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Notes 1: Postwar Political and Cultural Changes Unit 2-1: The 1920’s Modern US History February, 1 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Notes 1: Postwar Political and Cultural Changes Unit 2-1: The 1920’s Modern US History February, 1 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Notes 1: Postwar Political and Cultural Changes Unit 2-1: The 1920’s Modern US History February, 1 2011

2 Struggles During World War I During World War One, the United States experienced rapid changes in its society. Nativism reappeared when many immigrants of German descent were targeted for their heritage.

3 Struggles During World War I Orchestras refused to play music by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and other German or Austrian composers and Germans were even lynched in the street. Names were also changed: German measles became “liberty” measles and hamburgers became “Salisbury steak”; dachshunds even became “liberty pups”.

4 Struggles During World War I What does this remind you of in our current society?

5 Struggles During World War I By December of 1917, the U.S. government passed the Espionage Act and the Sedition Act was passed in May 1918. The Espionage and Sedition Acts stated that a person could be fined up to $10,000 or sentenced to 20 years in jail for saying anything disloyal, profane, or abusive about the government or the war effort.

6 Struggles During World War I Over 2,000 people were prosecuted under this law. Emma Goldman was jailed for 2 years and fined $20,000 for organizing the No Conscription League (anti-draft league). Upon being released from jail, Goldman was deported to Russia.

7 Struggles During World War I What law did this violate? Where have we seen these types of laws before in history?

8 Struggles During World War I WWI also furthered large-scale population changes. The war caused a sharp increase in the numbers of African Americans leaving the South and relocating to the cities of the North. Driven by a desire to escape the Jim Crow South and the promise of factory jobs in the North, this population change drastically altered African American culture as they entered the urban environment.

9 Struggles During World War I This migration of African Americans out of the South and into Northern cities is often referred to as The Great Migration.

10 Struggles During World War I One of America’s largest crises at the time was at home. In the fall of 1918, a massive flu epidemic struck America, known as the 1918 Flu. The flu seemed to strike those in good health and killed within days.

11 Struggles During World War I Cities ran out of coffins, basic services were not met since workers were sick or dying, and doctors had almost no solution.

12 Struggles During World War I The epidemic killed approximately 500,000 Americans before it disappeared the next year. Soldiers were particularly susceptible because of their close living quarters and in some units, 1/3 of the troops died. It is estimated that the 1918 flu killed 50 million people worldwide. Both the flu and the war decimated populations and morale, but both also suddenly ended in 1919.


14 The Red Scare In the middle of World War I, Russia underwent its Communist Revolution. The idea of communism frightened many Americans and appealed to others; this caused a wave of anti-Communist activity in the U.S.

15 The Red Scare Communism: a system of government based on a single-party system that tries to equalize wealth and power by putting an end to private property. Instead of private ownership of the means of production (factories, mines, etc.), the government would own all

16 The Red Scare Form of government Requires a forceful takeover of the government – a revolution Believes in the bourgeoisie (middle class, factory owners) and the proletariat (the workers). The proletariat will rise up and overthrow the bourgeoisie. A select few exceptional individuals lead the government. Economic system Cooperation and social service Can be paired with either government system. Economy is strongly controlled by the government. The means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively Communism Socialism

17 The Red Scare Form of government In its truest form – there is social equality because everyone has one vote. The common people lead the government - either directly or by electing representatives. Can be paired with either economic policy. Free Enterprise – Minimal government control of economy. Free Market - based on supply and demand – will maximize consumer benefit. Individuals can profit through investing in capital. Private ownership of the means of production. Economic System Majority Rules Freedom of individual choice. Capitalism Democracy

18 Communism is in direct conflict with America’s government and economic systems. What are those systems? Capitalism Democracy

19 Candy Activity Reflection What candy group were you in? What happened in your group? Which system would you prefer?

20 The Red Scare The wave of anti-Communist activity was known as the Red Scare. After the czarist system in Russia was overthrown by Communists (who had a red flag and were therefore known as “Reds”), many communists saw this as the beginning of a worldwide revolution. A Communist Party formed in the U.S. and was supported by 70,000 members.

21 The Red Scare Many Americans were wary of this new party. Then, in 1919, several bombs were mailed to government and business leaders. One of these was sent to U.S. Attorney General Palmer’s house. Attorney General Palmer

22 The Red Scare Political and business leaders began to worry that the Communists were trying to take over the U.S.

23 The Red Scare In August 1919, Palmer organized a series of raids on suspected radicals. During these raids, possible communists were imprisoned and their belongings seized. This was a huge violation of civil rights as people’s homes were invaded, suspected Communists were held without legal counsel, and foreign-born radicals were deported without a trial.

24 The Red Scare No evidence of a revolutionary conspiracy or of explosives was ever found during the Palmer raids. IWW Headquarters after 1919 Raid

25 The Red Scare What laws did the Palmer Raids violate?

26 The Red Scare While the Red Scare fizzled out with Palmer’s failed raids, they did further the average American’s distrust for immigrants. A resurgence of nativism continued through this period and negatively impacted many lives.

27 The Red Scare After reading the text on the Palmer Raids: What do the instructions for the raids reveal about Palmer’s attitudes toward Communists? Think of a club or group you were in. What would you do if the government suspected members of your club as leaders of a revolution? How would you feel?

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