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Air Mail Service mechanics, Omaha Nebraska, 1924.
One of hundreds of occupations that the new inventions (such as the airplane,
motion pictures, and the automobile) of the new century created.
The 1920s were a time of tremendous change in America. These airplane mechanics
proudly posing for the camera exemplify a fundamental transition that
took place during that decade - the acceleration of the steady move from
an agrarian to an industrial economy. Prior to World War I, 42% of all
Americans lived on a farm. By the end of the twenties this percentage
had dropped to 25%. Prior to World War I only 7% of all Americans completed
High School. By the end of the '20s this percentage had jumped almost
six-fold to 41%.
The addition of two Amendments to the Constitution launched the decade and defined
its character. The enactment of Prohibition marked the beginning of a "Noble
strove to uplift America's moral character through the banishment of alcohol.
The experiment failed and today references to the "Roaring Twenties" evoke images
of lawlessness and moral decay. The 19th Amendment extended the right to vote
to women and reflected a change in women's role in American society that continues