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Title: Chapter%2012%20POLITICS%20OF%20THE%20ROARING%20TWENTIES%20

World War I left much of the American public
divided. The end ofthe war hurt the economy.
Returning soldiers took jobs away from many women
and minorities, or faced unemployment themselves.
A wave of nativism and isolationism swept over
Ameria as people became suspicious of foreigners
and wantedto pull away from world affairs.
Favoring the interests of native-born people over
foreign-born people.
Opposition to political and economic
entanglements with other countries.
Americans saw communism as a threat to their
wayof life. Communism is an economic and
politicalsystem that supports government control
overproperty to create equality. Communists came
to power in Russia through violent revolution.
Communist leaders wanted workers to seize
political and economic power. They wanted to
overthrow capitalism. In the United States, about
70,000 peoplejoined the Communist Party. Still,
the ideas of thecommunists, or Reds,
frightened many people. Afear of communism,
known as the Red Scare,swept the nation.
Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer set up an
agency in the Justice Department to arrest
communists, socialists, and anarchists, who
opposed all forms of government. (The agency
later became the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
or FBI.)
Concern that the communist party in the Us might
lead to violent, radical change.
AnsRed Scare
People who proposed an economic and political
system based on one-party government and state
ownership of property.
A person who opposes all forms of government.
Palmers agents trampled on peoples civil
rights. Many suffered because of abuses of power
during the Red Scare. One case involved two
Italian immigrants, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo
Vanzetti. Sacco and Vanzettiwere arrested for
robbery and murder inMassachusetts. They
admitted they were anarchists. But they denied
committing any crime. The case against them was
weak. But they were convicted anyway. Sacco and
Vanzetti were executed in 1927.
Two Italian immigrants executed for armed robbery.
AnsSacco Vanzetti
As a result of nativism, or anti-immigrant
feelings, Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act
of 1921. It established a quota system. This set
a limit on how many immigrants from each country
could enter the United States every year. Also,
the 1920s was a bad time for unions. Union
membership declined from 5 million to 3.5 million
for the following reasons(1) immigrants were
willing to work in poorconditions, (2) language
barriers made organizingpeople difficult (3)
farmers who had migrated tocities were used to
relying on themselves, and (4) most unions
excluded African Americans.
In 1921, President Warren G. Harding invited
several majorworld powers to the Washington
Naval Conference. For the first time, nations
agreed to disarm or reduce their weapons.
Americans wanted to stay out of world affairs.
But the United States still wanted France and
Britain to repay the money they had borrowed
during World War I. Those two nations had
suffered during the war. Their economies were too
weak for them to repay the loans. To make matters
worse, Congress passed the Fordney-McCumber
Tariff in 1922. This tariff protected American
business from foreign competition. But the tariff
made it impossible for Britain and France to sell
their goods in the United States. As a result,
France and Britain put pressure on Germany to pay
its promised reparations. ButGermanys economy
had been destroyed. To avoid another war,
American banker Charles Dawes negotiated a
settlement to end the loan crisis. Under the
Dawes Plan, as the solution was called, the U.S.
loaned money to Germany to pay back Britain and
France which then repaid their American
loan.Thus, the U.S. ended up getting paid with
its own money.
Some of Hardings cabinet appointments were
excellent. Other cabinet appointments caused
problems. Some were part of the so-called Ohio
gang. These were the presidents poker-playing
buddies from back home. They caused the president
a great deal of embarrassment. It became apparent
to some that the presidents main problem was
that he didnt understand many of the countrys
financial issues. This left him in the dark about
practices going on in his own cabinet. He had to
comply with whatever his advisers told him. Many
of these people tookadvantage of the situation.
One of the worst cases of corruption was known as
the Teapot Dome scandal. It involvedpieces of
land called Teapot Dome and Elk Hills. This land
was owned by the government and held large
reserves of oil. Albert B. Fall, Hardings
secretary of the interior, secretly leased the
land to two oil companies. He received money and
property inreturn. Harding was not charged with
corruption himself. He suddenly died in 1923,of a
heart attack and Calvin Coolidge became president.
President who wanted to return to normalcy.
Friends in corrupt cabinet drove this president
to a heart attack.
AnsWarren G. Harding
Secretary of Interior Albert Falls secret
leasing of oil-rich public land to private
companies in return for money and land.
