The 1920s is a major era of transition and includes: o Isolationism o Immigration o Red Scare o Jazz Age o Social Darwinism o Eugenics o Nativism o Changing role of women o Economic boom/ consumerism US had to adjust to a new peace after WWI Decade starts with the US being a member of the Allies and getting to partake in global decisions Decade ends with the Stock Market Crash and the beginning of the Great Depression Many Americans began to favor isolationism after WWI in foreign affairs o Isolationism: refusing to become involved in other nation’s problems From 1919-1921, US had a temporary economic recession (downturn) o Government stopped wartime spending and soldiers returned home looking for jobs o Factories closed to convert back to civilian production o Farmers lost markets in Europe Russian Revolution in 1917 made Russia the world’s first communist country Russia wanted a worldwide Communist revolution and strikes began to spread in Europe and the US Many Americans feared a Communist Revolution in the US, creating a Red Scare Palmer Raids o January 1919 – Italian anarchist set off bomb outside of home of Attorney General Mitchell Palmer o Bombing was part of a series of attacks in 8 cities o Convinced Palmer that it was a radical plot to overthrow the US government o 1920 – Palmer ordered the round-up of 4,000 suspects in several cities with warrants • His assistant J. Edgar Hoover directed the raid • Most were released but 600 were eventually deported Sacco and Venzetti Case o Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Venzetti – two Italian immigrants convicted of committing murder during a robbery o Robbery allegedly to get funds for anarchist revolution. o Rest of the world pressured to release them o Despite lack of evidence, both were found guilty and executed in 1927 • Supporters believed conviction was due to their anarchist views despite jurors insisting otherwise. The Red Scare contributed to the rise of nativism (dislike of foreigners) Ku Klux Klan found new life in 1915 o Hostile to immigrants, Catholics, and African Americans o Major race riots broke out in many American cities o Worst were in Chicago where 38 people were killed o Lynching and segregation continued in the South Harding, Coolidge and Hoover were Republican presidents o Favored laissez-faire economics o High protective tariffs (Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act (1930) raised tariffs to highest levels in history) o Lower taxes on the wealthy and corporations o Lax enforcement of antitrust laws and regulations William Harding – elected 1920 by a landslide o Campaigned for a o o o o “return to normalcy” US refused to join League of Nations Enacted high tariffs Lowered taxes Restricted immigration Showed tolerance and resisted anti-Semitism o Campaign manager was Albert Lasker, “Father of Modern Advertising” Created child health care centers and pursued arms reduction o Supported Washington Naval Conference and US membership in the World Court Teapot Dome Scandal o Appointed personal friends to cabinet positions o Secretary of the Interior leased oil-rich govt lands at Teapot Dome, Wyoming to two business friends in exchange for bribes o Scandal uncovered right after Harding’s in death in 1923 and was one of the worst scandals in U.S. history Charles Forbes stole millions from construction of hospitals for returning veterans Scandals have left a lasting stain on his reputation Harding’s Vice President Became President when Harding died suddenly in 1923 Elected for second term in 1924 Symbolized by oldfashioned values of honesty and thrift Pro-business Rarely spoke in public Talent for doing nothing Some accuse his laissez-faire approach to the economy as encouraging the over-speculation that resulted in the crash of 1929 Self-made millionaire Predicted end of poverty in America “Rugged individualism” o America as equal opportunities and a will to succeed o Spurred progress and made US great o Too much govt involvement would hurt nation’s prosperity Govt policies favoring businesses Rise of the automobile Rise of other new industries More efficient production techniques Age of Mass Consumption Speculation Boom Uneven Prosperity Automobile owners rose from 8 to 24 million Took large amounts of steel, glass, and rubber to make o Stimulating those industries 1929 – one out of every nine workers in the automobile industry Henry Ford o Early automobile manufacturer o Wanted to build cars everyone could afford o Model T in 1905 – fist car many middle class Americans could buy o Introduced assembly line in 1914 • By 1924 producing 1.6 million cars for less than $300 per car • So efficient, able to double wages and slash prices New discoveries and innovations