The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

The 1990s was the best decade of the 20th century.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/16/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,774 times Debate No: 8666
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. Let's begin with how this is going to work.

I, PRO, believe that the 1990s, when compared to any other decade in the 20th century, outshines it in every single way, and is, therefore, the best decade of the 20th century

My opponent will have to prove otherwise.

In round two, my opponent and I will argue over the subject of culture, in round three we will argue over movies/television/theater/entertainment, in round four we will argue about the subject of politics/international relations/economics, and in the last round we will argue over the subject of music.

Sound good?


I don't know what to do in the first round beacause you have such a clear outline for the rest of the debate so I will just say that I am going with the 1920s.
Debate Round No. 1


Okay Round 1: Culture

Culture-the values and morals a society holds.

For the sake of this debate, let's just say that culture is just basically an overview of what happened in this decade. Let's also try to keep our discussions US-based, except for Round 4.

The Culture of the 1990s: Let's start with something that we all know about today, the internet. The internet was first used in 1994. The invention of the internet in the 1990s allowed many Americans to do many more things than they could of done in the 1920s. Americans could now talk to someone in Denmark, listen to music, have more references than the world's largest library, shop, and play without ever leaving their desks. This lead to a culture explosion with people from all around the world now having the ability to exchange ideas and beliefs in seconds. The effects of such a great utility are still being felt today. In the 1990s, Generation X starting to enter adulthood. Generation X was born between 1964 and 1981. Generation X was a very "in your face" generation and they were open to various new ideas. For example, mostly do to shifting social attitudes in 1990 the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of diseases. The 1990s were also a period of family morals. The divorce rate declined and stabilized from its 1980s highs and church attendance increased.

Now for my attack of 1920s culture...
The 1920s the only decade with prohibition. Prohibition lead to strong levels of organized crime (Al Capone, The Mob, etc).

So, since the culture of the 1920s was plagued by crime, then I think that its safe to say that the tolerant, informative, and relativity peaceful 1990s outshine the '20s in regards to culture.


People started acting more independent, the flappers were a big part of that. A flapper is a name given to the fashionable, pleasure-seeking young women of the time. The archetypal flapper look was tomboyish and flamboyant: short bobbed hair; knee-length, fringed skirts; long, draping necklaces; and rolled stockings. Although few women actually fit this image, it was used widely in journalism and advertising to represent the rebelliousness of the period. The traditional bastions of American morality lamented these developments, and especially criticized the new dances and college students' proclivity for drinking and smoking. These critics, however, soon found themselves facing much larger opposition as the older generations began to adopt some of the socially liberated practices of their children.

Literature flourished with authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Despite being called the lost generation they still managed to put out highly touted works such as "The Great Gatsby" and "The Sun Also Rises".

The crime that comes along with the speakeasies may seem bad, but it was a popular recreational place for many people and they were just precursors for the ever popular bars and nightclubs. It happened when the Eighteenth Amendment, which made it illegal to manufacture, sell, or transport alcoholic beverages, went into effect in January 1920. Enforcement of prohibition, however, was sporadic and underfunded and faced opposition in many states and cities, especially northern cities, where many prohibition laws were repealed. Given this lax enforcement, many Americans viewed prohibition as something of a joke. Bootleggers smuggled liquor from the West Indies and Canada, while speakeasies in every city provided alcohol illegally.
Debate Round No. 2


Round Three: movies/television/theater/entertainment

When it comes to television, the 90's can be considered somewhat of a Golden Age. Sitcoms (situational comedy), cartoons, and programs designed for teenagers were extremely popular throughout the decade. A fine example of a classic 90's sitcom would have to be Friends. The plot of friends revolved around a group of friends who lived in New York City. Friends continued to be produced throughout the decade until its cancellation in 2004. It received high ratings from both critics and fans. Nickelodeon was the number one children's network throughout the decade. Shows like Rugrats, Rocko's Modern Life, and The Ren and Stimpy Show dominated the decade. Nickelodeon's highest ratings were during the 90's. Even today, 90's Nick shows are the standard to which every other cartoon/children's program is judged. Demand for 90s "nicktoons" is so high that Viacom is considering devoting an entire channel to them that will almost identically resemble the lineup of the 1990s. Shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and Saved by the Bell were the stepping stone between cartoons and sitcoms. Many teens watched (and became obsessed) with such shows. Many T.V. shows came to represent the innocence of the decade when compared to the "skanky" 80s.

