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Characteristics of the Twenties

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Presentation on theme: "Characteristics of the Twenties"— Presentation transcript:

1 1920s: Themes, Advertising and Attitudes towards Consumerism/Mass Media

2 Characteristics of the Twenties
Mass-Produced consumer goods Farm depression Consolidation of Companies Northern and Southern disparity Electrification Labor Unions stagnant Automobile Women’s economic rights stagnant Rising Stock Prices Racism Capital expansion abroad, yet high Tariffs stifle foreign trade Arts develop (Jazz and Harlem Renaissance) Conservative politics were dominant

3 The Growth of Consumerism
The 1920s saw the growth of the culture of consumerism--many Americans began to work fewer hours, earn higher salaries, invest in the stock market, and buy everything from washing machines to Model T Fords.

4 Consumerism More people in cities than farms; African-American migration (40% of 12 million blacks in Northern cities; 1st black congressman – de Priest – from Chicago) Leisure culture emerged since people had more time on their hands Automobile (vacations, traffic, accidents – horses!) Tractors available for credit, but led to increased production – bad for prices! Increased family cohesiveness or decreased it? Class division widened due to suburban living and shorter commuting times over longer distances Women empowered (appliances, electricity; energy consumption increased; store-bought food, clothes, food prep easier) Increased need for oil, gas, rubber

5 Consumer Economy

6 Mass Production Consumer Goods Electrification Automobile
8 Million (1920) to 23 Million (1930) GM offered new colors (Ford, black) 9% all wages earned from manufacturing Stock prices rose due to rising sales, productivity, and mergers

7 Rising Popularity of Cars
Cost-- The price of automobiles declined steadily until the mid-1920s so that many well-paid working families could now afford to purchase a car. Credit-- In 1925, Americans made 75% of all automobile purchases on the installment plan “Possess today and pay tomorrow.”

8 Henry Ford’s assembly line technique for mass-producing cars.

9 Main Sources of Economic Boom
“Fordism” Effect of WWI on technology. Scientific management - efficiency experts: "Taylorism" Rapid increase in worker productivity Psychology of consumption Relations between the federal government and big business

10 Automobile Industry Annual automobile production rose from 2 million during the 1920s to 5.5 million in 1929. By the late 1920s, there was one automobile for every five Americans. Mass Production & Assembly Lines were improved and became very self-evident.

11 Economy Capital expansion abroad – hence political engagements (Roosevelt-Wilson) Meatpackers (Argentina) United Fruit (Latin America) Copper Mines (Chile) Private investment abroad increased x High tariffs stifled foreign exports (and imports) Fordney-McCumber Tariff (1922) Smoot-Hawley (1930) Exports fell as a % of GNP – retaliatory tariffs!

12 Fordney-McCumber Tariff
Tariffs Underwood Tariff of 1913 Fordney-McCumber Tariff 27% 38.5% Republicans wanted to keep a prosperous home market for American business, so the tariff was raised in 1922. When European nations retaliated and raised the tariffs, all trade was hurt. Smoot-Hawley Tariff (1933) did the same thing.

13 North and South Move away from agriculture due to a depression after the first few years of the 1920s – falling European demand for US goods Average unskilled laborer North: 47c/hr; South: 28c/hr Textile Companies moved south, NE mill towns suffered Women, Mexican-Americans, Blacks (“Last hired, first fired”) Farmers – grain prices fell (US Army stopped purchases, Europe agriculture recovered) Protective tariff depressed exports , farm income fell 60% Borrowers defaulted…

14 an agri. depression in early 1920's contributed to an urban migration
U.S. farmers lost agri. markets in postwar Europe at same time agri. efficiency increased so more food produced (more food = lower prices) and fewer labourers needed so farming was no longer as prosperous, and bankers called in their loans (farms repossessed) so American farmers enter the Depression in advance of the rest of society

15 Black Americans in this period continued to live in poverty
sharecropping kept them in de facto slavery boll weevil wiped out the cotton crop white landowners went bankrupt & forced blacks off their land

16 Blacks moved north to take advantage of booming wartime industry (= Great Migration) - Black ghettoes began to form, i.e. Harlem within these ghettoes a distinct Black culture flourished But both blacks and whites wanted cultural interchange restricted


18 Marcus Garvey (Jamaican born immigrant) established the Universal Negro Improvement Association
believed in Black pride advocated racial segregation b/c of Black superiority Garvey believed Blacks should return to Africa he purchased a ship to start the Black Star line attracted many investments: gov't charged him with w/fraud he was found guilty and eventually deported to Jamaica, but his organization continued to exist

19 A Society in Conflict Sacco-Vanzetti Trial Anti-immigrant
National Origins Act Discrimination Sacco-Vanzetti Trial Italian immigrants Unfair trial (judge partial)

20 for immigrants – the point of origin had shifted to S & E Europe and new religions appeared: Jewish, Orthodox, Catholic N. European immigrants of early 19c. feared this shift and felt it would undermine Protestant values this fear was known as NATIVISM many wanted Congress to restrict immigration, leading to a quota system that favoured n. areas of Europe fear of immigrants (from SE Europe) led to a sentiment known as the Red Scare (fear of comm. post-Bolshevik Rev.) basic comm. advocates a int'l revolution by the proletariat/workers - fears that this ideology could find its way into the U.S.

