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11-3 social and cultural tensions


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1920s Social and Cultural Tensions

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11-3 social and cultural tensions

  1. 1. Social and Cultural Tensions The Twenties
  2. 2. Traditionalism vs. Modernism ● Mostly in rural areas ● Didn’t participate in the “consumer culture” ● Don't value education beyond the early stages ● Religious fundamentalism grew in this area o Emphasized teaching that every word of the Bible is literal truth ● Mostly Urban Areas ● Modernist: emphasizes science and secular values over traditional views of religion ● Education very important for new jobs, up to and including college ● Tended to be more secular, or non-religious
  3. 3. Education Becomes More Important ● In rural areas, education remained unimportant; they were taught the basics (reading, writing, math) through elementary school, then taught on the farm ● Formal education was more important in Urban areas, especially for new jobs o By 1930, high school graduation rates were higher than ever
  4. 4. Scopes Trial ● Centered on the Theory of Evolution o In 1925, a law in Tennessee made it illegal to teach Evolution o Teacher John Scopes challenged the law o Clarence Darrow defended Scopes, while William Jennings Bryan was an expert for the prosecution of Scopes  Bryan stated he believed the Bible to be absolute truth, and refused to accept any scientific evidence to the contrary o Scopes was found guilty of breaking the law (which was never really in question)
  5. 5. Restricting Immigration ● Nativists opposed immigration, and used residual fear from WWI and of Communism to push through immigration restrictions o This includes a literacy test, where immigrants must demonstrate the ability to read and write in their own language
  6. 6. Quota Laws ● The US Set up a Quota System: limits the number of immigrants from a certain country o The formula was that the number of immigrants could not be more than 2% of the number of people of that nationality living in the US in 1890  Note: 1890 is before a massive wave of immigration from South and East Europe  Example: if 100,000 Italians lived in the US in 1890, then only 2,000 could Italians could enter America a year
  7. 7. New Mexican Immigration ● Mexican immigrants were not subject to the quota, as European Immigrants were ● Many worked in fields in Texas and California, or moved to cities in the north for factory work ● Still faced discrimination and competed with native-born Americans for jobs
  8. 8. The New Klan ● The Klan re-emerged, stronger than ever ● Focused their hatred on more than just African Americans - Also prejudiced against Catholics, Jews, and immigrants ● Biggest Klan stronghold was in Indiana, where Klan leader David Stephenson ruled with an iron fist and controlled many Indiana politicians
  9. 9. Americans Oppose the Klan ● Anti-defamation groups rose up against the Klan, including: o NAACP o Jewish Anti-defamation league ● The Klan was corrupt, bribed politicians, and even David Stephenson went to prison for assault and murder ● The Klan lost influence, but remained
  10. 10. Prohibition ● Prohibition refers to the banning of alcohol by the 18th Amendment to the constitution o Believers, called “Drys,” tried to emphasize that the ban would help families and improve individuals o Opponents, dubbed “wets,” argued it only increased crime
  11. 11. Organized Crime ● The reality of prohibition was that it did not stop drinking, only made it more difficult o Many Americans would have homemade stills to make their own alcohol o Others attended a “speakeasy” where they could drink freely o Bootleggers sold illegal alcohol to consumers, making a huge profit o Bootleggers took their alcohol profits and spread their business into gambling, prostitution, and murder
  12. 12. Prohibition Divides the Nation ● Like other topics, the argument over prohibition tended to be drawn on Urban vs. Rural lines: o Urban: Against prohibition o Rural: In favor of Prohibition ● The 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st amendment in 1933, ending the experiment of Prohibition