How Far Do You Agree That Population Movement in the 1920s Was the Biggest Factor for Change?
Throughout the 1920s in America, there were considerable changes in: social, ideological and geographical spheres encompassing population movement, modernisation and threats to capitalism. In this essay it will be argued that population movement (regarding the ‘Great Migration’ and change in immigration patterns) was a significant factor for change in the 1920s as it generated a change in opinion towards minority groups (African Americans and immigrants). However, modernisation was also a key factor as it generated an increase in social possibilities that created the social norms and cultures that were present in the 1920s. Although the influence and reactions to communism will also be discussed in this essay, it’s impact was less notable.

Migration of large black communities from the Southern to the Northern states, known as the ‘Great Migration’, influenced political and social changes as a greater black voice was established. This migration was motivated by the industrialisation in the North advertising more opportunities for blacks than were available in the South due to prevalent Jim Crow Laws. The high demand for workers in munition factories in the North meant that housing, free transport and higher wages were offered as incentives, which appealed to blacks in the South as it offered a better quality of life. This is evident by the large influx of black populations in large Northern cities, such as Chicago, where between 1920 and 1930 it rose from 109,458 to 233,903. The effect of such a drastic increase, changed voting patterns which created a voting bloc, as candidates that advertised the need for black rights were voted for and, in some cases, blacks were voted into local and federal government. This is seen in the election for the mayor of Chicago in 1919, which led to future candidates taking interest into black wants as parts of their campaigns, a strategy that enabled them to come out victorious. As a result, a powerful business-orientated black elite was established with a peaked interest in segregation, as it became apparent that a black American who campaigned in a black ward was likely to win the whole black vote. This meant that black voices were growing and their demands were being listened to and considered in Northern cities. Population movement in the form of the ‘Great Migration’, changed demographics of both Southern and Northern states for African Americans as it allowed their opinions to be voiced and widely discussed, it also devised more social opportunities for them.

Large-scale immigration from Europe and Mexico during and prior to the 1920s meant that populations became too high, causing competition for jobs and housing. Therefore several acts, such as the Emergency Quota Act in 1921, were put into place to limit the number of immigrants entering America which ultimately changed the opinions of Americans to non-Americans. Precedent to the First World War, America

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Migration Of Large Black Communities And Great Migration. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from