The Politics of Boom and Bust APUSH Ms. Weston 2/22/06
Politics in the 1920s • Presidents of 1920s brought America out of post-war recession to great prosperity • Did this through cooperation with big business • End to Progressive reform, move to active government aid to business • Much economic prosperity built on unstable foundation
Harding as President • Often cited as worst president in American history • Biggest weakness was his inability to see corruption in his own administration (Ohio Gang) • Main goal was to help business • Reversed many Progressive rulings • Antitrust laws not enforced
Isolationism in Foreign Policy • No Treaty of Versailles, no League • Disarmament • Holiday on construction of battleships • 1928—Kellogg Briand Pact—denounced war as an instrument of foreign policy • Useless policy—why?
Political Scandals • Series of scandals under Harding • Teapot Dome Scandal—Government leased out priceless oil reserves to businesses for profit. • Harding’s popularity forever diminished, died in office in 1923
“Silent Cal” Coolidge • Honesty, industry, frugality • Firm believer in laissez-faire, but also government aid to business • Got rid of corruption in Washington • Easily won re-election in 1924
Debating Debts • Allies owe US money—resentful, and complain can’t pay back until Germany pays reparations • US refuses to forgive debts, but is willing to lend money to Germany to pay reparations to Allies, so Allies can pay back Americans (Dawes Plan) • Issue of debts created lots of ill will against Americans
Herbert Hoover as President • Landslide victory in election of 1928 • Ideal businessperson’s candidate • Democratic candidate Al Smith criticized for religion and being “wet”—Rum, Romanism and Ruin speech • Two accomplishments before Depression • Aid to farmers with Federal Farm Board • Hawley-Smoot Tariff—HIGHEST PROTECTIVE TARIFF EVER IN PEACETIME (NEARLY 60%)!!!