The Roaring Twenties
Modern America Begins
⮚ Birth of the Modern Economy
∙ The economy started to become much more diversified than ever before.
∙ We see the service sector start to develop. Some people work in factories, and there are still a lot of Americans in agriculture (farming). ⮚ Majority of Americans Live in Urban Areas
∙ For the first time ever, the majority of Americans live in Urban areas. ∙ Note that the census defined a city as holding 2,500 or more people. ⮚ America Electrified
∙ By the end of the decade, many Americans have electricity in their homes.
∙ This allows people to have household appliances such as toasters and washing machines.
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⮚ The Automobile Industry
∙ Many if not most families own a car by the end of the decade.
Getting Better All the Time…
⮚ The American Federation of Labor
∙ This union fought for “bread and butter issues” such as: safe working conditions, better pay, lower working hours, and paid vacations.
⮚ Welfare Capitalism If you want to learn more check out What are the three different break-even in dollar sales?
∙ GE and Ford pioneered welfare capitalism with the idea that happy and healthy workers are productive workers.
∙ Welfare capitalism provided for the needs of employees with benefits like: health clinics, pensions, day cares, and gyms.
“The Business of America is Business”-Calvin Coolidge
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⮚ Republican Administrations
∙ The 20s were largely characterized by having Republican presidents such as Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover.
∙ They were pro-business, had a balanced budget, and the US was a creditor nation. (Meaning that other countries borrowed $ from us.) ⮚ Auto Industry
∙ Henry Ford created the Model T car. They were uniform down to the color. ∙ He also was the first to use the assembly line to build cars. This and the
standardization of the vehicle itself made production much less expensive.
∙ He paid his employees $5 a day which was two or three times more than what people with similar jobs at this time would have made. We also discuss several other topics like Define manifest destiny.
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1920s: Culture Change and Culture Clash Auto Culture
⮚ Autos and Related industries
∙ When the auto industry grew, we saw a rise in other related industries. ∙ Examples: rubber, gas stations, mechanics, steel, etc.
⮚ Growth of Suburbs
∙ This easier and more free way to travel made it possible for the middle class to move out of the inner cities. Mainly these people were white, so this was dubbed the “White Flight”
∙ Many suburbs had restrictive covenants. People would buy a house and agree to have a house with a certain appearance and often agree not to sell their home to a person of color. We also discuss several other topics like Who escaped slavery, returned 19 times and each time brought at least 15 slaves back with her to freedom for a total of approx. 300 slaves?
⮚ Autos and Dating
∙ Cars afforded teenagers an unheard of level of privacy. Dating used to take place in the home, but cars allowed them to go out and date each other without a parent’s watchful eye.
∙ 47% percent of younger women admit to having premarital sex. Growth of the Middle Class
⮚ Rising Education Levels
∙ The Morrill Land Grant allows more states to build schools. Example: Utah State University.
∙ In 1900, 1-2% went to college and 10% graduated from high school. In 1930, two-thirds graduated high school and 10% went to college. ⮚ Birth of the Modern Teenager
∙ In the past, people entered the work force at about the age of twelve. Because of booming economy and their parents having more money, teenagers didn’t have to necessarily work as much.
∙ They were able to go to school and prolong their childhood.
Summer Vacations and Associated Auto Industries
⮚ People Taking Vacation
∙ Because of the increase in people having paid time off and the growth of the middle class, people could actually afford to take vacation. Usually for only one week.
∙ National Park visits soar, and we see roadside attractions pop up. ⮚ Associated Industries
∙ Paying to stay somewhere else over night was a luxury only for the very wealthy. However, with more middle class being able to travel, there was a need for an affordable place.
∙ This resulted in the Motel (motor hotel). The first was HoJo’s. ∙ Fast food grew in popularity with the popularity of baseball and travel.
Culture Clash: Prohibition
⮚ 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act of 1920.
∙ The 18th amendment prohibited the sale, transportation, and production of alcohol. The Volstead act was created to enforce the 18th amendment and to regulate the production and distribution of alcohol for non beverage purposes.
∙ Goals: prevent domestic violence, employment rates, more money for families, and decrease crime.
∙ Realities: did decrease alcohol consumption because it was more expensive and harder to get, speak-easies were more prevalent than saloons had been, government corruption increased, and less money went to families because the price of booze went up.
⮚ The 18th amendment was eventually repealed by the 21st amendment in 1933. Culture Clash: Feminism and the “New Woman”
∙ They were women who showed more skin, who drank and smoked, and who were promiscuous for their time.
