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The Harding

Chapter 8 The 1920s

Lesson 1 The Politics of the 1920s (p.260 264)
- President Warren G. Harding was elected in 1920, running on a campaign
promise that he called a return to normalcy
- This return to normalcy meant an end to:
-- Progressive Era Legislation (laws)
-- High income tax (especially on the rich dropping from 73% to under
-- Government intervention in the economy
-This was a move that took America back to control of the economy by
business, one that didnt work out too well in the Gilded Age

Dome and

-President Harding made some interesting choices in cabinet

-- Andrew Mellon an interesting choice for Secretary of the Treasury
---- Mellon was the third highest income tax payer behind Andrew
Carnegie (steel
monopoly) and Henry Ford (automobile giant) in the United States
---- Had an estimated fortune of somewhere between 300-400 million
-- Several former colleagues from Ohio that he knew he could trust in
advising him in
the day to day running of the country.
---- Some of these advisors were not honest and used their positions to
make money
off of their political power (sounds like political corruption return
to normal?)
- Colonel Charles R. Forbes sold medical supplies (owned by the
government) and kept the profits for himself. Cost the country $250

Silent Cal
Takes Over

- The Teapot Dome Scandal consisted of two different areas of the country
that had oil reserves for the U.S. Navy
-- Through bribes, the lands with oil reserves were leased out to
companies that were
able to drill the oil and sell it for a profit.
-- The man behind it was Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall, the man
running the
department responsible for - the management and conservation of
most federal land
and natural resources here he is selling it for his own profit (return
to normalcy?)
- The government scandals were somewhat silenced with the death of
President Harding, who had a heart attack in the third year of his

- Americans did develop a mistrust of government through these scandals

- Vice-President to Harding was Calvin Coolidge.
- Coolidge marked an opportunity for the government to save face on the
scandals from the Harding Administration.
- He maintained the ideology of Harding in keeping the government out of
business and would be elected in 1924, continuing a laissez-faire
approach to regulation in the 20s
Summary, Additional Notes, Questions:

Policies of

Trade and
The Myth of
The Dawes

Lesson 1 The Politics of the 1920s (p.260 264) (p.2)

- Andrew Mellon (Secretary of the Treasury) had three major goals for the
1. Balance the Budget spend what can be spent, not any more
2. Reduce the Governments Debt
3. Cut Taxes if taxes were lowered, more money would be spent and
invested which
would cause our economy to grow
-- Congress cut tax rates from 4% to 0.5% for the average American and
for the
wealthiest Americans from 73% to 25%
An economic theory that lower taxes will boost the economy as businesses
and individuals invest their money, thereby creating higher tax revenue
Policy of encouraging manufacturers and distributors to form their own
organizations and volunteer information to the federal government in an
effort to stimulate the economy. (this took government oversight out of the
economy return to normalcy?)
After the Great War, the U.S. was owed nearly $10 billion in war debts
from other countries. As a result, the U.S. became the dominant financial
power in the world because of these other powerful countries being in
debt to the U.S.
- The fact that the U.S. did not enter the League of Nations and did not
ratify the Versailles Treaty gave the illusion that the U.S. was an isolated
- The U.S. was very much not isolated though, the war debts and business
dealings of U.S. companies meant that the U.S. was the opposite of an
isolated country.
A national policy of avoiding involvement in world affairs


- France, Great Britain, and Germany were all struggling to repay the debts

The KelloggBriand Pact
The London

from WW1
- The plan was to create loans that would make the repayment of monies
easier and
would extend the amount of time to repay the monies owed
- This plan is an example of how the U.S. was not a country engaged in
1921 -After WW1, many countries involved were competing to build up
their navies
--Britain, France, Italy, China, Japan, Belgium, Holland, and Portugal
-The idea of the conference was to limit the build up of navies and
proposed that the countries halt construction of new warships for their
1928 - An agreement created by U.S. Secretary of State, Frank Kellogg,
and French Foreign Minister, Aristide Briand, that outlawed war as a means
of settling disputes. There were 15 countries that signed the pact,
including the U.S.

