Even though the 1920s, well-known as the Roaring Twenties, were a period of prosperity in America, this decade was also a time of increasing social conflict. While the country was establishing the highest standard of living in the world with a low level of unemployment and the improvement of various areas of business, more and more signs of this conflict appeared. Although the 1920s were a period of modernity and dynamism, social strife developed, as evidenced by the functioning of the Ku Klux Klan, the passage of the Prohibition Amendment, and the Sacco and Vanzetti case.
The Second Ku Klux Klan, which spread throughout the country in the early 1920s, presented the idea of white nationalism. Having proclaimed the superiority of white people, they killed hundreds of African Americans, Latinos, Jews, Communists, Catholics, and immigrants. Therefore, this group aiming to exterminate all those its members considered unworthy is one of the primary pieces of evidence of increasing social conflict in the USA in the Roaring Twentieth.
The 18th Amendment of the Constitution, also known as the Prohibition Amendment, forbade the manufacture and sale of alcoholic drinks but failed. Some considered this Prohibition unconstitutional; many people lost their jobs due to the closure of pubs and saloons and began to commit crimes and deal with smuggling. This change introduced by the state exacerbated the conflict between the people and the authorities.
The Sacco and Vanzetti trial came at the height of the Red Scare, an anti-communist ideology, which is also one of the signs of social conflict. In 1921, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, the immigrants from Italy accused of robbery and the murder of three people, were sentenced to death. However, it was not just another sentence to inveterate criminals because all understood that these men most likely were innocent. The Sacco and Vanzetti trial was a blow to the entire working class, carried out within anti-communist ideology.
Acts of the Ku Klux Klan, the introduction of Prohibition, and the Sacco and Vanzetti trial indicate the existence of social conflict in the Roaring Twentieth. Although the country of that time could be characterized by high development and modernity, these three topics show that there was also a negative side to America’s existence. These phenomena prevented thousands of people, especially African Americans, Communists, and immigrants, from living happy life.