Roaring Twenties

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The "Roaring Twenties" is a term for the 1920s, when the American economy was booming.

This was the first time in which ordinary working and middle-class people knew about the existence of the stock market and invested in it. Millions of people put their savings into stocks.

One of the high-flyers was "Radio" (Radio Corporation of America) going from about $15 in 1927 to a peak of $114 in 1929; after the stock market crash it sank to less than $3 a share in 1933.

Despite prohibition, people went to illegal "speakeasies" to drink, financing an underworld and making celebrities of gangsters like Al Capone. It was a period of licentiousness. Young women called "flappers" wore short skirts and danced in ways that showed off their bodies. This was a time when automobiles became common; couples could get in a car, escape from parents, and park in dark locations.

This period was also known as the "Jazz Age," a term associated with F. Scott Fitzgerald and his novels of the period.

New York's "Tin Pan Alley" thrived, and composers like George Gershwin and Irving Berlin became popular.

Frederick Lewis Allen's nonfiction book, Only Yesterday, paints a vivid picture of the 1920s.

The Roaring Twenties came to an abrupt end with the crash of the stock market on October 29, 1929, and the beginning of the Great Depression.