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HIST 331 (1)

US Between the Wars lecture notes

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McGill University
HIST 331
Leonard Moore

September 6, 12 Prof’s Thesis - We shouldn't think of this period as simply a time that after WW1 America went to sleep and boozed – the Great Depression and the rise of the liberal state that would grow to shape much of the modern world. Challenge the prof, the authors, my peers to develop my own critical thought on the matter. Decide if you think its right. The New Deal was the start of modern American idealism Civil War brought together the US in a industrialized unified force that was strthgly attached to militarization and military service. When you look ahead into the 20 century at the wars where you see national mobilization. WW1 big strong national mobilization – to do all this and more the federal government assumed central responsibility. The war was conducted by a liberal figure who believed the federal government should take a central role (Woodrough Wilson) instead of letting the free-market organize itself. Powerful precedent of what would happen in the future. War has a huge effect on American society. This period should be seen as a whole. The events that take place are interconnected. The modern socio, political, economic are emerging. The war and Great depression help develop the modern institutions that have carried their course until today. September 10, 12 World War I Culminating moment in the industrial revolution.  Massive slaughter  Led to the Bolshevik revolution  Treaty of Versailles o Reinforce the colonial power victors of the world o Creating national grievances and angers throughout the world o Redrawing the map of the Middle East and Europe Rooted in the industrial revolution  Colonized and victimized nations due to imperial reach  Success in agriculture gave way to larger towns/cities, larger scale production methods  Agricultural production rises so much there is a surplus in farms all around the world o Movement from agricultural to urban environments - large movement of people to cities to work in factories  Commercialization, immigration, industrialization, agriculturalization o Struggle for control of the resources and the wealth that are available in this new world system o All the world powers competing for markets and resources in Africa, Asia…  United States o Competition is internal  Economy of the north versus economy of the south  Civil War o This proof in the power of science creates a great sense of certainty. Created an ideology of superiority (science, power to capture and control other countries around the world).  Scientific racism – superiority of the white race and western world over other people War brings all these forces together. War begins when all these systems of power have reached a boiling point. Alliances are born over the years of power securing. Two great alliances come together in August of 1914 under the impression they have an unbeatable army. Tied to this culture of success that had grown through the late 19 and 20 century.  Industrialization  Urbanification  Rise of modern labour movements  Progressivism o Labour rights were a step of progressive reform o Empowering the right people, and disempowering the people who were causing the trouble and discord in America. o A kind of power grab by white, protestant America  Make sure the right people are making decisions and that people are respecting the right value system. o Using the power of the government to intervene (at the hard of the progressive ethos) o Addressing the concern of labour, economic inequality at a national level. On the national level, progressivism resulted in two important presidencies in the 20h century: 1. Theodore Roosevelt – makes a name for himself during a insignificant battle in Cuba and comes back as a war hero – big reputation. In the Republican Party at this time, reformers have become a major force in the party. Roosevelt did monumental things in regards to pushing the reformist agenda forward. FDA – one classic example of how this new progressivism was shaping – government intervention in the economy. Rethinking the role of government in society. 2. Woodrow Wilson September 12, 12 Last time: Industrialization and imperialism  Sense of competition between nations  In the USA industrialization was transforming the country, there was also a powerful reaction against industrialization known as Progressivism o Theodore Roosevelt and later Woodrow Wilson epitomized this progressive ethos in American government o Compromise between capital and labour was progressive belief o Also believed in reigning in the power of the monopolies – banks, corporations etc. o Anti-immigrant attitudes were a part of this era, seen on the part of progressive reformers o Roosevelt was in favour of ―Americanization wanted immigrants to really assimilate o Wilson – his vision of progress was very ethnocentric (he was racist) 1913 Wilson elected  Wilson‘s attitude is to try and stay neutral, he wants USA to stay out of the war BUT inside the country there were political interests that opposed neutrality. They believed that the US should get involved in the war to show the power of their nation. Many thought of Wilson as a soft-hearted leader for not going to war. A group of military generals got together and started a volunteer training program. Involvement in the war was argued to be able to unify the salad bowl of races in America.  Trying to build a progressive census in the USA  1916 – tremendous hope and optimism coming from many levels - had established a strong enough policy of staying out of the war that he established a ton of votes and popularity towards the Democrats.  Wilson started making plans for playing a big role after the war o Rethinking colonial relationships o League of nations – a world forum for resolving national disputes and addressing issues of fairness and justice in the world without resorting to war  Germany begins to treat USA as if they‘ll be coming to war shortly on the side of GB – sinking US ships with U-boats etc.. Pressure on Wilson to respond. Zimmerman note from Germany to Mexico encouraging an attack on Texas. Wilson decides US should enter the war. Important: the unprecedented institutional changes that are made to accommodate the national mobilization for WWI.  