Politics of Boom and Bust

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  • Elected on his birthday, Extroverted, Politically savvy – invited brains to his cabinet
    Outgoing – unlike Wilson
    “less government in business and more business in government.”
  • The president took such pleasure in Laddie Boy that he had 1,000 bronze miniatures made in the dog's image shortly after taking office. Like a proud father handing out cigars to celebrate the birth of a child, Harding had the dog statuettes sent to his political supporters in Washington, D.C., and to those back in Ohio.Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/The-White-Houses-First-Celebrity-Canine.html#ixzz14k3IZ3H7
    Harding enjoyed his pet's fame; in fact, he cultivated it by writing letters to the press pretending to be Laddie Boy. But the president drew the line at commercializing his dog. "During the Harding administration, numerous toy manufacturers sent letters to the White House asking permission to have exclusive rights to produce a stuffed toy in the likeness of Laddie Boy," says Melinda Gilpin, historic site manager of the Harding Home State Memorial in Marion. "Harding refused to endorse any such endeavor." At least one company did go ahead and manufacture a stuffed animal Laddie Boy, an example of which is on display at the Harding Home.On April 20, 1921, the Times published a story reporting that the terrier had been invited to lead an animal parade that would benefit the Humane Education Society in Washington, D.C. The unidentified reporter wrote: "Announcement that Laddie Boy had accepted the invitation was made today at the White House." As if Laddie Boy had his own press secretary!While making arrangements to leave the White House, Florence gave Laddie Boy to Harry Barker, the Secret Service agent who had been assigned to protect her. Barker had been like a son to Florence, and when his White House assignment ended, he was transferred to the agency's Boston office. Laddie Boy settled into a new life at the home of Barker and his wife in Newtonville, Massachusetts.
    To honor Harding's background as a newspaperman, more than 19,000 newsboys around the country each donated a penny for a memorial to the fallen president. The pennies were melted down and cast into a life-size sculpture of Laddie Boy by Boston-based sculptor, Bashka Paeff. While Paeff worked on the sculpture, Laddie Boy was required to complete 15 sittings.
    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/The-White-Houses-First-Celebrity-Canine.html?c=y&page=3#ixzz14k4UGgA6
  • At the same time measures were taken to 'Americanize' immigrants:
    ●   The Federal Bureau of Naturalization organised naturalization proceedings, and patriotic 'Americanization Day' rallies and Fourth of July celebrations.
    ●   The Federal Bureau of Education organised courses on politics and democracy to prepare immigrants for the 'citizenship exam'.
    ●   The courts clamped down harshly on political crimes by immigrants
         (The case you MUST know about is the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti - two immigrants from Italy who were anarchists - who in 1920 were found guilty of armed robbery and murder (and executed in 1927), even though the defence produced 107 witnesses that they were elsewhere at the time, and in 1925 the actual murderer came forward and gave himself up ... the jury did not believe the defence witnesses because they were all Italian immigrants).
     
    Not all this was racism and prejudice - many social workers saw it a a way to help immigrants out of the terrible poverty many of them lived in.
  • Why Americans wanted high tariffs [WAIF]
    Tariffs stop imports!
    a.  Wartime boom: American business had boomed during the war - possibly because the countries involved in the war hadn't been able to sell goods to America - and American businessmen wanted this to continue.
    c.  American wages: American wages were rising, and American businessmen feared that low wages in Europe would allow European firms to undercut them.  Thus Joseph Fordney claimed that tariffs would protect American workers' jobs.
    b.  Isolationism: American isolationists wanted America to be self-sufficient .
    d.  Farm Bloc: Overproduction was causing a depression in farming.   Farmers hoped that protection would help keep prices up.
  • Fordney-McCumber Tariff.   This had two principles:
     
    a.  'Scientific tariff': this linked tariffs to the wages in the country of export.   If wages in, say Italy, were very low, then Italian goods were given a proportionately higher tariff.   This negated the effect of lower wages in competitor countries.
    b.  'American Selling Price': this linked tariffs to the price of American goods, not to the cost of production.   A German company might be able to produce, say, a certain chemical for $60, but if the selling price in America was $80, and the US tariff was 50%, the tariff would be $40.   This meant that foreign imports were ALWAYS more expensive than American-produced goods, however cheaply they had been made.
      
