Insulating America Bloody war, treaty failure led U.S. toward isolationism. “Red Scare” of 1919-1921 caused by: Russian Revolution Communist Party in America General Strikes (Seattle) “Fighting Quaker” Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer led crusade (a.k.a. Palmer Raids): 6000 suspects held Due Process not followed Dec. 1919: 249 alien radicals deported to Russia.
Rounding Up “Reds”
Insulating America at Great Expense Criminal syndicalismlaws: mere advocacy of violence for social change was criminalized Laws used to prosecute IWWs “wobblies”/radicals harmed free speech. 1920: 5 NY legislators denied seats because they were Socialists. Conservative business owners used scare against labor: “open” shop was “American plan”
Sacco and Vanzetti 1921: Liberals regarded conviction of Sacco & Vanzetti as a “judicial lynching” because they were Italians, atheists, anarchists, draft dodgers.
Hooded Hoodlums KKK revival was more “nativist” than just anti-black. At peak in mid-20s it had 5 million members, large political influence, esp. in Midwest, South. Why in the Midwest?
KKK collapsed suddenly in late 20s: terror, cover-up embezzlement.
Congressional investigation exposed KKK as being basically a membership fee racket.
Membership of the Ku Klux Klan1920 1930 1970 2000 4,000,000 30,000 2,000 3,000
Stemming the Flood
The U.S. Government began to restrict certain “undesirable” immigrants from entering the U.S.
Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and Immigration Act of 1924
Kept out immigrants from southeastern Europe.
1924 Act barred any Japanese immigration, but exempted Canadian/Latin Americans for work purposes. By 1931, more foreigners left U.S. than arrived. Act marked end of era of unrestricted immigration.
What is the most dangerous drug in America?
Prohibition “Experiment” 1919: Progressive reform led by churches, women resulted in 18th Amendment, Volstead Act. Where was prohibition popular? Why there?
Prohibition “Experiment” Problems with enforcement: Disillusionment over outcome of war raised questions about further self-denial. Legislators’ private drinking. Returning WWI soldiers disapproved. Poor workers upset that while they lost beer, rich could still buy illicit alcohol. Bootlegging, “bar hunts” popular with young & old.
Prohibition “Experiment” But northern cities full of immigrants resisted. Corner saloons replaced by “speakeasies”– preferred hard liquor Strained diplomatic relations with Canada Personal stills popular, but product was often dangerous.
Prohibition “Experiment” Despite problems, bank savings increased, work absentee rate declined. Less alcohol consumed than prior to prohibition.
The Night Chicago Died
Golden Age of Gangsters Profits from illegal alcohol led to rise of criminal gangs War in Chicago led to 500 killings Al Capone convicted of income-tax evasion, sent to prison. By 1930, organized crime was making $12-$18B/year, several times more than federal government.