21 The Red Scare Fearing communists, anarchist, and socialists, America turned against these common people. Raids were executed by the Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer who hunted down the radicals and “reds” in response to fears of a growing socialist populace in the US.

22 On April 15, 1920, two men robbed and murdered a paymaster and his guard as they transferred $15,776 from the Slater and Morrill Shoe factory.  Three weeks later, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were accused and arrested for this crime, despite the little evidence against them.  They were convicted, but their appeals lasted 6 years afterward. Both men were executed for their "crimes." Sacco-Vanzetti Case

23 at this time, W. Wilson was gravely ill following a stroke
his Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, wanted to take a shot at the presidency - he used fears of both immigrants and communism to his advantage he had J. Edgar Hoover round up suspected radicals, many of which were deported (Palmer Raids)

24 The Ku Klux Klan In power Great increase Anti-black Anti-immigrant
Anti-Semitic Anti-Catholic Anti-women’s suffrage Anti-bootleggers

25 Fundamentalism “Old-time religion” –
literary reading of the Bible as scripture Teaching of Darwinism evolution prohibited in public schools “Monkey Trial” – John T. Scopes, a biology teacher, was convicted and fined for $ of teaching evolution to his students. The fine was later thrown out because of a technicality.

26 High School Biology teacher
Scopes “Monkey” Trial Evolution vs. Creationism Science vs. Religion Famous Lawyers Dayton, Tennessee John Scopes High School Biology teacher

27 PROHIBITION - on manuf. and sale of alcohol
18th AMENDMENT (1919) an outgrowth of the long-time temperance movement in WWI, temperance became a patriotic mvmt. - drunkenness caused low productivity & inefficiency, and alcohol needed to treat the wounded a difficult law to enforce... organized crime, speakeasies, bootleggers were on the rise Al Capone virtually controlled Chicago in this period - capitalism at its zenith… Prohibition finally ended in w/ the 21st Amendment forced organized crime to pursue other interests…

28 Prohibition Volstead Act untouchables Gangsters 18th Amendment
Al Capone

29 New Productivity 40% increase due to assembly lines
Con: Discouraged individuality, limited pride in work skills, limited prospects for advancement Pro: Fordism (“decent wages”) Consolidation of companies by 1930 100 companies controlled 50% of US Business Modernization of business – professional managers Increased wages led to increase in buying power Dealerships/ chain stores/ air conditioning JC as a successful businessman of popular story! The Man Nobody Knows by Bruce Barton (1925) Advertising Credit purchases 75% of auto sales by 1929 Harding and Coolidge pro business (“The business of America…”)

30 Labor 5 million to 3.4 million (1920-1929)
Wages increased, limited clout of unions Craft unions (RR, printing etc) not needed in mass- production facilities Management thugs – union violence still high Non-union shop: “Open Shop” – the “America Plan” Black membership of unions low, even though AFL prohibited discrimination 82,000 members nation-wide Most blacks hired as scabs

31 Harding Republican base = corporate leaders, northern farmers, businesspeople, native-born white-collar workers, professionals, some skilled blue-collar laborers Democrat base = white South, immigrant cities Appointments: Good: Henry Wallace (Agriculture); Charles Evans Hughes (Sec State); Andrew Mellon (Treasury); Hoover (Commerce) Bad: Daugherty (AG); Fall (Interior); Forbes (Vet. Affairs – even though he was a draft dodger!) Scandals – influence peddling, stealing funds, Teapot Dome (Fall)

32 Harding Pro-Business High tariff, low taxes (and inheritance tax) – “trickle- down” theory Overturning anti-business reforms (Keating-Owens Act overturned by Supreme Court) NO aid for Flood victims in 1927, but a Flood Control Act of 1928 McNary-Haugen benefited farmers, but vetoed twice by Coolidge (pushed farmers to the Democrats)

33 Warren G. Harding Warren G. Harding was elected to the Presidency in 1920 in which he urged a "return to normalcy." (Policies of the “Guilded Age”) Generally conservative, especially regarding taxes, tariffs, immigration restriction, labor rights, and business regulation. (laissez-faire) Harding's administration was marked by corruption and scandal. (Teapot Dome Scandal) Died of a stroke in office in August 1923.