    The Fordney-McCumber Act established the highest tariffs in history, with some duties up to 400% and an average of 40%.
  • Harding’s Affairs http://hnn.us/articles/88139.html
  • Coolidge and race - http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/121385.html
    Cooolidge and Depression after son’s death - http://hnn.us/articles/9815.html
  • Practical jokes – pressing elevator buttons and running down the steps, pressing buttons on desk to see aids run in
    "Well, Baruch, many times I say only 'yes' or 'no' to people. Even that is too much. It winds them up for twenty minutes more.“
    Both his dry Yankee wit and his frugality with words became legendary. His wife, Grace Goodhue Coolidge, recounted that a young woman sitting next to Coolidge at a dinner party confided to him she had bet she could get at least three words of conversation from him. Without looking at her he quietly retorted, "You lose." And in 1928, while vacationing in the Black Hills of South Dakota, he issued the most famous of his laconic statements, "I do not choose to run for President in 1928.“
  • in 1923 Germany defaulted. In response to this, French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr River valley inside the borders of Germany. This occupation of the centre of the German coal and steel industries outraged the German people, who, in response, passively resisted the occupation, thus leading to a further strain on Germany's economy, significantly contributing to the hyperinflation that followed
    Main points of the Dawes Plan
    In an agreement of August 1924, the main points of The Dawes Plan were:
    The Ruhr area was to be evacuated by Allied occupation troops.
    Reparation payments would begin at “one billion marks the first year, increasing to two and a half billion marks annually after five years" (Merrill 93)
    The Reichsbank would be reorganized under Allied supervision.
    The sources for the reparation money would include transportation, excise, and custom taxes.
    IMPACT: The Dawes Plan provided short term economic benefits to the German economy. It softened the burdens of war reparations, stabilized the currency, and brought increased foreign investments and loans to the German market. However, it made the German economy dependent on foreign markets and economies, and therefore problems with the U.S. economy (e.g. the Great Depression) would later severely hurt Germany as it did the rest of the western world, which was subject to debt repayments for loans of American dollars.
    After World War I, this cycle of money from U.S. loans to Germany, which then made reparations to other European nations, which then used the money to pay off their debts to America, locked the western world's economy on that of the U.S.
  • Consumer economy and mass entertainment - http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=454
  • Politics of Boom and Bust

