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Politics and a Thin Prosperity

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1 Politics and a Thin Prosperity
A Slipping economy

2 Americans Confront Postwar Controversy
1919 Boston Police go out on strike No wage increased Cost of living had doubled Appealed to the Police Commissioner who promptly fired them all No police protection Looting / gambling became commonplace Governor Cal Coolidge called out the National Guard to restore peace Coolidge said, “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, anytime”

3 The Boston Police Strike (1919)
The police commissioner fired all of the police officers who lobbied for a raise. Those police officers who were not fired chose to go on strike. As the strike ended the police commissioner refused to rehire the striking police officers The newly hired officers received everything the strikers asked for 3

4 Russian Revolution (1917) A civil war occurs to gain power over Russia. The White’s (supported by the US who actually sends troops) are defeated by the Bolsheviks (Reds) who change their name to Communists Russia became known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) or Soviet Union with Vladimir Lenin as their leader. 4

5 The Red Scare Fear of a communist workers revolution
1919 saw over 3,000 strikes Was it the beginning of a Communist workers revolution? Since the Russian Revolution, many Americans were afraid a Bolshevik revolution could happen here Reality of the Strikes Wages had not kept up with prices Employers would not give workers a pay raise Returning war veterans had difficulty finding jobs

6 The Red Scare There were about 70,000 people who joined the Communist party in the U.S. shortly after the Russian Revolution. Most had ties to labor unions like the Industrial Workers of the World. Despite the small number, some Americans became very fearful of a communist revolution in the U.S. 6

7 The Red Scare People feared that if communism came to the U.S., it would mean the government abolishing private property & government ownership of factories, railroads, & all other businesses. People feared that “reds” or “communists” would violently takeover the U.S. 7


9 Political Cartoon

10 A. Mitchell Palmer – Attorney General
Palmer Raids – against alleged communists and Anarchists-those who oppose all forms of government Civil liberties were often violated during the raids

11 The Palmer Raids Under Palmer’s leadership, government agents were allowed to use tactics that went beyond the Constitution. Agents invaded private homes, meeting halls, and private offices without using search warrants. Suspects were jailed for weeks without being allowed to see their lawyers. Visitors of jailed suspects were arrested. Hundreds of suspects (immigrants) were deported without the benefit of a trial. 11

12 After a Palmer Raid

13 The Ku Klux Klan Resurges in the Twenties
The Ku Klux Klan claimed to be devoted to “100 percent” Americanism. Its members claimed to be “white male persons, native-born, gentile citizens.” The Klan’s social positions were: Anti-Black Anti-Immigrant or Foreigner Anti-Labor Union Anti-Catholic Anti-Jew Anti-Urban Intellectual Anti-Evolution Anti-Wet (Wets were people who drank). Pro-Prohibition Pro- Fundamentalist Protestant Christian Xenophobia – fear of foreigners 13

14 The Ku Klux Klan Resurges in the Twenties
Anti-Immigrant feelings in the 1920s refueled the Ku Klux Klan membership. The Great Migration of African Americans that began during World War I & continued in the 1920s also led to the KKK reaching its highest membership numbers in Northern states. In fact, Indiana had more KKK members in the 1920s than any other state in the Union. Even Indiana’s governor had KKK ties. 14

15 The Ku Klux Klan Resurges in the Twenties
KKK Grand Wizard Hiram Evans described his members as: “plain people…the everyday, not highly cultured, overly intellectualized, but entirely unspoiled…citizens of old stock.” Klan members felt very threatened from the changes that started to occur during World War I and continued in to the 1920s. They did not like the new job opportunities that African Americans gained during World War I. They worried about immigrants taking their jobs. They worried that foreigners threatened the American way of life. They felt that urban intellectuals threatened their values. 15

16 The Ku Klux Klan Resurges in the Twenties
The Klan expressed their view with parades and racial violence The Klan embraced racial violence and often committed violence and murder without being punished. Many Klan led lynching's occurred with no arrests or convictions. 16

17 The Ku Klux Klan Resurges in the Twenties
This picture was taken in 1925 when almost 60,000 Ku Klux Klan members marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. 17

18 The KKK Yesterday and Today

19 Sacco & Vanzetti At the height of the Red Scare in April of 1920, the Sacco & Vanzetti case revealed the fear of foreigners (xenophobia) & immigrants that was resurging in the 1920s. Nicola Sacco & Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants who were anarchists & draft evaders. The two men were accused of shooting & killing a factory paymaster in Braintree, Massachusetts & running off with $15,000. Circumstantial evidence Judge not impartial Found guilty and sentenced to death 19

