40 Chapter 32 Apush Notes

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Chapter 32 APUSH Notes


Chapter 32 of the AP United States History (APUSH) curriculum delves into the complex period of American history known as the Roaring Twenties. This chapter covers various aspects of the era, including the economic boom, cultural changes, political shifts, and the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression. In this article, we will provide detailed notes on Chapter 32 of APUSH, helping students gain a deeper understanding of this significant period in American history.

The American Economy in the 1920s

The 1920s witnessed a remarkable economic growth in the United States, characterized by increased industrial production, technological advancements, and a surge in consumerism. Key subheadings under this topic include:

1. The Impact of World War I on the American Economy

After World War I, the United States experienced an economic boom as it emerged as a major global power. The war had stimulated industrial production, increased job opportunities, and opened up new markets for American goods.

2. The Rise of Consumer Culture

During the 1920s, consumerism became a defining feature of American society. The widespread availability of new consumer goods, such as automobiles, radios, and household appliances, led to a shift in the nation's priorities and values.

3. The Role of Advertising and Mass Media

Advertising played a crucial role in promoting consumer culture in the 1920s. Through the use of persuasive techniques, companies convinced Americans that owning certain products would enhance their lives. The rise of mass media, including radio and magazines, further facilitated the spread of consumerist ideals.

Social Changes in the 1920s

The 1920s witnessed significant social changes that challenged traditional norms and values. This section explores various aspects of societal transformation during this period:

1. The Changing Roles of Women

The 1920s saw a surge in feminism and women's rights activism. Women fought for and gained the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Additionally, the "flapper" culture emerged, challenging traditional notions of femininity and advocating for women's independence.

2. The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement that celebrated African American contributions to literature, music, and art. It emerged in the vibrant neighborhood of Harlem in New York City and showcased the talents of prominent figures like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston.

3. Prohibition and the Rise of Organized Crime

The 18th Amendment, which prohibited the production, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages, gave rise to a thriving illegal liquor trade. Organized crime syndicates, such as the notorious Chicago Outfit led by Al Capone, capitalized on the demand for alcohol during Prohibition.

Political Shifts in the 1920s

The 1920s witnessed significant political changes that shaped the nation's trajectory. This section examines these political shifts:

1. Republican Dominance and the Business-Friendly Policies

The Republican Party dominated politics throughout the 1920s, with Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover serving as presidents. These administrations pursued business-friendly policies, including tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of industries.

2. Immigration Restrictions and Nativism

The 1920s saw a rise in nativism and anti-immigrant sentiment. The Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the Johnson-Reed Act, imposed strict quotas on immigration, favoring Northern and Western European immigrants while severely limiting immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe.

3. The Scopes Monkey Trial

The Scopes Monkey Trial, which took place in 1925, highlighted the conflict between religious fundamentalism and the teaching of evolution in public schools. The trial pitted the prosecution, led by William Jennings Bryan, against the defense, led by Clarence Darrow, and became a symbol of the cultural divide in American society.

The Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression

The prosperity of the 1920s came to an abrupt end with the stock market crash of 1929, which triggered the Great Depression. This section explores the causes and consequences of these events:

1. Causes of the Stock Market Crash

The stock market crash was the result of various factors, including excessive speculation, overproduction, and unequal distribution of wealth. The practice of buying stocks on margin, which allowed investors to purchase stocks with borrowed money, also contributed to the crash.

2. The Great Depression and its Impact on American Society

The Great Depression was the most severe economic downturn in American history. It led to widespread unemployment, homelessness, and poverty. The government's response to the crisis, including the implementation of the New Deal under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shaped the future of American politics and economics.

3. The Dust Bowl and the Agricultural Crisis

The Great Depression coincided with a severe agricultural crisis in the Midwest known as the Dust Bowl. Drought, combined with poor farming practices, led to massive dust storms that devastated farmlands and forced many farmers to migrate in search of work.


Chapter 32 of APUSH provides a comprehensive overview of the Roaring Twenties, a period of immense change and transformation in American history. By understanding the economic, social, and political developments of this era, students can gain valuable insights into the factors that shaped the nation's trajectory in the 20th century.