Politics of the 1920s.Doc

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I. Politics of the 1920s
A. Though the Republicans appeared to control the decade by winning the Presidency from 1921 to 1933, the rural-urban tensions dominated and shaped the course of politics during the 1920s, and the Democrats gained significant numbers of urban and immigrant voters. B. The tensions between the city and the countryside shaped the course of politics in the 1920s. C. Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover

1. The Republicans dominated the White House with three popular presidents, Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. a. On the surface, it was a Republican decade
b. The GOP “Grand Old Party” controlled the White House from 1921 to 1931 i. The Republicans used their return to power after WWI to halt further reform legislation and to establish a friendly relationship between government and business c. Important shifts, were taking place, however, in the American electorate i. The Democrats, although dividing into competing urban and rural wings, were laying the groundwork for the future by winning over millions of new voters, esp. among the ethnic groups in the cities ii. The rising tide of urban voters indicated a fundamental shift away from the Republicans toward a new Democratic majority D. JUST KIDDING. This one is actually Harding, Coolidge and Hoover. 2. The Republicans regained the White House in 1920 with the election of Warren G. Harding of Ohio a. A dark horse contender, Harding won the GOP nomination when the convention deadlocked and he became the compromise choice b. Harding’s character

i. Handsome and dignified, Harding reflected both the virtues and blemishes of small-town America ii. Originally a newspaper publisher in Marion, he had made many friends and a few enemies in his career as a legislator, lieutenant governor, and finally, after 1914, a US senator iii. Conventional in outlook, Harding was a genial man who lacked the capacity to government and who, as pres, broadly delegated power 3. He made some good cabinet choices

a. Charles Evan Hughes as secretary of state
b. Herbert Hoover as secretary of commerce
c. but two corrupt officials sabotaged his administration i. Daugherty became involved in a series of questionable delas that led ultimately to his forced resignation ii. Fall was the chief figure in the Teapot Dome scandal

a. Two oil promoters gave Fall nearly $400,000 in loans and bribes b. In return, he helped them secure leases on naval oil reserves in Elk Hills, CA, and Teapot Dome, Wyoming c. The scandal came to light after Harding’s death from a heart attack in 1923 d. Fall eventually served a year in jail, and the reputation of the Harding administration never recovered 4. Vice President Calvin Coolidge assumed the presidency upon Harding’s death, and his honesty and integrity quickly reassured the nation a. Coolidge

i. Born in Vermont of old Yankee stock
ii. First gained national attention in 1919 as governor of MA when he dealt firmly with a boston police strike by declaring, “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime.” iii. Reserved, reticent man

iv. Famous for his epigrams, which contemporaries mistook for wisdom a. “The business of America is business”
b. “The man who builds a factory builds a temple; the man who works there worships there” c. “Four fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down and be still” v. Believed his duty was simply to preside benignly, not govern the nation b. Satisfied with the prosperity of the mid 1920s, the people responded favorably c. Coolidge was elected to a full term by a wide margin in 1924 5. When Coolidge announced in 1927 that he didn’t choose to run, Herbert Hoover became the Republican choice to succeed him. a. By far the ablest GOP leader of the decade, Hoover epitomized the American myth of the self-made man i. Orphaned as a boy...
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