Wilson‘s government constructs railroad, food administration (strict control of food production)  Sense of nationalization all goes to justify this huge increase in the power of the federal government  Patriotism, support for military undertaking  Opposition to the war would not be tolerated – the federal government would be their to ensure full public support o Ex. 4-minute man: speeches before films at the theatre that encourage patriotism and point out ways to pick out non-supporters  Espionage Act of 1917 – made it illegal to say anything negative about the draft, any public dissent about the draft was illegal, made discussion of troop movements punishable by major prison sentences – the government tis mobilizing for war and the public is not allowed to speak about it  Intelligence Bureau – created to start gathering files on disloyal Americans – creating a national police force for the main purpose of trying to find, locate and undermine disloyal Americans and anti-American ideas  Segregation – system of racial apartheid in the united states – circumstances, living conditions, suffering at the hands of the apartheid systems – when the war begins there is a need for workers in industrialized settings, particularly African Americans who were suffering, went to the north to look for employment to escape the communities of the south. Huge demographic shift begins in the war ‗the great migration’ of people moving towards industrialized cities. o Infusion of African-americanism into social life o Blacks are called to serve in the military exactly the same way as whites o W. E. B. DuBois spoke out in favour of African American support of the war  Saw the war as something that might parallel African American experience in the civil war  Thought it might tear apart this recently created Jim Crow system September 12, 12 Treaty of Versailles – Wilson bargains away almost his entire platform to establish a league of nations  Conservatives push the progressive agenda of 1916 to the back – Wilson did not have the votes for the Treaty of Versailles at home by the senate. o Wilson attempts to bypass this by using his presidency to take the issue to the people and take on the Senate o Summer 1919 – Wilson has a stroke after neglecting the doctors recommendations to not travel around Sense of disillusionment – in the US and around Europe of what could happen to the modern world/economy  Turmoil in American society and sense of disappointment about the war – doubts that it was really worth it Economy experienced a huge surge of inflation – only lasted for a couple years but was very sharp.  When a country mobilizes for war = inflation.  Inflation = not enough goods to satisfy a demand and prices go up.  With prices rising dramatically all across the US, not enough goods, people being laid off because war factories were being shut down = wave of labour activity beginning months after the war  Series of strikes effecting all parts of the economy o Steel strike of 1919: main goal was to form a union o Strikes large and small all across the united states – a sense of anarchy breaking out o At one point in 1919 approx. 4 mill. workers on strike o In Boston, the police went on strike A sense of anarchy breaking out in the states – this coincided with the rise of ‗international communism‘ stemming from Russia – in the midst of this growing power of the American government to address the idea of political threats internally and externally, there was a need for this to be addressed. All the strikes posed a potential threat to social order. Within government, there was a desire to shut down this problem.  All these forces are coming together in 1919: dissent, labour action, strikes, any criticism of the US – all come to be perceived as anarchism or a destructive leftist movement  Mail bombs sent to people including the attorney general A. Mitchell Palmer  Huge bomb set off in front of the JP Morgan killing 38 people ^Palmer decides he needs to act against this to crush this anarchy, dissent… in the US – he gets together with Hoover and decides to round up suspected disloyals – Palmer mobilizes two massive raids – came to be known as the Red Scare – took place in disregard to the constitutional principles of the US, no probable cause, warrant for arrests – in the vast majority of circumstances: people were held without any rights or explanation – one of the great mass violations of civil liberty in American history – a new definition of the responsibilities/power of American government to thrwart un-American forces and stifle dissent, make sure dangerous ideas (esp. communism) did not have a foothold and were unacceptable in society – the beginning of the long, conflicted relationship with communism and anti-communism that would shape things from this step forward as to what is acceptable political discourse. These ideas of Americanism, loyalty were extremely important aspects of this time period.  Not just Hoover and Palmer behind this movement – it is a HUGE movement in American society Great migration of blacks from the south to Midwestern and northeastern cities - increases the sense of racial tension – black communities emerge in all the major cities (Harlem, south side of Chicago) – tradition of racial segregation – tension emerges from the growing and prospering black community in the workplace and in bursting segregated neighborhoods – a ‗Black Scare‘ takes place in conjunction with the Red Scare –  September, 1919: Arkansas side of the Mississippi – black share croppers meet to discuss and resolve some of their grievances – this meeting gets publicized and over-exaggerated – a large group of white vigilantes go into the black area and start murdering and committing crimes for several days – a sign that the ‗Black Scare‘ in the wake of the Red Scare was institutionalizing and stimulating this kind of action in the aftermath of WWI – sign of how whites tried to gain full control of the black population – represented a huge wave of violence which accompanied the great changes in the US after WWI One of the significant institutional changes that occurs takes place in the Supreme Court case that involves Schenck v. US (1919) – Shenck of the socialist party - convicted for speaking out against the war – argued the Espionage Act was constitution and that there was a legitimate limit to the right of free speech, in cases where there is a clear and present danger to the nation there is a limit to free speech – ―the right to free speech does not include the right to yell fire in a crowd of people‖ – symbolizes the new power of the government September 24, 12 Catching up politically: we talked about Wilson who had a stroke; he was disabled and confined to the White house during the last part of his precedency. Election in 1921, he is not going to run again. The political winds change significantly, fluke democrat elected in 1912, big progressive win in 1916, with the US entering the war and the powerful changes that take place, the rise of this powerful Americanism, Nationalist sentiment in the country. In the midterm elections in 1918 the progressives start to lose a lot of ground. Industries start to lose a lot of ground as capitalist and labour have a big fight. Lots of congressmen and Senators in the Republican Party who are progressives, but the war has powered the business wing of the Republican Party (who were at the losing end of the party during the Roosevelt presidency). In 1920, the struggle has tipped against the progressives in the Republican Party – one of the key developments of the post war years. This Treaty that Wilson signs is not popular, and all the vision he had for the war become romantic failures. With the failure of Wilson and the empowerment of the business side of the Republican party – the progressives are pushed to the side, and are very distraught about it. It was thought that the war would be a big turning point for democracy and social justice, but by the time the war was over, DuBois had no sense of hope. He realized that there would not be this springboard he was hoping it would be. DuBois was one example of someone who thought the war would establish some sort of advancement in the areas of social justice and democracy, and he was very upset afterwards. As 1920 approaches, many congressmen are upset as well as the businessmen are in control. Robert LaFollette: and a number of other traditional Republican leaders were horrified, the business wing, the very people we have been fighting our entire lives are now in control of our party. Editors at the New Republic and other progressive newspapers were writing, ―look what‘s happened, we have no base to stand on politically…‖ The election of 1920 marks an end to the Progressive Party. The Republicans are looking for someone to run the party that is the opposite of Wilson and Roosevelt.  