There are striking similarities between 1920s and recent decades. In fact, for many historians, the 1920s marks the emergence of “modern America.” By the time your students finish this unit they should recognize many of the features of modern life such as mass consumption, the cult of celebrity, and the preoccupation and commercialization of sex. They should also recognize many of the same social anxieties—concerns about immigration, political scandal, and race—as well as some familiar battles—for example, religious conservatives versus social progressives.
Therefore you might set this unit up by asking them to define modern America. How exactly will future historians characterize our times? If the conversation does not flow there on its own, you should steer it toward some of the contemporary features that they will find in the 1920s.