AnsTeapot Dome Scandal
The new president, Calvin Coolidge said,
Thechief business of the American people is
business. Both Coolidge and his Republican
successor, Herbert Hoover, favored government
policies that promoted business and limited
government interference. The automobile changed
the American landscape. New roads were built, and
new businesses sprang up such as gas stations,
motels, and shopping centers. Automobiles ended
the isolation of rural families and gave young
people and women more independence. Cars also
made it possible for people to live farther from
their jobs. This led to urban sprawl, as cities
spread out in all directions.
Favored conservative business interests. The
business of America is business.
AnsCalvin Coolidge
The unplanned and uncontrolled spreading of
cities in rundown inner-city neighborhoods.
AnsUrban Sprawl
Another major change was the spread of
electricity. In the 1920s, electric power
stretched beyond big cities to the suburbs.
Americans began to use all kinds of electrical
appliances. Radios, washing machines, and vacuum
cleaners became popular. These appliances made
housework easier. One result was more leisure
time for families. Another effect was to increase
the number of women working outside the home.
More consumer goods appeared on the market.
Businesses used advertising to sell these goods.
Adsdidnt just give information about the
product. Now, they used psychology. They tried to
use peoples desire for youth, beauty, and
popularity to sellproducts. Things that once
were luxuries became necessities.
Most Americans had confidence in the prosperity
of the 1920s. The national income rose from
64billion in 1921 to 87 billion in 1929. The
stock marketreached new heights. However,
business was not as healthy as it seemed. As
workers produced more goods, businesses grew. But
as businesses grew, business managers made much
more money than workers did. Also, consumer debt
rose to high levels.Businesses needed to sell
all the goods they werenow producing. So they
encouraged customers tobuy on the installment
plan. Customers could make low payments over a
period of time. That way people could afford to
buy more. Banks provided money at low interest
rates. Advertising also pushed the idea of buying
on credit. Average Americans were spending more
money than they actually had.
The 1920 census showed a change in America. For
the first time, more Americans lived in large
towns and cities than in small towns and on
farms. The values that most Americans had grown
up with were small-town values. They included
conservative social standards, hard work,
thriftiness, and close families. People knew
their neighbors and followed the teachings of
their churches. By the 1920s, urbanization, or
the movement of Americans from rural areas to the
cities, had increased. One clash between
small-town and city values led to an era known as
Prohibition. Prohibition was the ban on alcoholic
beverages set forth in the Eighteenth Amendment.
It took effect in 1920.
Most support for prohibition came from religious
rural white Protestants. In cities, even
respectable middle-class people flocked to
speakeasies. These were hidden saloons and
nightclubs that served liquor illegally. People
also bought liquor from bootleggers, or smugglers
who brought it in from Canada and the Caribbean.
Bootleggers created a chain of corruption by
bribing police officers and judges. Prohibition
caused a general disrespect for the law. It also
caused a great deal of money to flow out of
lawful businesses and into organized crime.
Underworld gangs took control of the illegal
liquor business. The most famous gang was headed
by Chicagos Al Capone. Chicago became known for
bloody gang killings. This rise in crime and
violence led many people to demand the repeal of
prohibition. Prohibition was repealed by the
Twenty first Amendment in 1933.
The banning of the manufacture, sale, and
possession of alcoholic beverages.
During the 1920s, the nation saw the rise of
Christian fundamentalism. This religious movement
was based on the belief that everythingwritten
in the Bible was literally true. Fundamentalists
rejected the growing trust in science that most
Americans had. They were also against the
religious faiths of other people, especially
A protestant religious movement grounded in the
belief that all the stories and details in the
Bible are literally true.
These beliefs led fundamentalists to reject
Charles Darwins theory of evolution.
Fundamentalists believed that the Bible was
correct in stating that the world and all its
plants and animals were created by God in six
days. They did not want evolution taught in
schools. In 1925, Tennessee passed a law making
it a crime to teach evolution. John Scopes, a
young biology teacher from challenged the law. He
openly taught about evolution. He was arrested,
and his case went to trial. The ACLU hired
Clarence Darrow, the most famous trial lawyer in
the nation, to defend Scopes. William Jennings
Bryan was the prosecutor. Scopes was guilty
because he broke the law. But the trial was
really about evolution and about religion in
schools. Reporters came from all over the world
to cover the Scopes trial (Monkey Trial). The
highlight of the trial was when Bryan took the
stand. Darrow questioned Bryan until Bryan said
that while the earth was made in six days, they
were not six days of 24 hours. Bryan was
admitting that the Bible could be interpreted in
different ways. Even so, Scopes was found guilty.