in every field Improvements in: o Transmitting electrical power o Improved motors o New Trans-Atlantic telephone service o New household appliances • Vacuum cleaner • Refrigerator • Toaster o Use of oil and natural gas expanded. o Radio and motion pictures became more widespread New jobs Glenn Curtiss o Early aviation pioneer o First plane with motor in Kitty Hawk, North Caroline 1902 by Wright Brothers o 1908 – work on designing seaplane that could take off and land on water • Succeeded 3 years later with “hydroeroplane” • Marked birth of US naval aviation o 1912 – developed larger flying boat o 1919 – constructed first airplane to cross Atlantic Ocean for US Navy Use of conveyer belt spread to other industries Many factories adopted the assembly line Gains in productivity and allowed for lower prices Changed nature of factory work o Skilled workers no longer needed Advertising stimulated demand Workers had higher wages and more leisure time Retailers allowed people to buy on credit with installment plans Speculation: purchase of any item not for personal use but in the hope of selling it later for a higher price 1920s – spread of speculation in stocks and real estate Stock prices climbed > gains in stocks fueled speculation > heard of successes and enticed more people to buy stocks for easy profits > stock prices went even higher. Wealth was highly concentrated 1929 – top one thousandth (0.1%) o Americans had a combined income equal to the bottom 42% o Same top group controlled about 1/3 of all savings, while ¾ of Americans had no savings at all Many Americans still faced poverty Farmers faced lower income due to overproduction Railroads suffered from competition from cars Textile workers faced lower wages because of foreign competition Minority groups faced discrimination in employment 1920s saw adoption of new values that threatened traditional values Young people wanted greater freedom Many groups felt new sense of power while others felt threatened and sought to preserve traditional ways Liquor is the cause of poverty and crime o Many women’s organizations championed to end the selling of alcoholic drinks Frances Willard o One of most outspoken on Temperance Movement o 1879 – elected President of National Women’s Temperance Union • Advocated women’s rights, suffrage, prison reform, 8 hour work day, and improved factory conditions o 1882 – organized the Prohibition Party 1919 – Work of Willard and others convinced states to pass 18th amendment banning the sale of alcohol Many felt it legislated and forced one group’s moral beliefs on others Others opposed because it closed bars, breweries, etc and put people out of work Led to a growth in lawlessness and organized crime to supply illegal alcohol to consumers Alcohol available in “speakeasies” and other underground drinking establishments 21th amendment (1933) repealed 18th amendment and Prohibition Tennessee – first state to pass law against teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution o 1925 – John Scopes, a biology teacher, was arrested for teaching his class about evolution • Arrested and put on trial Scopes “Monkey Trial” drew attention for old religion beliefs vs. new scientific theories William Jennings Bryan represented Tennessee and Clarence Darrow defended Scopes First trial in American history to be broadcast over radio Scopes was convicted for teaching evolution but $1 was later set aside 1910 – 70% of all immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe WWI – immigration trickled down After WWI nativist feelings led Congress to restrict immigration from Europe Fears: Anti-Catholic, ethnic bias, and admitting foreign radicals o Many immigrants were unskilled, without education and knowledge of English o “New Immigrants” settled in inner cities and put added pressures on local governments Immigration Acts of 1921, 1924, and 1929 – keep immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe out Quotas for each nationality based on current ethnic composition o Western Europe immigrants allowed in great numbers, but “New Immigrants” limited o Asian immigration barred all together Widespread belief in superiority of the Anglo-Saxon “race” of light-skinned, blond-haired, blue-eyed people Eugenics – pseudoscience that the human race could be improved by breeding Charles Davenport o leading proponent of eugenics o Prevent the mentally ill from having children, mental illness be reduced o Reduce immigration from “inferior races” of Eastern and Southern Europe Led to forced sterilizations, segregation laws, and marriage restrictions Ideas later spread to Germany Ideas closely tied to Social Darwinism Women o o o o o o 19th Amendment – women can vote New household appliances