American history is indisputably colorful, but the 1920s stand out as one of the most exciting decades of the 20th century. During the 1920s, women earned the right to vote, great advances in technology were made and the country enjoyed a time of relative prosperity. The "roaring twenties" challenged traditional gender roles and began improving children's education.
Father Knew Best
Men and women married for love and affection in the 1920s, which was almost unheard at the turn of the century. Married couples were much more likely to be openly affectionate with each other. However, as the economy strengthened and more and more middle-class fathers gained respectable careers, they began to psychologically draw apart from their families. Many fathers embraced the role of the breadwinner and spent more and more time away from the home. Father knew best when it came to discipline and was still technically the head of the household, but mothers were the primary caregivers of the children and managed the day-to-day household needs and chores.
More Than A Mother
Women earned the right to vote during this decade, and more of them also began working outside of the home for the first time. Young women gained more freedom and rebelled in minor ways, including how they dressed and spoke. Gender roles started to blur as mothers were not expected to stay home every day and women were not viewed as having no employment skills outside of the home. Even with these advancements, the majority of families in the 1920s consisted of a father who was the wage earner and a mother whose job it was to stay home and take care of the house and children.
Children Were Children
Before the 1920s, adults viewed children as smaller adults that should be working and not being educated. Many children did not attend school, but instead stayed home to help work on the farm or around the house. During the 1920s, education reform greatly improved public schooling for children, and education became more valued. School attendance was mandated for the first time. In addition, children were no longer seen as simply little adults, but instead were looked at as the future of the country. Home life centered a lot on children, including what they were learning in school and how parents could protect them.
Gizmos and Gadgets
The nation's wealth doubled during the 1920s, which meant that middle and upper class families had more disposable income than ever before. Department stores carried a wide array of goods, from clothing to radios. Radios became a new form of entertainment and news distribution as families gathered around radios each night to listen to programming. Young people started to go to movies that also offered a new entertainment format. Homes were equipped with washing machines and vacuum cleaners, making household chores much easier. Cars became more affordable with one in every five families owning a car by the end of the decade. This new level of car ownership gave the option of commuting from rural areas to the city for work. Vehicles also brought families together as they were able more easily travel and take family vacations.