01:512:104 Lecture Notes - Lecture 32: Emergency Quota Act, Sacco And Vanzetti, Roaring Twenties

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Chapter 32 - American Life in the "Roaring Twenties"
Seeing Red
Fear of communism rose in America after the Bolshevic Revolution in Russia in 1917
The "red scare" of 1919-1920 caused by hatred of left-wingers whose American ideals were suspect
o Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer rounded up 6,000 suspects and earned the name, "Fighting Quaker"
doubled his efforts after a bomb went off in his home in June 1919 and was redubbed the "Quaking
o another highlight was the deportation of 249 people to the "workers paradise" of Russia
o also, in 1920, another unexplained bomb went off in Wall Street and killed 38 people and wounded
several hundred others
Laws were made to prevent the mentioning of any other form of government
o 5 lawfully elected members of the New York legislature were denied their seats because they were
socialists in 1920
Red Scare was good for conservative business people because they could denounce labor unions as
Communist and evil while their plans were American and right
"Judicial Lynching"
o Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were both accused of the murders of a paymaster and his guard in
o the jury and the judge were all prejudiced against them because they were both Italians, atheists,
anarchists, and draft dodgers
o case dragged on 6 years and then they were electrocuted
o became martyrs for the Communist cause
o probably would have only of been given a jail term if the environment wasn't as prejudiced
Hooded Hoodlums of the KKK
with the introduction of even stronger xenophobic feelings than ever before in American history, the KKK
rose again as a strongly nativist group
this radiacally minded right wing group advocated racism on all front and a return to the ideals of a
protestant society
the Klan became very large, including as many as 5 million members
quickly fell apart in the late 1920's as more moral people recognized the attrocities of the Klan's methods
Stemming the Foreign Flood
In 1920-1921 800000 immigrants came to America
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o This caused a nativist stir in America calling to stem the flow of immigrants
This was done by The Emergency Quota Act of 1921
o this let only 3% of immigrants per nationality in the US get in
This act was replaced in 1924 with the Immigration Act of 1924
o This limited the immigrants allowed to 2% and used an earlier census than the Quota Act
o This act was worse for southern and western Europeans
o This act limited all Japanese immigration
First time in American history that America was filling up and needed a stopper
The Prohibition Experiment
Alcohol was made illegal in 1919 by the 18th ammendment
This law was very popular in the south and west
There was very strong opposition to the law in eastern cities
Opponents of the law thought that if they violated it enough it would change
Prohibition may have gone better if there were more officials
Really the law had no teeth... many people drank and there were thousands of saloon replacements
called speakeasies
This was not a complete failure... less alcohol was consumed and bank savings went up
The Golden Age of Gangsterism
with the prohibition of alcohol came the illegal and immensely profitable business of smuggling or
this was typically done by gangs who practiced widespread organized crime throughout the 1920's
despite the widespread criminal activity and gang wars, few convictions were made
Chicago was the center of most gang activity
Gangsters also partook in other illegal ventures: prostitution, narcotics,gambling
Monkey Business in Tennessee
Education continued to improve
o more states required young people to stay in school until 16 or 18
o amount of 17 year olds who graduated school almost doubled in the 1920s to more than 1/4
Professor John Dewey created progressive learning or "learning by doing"
Advances in health care increased the life expectancy from 50 years in 1901 to 59 in 1921
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Progressive learning and science both subjected to criticism from Fundamentalists
o said that teaching Darwinism was destroying faith in God and the Bible and the moral breakdown of youth
in the jazz age
o attempts were made to stop the teaching of evolution, espcially in the Bible Belt South
"Monkey Trial" held at Dayton, Tennessee in 1925
o John T. Scopes found guilty and fined $100
o against him was former presidential candidate Bryan who died of stroke 5 days later
o hollow victory for Fundamentalists, looked sort of silly
o Bible ended up still being the main source of America's spiritual life
The Mass Consumption Society
Prosperity came to the US in the 1920s
There was rapid expansion of capitol investments and ingenious machines were made
Henry Ford invented the assembly line which sparked the huge automobile business
a new arm of American commerce was made-advertising
Sports also became big business
several games entrance fees made a million dollars+
The idea of paying on credit also came about now
Putting America on Rubber Tires
The invention of the automobile was the most influencial of the 1920s w/ it's assembly-line methods and
mass-production techniques
Europeans acutally invented the car but Americans adapted it
o Henry Ford and Ransom E. Olds [Oldsmobile] were the main developers of the auto industry
1910: 69 existing car companies annually produced a total of 181,000 units
They were slow and unreliable, stalling frequently
Detroit was the motorcar capital of America
Frederick W. Taylor, inventor/engineer, introduced many useful efficiency techniques
Henry Ford contributed most to America's automobile-ization
o Model T was cheap, ugly, rugged, reasonable reliable, rough, and clattering
behavior of the car was so eccentric that it was made fun of a lot
o Henry was an ill-educated millionaire & his empire was based on his associate's organizational talent
o Devoted himself to the gospel of standardization
o Sold a total of 20 million Model T's by 1930
By 1929, 26 million motor vehicles were registered in the US; averaging 1 for every 4.9 Americans
o [more cars in US then in the whole world at that point]
The Advent of the Gasoline Age
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