A desire for normality after the war and a fear of communism and “foreigners” led to postwar isolationism.
World War I had left much of the American public exhausted. ◦ The economy was in a difficult state of adjustment. ◦ Soldiers faced unemployment or took jobs away from women and minorities. ◦ Cost of living had doubled.
Many Americans responded to the stressful conditions by becoming fearful of outsiders. Because of this, what are two ideas that influenced the U.S.? ◦ Page 618
A perceived threat to American life was the spread of communism—an economic and political system based on a single-party government ruled by a dictatorship. ◦ The Red Scare: Panic in the U.S. began in 1919, after revolutionaries in Russia overthrew the czarist regime.
List the events that occurred in Russia which led to the Red Scare (619).
Palmer and his agents hunted down suspected Communists, socialists, and anarchists—people who opposed any form of government. They trampled people’s civil rights, invading private homes and offices and jailing suspects without allowing them legal counsel. Hundreds of foreign-born radicals were deported without trails.
Eventually, Palmer’s raids failed to turn up evidence of a revolutionary conspiracy. Soon the public decided that Palmer didn’t know what he was talking about. Did Palmer and his agents abide by the U.S. constitution?
The two most famous victims of injustice during the 20’s. ◦ Both were Italian immigrants and anarchists. ◦ Sacco was a shoemaker and Vanzetti was a fish peddler. ◦ Both had evaded the draft during WWI.
In May 1920, Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested and charged with the robbery and murder of a factory paymaster and his guard in Massachusetts. ◦ Witnesses had said criminals appeared to be Italians. ◦ The accused asserted their innocence and even provided alibis. ◦ The evidence against them was circumstantial. ◦ The judge made prejudicial remarks. ◦ But, the jury still found them guilty and sentenced them to death.
Protests rang out in the U.S. Europe, and Latin America. Many people believed the Sacco and Vanzetti were mistreated because of their radical beliefs or because they were immigrants. The two men died in the electric chair on August 23 rd, 1927. Before he was executed, Vanzetti made a statement: Page. 620
In 1961 new ballistic tests showed that the pistol found on Sacco was in fact the one used to murder the guard. But, there still was no proof that Sacco had actually pulled the trigger. What do you think? Do you think these two actually committed the murder? Do you think they were innocent or guilty? Why or why not.
“Keep American for Americans” ◦ Anti-immigrant attitudes had been growing in the U.S. since the 1880’s. ◦ New immigrants began arriving from Southern and Eastern Europe. ◦ Many of these immigrants were willing to work for lower wages in industries such as coal mining, steel production, and textiles.
After WWI, the need for unskilled labor in the U.S. decreased. ◦ Nativists believed that because the U.S. now had fewer unskilled jobs available, fewer immigrants should be let into the country.
As a result of the Red Scare and anti- immigrant feelings, different groups used anti-communism as an excuse to harass any group unlike themselves. ◦ The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was devoted to “100 percent Americanisn”. ◦ By 1924,KKK membership reached 4.5 million members.
From 1919 to 1921, the number of immigrants had grown almost 600%--from 141,000 to 805,000. In response to nativist pressure, Congress decided to limit immigration from certain countries—mainly those in Southern and Eastern Europe.
The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 set up a quota system. This system established the maximum number of people who could enter the U.S. from each foreign country. ◦ The goal of the quota system was to cut sharply at European immigrants to the U.S.
As amended in 1924, the law limited immigration from each European nation to 2% of the number of its nationals living in the U.S. ◦ The provision discriminated against people for Eastern and Southern Europe—mostly Roman Catholics and Jews who had started immigrating to the U.S. in large numbers. ◦ Also, the law prohibited Japanese immigration, causing much ill will btw the two nations. Page 622
Another postwar conflict formed between labor and management. ◦ 1919 saw more that 3,000 strikes. ◦ 4 million workers walked off the job. ◦ Employers did not want to give raises, nor did they want employees to join unions. ◦ What did employers label striking workers as?
The Boston police had not been given a raise since the beginning of WWI. Because of this and some other issues, they decided to unionize. ◦ When Reps asked for a raise, they were fired. ◦ The remaining police men decided to strike. ◦ Mayor Calvin Coolidge said: page 623
The strike ended, but union members were not allowed to return to work. New police men were hired instead.
These workers wanted the right to negotiate for shorter working hours and a living wage. They also wanted union recognition and collective bargaining rights. ◦ In September 1919 U.S. Steel Corporation refused to meet with union reps. ◦ In response over 300,000 workers quit. ◦ Steel companies hired “strikebreakers” and also used force against those on strike. Striking workers were beaten by police, federal troops, and state militias.
The Steel Mill Strike ended in January 1920. A report on the harsh working conditions in steel mills shocked the public. The steel companies agreed to an 8- hour day, but the steelworkers remained without a union.
Membership declined from more than 5 million to 3.5 million. Membership declined for several reasons: ◦ Much of the workforce consisted of immigrants willing to work in poor conditions. ◦ Since immigrants spoke a multitude of languages, unions had a difficult time organizing them. ◦ Farmers who had migrated to cities to find factory jobs were used to relying on themselves. ◦ Most unions excluded African Americans.
