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Culture Changes and Politics of the 1920s

by: Brianna Pollard

Culture Changes and Politics of the 1920s HIST 2710-01

Marketplace > Southern Utah University > History > HIST 2710-01 > Culture Changes and Politics of the 1920s
Brianna Pollard
GPA 3.2

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About this Document

These notes cover the in class lectures on February 29 and March 2. There are some notes from the material that will be covered on March 4, but it doesn't touch on the Great Depression much. It doe...
United States History 1877-Present
Dr. Mark Miller
Class Notes
American History
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Brianna Pollard on Thursday March 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 2710-01 at Southern Utah University taught by Dr. Mark Miller in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 38 views. For similar materials see United States History 1877-Present in History at Southern Utah University.


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Date Created: 03/03/16
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.  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  18 Amendment and the Volstead Act of 1920.  The 18 amendment prohibited the sale, transportation, and production th of alcohol. The Volstead act was created to enforce the 18 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. th st  The 18 amendment was eventually repealed by the 21 amendment in 1933. Culture Clash: Feminism and the “New Woman”  Flappers  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. Eugenics  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. Immigration Restrictions  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  Hoover Harding Administration  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. Coolidge Administration  “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. Hoover Administration  “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.


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