The ‘Roaring’ Twenties
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The ‘Roaring’ Twenties
A a result of the rise of mass production and mass consumption in the early Twentieth Century, the United States became the richest society the world had ever seen!
Andrew Mellon: (R) Secretary of the Treasury for
Harding, Coolidge and Hoover; followed policies that involved cutting income tax rates and reducing public spending.
policies favored rapid expansion of investments, leading to an increase in the buying of stocks; reduced amount of taxes the rich people pay, so the tax burden is on the middle class.
Government Economic PolicyRepublicans held Presidency:1921 - 1933 & they enacted pro-business policies.
Mass Production: the manufacturing of large quantities of a standardized product; first used to describe production methods of Ford.
Benefits of mass production:
1. Lowered wages led to reduced cost for consumers2. Increased job opportunities to those that did not possess highly specialized skills
3. Interchangeable parts allowed consumers to have broken products fixed at a lower cost.
The increasing popularity of the automobile provided Americans with more freedoms, luxuries and privacy.
Automobile Industry provided over 6 million new jobs!
By 1929, 26 million motor vehicles were registered in the U.S. (1 car per 4.9 Americans)
Mail Service Airplane - 1920
Between 1903 and 1918, not really for practical use; after WWI, they were more reliable
1920, first transcontinental air route established between New York and San Francisco.
1927, airplane technology improved enough to allow Charles Lindbergh to fly solo across the Atlantic.
The RadioThe first voice-carrying radio station (KDKA) began
broadcasting in Pittsburgh, PA.Just as the automobile lured Americans away from their homes, the radio pulled them back.
Families gathered around the radio to listen much like families gather around televisions today.
During the show “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” cities were said
to come to a standstill and
crime was almost non-existent.
AdvertisementAs the number of new products increased, the industry of
advertising found new methods to sell merchandise.
Advertisers used persuasion, ploy, seduction and sex appeal to lure buyers.
AdvertisementIn 1925, Bruce Barton’s bestseller The Man Nobody Knows,
claimed that Jesus Christ was the perfect salesman and that advertisers should study his techniques.
SportsWith the advent of radio and an increase in leisure time, sports such as baseball, boxing and football gained in popularity due to radio.
Baseball took advantage of the
popularity of Herman “Babe” Ruth and went through a
Golden Age.In 1927, when Ruth was in his prime, he
was paid $70,000/year!
Aug. 5, 1921 First Radio Broadcast of a Baseball Game-
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Philadelphia Phillies on KDKA Sept. 6, 1920 First Radio Broadcast of a Prizefight -Jack
Dempsey vs. Billy Miske Nov. 25, 1920 First Radio Broadcast of a Collegiate Football Game - Texas University vs. Mechanical College of Texas - WTAW
Aug. 6, 1921 First Radio Broadcast of a Tennis Match - Australia vs. Great Britian, Davis Cup - Harold Arlin on KDKA
Alex Rodriguez is being paid $26.2
million a year.
Jack Dempsey became a household name, partly due
to the coverage his fights received on the radio.
In 1921, Dempsey fought for a $500,000 pursue, considered a staggering amount for a fight
at that time.
A Tyson-Holyfield fight in 1997 paid $75 million between the two fighters.
Social NormsWith the passage of the 18th Amendment, alcohol became
illegal in the U.S.Although many people violated this law, it did have some positive impacts on society.
Personal savings accounts increased.
Worker absenteeism decreased.
EducationJohn Dewey: professor at Columbia
University; believed education should be based on “learning by doing” and the “education for life” should be primary goal of schools.
Few people were aware of
Dewey’s psychic abilities. Evolutionists versus Creationists Darwin’s Theory of Evolution made many creationists upset, as it challenged their religious beliefs.
A Tennessee school challenged a law forbidding the teaching of evolution and a court case ensued. The case became a media event as William Jennings Bryan assisted the prosecution and Clarence Darrow, a famous attorney, represented the defense.
Creationists weren’t the only ones offended by the idea that man came from monkeys!!
With the “war to end all wars” over, the world powers set out to ensure peace through a series of treaties.
July, 1921: the U.S. passed a joint resolution in Congress officially ending the war against Germany.
Five Power Naval Treaty (1922): limited the numbers and tonnage of battleships and aircraft carriers that could be built by the five superpowers (U.S.; Britain; Japan; France; Italy)
Middle East: Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes secured rights for American oil companies to share in the exploitation of the region.
Four Power Treaty (1921): Japan, Britain, France and the U.S. agreed to maintain status quo in Pacific.
