Key Concept 7.2: A revolution in communications and transportation technology helped to create a new mass culture and spread “modern” values and ideas, even as cultural conflicts between groups increased under the pressure of migration, world wars, and economic distress.
I. New technologies led to social transformations that improved the standard of living for many, while contributing to increased political and cultural conflicts. (ID-6) (ID-8) (WXT-3) (WXT-5) (CUL-3) (CUL-6) (CUL-7)
A. New technologies contributed to improved standards of living, greater personal mobility, and better communications systems.
• radio, motion pictures, automobiles B. Technological change, modernization, and changing demographics led to increased political and cultural conflict on several fronts: tradition versus innovation, urban versus rural, fundamentalist Christianity versus scientific modernism, management versus labor, native-born versus new immigrants, white versus black, and idealism versus disillusionment.
C. The rise of an urban, industrial society encouraged the development of a variety of cultural expressions for migrant, regional, and African American artists (expressed most notably in the Harlem Renaissance movement); it also contributed to national culture by making shared experiences more possible through art, cinema, and the mass media.
• Yiddish theater, jazz, Edward Hopper II. The global ramifications of World War I and wartime patriotism and xenophobia, combined with social tensions created by increased international migration, resulted in legislation restricting immigration from Asia and from southern and eastern Europe. (ID-6) (WOR-4) (PEO-2) (PEO-6) (PEO-7) (POL-7) (WXT-6)
World War I created a repressive atmosphere for civil liberties, resulting in official restrictions on freedom of speech.
As labor strikes and racial strife disrupted society, the immediate postwar period witnessed the first “Red Scare,” which legitimized attacks on radicals and immigrants.
Several acts of Congress established highly restrictive immigration quotas, while national policies continued to permit unrestricted immigration from nations in the Western Hemisphere, especially Mexico, in order to guarantee an inexpensive supply of labor.
III. Economic dislocations, social pressures, and the economic growth spurred by World Wars I and II led to a greater degree of migration within the United States, as well as migration to the United States from elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere. (ID-6) (ID-8) (PEO-3) (WOR-4)
A. Although most African Americans remained in the South despite legalized segregation and racial violence, some began a “Great Migration” out of the South to pursue new economic opportunities offered by World War I.
B. Many Americans migrated during the Great Depression, often driven by economic difficulties, and during World Wars I and II, as a result of the need for wartime production labor.
C. Many Mexicans, drawn to the U.S. by economic opportunities, faced
ambivalent government policies in the 1930s and 1940s.
• Great Depression–era deportations, Bracero program, Luisa Moreno