1930 - An extension of the Washington Conference, the focus was on

figuring out details to halting the arms race.
- Japan and Italy agreed, however decided not to extend the treaty past
(WW2 begins in just a few years from this point Japan and Italy were
allies in WW2)
Summary, Additional Notes, Questions:


Lesson 2 A Growing Economy (p.265-269)

The Rise of

An interesting fact that defines the average Americans priorities A 1925

survey conducted in Muncie, Indiana, found that 21 out of 26 families who
owned cars did not have bathtubs with running water.
Americans experienced a rising standard of living during the 20s:
- the average work day dropped from 12 to 8 hours (U.S. Steel)
- the work week was cut from 6 days to 5 (Ford Motor Company)
- a two-week paid vacation was provided to workers (International

Henry Ford,

This was accomplished by using machinery to increase the supply of

products (not more workers) and reducing overall costs for companies
the production of large quantities of goods using machinery and often an
assembly line
There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of
goods possible, at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wage
possible. Henry Ford
The use of an assembly line in production of the car cut the time it took to
produce a new car from 93 minutes to a new one rolling off the line every
10 seconds

) Assembly
Line &
) Model T

This meant that the automobile was able to be sold cheaper dropping
from $850 (1908) to $490 (1914) to $295 (1924) - thus more people were
able to purchase one
Ford also doubled the pay of his workers to $5 per day
a production system with machines and workers arranged so that each
person performs an assigned task again and again as the item passes
before him or her


Birth of the

automobile built by Ford Motor Company from 1908 to 1927

-Companies followed Fords example and General Motors and Chrysler
were founded
-People were able to live further away from work and commute to work,
industries supporting the creation of cars boomed steel, petroleum,
rubber, glass, nickel, & lead
More money being earned meant that people could purchase more
products some of these items that people didnt have before and didnt
know that they needed
- electric razors, facial tissues, frozen foods, hair color, mouthwash,
deodorant, cosmetics, perfumes, cleaning products, electric irons,
vacuum cleaners, washing machines, refrigerators
The airline industry became possible due to an innovation in design
(ailerons) and federal assistance in funding for airport construction (Air

Commerce Act of 1926)

-By 1928 there were 48 airlines serving 355 American cities


Lesson 2 A Growing Economy (p.265-269) (p.2)

-Edwin Armstrong invented a circuit that allowed long range transmission
of sound, this was the invention of the radio that would change how
communication happened
-By 1927, almost 700 radio stations existed and equipment sales grew
(from 1921 to 1929) from $10.6 to $411 million

-CBS and NBC were two major radio station networks you may recognize
on T.V. today


The Farm

The consumer culture that was created in America in the 1920s had to do
with easy credit (didnt have to have money to buy something) and
advertisements that glorified the ownership of a product (not only by
newspapers and billboards, but also by radio)
-Credit had long been seen as something shameful, if a person wasnt able
to pay their bills it was an embarrassment on them and their family
-The attitude toward credit changed as it was being pushed on society as a
way for manufacturers to move their products and eventually get the
money for them
-Buy now and pay in easy installments was an easy way for people to
get what they wanted without having to save up for it
- Similar to modern day credit cards where an average of $15,675 is owed
per household
-Advertising attracted consumers to products in clever and creative ways
-The commercial was born through radios and glorified the need for
products that were being showcased
-People became fearful of not having the right products and had to
maintain a certain status by purchasing the products to be successful and
-Companies were split into divisions so that tasks could be handled by
employees that specialized in certain areas sales, marketing, accounting,
production, shipping
-Frederick Taylors theories were applied heavily during this time to
maximize output
-Not everyone benefited during this time period
-Immigrants, Minorities, Native Americans all fell into a lower class of
worker and were not able to afford many of the luxury items others were
buying like crazy
-After WW1, farm prices fell due to the lack of overseas sales in farm
-Farmers typically made 1/3 the money of a city based worker
-Technological advances made producing crops much easier and
overproduction of crops caused the prices of crops to fall (supply and

Summary, Additional Notes, Questions:

It Matters

Nativism and
The SaccoVanzetti
Return of the
Ku Klux Klan

Origins Act

A Clash of
Changes for

Lesson 3 A Clash of Values (p.270 274)

