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My history teacher in eighth grade once told me that the reason we learn history is to learn from the past so that society does not walk down the same paths of tragedy in hopes of constructing a better future. History allows us to understand the present by giving insight into events in the past when it comes to culture, society, and politics in the U.S. The present is exceptionally different because of the lessons learned from the United States’ past.

In the twenties, the U.S. changed to a consumerist era, especially after the Great Depression. During this time, the U.S. experienced an economic explosion. This explosion triggered the rise of consumer culture because of the success of mass-produced goods and a thriving middle class willing to spend money. This created the rise of retail stores and branded goods that still exist today. A couple of name brands that still exist today are Kellogg’s, General Electric, and Walgreens. Movies at this time were new and became popular with the U.S. market because 20,000 theaters had been opened by 1924, and movies became the leading form of entertainment. This was the start of Hollywood and how it came to be known as the hub of entertainment. Hollywood during this time is the leader in entertainment with the sheer number of movies they pump out.

The radio put jazz music into the mainstream because about 41 million Americans owned a radio. Jazz music appeals to everyone because the music is about pleasure, which is a universal feeling, felt by everyone. Jazz music helped bridge the gap between races for African Americans and white Americans, the music caused white Americans to rush over to black nightclubs to listen and dance to jazz. Jazz didn’t fix all issues with race, however, it showed many Americans that black Americans are also humans like them.

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The big event in history that made impacted-on American society is the 9/11 attack that happens in 2001. The day of September 11, 2001, started like any other, with adults going to work and kids going to school, however, everything changed when “[…] Islamist terrorists hijacked a U.S. airline in Boston. They flew it to New York City, where at 8.44 a.m. they slammed the fuel-laden jet into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in the heart of the nation’s financial district”, and then “eighteen minutes after the first tower was hit, a second hijacked jumbo jet crashed into the Trade Center’s South Tower” (David Emory Shi, 1348). This event changed the way Americans traveled by plane because the U.S. government set up the Transportation Security Administration, also known as TSA. TSA is the strict airport security that exists today that keeps U.S. citizens safe. After the attack, U.S. citizens were left with a deep scare.

In the U.S. there was an instance in time when the 18th Amendment banned the sale, creation, and consumption of alcohol. This is also known as prohibition and was hated by most Americans at the time. The reason the U.S. banned alcohol was that “excessive drinking, said the Nashville Banner, was the largest ‘producer of disease, crime and poverty’, along with most brewers being German which were not seen in a good light because of the war (David Emory Shi, 982). Many of the individuals who supported the ban on alcohol are Christians and Protestant evangelists. This, however, did not stop the creation and consumption of alcohol because the 18th Amendment had many loopholes, one being that it is not specifically stated that consuming alcohol is illegal. People would run underground saloons where people could drink liquor.

History grants everyone the opportunity to learn about anything they desire, may it be music, world history, or technology. History is important because it holds valuable information about anything that has happened in the past. History is a powerful tool because governments and individuals can learn from mistakes that have happened in history so that tomorrow can be a better place for everyone.

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