34 President Coolidge “The business of America is business.”
Fordney-McCumber Tariff (1922) Promote business, independence, foreign agreements. Smoot-Hawley Tariff (1930) Worsened depression, raised tariff to the point where foreign gov’ts retaliated No help for farmers Foreign Policy

35 Calvin Coolidge After Harding’s death, Calvin Coolidge soon took the place of Harding, but did little as vice president. When he assumed the presidency after Harding's death, he acted quickly to repair the damage of the Harding administrations scandals and to secure the presidential nomination. He was easily elected over Democrat John W. Davis and Progressive Robert M. La Follette. Near the end of his second term, Coolidge decided not to run for president again and retired from politics. His policies included federal tax cuts and high tariffs, but he lost favor during the Great Depression.

36 International Affairs
No League, no International Court of Justice for USA “Independent Internationalism” allowed US economic interests to be promoted Washington Naval Arms Conference Kellogg-Briand Pact (General Treaty for the Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy) – (1928) A new Isolationism

37 Why was the USA isolationist ?
Tradition……. Dislike of the ‘old world’ (Europe)……. Dangerous ideas…… US soldiers in the First World War………

38 Tradition Isolationism had always been part of America’s policy towards the rest of the world. The USA had only joined the war when forced to.

39 Dislike of the old world
Most Americans had moved from Europe to start new lives. They wanted to leave Europe behind.

40 Dangerous ideas Europe was full of ideas that Americans feared such as anarchy, socialism, marxism, communism. They wanted to be cut off from such ideas.

41 US Soldiers USA lost 112,432 men in WW1
They wanted to avoid any future wars !

42 1920's also brought about great changes for women...
th Amendment gave them the federal vote after 1920, social circumstances changed too as more women worked outside the home and more women went to college and clamoured to join the professions women didn't want to sacrifice wartime gains - amounted to a social revolt characterized by the FLAPPER/ "new woman" (bobbed hair, short dresses, smoked in public...)

43 Women Cigarettes = “torches of freedom” Make-up = “Hope in a Jar”
Home: delegate “to electricity all that electricity can do” Wage discrimination: Ex Meatpacking trimmer (male: 52c/hr; female: 37c/hr) Corp. Offices (file clerks, secretaries, typists) High School graduation rates increase 12% by 1930; College degrees x3 to 50,000 between 1920 and 1930 Nursing, Libraries, and TEACHING predominant jobs

44 Successes and limits of 19th Amendment
“Feminine Charm” (material consumer culture cut through “civic idealism” of previous generation) Child Labor Laws; Protection of women workers; Federal support for education Sheppard-Towner Act – rural prenatal and baby-care centers Keating-Owens (1916) struck down in 1922 Women’s protective laws (1923) Child Labor amendment not ratified (1924) Sheppard-Towner Act expired (“threat to monopoly of health business by physicians”)

45 Entertainment Magazine circulation increased (Readers’ Digest, Saturday Evening Post) Book-of-the-Month began (1926) Radio (1920 election results, 1921 World Series) NBC (1926), CBS (1927), “Amos ‘n’ Andy” (1928) Celebrities Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford, Cecil B. De Mille (Ten Commandments – 1923); Al Jolson (The Jazz Singer – 1927); Mickey Mouse (Steamboat Willie – 1928) Hollywood “cabal” (Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer) – evoked rural life, but lived in cities/studios

46 Motion Pictures Motion picture production became one of the ten largest industries in the United States during the 1920s. In 1922, theaters sold 40 million tickets a week. By 1929, that number had grown to 100 million a week.

47 The Dawning of Radios The first commercial radio station went on the air in the 1920s in Pittsburgh. By 1922, 3 million American households had radios.

48 Celebrity Culture Charles Lindbergh – mechanized/standardized time, still room for individual heroism Baseball – Ty Cobb (4,191 hits), Babe Ruth (1927 – 60 homers) Boxing – Jack Dempsey

49 Celebrities Babe Ruth &Ty Cobb Charles Lindbergh
The Spirit of St. Louis Jack Dempsey

50 The 20’s is The Jazz Age The Flappers Writers Musicians make up
cigarettes short skirts Writers F. Scott Fitzgerald Ernest Hemingway Musicians Louis Armstrong Duke Ellington

51 Artists of the 1920s Moodily lampooned/mourned/ridiculed materialism of the period Fitzgerald Great Gatsby Sinclair Lewis Main Street, Babbitt H.L. Mencken The American Mercury – ridicule and satire Hemingway The Sun Also Rises, etc Painters Hopper, Thomas Hart Benton – Urban and small town reminiscence Gershwin and Copland

