Other notable writers and poets of the era included T. S. Eliot, Sherwood Anderson, Sinclair Lewis, and playwright Eugene O’Neill. Together, these writers, disillusioned with war and society, became known as the Lost Generation. Black culture in the North also flourished throughout the years of the Harlem Renaissance, during which writers such as Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston created a new tradition in African-American poetry, fiction, and scholarship.

Women’s Suffrage and the Sexual Revolution

The booming twenties also brought more rights and freedoms for women. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment granted American women the right to vote. Just as important, more women gained financial independence as the number of women in the workforce skyrocketed. Approximately 15 percent of women were employed by 1930. Although they were generally confined to “traditional” women’s jobs such as secretarial work and teaching, the new financial freedom that these jobs afforded opened the doors to increased social mobility for women.

As women’s rights increased, so too did social freedoms. A new symbol of the Jazz Age emerged: the image of the short-haired, short-skirted, independent-minded, and sexually liberated “flapper” woman who lived life in the fast lane. Soon, the flapper came to represent everything modern in 1920s America. With this new image of women, a sexual revolution followed as attitudes toward sex changed and birth control became widely accepted and available.

Popular pages: The Great Depression (1920–1940)