They dredged up a pretty non-descript, party-man from Ohio names Warren Harding  Had no Agenda  Wanted to return America to ‗normalcy‘  Running against James Cox, who had been nominated to replace Wilson‘s agenda, appeal to northern democratic votes etc.  Harding won a significant victory based on the idea of ‗let‘s have a quiet presidency‘  New era of business oriented conservative government begins in 1920 and lasts through the decade  Wants to see an easing in post war tension, lets Eugene V Debs out of jail  Tries to slow down the FBI and J Edgar Hoover  Likes to drink and play poker with his homies, chills pretty hard  Only makes it to 1923 – has a stroke and dies  There are still progressives trying in congress, but USA is going in direction away from progressivism African Americans in the War  Had to do the work no one wanted to do, - ex. Clean the latrines  Promises broken of having black officers, ends up being very segregated and the AA troops are not trusted  Idea that they would not fight as hard for the US as whites and other negative notions fall upon the black troops stationed in France  French ask the US for regiments to fight under their command – US gives them black regiments – black homies kill it with great distinction  They found a sense of freedom and dignity in their involvement with the French military – sense of liberation – that stood as an important example of freedom for the race  Harlem Hellfighters come back and parade through Harlem as heroes o Stood as an example of DuBois – we return fighting  They have a new presence in American life  This leads to a blossoming of African American culture within the mainstream of American society – some refer to it as the New Negro Movement – modern African American people with a sense of pride Harlem Renaissance  James Weldon Johnson  Claude McKay  The tradition that we can look around today and take for granted an AA intelligencia that has a strong and powerful voice that reaches out to all of American society and addresses issues of equality, justice and democracy  Artists and musicians, blues and jazz, flocked to Harlem, Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City  All about self-expression that was denied in the Jim Crow system  Themes of self-expression, individual freedom, and a flouting of the rules of society that is inherent in jazz and blues runs a close parallel to what is going on politically – AA writers, reformers, musicians, are operating in America‘s great cities and having a profound influence Great migration  Decades prior to WWI = golden period for agriculture – high prices for commodities, farmers were doing well etc.  War changes this: with the war, Europe is so devastated not only by the war but also by the worldwide influenza pandemic that happened – killing millions – 5 mill. in US o No market for a lot of American commodities – markets collapse o Large number of people move into cities looking for jobs as working in agriculture is not as prosperous as it once was  The rise of cities in terms of their power and influence Technology and technological change:  Electricity: the war caused electricity to be widely spread – refrigeration, home appliances etc – the spread becomes a dividing line between the modern and the pre-modern, the flourishing and the non-flourishing – huge expansion in the electric power grid  Radio: a wonder, extraordinary thing – spread of radio is comparable to that of the internet in modern times – within a few years , radio corporations formed – September 26, 12 Recap: people in cities and towns, people were wired up and during the 1920s and later into the greater depression, economically fell greater behind. One thing about electricity there was a huge boom in land reclamation (building damns and for the use of generating electricity). There was huge expansion in land irrigation associated with the damns in the west. They wanted land reclamation as a part of the project. Land reclamation – ways to reclaim landform its natural state to a more productive state: drugging rivers, building levies and other ways to deal with water or land issues. There was a bureau of land reclamation that had to do with environmental issues, land management etc. somtiems they would cease property to see some sort of building project (but this wasn‘t the primary means) *economic changes Radio: is given a huge push forward with WWI and how it quickly becomes a commercial project. Radio stations quickly expand to large and small stations. Radio starts to develop a powerful influence. It puts such a stamp on the US because it uses advertisements. Radio is also given a huge push because government is given a huge role in economy in organization.  Use of the public airways and certain frequencies. There is a lot of structure that helps the brand new industry explode.  CBS – Columbia broadcasting system  Groups start to networking into chains. Coast to coast broadcasts becomes possible, especially with broadcasters (brand names and consumer products). There is also a lot of different kinds of radio production – public information, entertainment, religious broadcast and religious broadcasters.  Evangelicalisms who embrace the radio – many of them were local and had a powerful appeal to people. Aimee Semple McPherson (example). The radio reaches into peoples‘ lives.  Radio also impacts politics – it was a difficult art to master. Politicians up to this point only spoke to those that could fit into one room and had limited abilities to be charismatic. Demonstrated when FDR is elected and makes extraordinary use of the radio. This development of radios in American politics. People that can use and speak to a mass audience start to be very successful. *By far the thing that radio does the most to change was the consumer culture and popular entertainment. It was a source of entertainment. Entertainers flock from all over. One of the reasons that Jazz has the impact that it does is because of radio. The recording industries play an important role in broadcasting music. Very soon after the radio is invented the soap opera is invented – a way for people to be engaged in an ongoing story.  All of the radio was sponsored by various companies that want their products out there.  Social and cultural connections tied to this new force of mass consumption (culture of consumption)  Other technological changes in science, consumption and American society – AUTOMOBILE  WWI and the industrial production that is stimulated by it and the need for trucks and ambulances helps to stimulate mass production of automobiles in the 1920s. The leading force was Henry Ford, but by the 1920s by the stimulation of the car the model T.  