The 1920s are often called the Roaring Twenties because to many, the
decade seemed to be one long party. Many urban American celebrated
the new modern culture. However, many rural Americans believer
traditional society was under attach. Nativism and racism increased,
women sought to break free of traditional roles, and supporters of the
new morality clashed with those who supported more traditional values.
-Due to the fear of certain peoples that was created during WW1, people
began to fear other types of peoples all immigrants were viewed
suspiciously and were to blame for many of the problems facing society
-This led to a resurgence of nativism which led to a decrease in
hostility toward and protection of a country from immigrants
1920 two Italian immigrants were arrested and accused of a robbery
and murder
-The evidence in the case was suspect, however the two men were
executed in 1927
-Both immigrants were anarchists and public opinion was against them
because of their nationality and political views, not based on the evidence
a person who believes that there should be no government
-The new Klan (post Reconstruction South) viewed anyone un-American
as a threat, this came to include Catholics, Jews, Immigrants (those not
from NW Europe)
-By 1924 membership in the KKK was nearly 4 million strong, however
would begin to decline due to struggles in the leadership of the
organization and government restrictions on immigration one of the
major points the KKK focuses on
-Immigration policies mirrored the concerns of groups like the KKK and
restrictions began to be implemented on the number of people that could
immigrate to the U.S.
-The National Origins Act of 1924 set a quota for the number of people
that could immigrate from a country to 2% of the U.S. population with
that native country in 1890
-1890 was the most recent census before the heavy rise in immigration
from SE Europe
-Although immigration was feared, there was still a need for cheap labor
in agriculture
-Countries in North and South America were exempted from the National
Origins Act which allowed hundreds of thousands of Mexicans to move to

the U.S. to work the fields

The same groups that wanted immigration restrictions were also
concerned with the assault on traditional values brought on by the new
consumer culture in America
-With the right to vote, job and educational opportunities, and the
growing city life, women found themselves in positions to provide for
themselves like never before
-Women began bobbing their hair, wearing shorter skirts, sleeveless
shirts, drinking, smoking, hanging out in clubs and bars
-Notable women of the period were Florence Sabin who helped
prevent/cure tuberculosis and Margaret Sanger who preached having less
children would allow families to better care for themselves and founded
the American Birth Control League
Summary, Additional Notes, Questions:


Lesson 3 A Clash of Values (p.270 274) (p.2)

-For many Americans, the newness of the 20s was not a good thing
-They viewed the consumer culture, relaxed ethics, and changing role of
women as a decline in the morals of the country
-Many people, mainly from rural towns, joined a religious movement
called fundamentalism which believed the Bible was true and should
be followed
-There was a rejection of evolution and belief in creationism, taking
the fight to the classrooms and preventing evolution from being
taught to students
-The Scopes Trial took place after a teacher in Tennessee continued to
teach evolution and was arrested over it. The trial was followed
nationwide and helped with the divide of the country over the morality
of the country
-Preachers played up to their audiences and condemned the loose life of
the 20s and a divide in the morals of the country was created


The scientific theory that humans and other forms of life have evolved
over time


The belief that God (Christian god) create the world and everything in it,
usually in the way described in the Bible


-The passage of the Volstead Act in 1920 created a large federal police
force that helped enforce the 18th amendment that outlawed alcohol
-More than 540,000 people were arrested in the 1920s, however people
still drank
-Speakeasies provided a place for the consumption of alcohol, which
gave further fuel to the Fundamentalists that condemned the morality of
the city life
-Bootleggers made lots of money from the illegal creation and
distribution of alcohol, as well as smuggling it in from other countries

where it was legal

-Organized crime gained enormous sums of money from supplying the
American public with the alcohol they desired
-One very famous American gangster Al Capone made his fortune
during the era
a place where alcoholic beverages are sold illegally, speak easy so that
no one hears
Summary, Additional Notes, Questions:

It Matters
Because -

Art and

Lesson 4 Cultural Innovations (p.275-278)

The 1920s was an era of great artistic innovation and enormous change
in popular culture. Artists and writers experimented with new
techniques. Broadcast Radio introduced the latest trends in music and
entertainment. Motion pictures became a major leisure-time activity,
and Americans began to fall in love with sports such as baseball and
Manhattans Greenwich Village and Chicagos South Side became places
for artists, writers, and intellectuals to congregate, associate, and ideas
flourished with a message of freedom of expression, the term
bohemian lifestyle was born
-unconventional, not bound by the rules of society

