Year 11

American society in the 1920s

I can explain the changes in American society and culture during the 1920s.

Year 11

American society in the 1920s

I can explain the changes in American society and culture during the 1920s.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. The 1920s have been referred to as the 'Roaring Twenties'.
  2. Entertainments like mass sports, cinema and jazz became more popular duirng the 1920s.
  3. Prohibition was introduced in 1920.
  4. Prohibition law was regularly broken by ordinary Americans and corrupt officials.
  5. There was a rise in organised crime during the Prohibition era.

Common misconception

Prohibition led to a fall in alcohol consumption in the USA.

A rise in the number of bars and alcohol-related offences after 1920 suggests that drinking became more common during the Prohibition era.


  • Talkies - talkies were films which included sound

  • Prohibition - Prohibition was the name given to the ban on alcohol in the USA from 1920-1933

  • Enforcement - enforcement refers to processes such as policing which are used to make sure people obey the law

  • Speakeasy - a speakeasy was an illegal bar set up during the period of Prohibition in the USA

  • Smuggled - if something is smuggled, it is brought into a country illegally

Encourage students to evaluate the problems created by Prohibition by asking them what the main reason for its failure was. Push students to consider links between factors (i.e. would better enforcement have reduced the impact of organised crime?)
Teacher tip

Content guidance

  • Contains conflict or violence.
  • Contains subject matter which individuals may find upsetting.


Adult supervision suggested.


This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).



6 Questions

Write the missing word. If groups of people are , they have been separated from other groups because of a characteristic such as their race.
Correct Answer: segregated, Segregated
What happened to the prices of agricultural goods in the USA after 1920?
stayed the same
Correct answer: fell
Where did most recent immigrants in the USA come from in the 1920s?
southern and eastern Asia
Correct answer: southern and eastern Europe
northern and western Asia
northern and western Europe
What name was often given to established groups of immigrants in the USA in the 1920s?
Correct answer: WASPs
Which example best demonstrates that Native Americans did not enjoy a boom in the 1920s?
Correct answer: land on Reservations was usually of poor quality
Native American population grew between 1920 and 1930
Native Americans were indigenous to the Americas
Correct answer: some forms of Native American worship were outlawed
Which example best demonstrates that American farmers suffered from tariffs?
new technology led to American farmers overproducing food
Correct answer: extra taxes on American food exports made them less competitive
the number of people employed in American agriculture fell

6 Questions

Write the missing word. Films produced with sound were known as '...'.
Correct Answer: talkies, Talkies
Match each of the individuals with their correct career.
Correct Answer:Al Capone,gang leader

gang leader

Correct Answer:Babe Ruth,baseball player

baseball player

Correct Answer:Charlie Chaplin,film star

film star

Correct Answer:Ma Rainey,jazz singer

jazz singer

When did the USA introduce Prohibition?
Correct answer: 1920
Which of the following arguments did 'dries' make about Prohibition?
alcohol helped people have fun
alcohol was too expensive
Correct answer: alcohol harmed families
alcohol was good for work
Which statement is most accurate?
Correct answer: alcohol consumption became more common after Prohibition began
alcohol consumption became less common after Prohibition began
alcohol consumption remained the same after Prohibition began
Starting with the earliest, sort the following events into chronological order.
1 - Prohibition introduced
2 - criminal gangs smuggle alcohol into the USA and set up speakeasies
3 - competing gangs violently attack one another in order to maximise their profits
4 - Prohibition ended

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