In the 1920s, it was the age of the automobile. More and more people were able to afford cars and as time went on, more and more young people were able to own cars or borrow their parents’ car. As teenagers and young adults become more mobile they were able to be more independent and it wasn’t long before they noticed that cars had another advantage. Cars were basically a cheap, mobile hotel room. It was easy to find a secluded spot and then have some fun making out or even going further.
It was quickly realized that cars were potentially degrading American morals. Men were able to use cars to find their way to brothels and prostitutes were able to proposition men on street corners. It was now possible for men to simply enjoy a prostitute within their own car rather than having to travel to a hotel room. But more alarming was the way that cars allowed teens and young adults a way to be free of parental supervision. Pre-marital act was on the rise from 1910-1930 as cars became a common household item.
The proliferation of cars was also coming at a time when women were becoming more independent and less cloistered. They were dancing the Charleston, listening to jazz music, wearing pants and riding bicycles. Women were seeking education and jobs and dating was becoming a regular thing. Now a man would pick up a girl at her home and take her out for dinner and entertainment. As it became the custom for the man to pay, a working girl was often expected to offer him something in return. As it was often the only way a woman could afford such luxuries they often obliged the requests of their date to go all the way in the backseat of the car.
The use of the car for an easy way to hook up and have an act only increased throughout the 50s and 60s and was attributed as part of the revolution. Now young adults often owned their own cars or households would have more than one car which allowed for even more ease of transportation and privacy. As the norms loosened with women becoming more independent and young adults being more interested in free love and fighting against the stiff cultural norms, the rate of premarital acts skyrocketed. The car, the prosperity of the 50s and the rise of teenagers with their own cars led to drastically changing attitudes about intercourse among young Americans and future generations.
Edgar Hoover Had a intercourse File to Influence and Intimidate his Enemies
It is no secret that when J. Edgar Hoover was in control of the FBI that he often exceeded its jurisdiction. He turned the FBI into an unparalleled crime-fighting agency and instituted a number of modernizations to police technology. He was director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924 and went on to help found the FBI in 1935. He was the director of the FBI from 1935 until his death in 1972. He even had the rules changed so that he could remain director even after he passed the age of 70. Many believed that Hoover was much too old to be an effective leader of the FBI but both Presidents and members of Congress feared the consequences of dismissing him.
J. Edgar Hoover used his position and his resources as director of the FBI to create files on those he found to be a threat to himself or to the country. This included political opponents, civil rights leaders, and communists. Hoover was frustrated by the decisions of the Supreme Court and the Justice Department in regards to being allowed to prosecute people for their political opinions so he decided to take matters into his own hands. In 1956, he created a covert program called COINTELPRO that allowed him to go after communists or people he viewed as a threat.
COINTELPRO was originally created to fight the Communist Party but it expanded to include just about any person or organization that Hoover found to be a threat to national security. Even those who were considered to be nonviolent became targets of the program because they had the potential for violence. Black nationalist groups, white supremacist groups, women’s rights groups, the American Indian Movement and the National Lawyers Guild were just a few of the groups that invoked the ire of Hoover and COINTELPRO.
COINTELPRO would threaten and intimidate those they targeted by planting fake media stories to discredit individuals. At times stories of affairs or deviant behavior would be spread to the media, even after a person’s death. As part of the program of intimidation and blackmail, Hoover had spies follow his targets and find what they could. In many cases, they found evidence of infidelity that Hoover would later use to blackmail people into compliance, including Martin Luther King Jr. There are some who believe that the reason many presidents and members of Congress refused to let Hoover go, despite his turning the FBI into a secret police force, was that he held similar files on their transgressions.
The Habsburgs were a powerful family in Europe from the 13th century up until the 20th century. In 1516 Charles I became ruler of the Spanish Empire and in 1519 he became the Holy Roman Emperor (Charles V). Charles V’s reign was marred by almost constant war as many feared that his power would lead to a universal hegemony. He abdicated his thrones at the age of 56 to retire to a monastery. He left the Holy Roman Empire to his brother Ferdinand I and the Spanish Empire to his son Phillip II. This split the family into the Austrian Habsburgs and the Spanish Habsburgs.
The Spanish Habsburgs sought to keep their blood pure and limit rivalries within their family. They did not want any outside powers making claims to their throne. In order to protect their hold on the throne, they practiced intermarriage. From the time that they took the throne marriages were common between uncles-nieces and cousins. Over the 200-year reign of the Habsburg dynasty in Spain, nine out of 11 marriages occurred between family members, often uncles-nieces or first cousins. The limited gene pool meant that genetic disorders were far more common and dangerous recessive traits were more likely to pop up.
About half of the babies born into the Habsburg family died before reaching their first birthday. This was a huge contrast to the only 20% of babies who died before their first birthday in the Spanish villages. Deformities, genetic disorders, and other problems were also far more common among the Habsburg family. Studies have now shown the that over centuries of inbreeding the effect of inbreeding on later generations was largely increased. When Charles II was born in 1665 he had an inbreeding standard the same as if his parents had been brother and sister, even though they were uncle and niece.
Charles II suffered greatly from the years of inbreeding. He was unable to speak until the age of 4 and unable to walk until the age of 8. He was largely raised as an infant until he was ten. He had intestinal problems and was considered to be mentally disabled and infertile. He had two marriages, neither of which were able to provide an heir to the throne. His half-brothers all died and he was left as the last male of the Spanish Habsburgs. His fragile health led to his own demise at the age of 38 in 1700, with his death came the end of the Spanish Habsburgs.
The First Modern-Day Celebrity Became Famous for her Promiscuity
Many of today’s celebrities get a rap of being famous simply for being famous. They are not actors or musicians but many of them are part of a societal elite that allows them to have the money to make an impression. That money also means a brand and a way to push forth their own celebrity, sometimes even with scandalous rumors and physical acts tapes. This might feel like a new phenomenon but it is anything but. In the 18th century newspapers were just as fascinated with scandal as we are today, the more promiscuous the better.
In fact, British newspapers would tell stories of the local prostitutes, the lewder the prostitute and her stories, the better. Prostitutes were known to publish books and have prints made of their portraits, which sold by the thousands. One of the first and most revered of these prostitutes was Kitty Fisher. She first started to get attention in her teen years and then after she drew the eye of prominent artists, her picture spread throughout the local gentry. She was skilled at publicity and her affairs with men of wealth spread far and wide. Her appearance and dress became role models for women who wanted to turn men’s heads.
It was common for courtesans of the time to do their own PR. Kitty Fisher put out her own advertisements that allowed men to know they would not only be getting stimulated by her body but by her skills at conversation as well. She rose up through the ranks enough that her clientele became more and more wealthy and upper class. There were even nursery rhymes that spoke of how Kitty Fisher was stealing the lovers of the other prostitutes. Kitty also had a very public falling out with Maria Lady Coventry after bragging about having a relationship with Lord Coventry.
As copies of her portraits spread she became one of the world’s first “pin-up” girls. And it wasn’t just her romantic exploits that dominated the newspapers. When she fell off her horse while riding in a public park, the newspapers had a field day. They mocked her in prints and ballads and satire and the story remained in the papers for months. There were even books written about the incident and the tale of the “fallen woman.” Kitty became so wealthy from her lovers and her publicity that she was said to spend twelve thousand pounds a year and be the first in her social class to employ servants.