Chapter 32 Outline
After the First World War America shut it’s doors to the rest of the world, many were scared of outsiders and the country began to rely on a domestic economy. Despite the isolation the US boomed known as the roaring twenties the country grew economically and culturally.
I) Insulating America from the Radical Virus
A) After World War I, America turned inward, away from the world, and denounced “radical” foreign ideas and “un-American” lifestyles. B) The “red scare” of 1919-20 resulted in Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer (“Fighting Quaker”) using a series of raids to round up and arrest about 6000 suspected Communists. C) In December of 1919, 249 alleged alien radicals were deported on the Buford. D) The red scare severely cut back on free speech for a period, since the hysteria caused many people to want to eliminate any Communists. 1) Some states made it illegal to merely advocate the violent overthrow of government for social change. 2) In 1921, Nicola Sacco, a shoe-factory worker, and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, a fish peddler, were convicted of murdering a Massachusetts paymaster and his guard; in that case, the jury and judge were prejudiced in some degree because the two were Italians, atheists, anarchists, and draft dodgers. II) Hooded Hoodlums of the KKK
A) The new Ku Klux Klan was anti-foreign, anti-Catholic, anti-black, anti-Jewish, anti-pacifist, anti-Communist, anti-internationalist, anti-revolutionist, anti-bootlegger, anti-gambling, anti-adultery, and anti-birth control. B) At its peak in the 1920s, it claimed 5 million members, mostly from the South, but it also featured a reign of hooded horror. C) It was stopped not by the exposure of its horrible intolerance but by its money fraud! III) Stemming the Foreign Flood
A) In 1920-21, some 800,000 Europeans (mostly from the southeastern regions) came to the U.S., and to quell the fears of the “100% Americans,” Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, in which newcomers from Europe were restricted at any year to a quota, which was set at 3% of the people of their nationality who lived in the U.S. in 1910. 1) This really favored the Slavs and the southeaster Europeans. B) This was then replaced by the Immigration Act of 1924, which cut the quota down to 2% and the origins base was shifted to that of 1890, when few southeaster Europeans lived in America. 1) This act also slammed the door against Japanese immigrants. 2) By 1931, for the first time in history, more people left America than came here. C) The immigrant tide was now cut off, but those that were in America struggled to adapt. 1) Labor unions in particular had difficulty in organizing because of the differences in race, culture, and nationality. IV) The Prohibition “Experiment”
A) The 18th Amendment (and later, the Volstead Act) prohibited the sale of alcohol, but this law never was effectively enforced because so many people violated it. B) Actually, most people thought that Prohibition was here to stay, and this was especially popular in the Midwest and the South. C) Prohibition was particularly supported by women and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, but it also posed problems from countries that produced alcohol and tried to ship them to the U.S. (illegally, of course). D) In actuality, bank savings did increase, and absenteeism in industry did go down. V) The Golden Age of Gangsterism
A) Prohibition led to the rise of gangs that competed to distribute liquor. B) In the gang wars of Chicago in the 1920s, about 500 people were murdered, but captured criminals were rare, and convictions even rarer, since gangsters often provided false alibis for each other. 1) The most famous of these gangsters was “Scarface” Al Capone C) Gangs moved into other activities as well: prostitution, gambling, and narcotics, and by 1930, their annual profit was $12 – 18 billion!...