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The Culture Wars in the United States of America Essay


The culture wars can be defined as the debates between the representatives of the opposite cultural movements and ideological camps. The representatives of these camps support opposite ideologies and depend on different moral values. During the 1920s, the culture wars developed between traditionalists and modernists whose visions were different in relation to questions of economics, education, and religion.

Thus, the Roaring 20s were associated with the significant cultural and ideological debates based on the changing principles of the social development. Today, the American society also experiences a kind of the culture wars which began in the 1980s as the reaction to the conservative policy of Ronald Reagan. In spite of the fact there are many years between the two periods of the culture wars, the ideological backgrounds and reasons for the wars are rather similar and depend on the opposition in the views of traditionalists and modernists.

It is possible to concentrate on several issues significant for the discussion during the culture wars of the 1920s. The growth of the cities made many people emigrate from the rural territories to the urban regions of the USA.

The rural population was discussed as alien in the cities (Jones et al. 212). Moreover, the immigration from the other countries was also limited. Trying to preserve the traditional values, the conservative Americans contributed to the development of nativism. The cultural wars of the 1980s-2000s are also focused on the problem of immigration as the process threatening for preserving the national identity.

The next point is the opposition between the religious and scientific worlds. Thus, the supporters of the traditional religious views could not allow the study of the evolution theory in the 1920s. Today, it is also possible to observe the war between the religious and scientific worlds which is based on discussing the ethical issues of stem cell research and gene engineering.

The next similar feature is the debates on the cultural aspects. During the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance made traditionalists discuss the possibilities of the cultural decline, and the emergence of the “Lost Generation” movement was the reaction of the progressive cultural activists to the debates.

The development of the pop culture and the MTV Generation during the 1990s-2000s is the reaction to the traditionalists’ views of the present days. Furthermore, the changes in the women’s status and the orientation to the birth control during the 1920s were as provocative as the abortion policy during the 1990s.

The progressive representatives of the roaring 1920s spent their time dancing and drinking, making the traditionalists discuss the aspects of the moral decline within the society. Nevertheless, the progressive representatives of the 1980s-2000s orient to the policy on the recreational drug use.

The conservative public in the 1920s was shocked by changes in gender roles, and the conservative public in the 1990s was shocked by extreme changes in approaches to notions of sexuality and family (Jones et al. 410). The movement for the rights of homosexuals became the synonym of progressivism during the 1990s-2000s.

Thus, it is possible to note that the main points discussed during the culture wars are similar for the 1920s and for the 1980s-2000s. However, the debates of traditionalists and modernists from two periods of time differ in the level of intensity and controversy. Today, the questions are more provocative, and the ethical issues involved are more influential.

In spite of the fact the American contemporary society can be discussed as pluralistic, the culture wars cannot be resolved once and for all because any new progressive visions in relation to the spheres of morality, politics, social life, and culture can be argued by the supporters of the traditional rules.

Works Cited

Jones, Jacqueline, Peter Wood, Thomas Borstelmann, Elaine Tyler May, and Vicki Ruiz. Created equal: A history of the United States. USA: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2018, December 14). The Culture Wars in the United States of America. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-wars-in-the-united-states-of-america/

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"The Culture Wars in the United States of America." IvyPanda, 14 Dec. 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-wars-in-the-united-states-of-america/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Culture Wars in the United States of America." December 14, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-wars-in-the-united-states-of-america/.


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IvyPanda. "The Culture Wars in the United States of America." December 14, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-wars-in-the-united-states-of-america/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "The Culture Wars in the United States of America." December 14, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-wars-in-the-united-states-of-america/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'The Culture Wars in the United States of America'. 14 December.

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