20 Warren G. Harding President 1920 – 1923 Republican
Ohio politician – not well respected Return to Normalcy and Isolation No government interference with business No social welfare programs US did not join League of Nations Made “questionable” political appointments Ohio Gang – his poker playing Ohio buddies given political positions Scandalous and corrupt Administration Died of a heart attack in 1923 “I have no trouble with my enemies…but my damn friends, …they’re the ones that keep me walking the floor at night” Harding

21 Cal Coolidge President 1923 – 1928 Republican
“The chief business of the American people is business” Coolidge Harding’s vice-president “Silent Cal” a simple and honest man Kept taxes down and business up “Keep Cool with Coolidge” campaign slogan in 1924 Business boomed Many new consumer goods which used electricity People bought on credit using installment plans Banks provided low interest loans

22 The Business of America is Business
Planned obsolescence It won’t last so you’ll have to buy more!! Assembly line mass produced goods revolutionized industry Advertising was used to sell products you didn’t need Overproduction occurred – huge overstock of goods Installment plan buying due to easy credit Speculating (making risky investments) on the stock market by the average guy Farmers already feeling the coming depression Farmer’s had borrowed heavily during WW I to produce more food and already had huge debts

23 Selling new products Advertising

24 Henry Ford revolutionized the way we produced goods in America

25 New Products in a modern society

26 Appealing to the public

27 These products made life easier and more interesting

28 The changing kitchen

29 Edison’s phonograph Everyone loved it

30 Labor Movement Struggles in the Twenties
Although labor union membership rose during the World War I era, labor unions were outlawed from striking, greatly limiting the power of labor unions. The government threatened workers to either “work or fight.” Immediately following World War I, strikes broke-out in great numbers. There were over 3,000 strikes in 1919, but striking and union membership declined after 1920. 30

31 Labor Movement Struggles in the Twenties
During World War I & continuing into the 1920s, wages had not kept up with prices. Employers tried to avoid wage increases & tried to discourage labor unions. Many employers tried to stir up rumors that union members were planning revolution. Newspapers published fearful headlines like: “Crimes Against Society” “Conspiracies Against the Government.” “Plots to Establish Communism” The picture shows an IWW labor union office that was raided by federal authorities searching for communist revolutionary activities. 31

32 President Wilson deals with labor strikes in 1919
The Steel Strike Difficult and dangerous working conditions Seven days a week, 12 hours a day US Steel refused to meet with Union reps so they walked off the job They demanded the right to shorter working hours and a living wage US Steel hired non-union workers or strikebreakers (scabs) and used force Propaganda campaign against the strikers 18 workers were killed and wounded or beat hundreds more In 1923 a Protestant interfaith committee published a report documenting the dire labor conditions. The report did pressure U.S. Steel to give steel workers an 8 hour workday, but the steel workers did not regain its union.

33 The Coal Miners Strike (1919)
John L. Lewis became the new leader of the United Mine Workers of America in 1919. When John L. Lewis called for a strike on November 1, 1919, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer got a court order demanding that the strikers return to work. Lewis declared the strike over but quietly gave the order to continue the strike An arbitrator was appointed The miners received a 27% pay raise A shorter work day and week will be achieved in the 1930’s 33

34 Labor Movement Loses Appeal
Many believed labor unions fostered communism Many immigrants had no choice but to work in poor labor conditions Immigrants spoke many languages making them difficult to organize Farmers who moved to cities were difficult to organize because they were use to relying on themselves Blacks were excluded from joining many unions

35 Black Tuesday - October 29,1929 The American start of the Great Depression
Causes of this worldwide depression Uneven distribution of income – few rich, many poor Easy credit and the installment plan – personal debt - too many people owed money Speculating - buying stock on margin – put 10% down & borrow the rest of the money from a stockbroker. Hopefully you can sell, make a profit Imbalance of foreign trade – we were not trading with foreign countries due to tariffs (tax on imported foreign goods) Mechanization of industry – machines doing the job of people

36 Politics of the 1920’s Our return to normalcy!
Isolationism – The US will stay out of world affairs Nativism – prejudice against immigrates and non-whites The threat of communism and anarchists Political conservatism No more “progressive reforms” – like helping workers, the poor and regulating businesses

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