Foreign PolicyNine Power Treaty (1922): preserved
the sovereignty of China Kellogg-Briand Pact (Pact of Paris): Secretary of State Frank Kellogg won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in establishing this treaty that said all nations signing would no longer use war for offensive purposes.
…(3) To use their influence for the purpose of effectually establishing and maintaining the principle of equal opportunity for the commerce and industry of all nations throughout the territory of China;
The Bad Side of the Roaring TwentiesDespite the economic growth and cultural explosion, many Americans found the decade to be a struggle. From fears of communist plots to continued struggles between workers and employers, the problems of the decade were many.
If you can’t afford to lose it, don’t gamble it!The rapid expansion of capital investment, and the increase in the buying of stocks by more people that spurred business growth eventually backfired on the economy.The economic system was built on “fragile credit” through over-speculation and buying on margin.Buying on margin allows an investor to purchase stock using the money of the brokers instead of his/her own money. When the stock goes up, they sell it off, paying back the broker and keeping the profits.
Deskilling: term used by labor supporters to describe mass production techniques; knowledge of how to run a factory and the production process is taken out of the hands of skilled craftsmen and put into the hands of the managers and machine makers
Jobs become more repetitive and boring while alienating workers.
Mass Production = Deskilling
The AutomobileAlthough the positive implications of the automobile are
many, there were also some negative.
Early safety measures
were ineffective or non-existent,
leading to many serious
injuries or death as a result of
By 1951, 1,000,000 had
died as a result of the automobile.
More than the total number of Americans
killed in all previous wars
A push towards IsolationismSeveral factors led many in the U.S. to favor policies that decreased the role of the country in world affairs.
Economic Recession: A short, but severe recession hit the country as the economy adjusted to returning vets, a shifting from wartime goods to peacetime goods, and a higher standard of living.
Wartime Casualties: The high number of casualties and the total devastation of the war made many question whether or not the U.S. should be willing to get involved in European affairs.
Communism: The “red scare” of 1919-1920 swept across America as a small communist party formed and strikes became common across America. (More on this to follow) What are some of the possible negative
consequences of isolationism?
• KKK revival was more “nativist” than just antiblack.
• At peak in mid-20s it had 5 Million members with large political influence, especially in the Midwest and South.
• KKK used secrecy, parades, lynching's, burning of crosses, rally songs, and other events to advance their agenda.
During the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan, which had been all but wiped out during Reconstruction, underwent a large-scale
KKK collapsed suddenly in late 20s
• Terror tactics eventually turned off most Americans.
• Embezzlement became widespread throughout the organization.
• A Congressional investigation showed that the organization was basically a membership fee racket. (Similar to a Pyramid Scheme)
Most historians credit the fraud within the organization for the
downfall, not the reaction to the violence.
After the war, “new” immigration pattern resumed, but based more on isolationist ideas.
Emergency Quota Act of 1921: restricted immigration to 3% of nationality living in U.S. as of 1910 – relatively favorable to new immigrant groups such as Mexicans and Germans.
In 1921, the Act was replaced by Immigration Act of 1924: cut quota to 2%, and based it on 1890 population.
Keep the number of immigrants low but maintain a U.S. culture dominated by Western/Northern Europeans.
The Act also barred any Japanese immigration, but exempted Canadians & Latin Americans for work purposes.
By 1931, more foreigners left U.S. than arrived.
Prohibition18th Amendment: the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol was prohibited in the U.S.
Prohibitionists overlooked the strong U.S. traditions for alcohol and exposed the fact that laws must be based on moral consensus.
Problems with enforcement:1. After sacrifices made during WWI, many Americans were unwilling to make more sacrifices such as giving up alcohol.
2. There were widespread reports that Congressmen were still consuming alcohol.
3. Soldiers returning from war disapproved.
4. Lower class citizens became angry that they lost their ability to drink beer while the upper classes could afford to buy illicit alcohol.
5. The challenge to break the law became popular itself.
6. Law enforcement was understaffed, susceptible to bribery, and often used violent tactics.
The immigrant tide was now cut off, but those that were in America struggled to adapt. Immigrants
continued to make up a large portion of the work force.
Differences in race, culture, and
nationality made it difficult for unions to
organize, hurting membership.
ProhibitionOther Impacts:Hard Liquor gained in popularity because it was easier to smuggle.
Diplomatic relations were strained with Canada as U.S. border agents were often overzealous.
Profits from illegal alcohol led to rise of criminal gangs who competed for alcohol market: used violence and bribery of police.
Gang wars of Chicago in 1920s saw over 500 murders with very few arrests or convictions.
By 1930, Organized Crime was making $12 to $18
billion/year, several times more a year than the federal