52 Harlem Artists “New Negro Movement” or “Flowering of Negro Literature”
Painters, writers, musicians all congregated in Harlem cabarets (nightclub restaurant) Challenged traditional values, and usually were from middle class backgrounds Catalogued racial inequities in American life, especially the turbulence of urban culture Whites came to escape the taboos of white urban culture, but the places that were “spontaneous” and “primitive” and “spiritual” featured black artists without allowing blacks in the audience (Cotton Club) Symbol of racial achievement, most of all, which inspired future artists (James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison etc

53 Langston Hughes I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset. Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers

54 Harlem (1951) What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore – And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over – Like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags Like a heavy load. Or does it explode?

55 Other authors and personalities of the Harlem Renaissance
Zora Neale Hurston Joyce Sims Carrington George Schuyler A. Philip Randolph Rudolph Fisher Walter White Jean Toomer

56 Jazz Sidney Bechet Duke Ellington Bessie Smith Louis Armstrong
Mamie Smith (*) Bix Beiderbecke Ma Rainey Nick LaRocca – “The Original Dixieland Jazz Band” Ella Fitzgerald Billie Holiday Let’s listen to Bechet, Oliver, Armstrong, and some Ellington… Marian Anderson (*) King Oliver

57 Advertisements Widespread; encouraged consumerism















72 Mr. C’s favorite…

73 Effects of Commercialization
“It would be idle to assert that life on the farm occupies as good a position of dignity, desirability, and business results as farmers might easily give it if they chose. One of the chief difficulties is the failure of country life, as it exists at the present, to satisfy the higher social and intellectual aspirations of country people.” -Teddy Roosevelt (1909)

74 Radio Advertisement Rinso

75 Amos and Andy Amos and Andy, with Rinso Commercial
Note the use of music – the Rinso whistle! What other cultural characteristics do you notice (in reference to the 1920s?) How does the show treat African Americans? (Note the names: “Kingfish”, and “Henry Van Porter”, the words the characters use, and the expressions they make) Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll – who are they?

76 Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll … Surprised
Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll … Surprised? Blackface/Minstrel Shows common at the time

77 Practice Question (1 of 2)
Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon’s policies did which of the following? a. Reduced income tax-rates for the wealthy to release money for private investment b. Provided aid to the Allies during the First World War c. Provided federal guarantees for bank deposits. d. Restricted loans to Mexico after the Tampico and Veracruz incidents e. Combated the Depression by giving lower-income groups more purchasing power.

78 Practice Question (2 of 2)
The assembly-line production of Henry Ford’s Model T automobile resulted in which of the following by the end of the 1920s? a. A sharp degrease in railroad passenger traffic b. The federal government’s abandonment of research on air travel c. The development of a large international market for American automobiles d. Widespread purchase of automobiles by average American families e. Construction of the federal interstate highway system

79 Practice Question Which of the following emerged during the Progressive Era as the most influential advocate of full political, economic, and social equality for Black Americans? a. W.E.B. Du Bois b. Frederick Douglas c. Booker T. Washington d. Ida B. Wells e. Langston Hughes

80 Practice Question Which of the following best describes the Harlem Renaissance? a. The rehabilitation of a decaying urban area b. An outpouring of Black artistic and literary creativity c. The beginning of the NAACP d. The most famous art show of the early twentieth century e. The establishment of motion picture palaces

81 Election of 1928 Hoover (R) v Smith (D) – first Catholic! V Thomas (Socialists) Smith garnered large urban votes, rural midwest (hard- pressed farmers who didn’t like Coolidge OR Hoover’s S of C role) Hoover: American Individualism (1922) Self-made, but praised big business Limited government involvement, cooperative social/economic order should be led by capitalists, not government

82 Herbert Hoover Having served as secretary of commerce under both Harding and Coolidge, Hoover was elected to the presidency in 1928, helped by the prevailing prosperity in the country. Hoover had been in office just a few months when the Great Depression began. In 1932, he lost the presidential election to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

83 Black Thursday When the “Bull” market began to rise, many people started to buy stock on margin. Black Thursday, October 24th, 1929, 13,000,000 shares were sold. There was not enough collateral to back up stock margin. The next day, October 25th, J.P. Morgan and many bankers bought huge blocks of shares to stabilize the market.

84 The Beginning of What was Thought to be the End
On October 29, 1929, 16,400,000 shares took a downturn for the worse. The stock market began to collapse Over the next two months, 40 billion dollars worth of stock disappeared into thin air. The Great Depression soon followed as thousands of banks closed their doors.

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