Bloodied by WWI and disillusioned by the peace, Americans turned inward in the 1920’s. Shunningdiplomatic commitments to foreign countries, they also denounced “radical” foreign ideas, condemned“un-American” lifestyles, and clanged shut the immigration gates against foreign peoples.The boom of the golden twenties showered genuine benefits on Americans, as incomes and livingstandards rose for many. New technologies, new consumer products, and new forms of leisure andentertainment made the twenties roar.
SEEING RED Hysterical fears of red Russia permeated American society after 1917, which spawned a small communist party in America. Upstanding Americans jumped to the conclusion that labor troubles were fomented by bomb-and-whisker Bolsheviks.
The big “red scare” of 1919-1920 resulted in anationwide crusade against left-wingers whoseAmericanism was suspect.Attorney Gen. Mitchell Palmer earned the title ofthe “Fighting Quaker” by his excess zeal inrounding up suspects.Various states joined the pack in the outcryagainst radicals. In 1919-1920 a number oflegislatures, reflecting the anxiety of “solid”citizens, passed criminal syndicalism laws.These anti-red statutes made unlawful the mereadvocacy of violence to secure social change.
The red scare was a godsend to conservativebusiness people, who used it to break the backs offledgling unions.Labor’s call for the “closed” or all-union shop wasdenounced as “Sovietism in disguise.”Employers, in turn, hailed their own anti-unioncampaign for the “open” shop as the “AmericanPlan.”
Anti-redism & anti-foreignism were reflected in a notorious case regarded by liberals as a“judicial lynching.” Explain the case of Sacco and Vanzetti. What was the impact ofthe outcome?
HOODED HOODLUMS of the KKK A new Ku Klux Klan, spawned by the postwar reaction, mushroomed fearsomely in the early 1920’s. Despite the familiar sheets and hoods, it more closely resembled the anti-foreign “nativist” movements of the 1850’s. What was the Klan against? What was it for? Describe its popularity. What tactics did the Klan employ? Explain the fate of the Klan.