Ford perfected the modern idea of the assembly line – interchangeable parts and he use these techniques to create a car that was widely available. Ford made a point to pay the most to the industrial workers because he wanted his workers to be able to buy the product they were making. Ford was also a vicious racist and had a lot of programs in his company that encouraged Americans to be 100% American.  He also had a lot of anti-Semitic writings  During the automobile industry – companies that went away (the small ones that were scattered around the mid-west). To compete with the Ford juggerknot and the model T and the model A – they start consolidating. During the 1920s the largest smaller companies like Chevy, Pontiac etc. come together to form GM to compete with Ford. Chrysler also comes in to this. This creates the big Three cooperation. Automobile Industry  Henry Ford and the Model T o Perfected the idea of an assembly line o Paid some of the highest factory wages in the world – so that his employees could purchase the automobiles he makes o Anti-semite who placed strict regulations on his workers and their families  General Motors o Emerges to compete against the surging Ford – Pontiac, Chevrolet, etc come together  Influence on public transportation o Most cities in the US in the 19 century, when the suburbs were emerging they were built with streetcars – first horse drawn and then electric o This infrastructure tends to get wiped out with the expansion of the automobile industry o Instead build wider roads  Symbol of freedom in American country Airplane  The war hugely stimulated the technology of flight – in WW1 they started with blimps – planes emerge  Huge amount of government support for this industry o Building public airports, runways  Put to use for mail transportation, important cargo, by mid-1920 passenger service  Charles Lindbergh – most famous pilot in the world – first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Films  Important how extraordinarily popular they were – how they socially and culturally shaped American life in this period in large cities and towns across the country – a network that becomes an institution across American culture Consumer Culture  Advertising, mass distribution of goods  Economic – after the initial economic crisis that occurs right after WW1, the economy of the US goes into a huge swing  Factories are churning out products, low rates of unemployment = people have money to spend Advertising  Turn to social sciences (psychology) to find methods to attract customers  Attacking people in a weak spot: one of the important and powerful techniques used  Advertising techniques that developed during this expanding consumer culture emphasized certain powerful themes such as: the importance of personal freedom and giving into emotional feelings Changing place for women  Woman have won the right to vote for the first time, primarily because of WW1  Transforms American politics  Start a process of change that will continue on from this point forward  The Era of the New Woman  Demographic/economic changes o Woman are finding themselves in the lower-middle class workforce o Many of these woman are finding there way into higher careers o High school attendance becomes the norm and college attendance becomes more so the norm – woman benefit from this o Sexual revolution and change in public morality September 26, 12 Marcus Garvey and the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association)  Jamaican born pan-African leader who emerged around the time of WWI and into the 1920s  He became concerned with broad pan-African issues  His literature became popular in Harlem, south side of Chicago and southern areas of the US  Self-help, self-determination, ethnic pride, pan-African pride and unity - represent the long tradition of self-help – embrace the reality that they can‘t look to white people for change  Garvey popularized a long tradition  Represents a powerful expression of anger and frustration in this context of post- war increase in racial violence, racial tension – frustration of African Americans who fled the south and the Jim Crowe system to go to cities and find the same forms of segregation  Middle-class AA were strong supporters of Garvey  Most of Garveys plans dealt with AA organizing economically and keeping this inside the communities  The Negro Factory Organization: helped AA start businesses  Shipping Line: between Africa and the western hemisphere to support black businesses  Not the results but the fact that he touched the nerve that he touched in AA communities, a sense of nationalism in side of black communities and this legitimate sense of anger and frustration that is important  Garvey got some serious attention from the federal government – gets investigated and eventually convicted for mail fraud and put in jail – when he is released and sent to Jamaica his fame evaporates  In terms of social and political movements: this is an expression of this non- integratedness strain – real anger Mexican American reading – Goutierez  The other Great Migration that occurred in the US at this time Consumer Culture, Technological Change  Youth culture – education becomes more standardized  Strong emphasis on youth as a extended period and freedom from the world of work and have the opportunity to express yourself  Profound cultural consequeneces: makes teenage years a new entity in American culture – people won‘t go to work as soon as they are old enough to pull down a handle – leads to profound changes in the way people think about their lives and their sense of freedom o Consumer culture is pushing hard in the same direction – having fun, satisfying yourself  Woman‘s Movement o This movement tied into consumer culture, technological change and the youth movement – we start seeing this new emphasis on new freedom – more and more woman are able to support themselves in middle class jobs – this era becomes one of new found freedom for woman  We see a real break from the traditional role of woman and Victorian morality  Sexual revolution – expressed through the youth movement, woman‘s movement and the rise of film October 9, 12 ―IT‖  The progressive women who want to revert to traditions of the past and find the baby a father etc.. – compared to the ‗New‘ woman that thinks for herself and tells them off  Sex, drugs and scandalous lifestyle – died at an early age from drug and alcohol abuse  Conservative Backlash against modern values - against consumption and the new values of this period Prohibition  Presented a unique use of the constitution to single out a specific substance and ban it  Emblematic of a culture war over various kinds of issues that would have the same kind of intensity in the 1920s moving forward – a very powerful part of cultural conflict and what Americans started calling a ‗culture war’ in American life  Early 19 century – very high consumption rate of alcohol – took off the time of industrialization when factories emerged and young men went to saloons as soon as they punched out th  As the 19 century moved along, more and more, there was a progressive reform effort to reduce the consumption of alcohol  Late 19 century - The Women’s Christian