The entertainment of the 1920s would have to be strictly limited to radio and sports. Even though radio was a relatively "hip" thing in the 20's it doesn't even compare to 90's television. Sports was okay in the 20s, but eXtreme sports and hockey became popular in the 90s and became the staple of Generation X.


This is a stupid debate and I don't know why I accepted it.
Debate Round No. 3


Yay! Due to my opponent's stupidity I win!


If you didn't notice, I deactivated my account, but I am back. We each forfeited a round so I would say we are equal. I had to deactivate my account because my boss kept on catching me on this site when I should've been working but he can't see me on this site at 3 in the morning.

The German market was not as important as either the French or the British markets.
Sales to Britain and France soared from $825 million in 1914 to $3.2 billion in 1916.
By 1915, President Wilson, while preaching peace, had begun to gear up for warfare, expanding the United States army and navy. Because of increased German submarine attacks on American ships, America entered the war on the side of the Allies in 1917, and almost immediately tipped the balance in their favor. In full retreat, Germany asked for an armistice, which was granted on November 11, 1918. The effect of the war on Germany, France, Great Britain, and Russia was devastating, both to their economies and in the loss of human life. America, on the other hand, came out of the war relatively unscathed. American soldiers (called "doughboys" because the large buttons on their uniforms resembled a deep-fried bread of the same name) returned home in May 1919 to ticker-tape parades and the promise of a prosperous decade.

Of course, there were problems as well. The transition from a war-time to a peace-time economy caused economic dislocation for industrial workers, loss of income for farmers, and renewed racism and nativism against African-Americans and foreign immigrants. Many Americans, however, reveled in the new culture of consumerism.

In search of prosperity, Americans elected three Republican Presidents during this decade. Each of these men promised to promote the politics of prosperity:

Warren G. Harding (1865-1923). Elected to the Presidency in the 1920s, Harding urged a "return to normalcy." The policies of his administration were generally conservative, especially regarding taxes, tariffs, immigration restriction, labor rights, and business regulation. Harding's administration was marked by corruption and scandal, although most of the scandals did not become public knowledge until after he died of a stroke in office in August 1923.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933). Coolidge did little as Warren G. Harding's vice president (1921-23), but when he assumed the presidency after Harding's death, he acted quickly to repair the damage of the Harding administrations scandals and to secure the 1924 presidential nomination. He was easily elected over Democrat John W. Davis and Progressive Robert M. La Follette. Near the end of his second term, Coolidge decided not to run for president again and retired from politics. Many of Coolidge's policies, including federal tax cuts and high tariffs, were very popular during his tenure as president, but lost favor during the Great Depression.

Herbert Hoover (1874-1964). Having served as secretary of commerce under both Harding and Coolidge, Hoover was elected to the presidency in 1928, helped by the prevailing prosperity in the country. Hoover had been in office just a few months when the Great Depression began. In 1932, he lost the presidential election to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On the whole, the United States economy experienced steady growth and expansion during the 1920s. Three factors fueled this economic growth:

The Process of Standardized Mass Production

These factors created a self-perpetuating cycle:

standardized mass production led to
better machinery in factories, which led to
higher production and higher wages, which led to
more demand for consumer goods
which led back to more standardized mass production.

This upward spiral continued until 1929. There were five main sources of the 1920s economic boom:

Effect of WWI on technology.
Scientific management: "Taylorism"
Rapid increase in worker productivity
Psychology of consumption
Relations between the federal government and big business
1. Effect of WWI on Technology.

During the war, a significant labor shortage, combined with the need for increased production, necessitated new, more efficient methods of production. The War stimulated a number of old industries, such as petroleum and steel, and helped create a host of new industries, such as plastic and rayon production. One measure of these accelerated technological changes is the money spent on new machinery for industry. In 1915, the total annual expenditure was $600 million, which grew to $2.5 billion by 1918.

2. Scientific management known popularly as "Taylorism."

We've already discussed "Taylorism" in Lecture 11, with its mathematical formula for labor, streamlining of tasks, and increase in production. In the 1920s, American industries implemented scientific management on a grand scale, pouring millions of dollars into industrial research.

3. Rapid increase in worker productivity.

As scientific management and new technology increased worker productivity, workers earned higher wages and became better consumers. A new innovation appeared: the installment plan, which encouraged Americans to build up debt in order to buy consumer goods.