reduced housework More women in college More women worked > greater economic independence and more assertive Young women began to drink and smoke in public Rejected restrictive clothing and adopted the “flapper” look • • • o Short dresses that revealed body shapes, legs and arms Hair was short and choppy with a lot of make-up Went on dates without chaperones and enjoyed dancing Began reading Sigmund Freud and treating sexuality more openly Tin Pan Alley o 1910 – New York City capital of popular music publishing o Tin Pan Alley – section of New York – where song-writing and musical ideas mixed to form American popular music • Blues, jazz, and ragtime melded together o Sheet music popular o Vaudeville became popular and needed lots of music o Saw the emergence of famous song writers: • • • • Irving Berlin Cole Porter Scott Joplin George Gershwin New group of writers called the “Lost Generation” rejected desire for material wealth Did not fit into life after horrors of WWI Several lived in Paris Ernest Hemmingway – A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises Sinclair Lewis – Main Street and Babbitt o Strong characterization of women o First American author to receive Nobel Prize in literature F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Jazz Age and The Great Gatsby 1910-1930 – Great Migration o 2 million African Americans left the South to the “Promised Land” of o o o o o o the Northeast and Midwest Left searching for jobs and escape sharecropping, tenant farming, and racism in the South Reports from family and friends who had previously migrated inspired it as well Chicago’s population more than doubled, Cleveland’s by three times, Detroit’s by six fold Greeted with racism, housing shortages, and crime National Urban League and NAACP helped adjust African Americans created cities within cities, largest being Harlem 1920s – Jazz Age o Reflect importance of new form of African American music Awakening of African American culture known as the Harlem Renaissance o Brought recognition to African American community o Langton Hughes and Alain Locked • Expressed pride in race and attacked racism • Hughes is one of America’s best poets o Countee Cullen • Won more major literary prizes than any other African American in the 1920s o Zora Neale Hurston • One of first successful African-American women authors • Their Eyes Were Watching God 1920s – Jazz Age o Reflect importance of new form of African American music Awakening of African American culture known as the Harlem Renaissance o Brought recognition to African American community o Langton Hughes and Alain Locked • Expressed pride in race and attacked racism • Hughes is one of America’s best poets o Countee Cullen • Won more major literary prizes than any other African American in the 1920s o Zora Neale Hurston • One of first successful African-American women authors • Their Eyes Were Watching God Marcus Garvey o Highly controversial political o o o o o o activist Emphasized racial pride Universal Negro Improvement Association in London Wanted to liberate African people around the world Spoke to African Americans who had witnessed more tolerance in Europe and returned to a racist US Encouraged African Americans to set up businesses and shops Back to Africa moment – African Americans should return to Africa, especially to Liberia More leisure – more opportunity for entertainment Rise of popular heroes to preserve sense of personal identity in time of impersonal machines Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey served as new role models Charles Lindbergh o o o o o First person to fly across Atlantic Ocean in 1927 Made it alone in a single-engine plane Landed plane 33 hours later in Paris on May 27, 1927 Plane “Spirit of St. Louis” carried him over 3,600 miles Made him national hero and worldwide celebrity Impact of tariffs on world trade – high tariffs limited foreign trade and investment o Became a barrier to European countries repaying the debts they owed the U.S. following World War I Stock market speculation – buying stocks on margin (needing only 10% of the price of a stock to be able to complete the purchase) led to rampant speculation and falsely high stock prices The monetary policy of the Federal Reserve System o In 1928 and 1929, the Fed raised interest rates to try to curb Wall Street speculation Bank failures – once the stock market crashed, fearful that banks would fail, millions of Americans began to withdraw their money. o Virtually overnight, they put thousands of banks in peril. o The more money Americans withdrew, the more banks failed o The more banks failed, the more money Americans withdrew. o Banks were not secure and the money in them was not insured if banks failed.