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English III American Literature:
Great Gatsby Research Projects
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Great Gatsby Research Projects

The Great Gatsby Mini- Research Topics


Directions: Choose wisely. You will research on one of the below topics. You will provide a 2-3 page paper with MLA citations, as well as a brief handout (which includes major points) to provide the class when you present at the roundtable discussion. You may also want to include a visual to show the class (I recommend this).


The Rising Effect of the Automobile

Between 1920 and 1929, automobile registrations rose from eight million to twenty-three million. What effects have automobiles had on the lives of American people (pollution, gas use, industry, roads, car accidents, etc.)? What contribution did Ford make to the automobile industry?


Legal Concerns of the Day

A.) Research the case of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italians convicted in the 1920 murder of a Massachusetts paymaster and his guard. Explain why the case was so controversial. What was the general feeling towards immigrants at the time and how might that have affected the trial's outcome?


B.) In The Great Gatsby there are many references to illegal activity--world series fixing, bootlegging, police complicity in crime. Research criminal activity in the 1920's, including the Harding Administration scandal, the Teapot Dome scandal, and the Black Sox Scandal.


C.) The Eighteenth Amendment, the Prohibition Act, was passed in 1919. How and why did the temperance movement win this battle? How did it affect the country? When and why was it repealed?


D.) The Nineteenth Amendment was made effective in 1920. Trace the history of the women's suffrage movement. What arguments were made for and against women's suffrage? Were any of these ideals or worries realized? How has women's right to vote changed the United States?



Immigrants began to come into the United States in large numbers after WWI. Research the history of immigration to the U.S., particularly during the 1920's. What legislation was passed by Congress concerning immigration in the 1920's (see the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, and the Immigration Act of 1924)?


Economic Growth and Stock Market Activity

Discuss the stock Market crash of 1929. Why did it happen and what was its aftermath? How did it lead to the Great Depression?


Culture of the Time

The Harlem Renaissance was a period of literary and intellectual flowering that fostered a new black cultural identity in the 1920's and 1930's. Report on the variety of arts and people that were involved in the Harlem Renaissance. Why would it have happened in such a specific place and at such a specific time?