I hope you aren't angry at me.
Debate Round No. 4


Republican95 forfeited this round.


I'm sure I will lose this debate because of my third round comment, but I will continue to post my arguments.

In the 1920s, jazz was being played in dance halls and roadhouses and speakeasies all over the country. Early jazz influences found their first mainstream expression in the music used by marching bands and dance bands of the day, which was the main form of popular concert music in the early twentieth century.

Meanwhile, radio and phonograph records — Americans bought more than 100 million of them in 1927 — were bringing jazz to locations so remote that no band could reach them. And the music itself was beginning to change — an exuberant, collective music was coming to place more and more emphasis on the innovations of supremely gifted individuals. Improvising soloists, struggling to find their own voices and to tell their own stories, were about to take center stage.

In its early years jazz was considered the devils music by diverse segments of the American public. Vigorous public debate raged between supporters and detracters. A typical exchange took place between music critic Ernest Newman who debunked Jazz in a 1927 magazine article, with a reply soon forthcoming from jazz-king Paul Whiteman who argued that jazz was a genuine musical force - and we know who history shows was correct in his views.

Public dance halls, clubs, and tea rooms opened in the cities. Strangely named black dances inspired by African style dance moves, like the shimmy, turkey trot, buzzard lope, chicken scratch, monkey glide, and the bunny hug were eventually adopted by the general public. The cake walk, developed by slaves as a send-up of their masters' formal dress balls, became the rage. White audiences saw these dances first in vaudeville shows, then performed by exhibition dancers in the clubs.

The popular dance music of the time was not jazz, but there were early forms taking shape in the evolving blues-ragtime experimental area that would soon turn into jazz. Popular Tin Pan Alley composers like Irving Berlin incorporated ragtime influence into their compositions, though they rarely used the specific musical devices that were second nature to jazz players—the rhythms, the blue notes. Few things did more to popularize the idea of hot music than Berlin's hit song of 1911,"Alexander's Ragtime Band," which became a craze as far from home as Vienna. Although the song wasn't written in rag time, the lyrics describe a jazz band, right up to jazzing up popular songs, as in the line, "If you want to hear the Swanee River played in ragtime...."

The 1920's were Broadway's prime years, with over 50 new musicals opening in just one season. Record numbers of people paid up to $3.50 for a seat at a musical. It was also a decade of incredible artistic developments in the musical theatre.

Even in the 1920's the lights of Broadway lit up the billboards at night in a huge splash of color that was immortalized in song. The dazzling lights were an attraction in their own right that compared with the shows in popularity.

The Broadway shows were produced by showmen who took musical theatre seriously and tried to provide quality entertainment while making a profit at the same time. This attitude kept the musical theatre booming right through the 1920s. Among the hundreds of popular musical comedies that debuted on Broadway in the early 1920s, two classic examples epitomise the Broadway musical of that era – Sally and No, No, Nanette.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by patsox834 7 years ago
Ugh, ccstate4peat, it's just never necessary to mention No, No Nanette. Ever.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
Conduct - CON
CON called the debate stupid. PRO called CON stupid.
Spelling/Grammar - TIED
Convincing Arguments - CON
Put up arguments.
Sources - TIED
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
It looks like a mess.
Posted by KeithKroeger91 7 years ago
Horrible debate. It was a great debate till ccstate lamed out. I agree with ccstate I think the 20's was a better decade but my theory to why he all of a sudden decided it was a stupid debate was because he didn't know how to argue back.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
5 rounds about this? My gosh.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
Well, of course, the last decade avaliable is almost always the best.
Posted by Brock_Meyer 7 years ago
What does a 14-year-old know about the 20th century?
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
The instigator did not set up proper parameters.

"My opponent will have to pick another decade (e.g. 1920s, 1960s, 1980s, etc.) and try to argue that the decide he or she has chosen is better than the 1990s."
Correction: The opponent should be able to pick several decades and argue them if need be, for Pro must prove the 1990s are better than every decade in the 20th century, not just one chosen by Con.

"In round two, my opponent and I will argue over the subject of culture, in round three we will argue over movies/television, in round four we will argue about the subject of economics, and in the last round we will argue over the subject of music."
Movies and television? There is much difference in availability of materials and processes in the 1910's to the 1990's. Did they even have TV in the 1910's? There should be more significant topics to argue as well, such as: international affairs, national and local leadership, and the effects of global actions.

Hope you guys have a fun debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by mongeese 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:04