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  • Rounding Up the "Reds" in a Nation-Wide Campaign Against Revolutionaries : Police Searching a Group of Arrested "Suspects" in Police Headquarters, ChicagoRounding Up the "Reds" in a Nation-Wide Campaign Against RevolutionariesOutlook, 1/21/20.Originally from the International (c).photograph


  • 1. American Life in the “Roaring Twenties”1919-1929
  • 2. What problems are shown in post-war America?
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. Rounding Up “Reds”
  • 5. Insulating America at Great Expense
    Criminal syndicalism laws:
    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”
  • 6. Sacco and Vanzetti
    1921: Liberals regarded conviction of Sacco & Vanzetti as a “judicial lynching” because they were Italians, atheists, anarchists, draft dodgers.
  • 7.
  • 8. 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?
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12.
    • KKK collapsed suddenly in late 20s: terror, cover-up embezzlement.
    • 13. 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
  • 14. Stemming the Flood
    • The U.S. Government began to restrict certain “undesirable” immigrants from entering the U.S.
    • 15. Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and Immigration Act of 1924
    • 16. 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.
  • 17.
  • 18. What is the most dangerous drug in America?
  • 19. Prohibition “Experiment”
    1919: Progressive reform led by churches, women resulted in 18th Amendment, Volstead Act.
    Where was prohibition popular?
    Why there?
  • 20. 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.
  • 21. 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.
  • 22. Prohibition “Experiment”
    Despite problems, bank savings increased, work absentee rate declined.
    Less alcohol consumed than prior to prohibition.
  • 23. The Night Chicago Died
  • 24. 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.
  • 25. Happy Valentine’s Day
  • 26. Progress in Education
    More states requiring high school
    rate of high school completion doubled
    Dewey’s principle of progressive education or “learning by doing” led to more practical, attractive schools
    Scientific breakthroughs:
    Rockefeller Foundation program wiped out hookworm in South.
    Life expectancy grew from 50 to 59 from 1901-1929.
  • 27. Monkey Business in TN
    But Fundamentalists fought new theories
    3 Bible Belt states prohibited teaching evolution.
    Biology teacher Scopes (Dayton, TN) indicted for teaching evolution and violating Butler Law
    led to sensational “Monkey Trial.”
    Prosecutor W.J. Bryan
    Defense lawyer Clarence Darrow.
  • 28. Clip from Inherit the Wind
  • 29. Monkey Business in TN
    Scopes found guilty, fined $100
    fine waived on appeal
    Trial cast ridicule on cause of Fundamentalists:
    More Christians were coming to reconcile religion & science.
    Fundamentalism remained strong among Baptists, etc.
  • 30. Mass-Consumption Economy
    20s economy grew rapidly
    Electricity production & autos became huge new industries
    30M cars by 1930.
    Advertising spawned by need of manufacturers to find new markets for products:
    used persuasion, seduction, etc.
    1925: Ad industry founder Bruce Barton’s The Man Nobody Knows claimed that Jesus was greatest adman ever.
  • 31. Mass-Consumption Economy
    Commercialization led to fame of sports stars Ruth/Grange/ Dempsey.
    Consumers could now buy new marvels
    refrigerators, vacuums, cars, radios etc. on installment plans.
    Economy now vulnerable to disruptions of credit structure.
  • 32. The Second Industrial Revolution
    U.S. develops the highest standard of living in the world
    The twenties and the second revolution
    electricity replaces steam
    Henry Ford’s modern assembly line introduced
    Rise of the airline industry
  • 33. The Automobile Revolution
    Auto makers stimulate sales through model changes- advertising
    Auto industry fostered the growth of other businesses
    Glass, paint, rubber, service stations, car dealerships, tool and die shops, roads etc
    Autos encourage movement and more individual freedom.
  • 34. The Automobile Revolution
    Buses led to consolidation of schools/churches
    Suburbs spread
    Nation of commuters
    1M dead by 1951–more than all wars.
    Cars contributed to declining morals
    Sexual freedom
    crime waves
  • 35. Aviation Revolution
    12/17/03: Gas engines led to Wright Bros. flight at Kitty Hawk.
    “Flying coffins” with stunt pilots were popular at fairs.