Temperance Union becomes powerful (along with the women‘s rights movement) th th  Anti-Saloon League (late 19 , early 20 ) – an arm of the Methodist church – aggressive mission – thought the government should intervene (like Woodrow Wilson) – decade before WWI, starts to develop a strategy of trying to pass new state prohibition laws around USA  White protestants were more inclined to strongly favour prohibition, whereas immigrants and blacks who could vote opposed  During the War – argument that the grains and wheat used to make alcoholic drink should be used to help the war effort  18 amendment passed during the war: ―their needs to be legislation to hammer out the general policy of the amendment‖ – this was passed after the war (Volstead Act)  After January, 1920 – the manufacturing, and transportation for the purpoe of sale is band  Loopholes in the act allow people and businesses to find a way to get large quantities of alcohol – especially wealthy Americans, are stocking up – Hoover, Warren Harding have massive stokeholds of alcohol even though they voted in favour of prohibition October 9, 12 Prohibition cont‘  How prohibition became a law: lots of places across the state that already prohibit alcohol before it became a federal law – those areas where there is great support for the idea are overwhelmingly rural and white and have come out of a long tradition of prohibiting alcohol – a sense of the chosen people of the U.S. – those regions of the country had disproportionate power – a deep-seeded tradition of rural areas being thought of as America‘s heartland – state legislature were not chosen evenly based on population – voting power was tipped towards these rural areas  As soon as prohibition takes effect with the added power of the wartime situation behind it, it is very clear that it is going to be a huge problem Legal ways around prohibition:  Alcohol Prescription: Alcohol could be consumed if it was accompanied by a doctors prescription with legitimate reasons – huge increase in prescriptions = large boom in drug stores that sell all kinds of products and become important places where people go to buy all kinds of stuff  Wine for sacramental purposes Illegal ways  European suppliers along the Atlantic coast – boat loads stop outside the 12 mile line and unloada into smaller boats which could dock on random beaches  Canadian suppliers – smuggle across the border  Pacific coast from Mexico and Vancouver  Gulf coast from Cuba and the Caribbean  Al ‗Scareface‘ Capone – eventually kills most of his competitors in Chicago and holds a major chunk of the illegal alcohol market  Every major city had underground alcohol rings  Glorification of the gangster was so widespread because everybody uses them in this period – in some towns they were local heroes – seen as doing something useful and positive to the community – and sometimes would spread the money around as well Law enforcement  On the law enforcement side it is hugely difficult to enforce it – the federal government creates this law but doesn‘t shovel out much money to the police departments to enforce it – some places say it's a federal law so it‘s up to the federal government to enforce it  Pacific Coast has two ships to patrol the whole coastline  Corruption in law enforcement agencies was prominent – tremendous pressure on sheriff‘s offices, judges, attorney generals to succumb to being bought out by the gangster‘s and go along with the program – from their peers who were corrupt and from the powerful gangsters – violence and power  Urban political machines had always been corrupt and prohibition was just another piece of the puzzle Consequences  There is a huge response to the disrespect of values, tradition that came along with prohibition and the lack of enforcement  Many people turned to blaming racial minorities  Culture war concerning prohibition enforcement that would do much to define America  Wane Wheeler (head of the anti-saloon league) – modern day conservative, ―these are the dominant values of the U.S., we have the power we have to enforce this power‖ – epitomized the ―New Conservative Citizenship‖ – wanted to crush all those partaking in illegal activity Immigration  Long tradition of concern and conflict about immigrants  Anti-Chinese sentiment esp. in California  Anti-Japanese sentiment  WWI: the flow of immigrants all but stopped – danger of travelling across the Atlantic being the main concern for that  In Congress, because of the Red Scare, there was enough power to put laws in place to regulate and cut off immigration o Before this it had been all but unregulated o Business had always wanted the doors wide open o 1921, Congress passed a temporary, major immigration law – significant because it put a cap on the number of immigrants that could come into the U.S. – est. 360,000 compared to millions coming in before WWI  Anti-Immigrant sentiment continues to grow  Progressive Johnson in California tries to set in place a permanent anti- immigration law  The sense that immigrants from eastern Europe and other places were more likely to be anarchists  National Origins Act 1924: one of the most important pieces of legislation in American history, closed the door to more than a century of mass immigration and a new way of perceiving the subject – established a whole new policy towards immigration in the U.S. – some people in the world were socially and racially fit to be Americans and some were not o Used scientific racism to lay out who the ideal immigrants were and who the destructive ones o Excludes people from all Asian nations as unfit – except for Philippines o In a similar way to prohibition it defines a division between the old progressive America and the new lines of what defines liberal and conservative – ex. Many labour unions embrace the National Origins Act, and they wanted to be seen as patriotic and not Bolshevik and communist – they think that keeping un-American forces out of American society October 16, 2012  Idea that theories of evolution and Darwiniam theory were destroying faith in America and encouraging andti-christianism  During the war, people tied to this religious vision – the war resulted in a loss of progressive ideals  ‗return to normalcy‘ – the end of this do-gooding form of Christianity and turn to a new, proper form Fundamentalism:  Inside religious organizations  Starting in the 1920s when they start having group meetings to discuss  Getting rid of all the social crusades and all the involvement of government – faith based on the literal context of the Bible.  In the past it was used as a moral guideline and not to be taken overly literally, a general handbook for Christianity – fundamentalists put up a fight about this  Eventually, the Fundamentalists break off from the normal Church – start popping up in various places in the 1920s o E.g. Church of Nazerene, Church of Chirst etc.  