Post World War I Socio-Economic Scenario in the 20s and 30s

Topics: Herbert Hoover, Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt Pages: 8 (2718 words) Published: October 8, 1999
When many people study history and learn the mistakes from the past, it would be easier to able to understand the present. Nevertheless, it is not enough to simply study the events that have transpired. By changing the unfavorable events that led to despair and continuing the benefits to society, one can understand why they happen and better the future. In the United States in the early 1920s, a new stage appeared with different movements in the areas of politics, economics, society, culture, and foreign policy. By the events that led to the 1930s, new crazes had developed in many of these areas, while other areas remained in continuity. From the 1920s to the 1930, there were several factors that contributed to the changes in American society.

The 1920s began shortly after in World War I when the United States and the Allies defeated the Germans in 1918. Many Americans were fed up with Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president from 1913 to 1921. The first election of the 1920s scoured Republican Warren G. Harding against Democrat James M. Cox. Cox supported Wilson and the League of Nations in the election. However, Harding won the election in a landslide, which was a sign of America¡¦s frustration with Wilson and his optimistic and liberal policies. The start of the new conservative era restored the power to the Republicans after the presidential election of the 1920.

Harding made quite a few excellent appointments to his cabinet although he failed to demonstrate to have much intelligence. Charles Evans Hughes was appointed to be the Secretary of State, Andrew W. Mellon appointed as the Secretary of the Treasury and as leader of the Commerce Department, and Herbert Hoover bumped up the 1920s to a new level. On the other hand, Harding also appointed some of the worst positions for office. He appointed Albert B. Fall as the Secretary of the Interior. The Teapot Dome Scandal or the ¡§Oil Reserves Scandal¡¨ [Simon, 3/8/00] surrounded the secret leasing of the federal oil reserves by Fall. He secretly granted the Mammoth Oil Company exclusive rights to the Teapot Dome reserves in Wyoming after President Harding transferred supervision of the naval oil reserve lands from the navy to him. While this scandal entered American politics as a symbol of governmental corruption, it had little long-term effect on the Republican Party. For the moment, Harding started the conservative trend of politics in the 1920s.

Harding died during before he could finish his presidency in 1923, and Vice President Calvin Coolidge took the office as President. He conveyed the virtues of morality, honesty, and economy to the presidency. Coolidge was very tacit turn. Coolidge followed the remaining of Harding¡¦s ¡§hands-off¡¨ policies and was reelected in the 1924 election. The United States had one of the greatest periods of prosperity ever during his presidency from 1923 to 1929. When Coolidge decided not to run again in the 1928 election, the Republican nomination went to Herbert Hoover who easily won the job as the new President. Because he was a self-made millionaire, Hoover was not quite as conservative as Harding or Coolidge. Conversely, many historians believe that if the Depression had not occurred he would probably have been a good president. Later, Americans detested Hoover because he failed to solve the nation¡¦s troubles out of the Depression.

The United States embraced a laissez-faire policy in the economy during the 1920s. In Harding¡¦s ¡§hands off¡¨ policy, the government did not intervene with people¡¦s businesses and helped them profit. Anti-trust laws were avoided, and the United States was in debt from the first Great War. The Secretary of Treasury, Mellon, tremendously reduced taxes, which moved the economy because there was more money to spend. Eventually, the United States profited in more money to pay off the enormous debt. The United States also enforced a large tariff that would encourage Americans to buy...
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