Modern Times: The 1920s. How and why did business and government become allies in the 1920s? How did this partnership affect the American economy? How did American foreign policy develop during the 1920s? Why did a mass national culture develop after World War l?
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Modern Times: The 1920s
The Business-Government Partnership of the1920s
Politics in the Republican "New Era"
Economic Expansion Abroad
Foreign Policy in the 1920s
Celebrating American business
Reverence for the corporation
Rise of welfare capitalism among employers
Position of industrial workers
Aggregate demand for industrial labor slowed
Dramatic increase in available workforce
Unions lost ground, government hostile to labor
Warren G. Harding in office
Republican nominee because of his malleability
Aware of own intellectual shortcomings
Made some excellent cabinet appointments
Others, though, were disastrous
Plagued by scandals perpetuated by “Ohio Gang”
Died in San Francisco mired in controversy
Directed Food Administration during the war
Hoover as commerce secretary for Harding and Coolidge
Saw government as dynamic, even progressive, economic force
Shut out of key decisions by Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes
Brought different functional groups together to manage economy
Calvin Coolidge in office
Untainted by Harding scandals
Believed in minimalist government
Worked especially to reduce government’s control over the economy
Revenue Act of 1926
Twice vetoed McNary-Haugen Bill
Dawes Plan, 1924
Reduced German economy
U.S. aid to stabilize German economy
Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928
International compact outlawing war as a tool of national policy
Through the Kellogg Plan, the United States joined other nations in condemning militarism; critics complained that the act lacked mechanisms for enforcement.
Brief Post-World War I depression
Remarkable period of growth began in 1922 and lasted until 1929
Shift from capital goods to consumer goods production
Durables and perishables both
Led to complete transformation of American life
Stock buying also gained in popularity
Proliferation of consumer credit to facilitate purchases
Many poor excluded from consumer revolution
Rise of advertising and mass marketing
To generate demand for products that could make a product seem the answer to a consumer’s desires
Advertisers played upon people’s emotions and vulnerabilities
This 1924 ad in the Ladies' Home Journal, reflects advertisers' sense of the growing importance of the role of the "modern" housewife as the family's purchasing agent.
The healthy outdoor girl, smartly turned out in her raccoon coat and pennant, flatters a naive college football hero but remains in control.
The Victrola, or phonograph, broughtmusic and entertainment into the homes of many Americans in the 1920s. Italian tenor Enrico Caruso was one of the first opera singers to master this new medium, broadening his appeal beyond opera houses and concert halls through his extensive recordings.
Changing attitudes toward marriage and sexuality
Greater openness in attitudes toward sex
Push for compatibility and companionship in marriage
Earned less than male workers, even for same jobs
Drawn to white collar work for better opportunities
Concentrated in “female” professions
Female college enrollment increased 50 percent during decade
Agricultural depression during 1920s
Nonpartisan League of North Dakota publicized plight
Farm Bureau also facing cultural crisis
Farmers also facing cultural crisis
1920 census reported U.S. as urban nation
Economic and cultural vitality of nation shifted to the cities
Forced rural Americans toward efforts to protect their way of life
Concentrated in cities of Northeast and Midwest
Flourishing of ethnic associations
Alfred E. Smith
Preservation of ethnic heritage and customs
Strong desire to become citizens
Until Next time
Johnson-Reed Immigration Restriction Act, 1924
Imposed national quotas for immigrants from outside Western Hemisphere
Favored “old immigrants” over “new immigrants”
Chief source of immigrant labor after Johnson-Reed Act
Agricultural jobs, construction, manufacturing
Not generally interested in becoming citizens
President Coolidge signs the immigration act on the White House South Lawn along with appropriation bills for the Veterans Bureau. John J. Pershing is on the President's right.
Became test case in struggle between fundamentalism and science
Symbolic victory for modernism
John Scopes Clarence Darrow
William Jennings Bryan
World War I created generation of disaffected, alienated writers and artists
Many settled in Paris
Focused on psychological toll of living in postwar period
Many came to question democracy itself
Spurred debate over proper role of government in economy and life in general
American psychologist, philosopher, educator, social critic and political activist
education should not be the teaching of mere dead fact
skills and knowledge which students learn should be integrated fully into their lives as persons, citizens and human beings.
Continued migration from rural South to the urban North
Job and housing discrimination
Vigorous and productive cultural life
Black literary and artistic awakening
Image of the “new Negro”
Langston Hughes, a determined young black poet, said of the Harlem Renaissance. "If white people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly, too.” Hughes published The Weary Blues, his first book of poetry, in 1926 at the age of twenty-four.
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the United States had experienced recessions or panics at least every twenty years, but none as severe as the Great Depression of the 1930s
After 1927, consumer spending declined, and housing construction slowed. In 1928, manufacturers cut back on production and began to lay off workers, and by the summer of 1929 the economy was clearly in recession.
The stock market crash of 1929 was an indication of serious, underlying problems in the United States economy.
A Second question of importance of course to be considered is:
Family lives on public relief funds (1936)
In his campaign for reelection as governor of New York in 1930, Franklin Roosevelt boosted his vote total by 700,000 over his slender victory margin of 25,000 in 1928, and he became the first Democratic candidate for governor to win the vote outside New York City. Sensing that his presentation of himself as a good neighbor was responsible for much of his popularity, Roosevelt arranged to have a friendly chat outside polls in his hometown of Hyde Park with working-class voter Ruben Appel. In this photograph, Appel seems unaware that Roosevelt's standing was itself a feat of stagecraft. His legs rendered useless by polio, Roosevelt could remain upright only by using the strength he had developed in his arms and shoulders to prop himself up on his cane.