∙ People were concerned about the media’s effect on the young women. As there weren’t any production codes to begin with, however by the end of the twenties the first production codes and ratings surface.
⮚ American Birth Control League
∙ This was started by Margaret Stanger a nurse who had watched many women, including her mother, die in childbirth.
∙ This was the roots of the modern day Planned Parenthood and was just as controversial as it is today.
∙ All forms of birth control were illegal at this time.
⮚ Pseudo Science
∙ It believed in evolutionary biology, and the idea that some people are better evolved than others.
∙ This meant that white people were on the top of this pyramid somehow. ⮚ Based off Darwin
∙ Sometimes this was called Social Darwinism which was a serious distortion of Darwin’s ideas.
∙ Darwin came out against this sort of science.
⮚ Goddard’s IQ Test
∙ Henry Goddard was a British psychologist and eugenicist that developed IQ tests that were widely used.
∙ Utilized on Ellis Island to weed out “morons”. White people always did better on these than other races, and blacks generally did the worst. ⮚ Sanger’s Ideas
∙ Margaret Sanger was an advocate for eugenics and believed that people of “inferior” races should use birth control to stop their blood lines and eliminate that liability to society.
∙ Sterilization programs for those who could possibly be a burden on the state such as criminals and black women were introduced.
The KKK of the 1920s
⮚ Reborn in 1915 with Simmons
⮚ “Equal Opportunity” Hate Group
∙ They had objections against Catholics, Jews, liberal whites, immigrants, and of course, blacks.
∙ Basically, if you weren’t an Anglo-Saxon protestant, they hated you. ⮚ Hiram Evans and the Pyramid Scheme
∙ Hiram Evans played a large part in the success of the Klan in this time period because he helped the Klan to grow as a business.
∙ If a person wanted to start a branch of the Klan, they would pay a franchise fee to a supervisor and they would sell Klan paraphernalia to members and recruit others to open more branches. Helping everyone get rich along the way.
⮚ The Klan burnt out in 1927 when the grand wizard was accused of raping a white girl.
⮚ 1924 National Origins Act
∙ Established quotas for the first time ever. Only certain amounts of people from a certain country could immigrate.
∙ This was based off the 1890 Census which was when we saw more of the “new immigrants”.
∙ Asiatic barred zone created.
Politics of the 1920s
Republican and Conservative Era
⮚ Harding 1921-1923
⮚ Coolidge 1923-1929
⮚ A Congenial Man
∙ He was every body’s best friend, he was handsome and looked presidential.
∙ He gave excellent speeches.
⮚ Florence (Flossy) Harding
∙ She was the first modern first lady. She had her own agenda, and she pushed Harding to do more and be better.
⮚ Sexual Scandals
∙ Harding reportedly paid off one woman $25,000 to be quiet about their affair.
∙ He got one woman pregnant in a senate closet.
∙ Another woman was driven to suicide because he wouldn’t leave his wife for her.
⮚ Ohio Gang
∙ Politicians and industry leaders who closely surrounded Harding. Many of them he acquired when he was state level politician in Ohio.
⮚ Veteran’s Bureau and Teapot Dome Scandals
∙ One of Harding’s acquaintances was in charge of the veteran’s bureau bought a lot of items “for veterans” and instead of giving them to the veterans, he sold them as army surplus for much lower prices than purchased for.
∙ The Secretary of the Interior leased the Navy’s oil reserves to companies for low prices without competitive bidding.
⮚ Early Death in 1923
∙ There are many debates and mysteries about exactly how the president died because Flossy didn’t allow his body to autopsied and she
meticulously burnt correspondence. He did eat some tainted crab meat in Alaska.
∙ However, some believe that he may have been poisoned to shut him up about the scandals. Most scholars believe that in all likelihood it was just a heart attack.
∙ This was largely a merciful death. He died a popular president; after his death, all the scandals were uncovered and is now ranked as one of the worst presidents in history.
⮚ “Silent Cal”
∙ He was very serious and quiet which earned him this nickname. ⮚ “Coolidge Prosperity”
∙ There was a lot of Laissez-faire economics at play. They relaxed regulations and weren’t as diligent about breaking up trusts.
∙ The federal budget was reduced and balanced with a large part played by Mellon and Hoover.
∙ Taxes were reduced especially on the top 1%.
∙ The federal payroll was cut.
∙ There was a return to isolationism.
Retrenchment in Reform
⮚ Adkins vs. Children’s Hospital 1923
∙ The Supreme Court ruled that minimum wages laws for women were unconstitutional because they interfered with workers’ right to bargain for wages.
⮚ “Wonder Boy”
∙ Calvin Coolidge hated Hoover and nicknamed him “wonder boy” out of jealousy.