    Planes had moderate success in WWI.
    After war, private companies flew passengers, air mail.
    1927: Cynical U.S. found hero in Lindbergh after Spirit of St. Louis transatlantic flight.
    Flight popularized flying, gave boost to aviation industry.
    Though early accidents, by 30s & 40s was safer than car.
    Another setback for RRs.
  • 36. Radio Revolution
    • Westinghouse Radio Station KDKA was a world pioneer of commercial radio broadcasting.
    • 37. KDKA first broadcast was the Harding-Cox Presidential election returns on November 2, 1920.
    • 38. 220 stations eighteen months after KDKA took the plunge.
    • 39. $50 to $150 for first radios
  • Radio Revolution
    • Radio sets, parts and accessories brought in $60 million in 1922 and $852 million in 1929
    • 40. Radio reached into 1/3 homes in its first decade.
    • 41. Listening audience grew to 50,000,000 by 1925
    • 42. “Commercials” paid for private networks.
    • 43. Radio brought Americans back to home, knitted nation together with favorite shows
    • 44. Popularized sports, forced politicians to adapt.
  • Hollywood’s Fantasies
    1903: 1st story sequence The Great Train Robbery was released to “nickelodeons.”
    Among 1st full-length movies was Griffith’s KKK-glorifying The Birth of a Nation (1915).
    Sunny Hollywood, CA became movie capital.
    Indecency in early movies outraged public, producers set up censorship code.
    1927: 1st “talkie” movie, The Jazz Singer, was success.
    Movies became most popular entertainment
    stars made more $ than president.
    Culture was standardized, ethnic divisions reduced.
  • 45. The Dynamic Decade
    1920: More Americans now lived in urban areas.
    More opportunities for women:
    Jobs in cities, though low-paying “women’s work.”
    Margaret Sanger led birth control movement.
    Sexual openness used by advertisers & inspired “flappers.”
    Freud claimed sexual repression was harmful to health.
    Teenagers led assault on sexual taboos in theaters, cars.
  • 46. The Dynamic Decade (2)
    Jazz was soundtrack of new era:
    Harlem-based Marcus Garvey founded UNIA to promote resettlement of blacks in Africa and sponsor black business.
  • 47. Harlem Renaissance
    Large black community in Harlem sustained creative output
    “Renaissance” led by writers McKay, Hughes, Hurston & jazz artists Armstrong, Callaway.
    Argued for “New Negro” who was social equal to whites.
  • 48. Literary Liberation
    20s saw new generation of writers who were ethnically and regionally diverse.
    Critic H. L. Menken attacked patriotism, Puritanism, South, marriage, middle-class.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby (1925) and Dreiser’s An American Tragedy (1925) explored cruelty of achievement-oriented society.
    Disillusioned Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926) and A Farewell to Arms (1929) discussed WWI & aftermath.
    Satirist Sinclair Lewis chronic-led midwestern life in Main Street (1920) & Babbitt (1922).
    Novelist William Faulkner penned The Sound and the Fury (1929) & As I Lay Dying (1930) about southern themes.
  • 49. Literary Liberation (2)
    20s innovation most obvious in poetry:
    “Make It New” Ezra Pound influenced T.S. Eliot, author of “The Waste Land” (1922).
    Robert Frost wrote of adopted New England.
    e.e. cummings used unorthodox diction & typesetting.
    Artistic center Greenwich Village home to playwright Eugene O’Neill: authored sex-themed Strange Interlude (1928) and A Streetcar Named Desire.
  • 50. Big Bull Market
    Bank failures & collapse of Florida real estate scheme gave evidence that economy could crash from over speculation.
    Speculation w/ patriotic pitch drove stock market up wildly.
    Even barbers & elevator operators began buying on margin.
    But conservative federal government was focused on debt, not Wall St.
    1921: Congress created Bureau of the Budget to prevent extravagant spending.
    Treasury Sec. Mellon saw sky-high taxes on rich as harmful to growth & government revenue.
    1921-26: Led Congress to lower income, excise, gift, estate taxes.
    Mellon’s lower taxes on rich resulted in higher proportion of taxes paid by middle-class.
    Mellon reduced nat. debt from $26B to 16B: policies typified pro business regimes of 20s.