    1. 1. In what ways were the 1920s a reaction against the progressive era?
    2. 2. Look at the electoral map from the 1920 election. Draw 2 conclusions about America in 1920, based on your interpretation of the map.
    3. 3. Objectives • Analyze the domestic political conservatism and economic prosperity of the 1920s. • Explain the Republican administrations’ policies of isolationism, disarmament, and high-tariff protectionism. • Compare the easygoing corruption of the Harding administration with the straight- laced uprightness of his successor Coolidge. • Describe the international economic tangle of loans, war debts, and reparations, and indicate how the United States dealt with it.
    4. 4. The world needs to be reminded that all human ills are not curable by legislation, and that quantity of statutory enactments and excess of government offer no substitute for quality of citizenship. The problems of maintained civilization are not to be solved by a transfer of responsibility from citizenship to government and no eminent page in history was ever drafted to the standards of mediocrity. Nor, no government worthy of the name which is directed by influence on the one hand or moved by intimidation on the other. My best judgment of America's need is to steady down, to get squarely on our feet, to make sure of the right path. Let's get out of the fevered delirium of war with the hallucination that all the money in the world is to be made in the madness of war and the wildness of its aftermath. Let us stop to consider that tranquility at home is more precious than peace abroad and that both our good fortune and our eminence are dependent on the normal forward stride of all the American people. Senator Warren G Harding – Return to Normalcy Speech May 14, 1920
    5. 5. Harding and the Return to “Nor
    6. 6. Smithsonian
    7. 7. America yearns for the “good old days”… Before Progressivism & WWI -Anger over the high cost of living, widespread unemployment -disillusionment after war -Labor unrest -Immigration
    8. 8. GOP in the ’20s • Political Conservatism • Isolationism/Disarmament • High-tariff protectionism
    9. 9. Political Conservatism • Improve laissez-faire – govt guide business to profits – anti-trust laws ignored • Immigration Quotas – Red Scare • Conservative Court – Killed progressive legislation – Restricted govt. role in economy – Labor set-backs • Adkins v. Children’s Hosp – reversed Muller • women equal to men bc of the ballot – SO NO SPECIAL PROTECTION
    10. 10. Aftermath of the War • WIB dismantled • RR returned to private ownership • Veteran’s Bureau - hospitals, vocational rehab – Adjusted Compensation Act insurance policy in 20 years
    11. 11. Disarmament Washington Naval Conference • Stop naval arms race in Pacific • Russia was not invited… • Sec. of State, Charles Evans Hughes – 5 Power Treaty (5:5:3) – 4 Power Treaty – preserve status-quo in Pacific – 9 Power Treaty – Open Door in China • Significance: – Weakened US position in the Pacific – For the first time in history, powerful nations agreed to disarm…
    12. 12. Diplomacy? Kellogg-Briand Pact • War only permitted for defensive purposes • NO MEANS OF ENFORCEMENT
    13. 13. 1920s Foreign Policy ILLUSION OF PEACE; false sense of security ISOLATIONISM + DISARMAMENT =
    14. 14. Why did Americans want high tariffs? Tariffs stop imports! • Wartime boom of Amer business • American wages high, Euro wages low • Isolationism – self-sufficiency • Farm Bloc - Overproduction was causing a depression in farming; wanted to keep prices up
    15. 15. High-Tariff Protectionism: Isolationism? Fordney- McCumber Tariff • Raised tariff 27- 38% • Tips off tariff wars • Causes international economic distress Would cheap Euro goods flood US markets?
    16. 16. The “Ohio Gang” causes scandal… • “Ohio Gang” - Harding’s cronies • Teapot Dome – Fall took bribes to lease Navy Oil Reserves in WY – Loss of faith in govt, courts – Scandalous relationship between $ and political influence
    17. 17. “Juggernaut”
    18. 18. A reputation forever tarnished… • Illegitimate child in 1919 by mistress Nan Britton • 2 friends who committed suicide after they were convicted of bribery (Jesse Smith-Assistant Attorney General & Charles Cramer- Legal Advisor) • Controversy over his sudden death in 1923…natural causes, negligent homicide, suicide or murder? Nan Britton Pres. and Florence Harding
    19. 19. WAS image really everything?
    20. 20. Presidential Rankings – C-SPAN JFK #6
    21. 21. Calvin Coolidge “Silent Cal” “the man who builds afactory builds atemple” “The chief business of the American people is business”
    22. 22. • Morally clean • Ousted Harding’s corrupt cabinet members • Limited role of govt in economics
    23. 23. Restricting Immigration • Red Scare – fear of radicals, anarchists • Nativism, KKK • Emergency Quota Act (21) – 3% • Immigration Quota Act – 2% (24) “Make Mine Freedom” Video (1948)
    24. 24. … As soon as they step off the decks of their ships our problem has begun - bolshevism, red anarchy, black-handers and kidnappers, challenging the authority and integrity of our flag… Thousands come here who never take the oath to support our constitution and to become citizens of the United Sates. They pay allegiance to some other country while they live upon the substance of our own. They fill places that belong to the loyal wage-earning citizens of America… They are of no service whatever to our people. They constitute a menace and a danger to us every day.. Speech by Senator Heflin of Alabhama, 1921
    25. 25. “Americanization” Campaigns
    26. 26. • Ruhr Valley – part of demilitarized Rhineland, as dictated by Treaty of Versailles. France occupied bc Germany defaulted on reparations payments 1923 French Soldiers in the Ruhr area
    27. 27. • Hyper-inflation in Europe • Dawes Plan – US private loans to G, who paid GB and F, who repaid US Unraveling the Debt Knot
    28. 28. 1920’s= High tariffs + high wages + technology + productivity
    29. 29. “I’ll go without food before I’ll see us give up the car” ~ Middletown
    30. 30. Installment Plans
    31. 31. “Clouds in the blue skies of prosperity” • Growing income gap • No true prosperity in railroad industries • Losses suffered by farmers and mining companies • Installment buying was out of hand/”artificial prosperity”
    32. 32. Discussion Questions • Was the American isolationism of the 1920s linked to the rise of movements like the Ku Klux Klan? In what ways did the movements like fundamentalism reflect similar “antimodern” outlooks, and in what ways did they reflect more basic religious disagreements? • To what extent did the policies of the booming 1920s contribute to the depression? Was the depression inevitable, or could it have been avoided? Why or why not? • How did the depression challenge the traditional belief of Hoover and other Americans in “rugged individualism”?
    33. 33. • You will create TWO political cartoons depicting some aspect of Warren G. Harding’s Presidency (think about the major events we studied) – One cartoon must be PRO Harding (think as though you are an isolationist or someone who supports American business) – One cartoon must be ANTI Harding • Your cartoon must have – Symbols – A caption – A message

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