⮚ Bonus Army
∙ In 1924, congress overrode a veto from Coolidge to pass the World War Compensation Act. This would give veterans from the war bonuses as certificates of service that would mature in 20 years.
∙ Veterans marched on Washington demanding the early redemption of these certificates. Many of them had been out of work for an extended period of time and desperately needed the money.
∙ The police were sent to intervene and it resulted in the shooting of two officers. The army was then commanded to intervene which destroyed Hoover’s political career.
⮚ Laissez-faire and Voluntarism
∙ Hoover thought that government interfering into economics would hurt Americans’ liberties more than it would help the economy.
∙ Instead of legislating what actions companies and individuals may take, he asked them. He believed that people would take the right actions out of their own altruism.
Great Depression: Early Years
Coolidge Administration 1923-1929
⮚ Restores dignity to office
∙ Coolidge prosperity, everything was all good.
∙ There wasn’t any shenanigans, more presidential and official.
∙ First president born west of the Mississippi (Iowa)
∙ Raised in Oregon
∙ Graduated in the first graduating class of Standford
⮚ Very successful engineer
∙ Turned around failing mines
∙ Could fix most any problem
∙ Belgian Hunger Relief
⮚ Stock Market Crash
∙ He said that it would be over in six weeks…it wasn’t
∙ Eats his words the rest of the years and makes him look bad
∙ He knew it was an issue but was trying to raise moral
Causes of the Great Depression
⮚ Agriculture Recession
∙ It wasn’t doing very well throughout the entirety of the 1920s. ∙ Everyone had taken out loans to buy farm equipment and they were over-extending themselves.
∙ 1929-31: Wheat is down 90%
∙ A cycle of overproduction was occurring.
⮚ Consumer Economy “Infant Stage”
∙ Consumer Spending drives it. People are buying things like crazy because they can have things that make their lives easier and are new. ∙ Companies are producing too much of the new goods. Households just don’t need more than one car, refrigerator, washing machine, etc. ∙ Buying things on credit
⮚ Unequal Distribution of Wealth
∙ Richest 5% hold 30% wealth: there’s only so many things that even rich people need. Their money is either saved in the banks or invested. ∙ Middle class 30% of United States: not enough demand for what the rich are selling.
∙ 65% poor or subsisting. (barely getting by)
⮚ Climax: Black Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1929
∙ Bull Market 1927-9 (good, big, strong market)
∙ Buying “on margin”, for as little as 10% down to buy a stock, but stocks weren’t always going up. It created this bubble because the price of stocks weren’t reflecting the actual demand for them.
∙ New York Stock Exchange: On black Thursday, they see a huge drop and decide to close until Monday. Because there is such a huge herd
mentality associated with this, people were afraid which multiplied in the crowd. Everyone began selling which drove it down even more.
∙ It went down and stayed down.
⮚ International Loans/Reparations & Trade
∙ World Depression occurred because everyone’s economies are so linked. ∙ Germany and Austria’s response: they were no longer going to pay back their reparations.
∙ Tariffs: Hawley-Smoot Tariff 1930- record high protective tariff at the time. The 60% tax on imports effectively halts international trade. ∙ Federal Reserve Response: Increased interest rates, further discouraged people from purchasing new goods.
⮚ Basic Stats
∙ The average family is making half of what they were before
∙ The average unemployment rate is 20-25%. Toledo at 80%
∙ The banks are closing.
⮚ Hoover’s Beliefs
∙ Laissez-faire: government should be involved as little as possible. Good things will naturally happen they way it needs to. Government
intervention could hurt the economy more than it could help it.
∙ Volunteerism: No federal government involved with the poor and the unemployed. Private individuals, churches, and other organizations should help the poor. Handouts make people lazy.
∙ Public Relation issues: trying to show a face of confidence, never visits a soup kitchen, good meal in the White House, never shows emotion ∙ Hooverville in Central Park, NYC
1932 Bonus Army Fiasco
I. Hoover Presidency: Bio: Belgian Hunger Relief, “Wonder Boy;” Consevative Principals: Laissez-faire and voluntarism; bonus army fiasco and Election of 1932 = Dem. FDR victory
II. Causes of the Great Depression: Ag. Recession of 1920s; Income Distribution Inequality; Consumer Econ. In “Infant Stage”; buying on credit; Stock Market Speculation, buying on margin, “Bull Market” 1927-29, Crash (Black Tuesday) 1929; International Trade: reparations, retaliatory tariffs/Hawley Smoot Tariff 1930; Fed Reserve responses