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NORMALCY AND GOOD TIMES (1921 - 1929). Chapter 16. Presidential Politics. Main Idea. Warren Harding’s administration suffered from several scandals. His successor, Calvin Coolidge, promised to support business. Harding. Coolidge. The Harding Administration.

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(1921 - 1929)

Chapter 16

Presidential Politics

Main Idea

Warren Harding’s administration suffered from several scandals. His successor, Calvin Coolidge, promised to support business.



The Harding Administration

  • In 1920, when Warren G. Harding ran for president, most Americans wanted to return to simpler times (after the upheaval of the progressive era and war).

  • His campaign slogan to return to normalcy, or a “normal” life after the war, made him very popular.

  • Most of Harding’s appointments were given to his friends.

  • His old poker-playing friends became known as the Ohio Gang.

  • Some of the Ohio Gang used their government positions to sell jobs, pardons, and immunity from prosecution.

  • Before most of the scandals became public knowledge, Harding fell ill and died in 1923.

Warren G. Harding

  • Harding’s Secretary of the Interior, Albert B. Fall, secretly allowed private interests to lease lands containing U.S. Navy oil reserves at Teapot Dome, Wyoming.

  • He received bribes totaling over $300,000.

  • The Teapot Domescandal ended with Fall as the first cabinet officer in history to be sent to prison.


  • Another Harding administration scandal involved Attorney Gen. Harry Daugherty.

  • Bribemoney ended up in a bank account controlled by Daugherty.

  • He refused to testify under oath, claiming immunity(freedom from prosecution) because he had confidential dealings with the president.

  • The new president, Calvin Coolidge, demanded Daugherty’s resignation.



wanted to get

rid of the

“dirt” of the



Who is this?

(Chief Justice of the Supreme Court)

The Coolidge Administration

“The business of America is business.”

  • V.P. Calvin Coolidge became president after Harding’s death.

  • Coolidge distanced himself from the Harding administration.

  • He focused on prosperity through business leadership with little government intervention.

  • Easily won GOP presidential nomination in 1924.

Calvin Coolidge

  • Coolidge won 1924 election with more than half of the popular vote.

  • Promised to give America the normalcythat Harding had not (because of all the scandals).

GOP – Coolidge

Dem – John W. Davis

Progressive – Robert LaFollette

Calvin Coolidge was called “Silent Cal” because he was a man of very few words.

A Growing Economy

Main Idea

The United States experienced stunning economic growth during the 1920s.

1920s Technology

  • The Rise of New Industries

  • During the 1920s, Americans enjoyed a new standard of living.

  • Wages increased and work hours decreased.

  • Mass production (large-scale product manufacturing) increased the supply of goods and decreased costs.

  • Greater productivity led to the growth of new industries.

  • The assembly line, used by carmaker Henry Ford, greatly increased manufacturing efficiency by dividing up operations into simple tasks that unskilled workers could perform.

Ford’s assembly-line product, the Model T, sold for $850 the first year but dropped to $490 after being mass-produced several years later.

By 1924 the Model T was selling for just $295.


Increased workers’ wages & reduced workday

New businesses emerged

Isolation of rural life ended

Workers could live farther away from work

Gas stations, auto repair shops, oil industry, and road construction companies

Gained workers’ loyalty

Reduced power of Unions


More jobs

  • Higher wages made innovations affordable.

  • From electric razors to frozen foods and household cleaning supplies to labor-saving appliances, Americans used their new income to make life easier.

    • By 1919 the Post Office had expanded airmail serviceacross the continent with the help of the railroad.

  • 1927 - Charles Lindbergh took a transatlantic solo flight, which gained support in the U.S. for commercial flights.

  • By the end of 1928,

  • 48 airlines were

  • serving 355

  • American cities.

  • In 1926 the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) established a permanent network of radio stations to distribute daily programming.

  • In 1928 the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) set up coast-to-coast stations to compete with NBC.


  • The Consumer Society

  • American attitudes about debt changed. They were more willing to buy on credit.

  • Advertisingwas used to convince Americans that they needed new products.

  • Ads linked products with qualities that were popular to the modern era, such as convenience, leisure, success, fashion, and style.

  • By the early 1920s, many businesses hired professional managers and engineers.

  • The large number of managers expanded the size of the middle class.

  • 1920s unions lost influence/membership, because workers were generally satisfied.

  • Employers promoted an open shop, where employees were not required to join a union.