Opposition to worldliness – try to build congregations of people who will devout themselves 100% to the Church and the cause and reject other social organizations (no politics, drinking, smoking, zippers, and other signs of modernism) – returning to a modern day image of the things of the past  Example of how the church wanted each of thee members to turn away from the world  Radicals, separatists  Pentecostal Church found some success early on – emphasizing the Pentecost – closely connected to fundamentalism (not just a handful of churches but a wide spectrum of religious change  This goes hand in hand with the rise of spectator sports, radio broadcasts and emerging of sports (baseball, golf) – much of this appears on Sunday and contribute to a sense that society is going into the ditch Evolution Theory and the cultural backlash:  Everyone goes to high school and is exposed to biology at some point  Theory of evolution has become accepted scientific belief and makes its way into biology textbooks  The reaction of these evangelicals takes off and becomes a major national issue  Part of it is a deep belief that science as a symbol of modernism and modern culture – seems particularly powerful as a force able to undermine traditional values and traditional beliefs  Fight inside the Church‘s: liberal wing accepts this science as they see themselves as modernists – conservative wing outright objects and fights against this theory  3 state laws that resonate in society today o When the state of Tennessee passes this anti-evolution law, the liberal establishment in the U.S. sees it as an outrage as a triumph of reason over science o The civil rights union issues a challenge in the U.S. that it will supply lawyers and fight for any teacher who gets convicted of the anti- darwin law  John Scopes, substitute teacher, gets convinced to be put on trial for violating the Tennessee law of teaching evolution in a public place – so that he can be famous and to put Dalton on the map o ACLU hires one of the best defense lawyers in the country, Clarence Darrell o Bryan, populist political leader fights on the side of Tennessee, he represents the notion that ordinary people of the U.S., rural population had a set of traditional values and the industry kings at the top of society were keeping everyone else down – elite control of society v. democratic control – social Darwinism emphasized survival of the fittest (became reason of the rich for their stranglehold on society) – that's where Bryan was coming from o Darrell, voice of cities, urban America vs. Bryan, voice of tradition, rural majority of America o Darrell embarrasses Bryan by asking him questions about the bible that are very hard to answer with much reason o Represented an emotional explosion of fundamentalist views in the 1920s o Helps ignite more and more support for fundamentalists to grow on a grassroots level out of the sight of most national attention Culture War:  Hollywood and films like ‗IT‘ are examples of what the fundamentalists and evangelical side saw about society going to shit  A series of laws pop up that are movie censorship laws – censoring sex and anti- patriotism etc. o Catholic Church gains grounds on this matter at the end of the decade  The birth of Miss America – started off as a summers ending lets keep the tourists coming in Atlantic City – bathing beauties contest – (post-WWI) o For some people represents what Hollywood is trying to portray at this time o Anti-miss America movement pops up  Ku Klux Klan o Huge right wing political movement that emerged and put a huge stamp on America – helped to shape the future of political and cultural conflict – terrorist organization that tried to stop racial reform in the south during the Civil War o Emergence of this new conservative citizenship that was located in all the anti-black, anti-radical sentiment of the red Scare – reflected in this broader concern for the place of values in American life and particularly the place of ordinary, white, protestant Americans as the chosen people – people who saw themselves as having legitimate control of society October 17, 2012 Prohibition:  Anti-foreign sentiment – red scare mentality of good-American versus not so good-American  Local laws that create a patchwork across the country which eventually use the power of government to restrict the consumption of alcohol  Idea of a progressive tradition seeking to uplift society  Urban vs. rural – urban class of people who are going to enjoy the perfectly fine and wonderful, lavish life and the people who react negatively to it on the other hand  Opponents of prohibition – making liquor legal again will allow it to be taxed and help the crippled treasury out  Irresponsible industry argument: gets shut down after a few years of prohibition as the new illicit industry that pops up is much less than the established legal one that existed before  Prohibition pretty much becomes decriminalized by the mid-1920s  Border cities such as Montreal, Havana, Juarez, Tiawana boomed at this period as American tourists travelled to drink at bars and listen to jazz Fundamentalism:  Tensions between an existing sense among the population that their way should be mainstream versus that not happening anymore o Battle between competing interests in society to define what modern society should look like Ku Klux Klan  Unpopular in some place s but at the same time a normalized avenue in other places for people to say this is what we want  Connection with fundamentalism: October 23,2012 KKK and new Right-wing Populism  Struggled along in Georgia for 5 years making just enough money for the founder, Simmons, to live off of  In 1920 when prohibition goes into effect, in the climate of the red Scare and 100% Americanism and anti-immigration, Simmons was able to spring his failed organization into a national institution  Ideology of the enemy other within American society could be harnessed and stimulate support for this organization that did have a very powerful, romantic, vigilante in the US o Thanks in part to the film industry  Presents itself as a group of citizens who stand behind this white protestant vision of what America should be - same vision as prohibition  Naturally stands behind prohibition  The primary tactic of the Klan in the 1920s was politics and getting their representatives into government  By 1924 the movement starts taking off, especially in the Mid-West (Ohio, Michigan. Indiana, Illinois)  Indiana – largest membership of any state in the US o At least ¼ of native born white men were members o Only minor pockets of Black, Jew or Catholic population o Won over state government against the business powerhouse o Populist surge  Complex movement that rose up in the 1920s to represent what its members saw as the ‗will of the people‘ a Right-wing populism  Klan had a huge impact on the outcome of the election of 1924  Harding had died by 1924, and Calvin Coolidge had taken over and was running for re-election  Coolidge and the Republicans decided to deal with the Klan through a ‗hands-off‘ policy and not antagonizing  This was all a sign of how politically powerful the Right-wing KKK was in the 1920s and how it spread its arms out in so many directions – how it meant for so many people that this was an organization of good people trying to ensure the best future of America  Youngstown, Ohio - KKK parade is shut down by young Italian rioters who open fire on them  By mid-1920s the whole organization starts to fall apart  Scandal with the Klan leader leads to its eventual mainstream evaporation Politics of the 1920s  Been focusing primarily on the social and economic changes  All of this taking place in