals? Were they aided in some way by the changing technologies of the time?
  6. Five Paragraph Essay
    1. Introduction: Lay out the cultural context of the time (music, politics, film, whatever your individual is involved in) and make your argument, modern/traditional and why you believe this is the case.
    2. Body Paragraphs:  Give me three paragraphs supporting your argument.  Calvin Coolidge is a great example of traditional values because he did/supported _________ as president. Or, Duke Ellington is a great example of cultural modernity because he __________.
    3. Conclusion:  What changed as a result of your character and their societal contributions?  Did anything change because of the actions they took?  Provide specific details.
  7. Primary Source
    1. Find me a primary source that connects to your individual.  Analyze it.  How does it prove your point?  (e.g. what is ‘modern’ about this poem or ‘traditional’ about this style of music or this speech)  Give me a one-paragraph analysis.
  8. Cite a minimum of five sources (including the textbook and at least two sources from the Ursuline Library (Lib Guides, books, etc.).  Any other sources must be approved by me before use.

Biography List

  1. John Dillinger
  2. Marcus Garvey
  3. Clarence Darrow
  4. Aimee Semple McPherson
  5. Margaret Sanger
  6. Langston Hughes
  7. F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. Sinclair Lewis
  9. Calvin Coolidge
  10. Henry Ford
  11. Al Smith
  12. Sacco and Vanzetti
  13. Leopold and Loeb
  14. Charles Lindbergh
  15. Zora Neale Hurston
  16. Louis Armstrong
  17. Charlie Chaplin
  18. Eugene O’Neill



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