His conviction was later overturned by the state
Supreme Court. But the ban on teaching evolution
remained a law in Tennessee.
Most famous US trial lawyer. Know for his
defense of John Scopes in the Monkey Trial.
AnsClarence Darrow
Court case in which the biology teacher John T.
Scopes was tried for challenging a Tennessee law
that outlawed the teaching of evolution.
AnsScopes Trial
Young women also wanted to take part in
therebellious, pleasure-loving life of the
twenties. Manyof them demanded the same freedom
as men. The new urban culture also influenced
many women. Their symbol was the flapper. She was
an emancipated young woman. She held new
independent attitudes and liked the sophisticated
new fashions of the day.She wore make-up, short
skirts, short hair, and more jewelry than would
have been proper only a few years before. She
often smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol in
public. She went dancing to new, exciting music.
In the twenties, patterns of discrimination
against women in the business world continued.
Most women remained homemakers. Some women had to
work and also run their homes. It was hard for
them to combinethese roles.
America was becoming more prosperous. Business
and industry required a more educated work
force.These two factors caused a huge increase
in the number of students going to high school.
The nationsschools were successful in teaching
large numbers of Americans and immigrants to
read. As a result of increased literacy, more
peopleread newspapers than before.
Charles A. Lindbergh thrilled the nation by
becoming the first person to fly solo across the
Atlantic Ocean. Lindbergh took off from New York
City in his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis. After
33 hours, Lindbergh landed outside of Paris,
France. On his return to the United States,
Lindbergh became the idol of America. In an age
of sensationalism and excess, Lindbergh stood for
the honesty and bravery the nation seemed to have
Flew the Spirit of St. Louis solo, nonstop across
the Atlantic Ocean.
AnsCharles Lindbergh
Between 1910 and 1920, hundreds of thousands
ofAfrican Americans had moved from the South to
the big cities of the North. This was called the
Great Migration. It was a response to racial
violence and economic discrimination against
blacks in the South. By 1929, 40 percent of
African Americans lived in cities. The National
Association for the Advancementof Colored People
(NAACP) worked to end violenceagainst African
Americans. W. E. B. Du Bois led a peaceful
protest against racial violence. Marcus Garvey
voiced a message of black pride that appealed to
many African Americans. Garvey thought that
African Americans should build a separate
society. Garvey promoted black-owned businesses.
He also urged African Americans to return to
Africa to set up an independent nation.
In the 1920s, many African Americans moved to
Harlem, a section of New York City. This
neighborhood was also the birthplace of the
Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was a
literary movement led by well-educated
middleclass blacks. They took pride in their
African heritage. They wrote about the problems
of being black in a white culture. Jazz became
more popular in the twenties. Musicians from New
Orleans traveled North, and they brought jazz
with them. The most important and influential
jazz musician was Louis Armstrong. Many whites
came to Harlem to hear jazz in night clubs.
Edward Kennedy Duke Ellington led an orchestra
there. He was a jazz pianist and one of the
nations greatest composers.
A flowering of African-American artistic
creativity during the 1920s, centered in this
community of New York City.
AnsHarlem Renaissance.
The Roaring Life of the 1920sVisual Reflection
The Roaring Twenties
"Old" Culture "New" Culture
Emphasized Production Emphasized Consumption
Character Personality
Scarcity Abundunce
Religion Science
Idealized the Past Looked to the Future
Local Culture Mass Culture
Substance Image

The above graph indicates in a general sense what historians mean when they refer to the "old" and the "new" cultures of the 1920s. This list is not meant to be definitive. Source Culture as History The Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century (New York Pantheon Books, 1984).
1. What is the message of these propaganda
2. What product are these posters blaming as the
enemy of the U.S.?
3. What action do you see in pictures? What are
they searching for?
4. What prior knowledge do you have of this man
5. What could they be celebrating?
6. How do we see women of the 20s shedding the
old image for women?
7. How do we see women of the 20sin the
8. What message is the artist sending in these
political cartoons?
9. What role did the KKK have in the 1920s?
10. We see the voice of African Americans through
what below?