the context of national politics  1928 Herbert Hoover elected (republican) president  These 3 presidents are one of the first things people think about when they think about the 920s  Often tossed aside as laissez-faire ‗ care-takers‘ that proved to be a huge mistake by the time the great depression hit  Easy to laugh at/dismiss these presidents  Harding is often in the running with Buchannen, Andrew Johnson, as shittiest presidents  Coolidge – kind of puritan type, not a media guy, fond of sleeping (12 hours a day while president)  Hoover who was unlike his 2 predecessors, big agenda, lots of skill and experience, tagged with failures of Great depression  For many years Hoover became the symbol of the failure of the business oriented Republican party  These preceding presidents helped establish what would become mainstream politics Harding:  Good boy from Ohio, looking to return to ‗normalcy  Very strong business wing of the party that did have a strong agenda: o Lower taxed  Mellon – treasurer through all 3 presidencies of the 1920s  Mellon believed if you had very high tax rates, the only thing that would happen is that they would try and dodge paying them  Had a gradual plan for lowering taxes all across the board, from the wealthy to the poor  Series of bills beginning in 1921 brought the top tax rate down from 70% ti 24%, and cut bottom from 4-.5%  Beginning of trickle down economics  Belief that if the government tries too hard to put itself in the path of market economy, it will dirupt things, disrupt investments, will lead to less economic growth Hoover:  Born in Iowa, both parents died as a young child and ended up moving around a ton  Extraordinarily popular figure – image of dynamic, American success-story  In 1920 there was talk of Hoover running for presidency but this was shut down by the business wing of the republican party  He believed in the free-market, but he also believed (experience as humanitarian and military) that government could pay a very important role in helping business and prosperity advance  Associational government – having been deeply effected by the experience of the war where the government had played a huge role in mobilizing and shaping American industry with great success, Hoover believed that a version of that could be allowed to continue – there were many things that the government could do to help propel business forward  Hoover becomes involved in aviation control, road building, radio regulation October 25, 2012 Politics in the 1920s  Harding and Coolidge (1920-28) non-interventionist presidents, not to much on their agenda – at the same time their were political dynamics during those presidencies that would go on to shape American conservatism and American politics – both had a couple very important dynamic people in their cabinet who carved out important policies that changes things in the future  Secretary of the treasury had a very conservative, deeply believed free market mentality and looked at the fact that the income tax had been instituted under Wilson a decade earlier , that the progressive rates had been raised significantly over WWI and that wealth people were paying 70% and thought this was to high – the political philosophy he adopted was based on the idea that these high taxes would result in people finding ways not to pay taxes and not finding the most productive way to use their money – he along with many conservative economists in this period believed these high taxes ere bad for growth – in the 1920s throughout the string of Republican policies these presidents cut taxes and the rates all throughout the scale fell (trickle down economics: if you lower down taxes at the top it will lead to productivity and higher employment lower down)  Herbert Hoover as secretary of commerce – he‘s got a huge agenda – he believes that the department of commerce can be a huge source for change in American life, all these exploding industries and technologies and the place of the US as a leader of the economic world – he believe that the government should play a very active role in helping business and enterprise go forward: associational government – believed in government not as a referee but in using it to help develop business – Melon backs a lot of this as well – industries like radio should be assisted by the government (Radio Acts: various standards to how frequencies can be assigned and the public purpose they must have, commercial radio production  ex. Big Conservative government/associational government) – same thing happening in aviation to help build airplanes and runways, to regulate different aspects of the industry to help it get going – also involved in Reclamation projects = dam and other projects to support agriculture and electric power production – through legislation that Hoover brings forward key projects  damming the Colorado river – examples in the readings – he took the commerce department itself  Chief Justice of supreme court was Taft – conservative republican who puts his stamp on the court in the 1920s o Trend in the 20s of Supreme Court was different than progressive era – previous progressive SC upheld regulations against big business. In the 20s many big business issues came before SC – issues that dealt with monopolistic practices o Maple flooring anti-trust case (1925) Harding:  Didn‘t have a big agenda  Up to this point the Republican party had always been opposition in the south to the opposition of the Democratic juggernauts – as they move themselves they associate themselves as that which is opposed to the democratic party – Harding goes down to the south and citizens the Jim Crowe system  more than anything else a way to gain votes among the growing voting black population (something no president has ever done) – not much of an activist  During his administration there was a ton of corruption: o Albert Fall, Secretary of the Interior, in charge of natural resources and parks across the US – administering land (lots of which had oil) – some of this was national resource designated for the US military – he started selling this land off to various sources and started gaining private wealth – Teapot Dome scandal is born – leads to some further investigation that undercover a whole slue of corruption in Hardings administration o Summer of 1923 he has a stroke and dies in office Coolidge:  Replaced by the new England puritan Calvin Coolidge  Tremendous growth across the board (minus farming) the nation is doing well Coolidge provides a trustworthy image  Strong views about government and business – against labour unions – some argue that he worshipped the wealthy and rise to the top mentality  Didn‘t get along well with Hoover – Coolidge = minimalist mentality – Hoover = activist, humanitarian, loved the spotlight  Highwater period of economic expansion in the US under Coolidge (23-28)  Wages went up significantly  Some key industries left out of the economic boom (farming)  Coolidge – on the surface looks extraordinarily good as he expanded many aspects of American culture to gain influence on home soil and around the world  By the time 1928 rolls around – Coolidge decides not to run Hoover:  Views Coolidge as slow moving with regards to policy decisions and implementation  1927 Mississippi River floods – started