Classroom activity: The Roaring 20’s


The Roaring 20’s brought economic prosperity and new social norms to America. Automobiles became more affordable thanks to Henry Ford’s assembly line. The use of the airplane in World War I changed the aviation industry. Changing values saw conflicts over Prohibition, science and religion, and fear of communism surfacing after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Women became more independent and the Harlem Renaissance showcased the talents of the African American community.

Directions: Use the content from the Citizen Bee website to help answer the following questions.


Glenn Curtiss

  1. Why is Glenn Curtiss called the “Father of Naval Aviation” and the “Founder of the American Aircraft Industry?”
  2. How is the modern aeronautical industry impacted by the work of Glenn Curtiss?

Clarence Darrow

  1. Why did Clarence Darrow believe that the Butler Act violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause?
  2. Even though John Scopes was convicted for teaching evolution, why is Clarence Darrow’s defense of Mr. Scopes important with regards to understanding the meaning of the First Amendment’s freedom of religion?

Marcus Garvey

  1. Why did Marcus Garvey advocate for African Americans to return to Africa and build their own nation?
  2. How did both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. use the writings of Marcus Garvey during the civil rights movement?

Warren G. Harding

  1. What did Warren G. Harding mean in his 1920 presidential campaign promise of a “return to normalcy” for America?
  2. How would you describe President Harding’s belief concerning the role of the national government in the American economy?

Charles A. Lindbergh

  1. How do the nicknames “Lucky Lindy” and “Lone Eagle” reflect the accomplishment of Charles A. Lindbergh?
  2. What role did Charles Lindbergh play in World War II? Why did he have a civilian position?



Gitlow v. New York

  1. How does the prosecution of Benjamin Gitlow reflect the fear of Communism resulting from the Russian Revolution of 1917?
  2. Do you agree or disagree with the majority opinion of the Supreme Court when they upheld the conviction of Benjamin Gitlow for violating a law which made it a crime to advocate the violent overthrow of the government? Defend your position.

Connection Questions

  1. Which person in the Roaring 20’s best exemplifies the changing values of the 1920’s? Defend your answer.
  2. How are the cases Gitlow v. New York and Schenck v. U.S. (the Schenck case is located in the S. Becomes a World Power era) similar? Different?
  3. What role do both the Supreme Court cases Gitlow and Schenck play in understanding the tests the Supreme Court uses to decide cases of hostile and unpopular speech and the guarantee of freedom of speech in the First Amendment?

Click here for a PDF copy of the questions.