American Art
American artists attempted to capture the moment that they were living
in through art designed to express the modern day
[T]he whole city is alive; buildings, people, all are alive; and the more
they move me the more I feel them to be aliveIt is this moving of me
that I try to express, so that I may recall the spell I have been under and
behold the expression of the different emotions that have been called
into being. John Marin, NYC artist
Poets and


The majority of the art produced during this period addressed the
feelings of people rather than the physical world; focusing on peoples
moods and emotions, this art style was not easily interpreted by the
general public
-The poetry and books that came out of the 1920s was very diverse.
-Some writers were critical of things such as the loss of spirituality, the
excess brought on by the consumer culture of the day
-Others glorified elements of society such as hard working citizens and
small town life
Some artists were so upset of the superficial culture of the 1920s that
they moved out of the country a good percentage to Paris (Paradise
-Some notable figures F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Willa

Movies and
Radio Stations

-The views of the artists were very polarizing and could inspire or
diminish efforts to work hard and lead a productive life (you should read
a book from this era)
More money + less time at work = LEISURE ACTIVITIES

Mass Media

-Movies, before 1927, only showed moving images (hence the name
-Beginning with The Jazz Singer, movies now used audio in their
production and the golden age of Hollywood began, attracting hundreds
of thousands of people to watch
-New York Citys Tin Pan Alley was a hub for music and movie
production that allowed ideas to flourish (similar to Harlem and
Greenwich Village)
-Movies of the day were diverse with their topics ranging from war to
love to religion
medium of communication (television and radio) intended to reach a
wide audience
-Baseball and boxing were the two most popular sports of the day, with
football, golf and other sports also being popular
-Fans were able to tune in to games and matches by radio, which
allowed more people to keep up with the games without having to be in
-The rise in fan bases meant the sale of tickets and radio equipment
-Lights allowed for games to be played at night where more people
could attend
-Babe Ruth (baseball), Jack Dempsey & (boxing), Red Grange (football),
Bobby Jones (golf) were some of the popular athletes of the day
-Jack Johnson (boxing), a Galveston Native, as at his peak during the
1910s; the street on the east side of Ball High is named after him

Summary, Additional Notes, Questions:

It Matters

The Harlem

Lesson 5 African American Culture and Politics (p.279-283)

The Harlem Renaissance was a creative era for African American artists.
It sparked new trends in literature, music, and art. The growing African
American population in the North meant an increasing number of
African Americans had political power to continue the struggle for civil
-The Great Migration was a time period in which hundreds of thousands
of black people living in the American South moved to the North to seek

The Writers

and the

and 1920s
Political Power
in North
NAACP Battles

and Marcus

job opportunities
-Harlem, a neighborhood in New York Citys borough of Manhattan,
attracted a large number of these people
-The Harlem Renaissance led to artistic development, racial pride, and
political organization among the African American community
-Notable writers of the Harlem Renaissance were Claude McKay,
Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Alain Locke, and
Dorothy West
-Writings from the period encouraged pride, defiance, confidence,
resistance to racism, challenged stereotypes, and reminded blacks of
their roots in Africa
-American style of music that developed from ragtime and blues and
that uses syncopated rhythms and improvisation
-style of music evolving from African American spirituals and noted for
its melancholy sound
-The music of jazz defined the era and is synonymous with the good
times of the 20s
-Notable artists from the period were Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong,
Bessie Smith, Florence Mills, and Paul Robeson
-Jazz was an extremely popular style of music that created a common
topic of discussion between blacks and other Americans
-The Blues allowed expression of difficult things that had been endured
and were still plaguing the people that both sung and listened to the
We return. We return from fighting. We return fighting. Make way for
Democracy! We saved it in France, and by the Great Jehovah, we will
save it in the United States of America, or know the reason why.
W.E.B. DuBois in The Crisis 1919
Due to the Great Migration, black voting power was stronger in the
North in the neighborhoods that they congregated in
-The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People used
the government system in court cases and lobbying for legislation to
help colored people
-Lynching laws were narrowly defeated in the Senate, but kept the
discussion alive, as a result there were fewer lynchings due to the
spotlight on the issue in the media
-Garvey took an opposite road to integration, calling for a separate
society from white America, Negro Nationalism is what the Jamaican
native called it
-The movement required education in order to separate from white
-He felt that there would never be freedom in America, proposed moving
to Africa
-He was very critical of key Harlem Ren. figures due to their close ties

