What Happened in American History in 1920?

In the year 1920, America was undergoing a significant transformation. The nation had just come out of the first World War and was experiencing a period of political, social, and cultural changes. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the key events that took place in American history in 1920.

The Ratification of the 19th Amendment

One of the most significant events that took place in American history in 1920 was the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment granted women the right to vote, and it was a crucial victory for women’s rights advocates who had been fighting for suffrage for decades.

The ratification of this amendment was not an easy feat. It required years of campaigning and activism by women’s rights groups such as the National Women’s Party and the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The amendment passed after being ratified by 36 states, with Tennessee being the final state to approve it.

The Prohibition Era Begins

Another significant event that occurred in American history in 1920 was the beginning of Prohibition. This era lasted from 1920 to 1933 and made it illegal to manufacture, sell, or transport alcoholic beverages.

Prohibition was a controversial policy that led to widespread organized crime and corruption throughout America. Despite its shortcomings, Prohibition did result in a decrease in alcohol consumption during its early years.

The Rise of Jazz Music

In 1920s America, Jazz music became increasingly popular among young people. Jazz music originated from African American communities in New Orleans but quickly spread throughout America.

Jazz music represented a break from traditional forms of music and became associated with rebellion and freedom. Famous jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington gained popularity during this time period.

The Red Scare

The Red Scare was a period of political and social unrest that occurred in America during the early 1920s. It was characterized by a fear of communism and socialist ideals spreading throughout the country.

The Red Scare led to the arrest and deportation of many individuals who were suspected of being communists or having ties to communist organizations. This period of paranoia and suspicion had a significant impact on American society, leading to increased government surveillance and restrictions on civil liberties.

The First Commercial Radio Broadcast

On November 2, 1920, KDKA in Pittsburgh became the first radio station to broadcast a commercial radio program. The station aired a news broadcast covering the results of the presidential election between Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox.

This event marked the beginning of commercial radio broadcasting in America, which would go on to revolutionize communication and entertainment in the country.


In conclusion, 1920 was an eventful year in American history. From women’s suffrage to Prohibition, from jazz music to political unrest, this year saw significant changes that would shape American society for decades to come.