"Return to normalcy" was a 1920 United States presidential campaign slogan that helped Warren G. Harding become the 29th U.S. president, but the phrase also had an ironic significance because the 1920s were a decade of great change, not all of it positive. The slogan was based on the premise that the nation was tired of reform policies and the turbulence of the World War I years. The 1920s, however, became known as the "Roaring Twenties," witnessed the rise of organized crime as a result of the bootlegging trade that developed after the passage of the prohibition laws and ended with the Great Depression.
Up until the Great Depression, the 1920s saw an overall growth of business and the economy through increased consumer spending, highly effective advertising and marketing strategies, numerous corporate mergers and the wide-scale application of Henry Ford's moving assembly line in production systems. The "Lost Generation" emerged during this time. Influential American writers such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis left their marks on literature, while many who viewed with disdain what they perceived as narrow-mindedness and materialism became expatriates.
Alienation from the predominant value system began to be displayed in a new 1920s lifestyle that signaled a significant and growing rejection of traditional culture. During this time, President Harding's administration was plagued by corruption, including embezzlement and influence peddling. His presidency was cut short by a fatal heart attack believed by some historians to have been the result of the stress caused by the many high-level scandals he was forced to deal with.