Presentation on theme: "A lot of Americans in the 1920s were worried by... World War One – foreigners were violent! The Russian Revolution – foreigners were communist! Racial."— Presentation transcript:
A lot of Americans in the 1920s were worried by... World War One – foreigners were violent! The Russian Revolution – foreigners were communist! Racial tension – foreigners looked different! Immigration – foreigners were coming to America! Strikes – foreigners were trying to bring down the American government!
Many people came to America from 1900 to 1920. Some were looking for work. Others were looking for safety. For instance, 3.2m Italians arrived, along with 250,000 Chinese, 1m Swedes and almost 4.5m Germans. America was supposed to be a ‘melting pot’ – everyone left their own culture and became ‘American’. But during this time, the ‘melting pot’ stopped working. A hierarchy developed. Russia became a communist country in 1917. Many Americans thought that all Russians (or all foreigners) were communists. This was known as the “Red Scare” (red is the colour of communism) People saw signs of communists everywhere! Strikes and riots were blamed on communists. A communist party...
Some things that were actually the work of revolutionaries did happen. A bomb in a church killed ten people in 1919. Mitchell Palmer, an important politician, was almost killed in May 1919, and 36 famous Americans were also sent bombs. Mitchell Palmer appointed J Edgar Hoover to investigate. Hoover rounded up thousands of people. He kept files on 60,000 men and women, and deported about 10,000. This was very unfair but very popular! Palmer began to accuse anyone he didn’t like of being a communist. This included Jews, blacks, and Catholics. Palmer predicted a revolution would happen in May 1920. When it didn’t, he looked stupid and people stopped believing him. It is thought that of the 10,000 cases in which Hoover had ‘proof’ that someone was a communist, only 556 were likely to be fact.
Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants. They were also anarchists. They did not believe in government or authority. This was not a crime. In 1920 they were arrested on suspicion of murder. When it was found they were anarchists, the trial focused less on murder and more on their beliefs. There’s no government like no government! There was little evidence that Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty. The prosecution focused on the fact that they were foreign and anarchists. Judge Thayer said that although they probably didn’t commit murder, they wanted revolution, so might as well have been guilty. He then sentenced them to death and called them “anarchist bastards”. The judge was described as “narrow-minded and unintelligent” but many people agreed with him. Despite lots of appeals, Sacco and Vanzetti were sent to the electric chair in 1927. They’re foreign and different. So they’re guilty!