Main Idea: The Harding administration appealed to America’s desire for calm and peace after the war but resulted in scandal. Why it matters now: We learned that the government must guard against scandal and corruption to merit public trust.
After WWI, problems surfaced relating to arms control, ward debt, and the reconstruction of war torn countries. In 1921 President Harding invited several major powers to the Washington Naval Conference. ◦ At the conference Secretary of State, Charles Hughes suggested that the 5 major naval powers— U.S. Britain, Japan, France, and Italy scrap many of their battleships, cruisers, and aircraft carriers.
This conference wanted powerful military nations to agree to disarm. In 1928, 15 countries agreed to sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact which renounced war as a national policy. However the was futile because it provided no means of enforcement.
When it came time for Britain and France to pay back the 10 million dollars they borrowed from the U.S.—they could do this in 2 ways: ◦ 1. Selling goods to the U.S. ◦ 2. Collecting reparations from Germany.
In 1922, America adopted the Fordney- McCumber Tariff, which raised taxes on U.S. imports to 60%--the highest level ever. The tax protected U.S. businesses—especially in the chemical and metals industries—from foreign competition. But, it made it impossible for Britain and France to sell enough goods in the U.S. to repay debt.
What plan did the U.S. devise in order to fix the debt?
Harding favored a limited role for government is business affairs and in social reform. He set up the Bureau of the Budget to help run the government more efficiently.
Charles Hughes appointed as Secretary of State. Herbert Hoover- Secretary of Commerce Andrew Mellon- Secretary of the Treasury and set about drastically cutting taxes and reducing the national debt. *Ohio Gang: Who are they?!
Harding’s administration began to unravel as his corrupt friends used their offices to become wealthy through graft. ◦ Charles R. Forbes: Head of Veterans Bureau was caught illegally selling government and hospital supplies to private companies. ◦ Thomas A. Miller was caught doing what:
Amidst rumors of corruption throughout his administration, Harding died. Calvin Coolidge became President.
Main Idea: ◦ Consumer goods fueled the business boom of the 1920’s as America’s standards of living soared. Why it Matters Now: Business, technological and social developments of the 1920s launched the era of modern communism.
Coolidge and Hoover favored to keep government policies that would keep taxes down and business profits up, and give businesses more available credit to expand. Their goal was to keep government interference in business to a minimum and allow private businesses to flourish.
For most of the 1920’s, this approach seemed to work. High tariffs were placed on foreign imports which helped American manufactures. Reducing income taxes meant that people had more money in their pockets. Wages and productivity were also rising.
By the late 1920’s about 80% of all motor vehicles in the world were in the U.S. The automobile changed: ◦ America’s landscape Paved roads *Route 66 Chicago to Cali ◦ Housing Styles Garages, People could live farther away, more independence *Urban Sprawl ◦ Economic Growth Gas stations, repair shops, shopping centers
The Auto industry symbolized the success of the free enterprise system and the Coolidge era. Nowhere else in the world could people with little money own their own automobile. ◦ 1 automobile to 5 people
This industry grew and flourished as well. Planes carried the nations mail, and passenger service was introduced.
The years from 1920 to 1929 were prosperous ones for the United States. ◦ Americans owned around 40% of the world’s wealth and that wealth changed the way in which most Americans lived. ◦ The average annual income rose more than 35% from $522-$705. ◦ People found it very easy to spend the extra income and more!
Previously electricity had been found in in central cities. Now, it spread to suburbs. (most farms still lacked electricity) By the 1920’s most homes had electrical appliances like—radios, washing machines, and vacuum cleaners. These appliances helped to change the face of America. ◦ Housewives jobs were made easier, giving them more free time. ◦ Women worked outside of the home.
Advertising agencies no longer just informed the public about products and goods. Now, they hired psychologists to study how to appeal to people’s desires for: ◦ Youthfulness, beauty, health, and wealth What are some examples? Page 631
The prosperity that businesses were generating seemed unstoppable! National Income rose from $64 billion in 1921 to $87 billion in 1929. This growth produced problems though!
1 st, the business scene was not completely healthy. ◦ As workers produced more in the same number of hours, businesses expanded, sometimes producing more goods than they could even sell. Chain stores spread throughout the nation. But, with this growth the difference in income btw managers and workers grew. ◦ Also mining companies, railroads, and farms were suffering.
2 nd, consumer debt rose to alarming levels. Businesses helped promote consumer spending by allowing customers to buy “on credit”. ◦ By making payments low and spreading them over a long period of time, businesses made it easy for consumers to decide to purchase all the goods that businesses were producing, but not always ready to pay for it.
During this era, most Americans focused their attention on the present. ◦ They had very little concern for the future. The decade of the 1920s’ had brought about many technological and economic changes. Life “seemed” easier for most Americans. ◦ An emphasis was placed on “enjoying” life.