with whites
-Garvey was arrested of mail fraud and lost much momentum behind his
Questions Lesson 1 Politics of the 1920s
1. How was social and economic life different in the early twentieth century?
2. How has the cultural identity of the United States changed over time?
3. How was Hardings effort to return to normalcy prevented by political scandals?
4. How did the Coolidge administration differ from the Harding administration?
5. What government policies helped the economy recover from the postwar
6. What strategies helped promote economic growth and recovery after World War
7. What initiatives did the U.S. take in the 1920s to help ensure economic stability
and peace in Europe?
8. What were some ways in which the U.S. showed isolationism after World War One?
Questions Lesson 2 A Growing Economy
1. How did new industries change the lives of Americans in the 1920s?
2. How did the assembly line make cars more affordable for more Americans?
3. Why were rubber, glass, and steel industries affected by the automobile industry?
4. How might the growing nationwide availability of radio programs have affected
Americans sense of their culture?
5. How did new industries like the automobile and radio change the way people lived?
6. How did attitudes toward credit and consumerism change during the 1920s? What
was it like before the acceptance of credit?
7. How did changing attitudes about credit affect peoples daily lives? What is the
modern equivalent and is it a positive situation for consumers to be in?
8. Why did farmers miss out on the prosperity of the 1920s?
9. What factors led to the growing economic crisis in farming?
Questions Lesson 3 A Clash of Values
1. Why did nativism strengthen during the 1920s, how did the government deal with
the tension?
2. Who were Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, what happened to them, why?
3. Describe what happened in the Scopes Trial and how did Religious Fundamentalism
play a part?
4. What were some changes for women in the 1920s?
5. Why was Prohibition unsuccessful?
Questions Lesson 4 Cultural Innovations
1. How did many artists and writers of the time describe the 1920s?
2. Why did many artists, poets, playwrights, and novelists move to Paris in the
3. Why did national pastimes emerge during the 1920s?
4. What were some of the ways people spent their leisure time?
5. Why did so many Americans have more leisure time to spend?
6. What are some similarities in modern mass media today and that of the 1920s?
Questions Lesson 5 African American Culture and Politics

1. What does the Harlem Renaissance reveal about African American culture of the
2. How did Harlem nightclubs help promote African American performers?
3. What could have been some issues a black performer faced by performing at the
Cotton Club?
4. What did African American leader, Marcus Garvey, want black people to do?
5. How did the NAACP and Marcus Garvey differ on achieving political goals?
6. Why were black men that served in World War One promoting democracy when
they came back?

The Red Scare

The Red Scare Post World War One (p.252-253)

-Issues from World War One created certain issues in Europe, including
Russia where a Communist revolution had occurred
-Americans were concerned that with so many immigrants that believed
in the socialist and communist ideas of the day, there may be a
revolution in the U.S.
-Capitalism is a system that is based on individuals doing for themselves
where the other two ideologies were more focused on the whole of
society and community sharing

The Palmer

-American capitalism would have been at risk if too many people

supported socialism and/or communism
-More than 30 bombs were seized by the U.S. Postal Service, they were
intended for prominent Americans
-A series of riots and protests made government officials and citizens
-The Justice Department created a special division, the General
Intelligence Division, which would become the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (F.B.I.) to investigate
-The targets of the G.I.D. were foreign born peoples and unions
-249 people were deported back to Russia based off of the initial raids
on the Union of Russian Workers
-Nearly 6,000 people were arrested over the next few months
-Civil liberties were violated (Constitutional Rights)
-These raids produced little, if no, evidence against the people that were


-The raids did, however, cause a backlash against immigrants,

something that would carry into the 1920s and
- spur laws limiting the amount of people that could immigrate to
the U.S.
- refuel nativism, and
- give the KKK a resurgence in popularity and membership

to expel an individual from the country theyre in, typically back to home
Did the events of 1919 justify the Palmer Raids?

Why would a violation of Constitutional rights be a problem for citizens?

Image creation:
Harlem Renaissance
Consumer Culture
The Red Scare
Government Scandals and distrust of the government