up in Missouri and travelled down the length towards the Mississippi delta o The flood highlighted issues of class, race, and underscored ―law of the jungle‖ of the freemarket  Opportunity to define himself in the question of race o Made a decision to put the complaints of the African Americans in regards to the flood of 1927 in the revolving file – acknowledge it but not make any changes as he would favour the business, wealth of the south instead o October 30, 2012 Hoover  Flood of 1927 – huge national catastrophe – when it broke through and flooded the Mississippi delta it set of all side of conflicts (social, economic, racial) – Hoover goes there to coordinate relief efforts for the flood being the great humanitarian he is – he believed humanitarian efforts had to be taken through private charities – opened up a vision for him about working in the South – he had come to belief that the growing importance of business in the South he saw a potential to turn the southern states into a political opportunity for his party – flood became an extreme racial issue – Hoover neglects the blacks complaints as he starts to realize changing the tradition of Republicans way of dealing with blacks would change his popularity  Al Smith o Catholic, opposed to prohibition – represented the new, immigrant-based democratic party that really stood in contrast to the southern wing (religious values and Protestantism, strongly opposed prohibition) – big cultural divide among the Democratic party  Hoover run a campaign based on this division  He saw the business policies of the Republican party to lead to times of great prosperity  Ran on supporting prohibition because he ran on those rural white protestant votes, especially in the south  Up to this point, Democrats always won the 11 confederate states o Hoover scooped up a bunch of these  Government was going to be active to support business  Brought together who he thought are the leading minds of the US, experts in a wide range of fields - wanted them to do a massive research project to give a picture of American society (General Social study) – economic conditions, living conditions, family life, poverty – wanted to address the needs of society o Interested in giving back to society through the importance of business and the free market  Hoover‘s great crisis was that his whole image of success came to an extraordinary test when the stock market crashed in 1929 – at which point he failed miserably as president as he was not able to deal with, in any significant way, with the effects of the depression – became known as the mean-spirited president who failed to act The Great Depression Causes:  Small group of conservative economists believe the depression was made worse after the crash because of the interventionist government that was in place  Others believe the GD was caused primarily by mistakes of the federal reserve/national banking system that could have headed off the GD once it had started by better regulating the money in the US  Majority believe that the sources of the GD came from a variety of sources  Economy was under a tremendous amount of growth, stock market is surging (esp. mid-1920s – late), image of prosperity – if the economy was a skyscraper; there were huge parties going on in the penthouse but cracks in the foundation  Agricultural sector of the economy: o Years before war: golden age o End of WWI: markets collapsed as government stops buying everything for the war effort + economic crisis in Europe and other parts of the world cause prices to drop – never recovers o Small farmers going out of business left and right as they cannot afford the modern equipment that bigger farmers have  Growth is uneven – not widely dispersed across the population – unions are weak o No safety mechanisms for people who can‘t work (injured, sick) o No unemployment insurance o No disability insurance o Get old = no more income  World of finance: o US and New York in particular emerges after the war as the financial capital of the world o Everyone turns to US banks o US makes many investments overseas – lends out millions and millions of dollars – on top of the debt from WWI  Huge amount of speculation the stock market (1925-29) o Goes through incredible period of growth, skyrocketing up 300% during this period of time o Small investors but more important investment banks pour tons of money into stocks  October 29, 1929 – Panic sets-in o People try to sell immediately o Stock market drops 11% o Downward plunge continues – at the end of the year it has lost 80% of its value o Beginning of the economic crisis that unfolds and becomes the Great Depression  Hoover‘s government thought in times of crisis, keep the value of the dollar strong, so they refused to drop the value of the American dollar, which turned out to be a huge mistake  Series of bank failures  All this capital vanishes with the stock market crash, banks with high amounts of capital tied up in the stock market makes them hugely vulnerable  Great deflationary spiral – crisis in investment and finance leads to a crisis in employment and industry – once people start getting laid off these people have nowhere to fall – can‘t buy anything anymore which acts as a big hit to business who in turn lay off more people  The problem with the Great Depression was that people didn‘t have any money o Unemployment rate grew to >25%  Massive amount of unemployment effecting:  Homelessness and shanty towns everywhere o ―Hoovervilles‖  Psychological damage that this mass suffering did to the American people o Huge loss in public confidence o So many people believe America was the land of opportunity o Loss of confidence in American institutions  In 1932, as America was in its depths, US veterans demand their war pension o Big group march to Washington November 1, 2012 Recap: During the Great Depressions there were huge foundational cracks. There was uneven growth. Workers and people living in the economy had no safety net; people worked on farms and when things started to go down there was no unemployment compensation and no way to stop them from falling, economic crisis leads to layoffs and unemployment which means that people could not participate in the economy through consumption; deflation and people not even being able to afford any goods; classic inflationary problem. The answer appears to lie in the foundational flaws. The Great Depression unfolded and it was a great historic crisis and was part of a world-wide crisis since WWI. - Dark moment in American history. Banks are failing, people are losing what they gained, the rate of unemployment and destitution sky rockets. The unemployment rate was about 25% and if you counted the people that were unemployed it rd amounted to about 1/3 of the nation. - The social, cultural and political consequences – there no question that this was a course changing event. Complex consequences for society that drew out of this sense of crisis – Dust Bowl - The Dust Bowl was an iconic symbol of the Great Depression. - The Great Plaines region, area east of the Rockies and west of the Mississippi River, was a giant grassland where the buffalo chilled. It turned out to be a very difficult place to farm. If you follow the path of
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