These workers even have a pool table for their break time.

  • Welfare capitalism, where employees were able to purchase stock, participate in profit sharing, and receive benefits, made unions seem unnecessary.

  • The Farm Crisis Returns

  • American farmers did not share in prosperity of 1920s.

  • Prices dropped dramatically,but the cost to improve farmers’ technology increased.

  • During the war, government had encouraged farmers to produce more for food supplies needed in Europe, so........

  • Farmers borrowed money to buy new land and new machinery to raise more crops.

  • Farmers prospered during the war….BUT……

  • ….after the war, Europeans had little money to buy American farm products.

  • After Congress raised tariffs, farmers could no longer sell products overseas, and prices fell.

  • American farmers remained in a recession through the 1920s.

The Policies of Prosperity

Main Idea:

Economic policies of the United States government encouraged the prosperity of the 1920s.

  • Promoting Prosperity

  • Andrew Mellon, Harding’s Secretary of Treasury, reduced government spending and cut the federal budget.

  • Secretary Mellon applied the idea of supply-side economics to reduce taxes.

  • This idea suggested that lower taxes would allow businesses and consumers to spend and invest their extra money, resulting in economic growth.

  • In the end, the government would collect more taxes at a lower rate.


  • Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover attempted to balance government regulation with cooperative individualism.

  • Business voluntarily work together and with government for the benefit of all.

  • Hoover felt this would reduce waste and costs and lead to economic stability.

  • Trade and Arms Control

  • By the 1920s, the United States was THE dominant economic power in the world.

  • Allies owed the U.S. billions of dollars in war debts.

  • The U.S. national income was far greater than that of Britain, Germany, France, and Japan combined.

  • Many Americans favored isolationismrather than international involvement.

  • Americans wanted to be left alone to pursue prosperity.

  • But the U.S. was too connected in international affairs to stay isolated.

  • Some countries felt the U.S. should help with the war debt.

  • We disagreed: other Allies had gained new territory & received reparations from Germany. The U.S. received no land or reparations.

  • Heavy reparations had crippled the German economy!

  • As a result, Charles G. Dawes, American diplomat and banker, negotiated an agreement – the Dawes Plan– with France, Britain, and Germany.

  • The Washington Conference(1921) invited countries to discuss the postwar naval arms race.

  • Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes proposed a 10-year moratorium(pause) on the construction of major new warships.

  • Japan was angry that the conference required Japan to keep a smaller navy than the United States and Great Britain.

  • The Kellogg-Briand Pact was a treaty that tried to outlaw war.

  • By signing the treaty, countries agreed to stop war and settle all disputes peacefully.

  • The treaty had no binding force, but it was hailed as a victory.

Reviewing Key Terms

Define Match the terms on the right with their definitions on the left.


__ 1.a workplace where workers are not required to join a union

__ 2.the production of large quantities of goods using machinery and often an assembly line

__ 3.President Hoover’s policy of encouraging manufacturers and distributors to form their own organizations and volunteer information to the federal government in an effort to stimulate the economy

__ 4.the state or fact of being normal

__ 5.a suspension of activity



C.mass production

D.assembly line

E.welfare capitalism shop economics

H.cooperative individualism







Chapter Assessment 1

Reviewing Key Terms (cont.)

Define Match the terms on the right with their definitions on the left.


__ 6.system in which companies enable employees to buy stock, participate in profit sharing, and receive benefits such as medical care, common in the 1920s

__ 7.freedom from prosecution

__ 8.economic theory that lower taxes will boost the economy as businesses and individuals invest their money, thereby creating higher tax revenue



C.mass production

D.assembly line

E.welfare capitalism shop economics

H.cooperative individualism





Reviewing Key Terms (cont.)

Define Match the terms on the right with their definitions on the left.

__ 9.a production system with machines and workers arranged so that each person performs an assigned task again and again as the item passes before him or her

__ 10.a national policy of avoiding involvement in world affairs



C.mass production

D.assembly line

E.welfare capitalism shop economics

H.cooperative individualism






I'm like any other man. All I do is supply a demand.

Al Capone was the most famous "gangster" of the 1920s. He ran a huge crime syndicate.

What "demand" do you think he was talking about? What were some of the difficulties that authorities had in trying to enforce that law?


If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.

Do you agree with Henry Ford's statement?

Ford had a huge impact on this nation's economy during the 1920s. Do you think that his philosophy was in any way responsible for his accomplishments?

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