The 1920's was a time of many fads, fashions, and economic prosperity. This decade carved itself in U.S. history because of the infamous illegal bars called Speakeasies and as well as the Red Scare, which would prove troublesome to many that lived in the United States, because of it's influence in the 1919 bombings. Luigi Galleani was one of the immigrants who were affected by the Red Scare, and one of the most prominent figures aside from gangsters like Al Capone and Dutch Schultz during this time. The 1920s was prone to many movements such as the surge of patriotism against suspected anarchists, the Harlem Renaissance, and Dance Marathons.

The Red Scare and the Speakeasies marked the 1920's for violence, fear, and boot-leg alcohol, as well as the many unfair actions by the government and the people. The illegal bars known as Speakeasies, were originally formed in the mid 1920s. These bars were the result of Prohibition (illegal use, manufacturing, transportation, and sale of alcohol), which was made possible by the issuing of the 18 th Amendment. Speakeasies were illegal bars that gave illegal alcohol to patrons who wanted to go against the law and buy alcohol. These bars were said to be luxurious because they usually contained drinking, entertainment, singers, and Vaudeville acts. During the Speakeasies' establishment, another threat was beginning to rise, the Red Scare. The Red Scare's origins lie within the Government's efforts to gain favorable support for the United State's entry to the "war to end all wars." The president at that time, Woodrow Wilson, spent most of his efforts in spreading anti-German and pro-allied propaganda. These efforts were advanced by Congress' decision to pass the Espionage Act of 1917, and the Sedition Act of 1918. the Espionage Act made it a "crime to interfere with the operation or success of the military," and the Sedition Act outlawed Americans to use "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" regarding the U.S. flag, armed forces, or the government during the time of war. When the war finally ended, a new threat came to rise in the form of fear of communism reaching United States soil, or in other words The First Red Scare.   In 1917, Russia established a communist government because of the Bolshevik revolution and the Red Terror. As a result of the Red Scare, many foreign, radical , and anarchist publications were disrupted. The actions of the government angered many anarchists, and as a response they set up a series of bombings in 1919. there were a total of 30 bombs that targeted politicians, judges, business men, and a Bureau of Investigation agent.   Later on a surge of even more devastating bombings surfaced. In 1920, a powerful bomb containing 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of fragmented steel exploded in front of the offices of the J.P. Morgan Company, killing 38 people and injuring 400 innocent lives. The bombs endangered a wide list of official targets, which were all traced back to militant followers of the Italian anarchist Luigi Galleani.



Luigi Galleani was one of the many prominent figures of the 1920s, next to gangster Al Capone, Saceo and Vanzeatti, and Langston Hughes. During the Red Scare phenomenon, many publications were disrupted, as well as Galleani's Cronaca Sovversiva, which advocated the overthrow of the government, and advertisement the booklet Health is in you! Which concealed instructions on how to make a bomb.   Luigi Galleani attracted many militant followers with his beliefs, whom were titled Galleanists, and were the ones held accountable for the 1919 bombings.   Two galleanists Sacco and Vanzetti, sparked a united states controversy, which exposed the country's fear of anarchism.   These men were put on trial for murder and were executed, but this is now seen as unfair and unjustifiable.   There were many gangsters that were prominent during this decade, especially because of the speakeasies.   Al Capone was the most powerful gang leader in the 1920s.   Capone made a fortune for manufacturing and selling illegal booze to the speakeasies.   He was also notorious for bribing politicians, and judges. Langston Hughes is also one of the most recognizable people in the Harlem Renaissance which took place during the 1920s. Langston Hughes is a famous poet who wrote a cast number of novels, plays, essays, and poems. He is known for being a traveler, which is also believed to have inspired many of his works. Hughes has written a number of volumes of different genres, influencing many African American writers.


The 1920s was marked by the Harlem Renaissance for its movement of black poets and writers, blind patriotism, and the spread of dance marathons. The Harlem renaissance originated from Harlem, New York. During this time many black authors, included; Zora Neale Husrton, Langston Hughes, and Alaine Locke. The bombings in 1919 sparked a sense of patriotism throughout the continent leading to violent acts by the people.   An example of one of these violent actions would be when Wesley Everest, a wobblie, was dragged from his prison and hanged. Later on, anarchist Luigi Galliani was deported a long with eight of his followers because of Galleani's influence of the violent overthrow of the government. Anarchist retaliation came soon after that with the attempt of trial judge Webster Thayer. Another popular trend in the 1920s were the dance marathons, which began around 1923. This was basically a competition were you literally had   to "dance till you dropped." The dances would become very popular during the depression because of the many out of work people who would come to compete for cast prizes.

The decade of new fads, fashion, and technology wasn't so pleasant because of the red scare phenomenon, but the Harlem renaissance and the dance marathons made it all seem worthwhile. America suffered because of their fear of another country's government issues. As a result, America started picking off suspected innocent people, and created the first domino to a series of violent acts and movements.   The speakeasies also brought some temptation for illegal pleasure in alcohol and entertainment. But the Harlem renaissance and he dance marathons would even out violence and temptation with fun and African American culture. Many people would call this decade the " roaring 1920s". but it was a period in America's history where Americans revealed their laws of blind patriotism and senseless violence form fear, as well as their emotional and fun side.


  • Feinstein, Stephen. The 1950s: from thee Korean War to Elvis. New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, Inc. 2000.
  • Monroe, Judy. The Sacco and Vanzetti Controversial Murder Trial. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc 2000


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