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The “Roaring Twenties”. The 1920 Election. Wilson’s idealism and Treaty of Versailles led many Americans to vote for the Republican, Warren Harding… US turned inward and feared anything that was European…. Republican Policies.

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the roaring twenties

The “Roaring Twenties”

The 1920 Election

Wilson’s idealism and Treaty of Versailles led many Americans to vote for the Republican, Warren Harding…

US turned inward and feared anything that was European…

republican policies
Republican Policies
  • Return to "normalcy"
    • tariffs raised
    • corporate, income taxes cut
    • spending cuts
  • Government-business cooperation
    • “The business of government, is business”
  • Return to “isolation”
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The “Roaring Twenties”

A Republican Decade – Republican Conservatives gain control of the White House and Congress and terminate the Era of the Progressives. The Part believes that the Economy and the Nation are better off if Business took the lead again. However, regulation will exist.

Warren Harding –“Return to Normalcy” (1921-1923)

Policies favored Isolationism and disarmament (WashingtonConference), and limits on Immigration.

Selected mostly highly qualified Administration that included Herbert Hoover, Andrew Mellon, and William Howard Taft. Some selections were poor and it lead to corruption and scandal…see TeapotDome.

Looked to reduce Income Tax, Raise Tariffs, and set up the Bureau of the Budget.

harding and coolidge
Harding and Coolidge
  • Republican presidents appeal to traditional American values
  • Harding dies in office after 2 years.
  • Scandals break after his death
    • Teapot Dome Scandal
  • Calvin Coolidge becomes President after Harding’s death in 1923.
  • Secretary of the Interior, Albert B. Fall leased naval reserve oil land in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, and Elk Hills, California, to oilmen Harry F. Sinclair and Edward L. Doheny
  • Fall had received a bribe of $100,000 from Doheny and about three times that amount from Sinclair.
  • Fall found guilty of taking a bribe.
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The “Roaring Twenties”

Calvin Coolidge – “Keep Cool with Coolidge” (1923-1929)

Idea was to bring back theory of Laissez-Faire and let businesses run themselves.

“The business of America is business.”

Cut back on Government spending (no bonus for war veterans).

Industry/Economy booms.







Lower Taxes Less Federal Higher Strong Spending Tariffs National Economy

Fordney-McCumber Tariff---1923Hawley-Smoot Tariff ---1930 raised the tariff to an unbelievable 60%!!!

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The “Roaring Twenties”

Herbert Hoover – Run off of “Coolidge Prosperity” (1929-1933)

Continued economic boom due to various advancements in technology such as time-and-motion studies, scientific management, use of oil and electricity, and the perfection of the Ford AssemblyLine.

Offer businesses tax cuts and fail to enforce anti-trust laws.

Decline of Union membership – “WelfareCapitalism”

the roaring twenties a new culture

The “Roaring Twenties” -A New Culture

Consumerism – Consumer Economy– Rise of advertising and ability of people to buy new items such as appliances, automobiles, and music. Also, consumers are presented with new ways of purchasing items such as credit and installment plans.

Entertainment – New Jazz music played on radios and phonographs. The radio and movie industry boomed with companies like NBC and CBS and stars like Greta Garbo.

PopularHeroes – Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Jim Thorpe, Charles Lindbergh, and Amelia Earhart.

Literature – “Lost Generation” – Called this because their work expressed dissatisfaction with earlier ideals and materialism (includes Sinclair Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway).

  • Westinghouse Radio Station KDKA was a world pioneer of commercial radio broadcasting.
  • Transmitted 100 watts on a wavelength of 360 meters.
  • KDKA first broadcast was the Harding-Cox Presidential election returns on November 2, 1920.
  • 220 stations eighteen months after KDKA took the plunge.
  • $50 to $150 for first radios
  • 3,000,000 homes had them by 1922.
  • Radio sets, parts and accessories brought in $60 million in 1922…
  • $136 million in 1923
  • $852 million in 1929
  • Radio reached into every third home in its first decade.
  • Listening audience was 50,000,000 by 1925 (VERY IMP. FOR GREAT DEPRESSION & WWII)
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The “Roaring Twenties” -A New Culture

Role of Women– Saw no real changes except for those who engaged in new activities and increased promiscuity. Examples include “Flappers.”

Harlem Renaissance– Rise in African American popular culture during the 20’s in urban areas like Harlem. Actors, artists, writers, poets, singers, and musicians all expressed a range of emotions. Examples include Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, and Louie Armstrong.

Art – Form follows function – Functionalism. Includes Frank Lloyd Wright.

  • Beginning of the Jazz Age in New York City
  • Acceptance of African American culture
  • African American literature and music
the roaring twenties domestic conflicts in culture

The “Roaring Twenties” –Domestic Conflicts in Culture

Schenck v. U.S.– Suspension of right in country experiences a “clear & present danger.”

Palmer Raidstarget Communists, Socialist, and Anarchists at feverish rate.

Sacco & Vanzetti– Scapegoat Trial against two immigrants – both convicted & executed.

LaborStrikes – BostonPoliceStrike – Coolidge uses National Guard to squash union activity.

Steel&CoalStrikes – (UMW) Government used injunctions to stop strikes and nullify labor laws.

Sacco and Vanzetti
  • Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants charged with murdering a guard and robbing a shoe factory in Braintree, Mass.
  • The trial lasted 1920-1927. Convicted on circumstantial evidence, many believed they had been framed for the crime because of their anarchistand pro-union activities.
  • In this time period, anti-foreignism was high as well.
  • Liberals and radicals rallied around the two men, but they would be executed.
Red Scare
  • Red Scare, 1919 to 1921, was a time of great upheaval…U.S. “scared out of their wits".
  • "Reds” as they were called, "Anarchists” or "Outside Foreign-Born Radical Agitators” (Communists).

Attorney General Mitchell Palmer

  • Anti-red hysteria came about after WWI and the Russian Revolution.
  • 6,000 immigrants the government suspected of being Communists were arrested (Palmer Raids) and 600 were deported or expelled from the U.S.
  • No due process was followed (Civil War? WWI? Now?)
the roaring twenties domestic conflicts in culture1

The “Roaring Twenties” –Domestic Conflicts in Culture

Teapot Dome Scandal– Under Harding, Cabinet members (Fall/Daugherty) accept bribes and payoff for contract to drill oil on Government property.

Prohibition (Volstead Act)– Gives rise to bootleggers, speakeasies and organized crime – Al Capone. Prohibition was not repealed until 1933 21st Amendment.

Rise in Different Religious Views– (A) Modernism – Faith in new ways-historical and critical view of Bible (support Darwin’s Evolution) (B) Fundamentalism – Bible must be accepted literally…Revivalists on the radio.

Scopes Trial– Court action over the teaching of the Theory of Evolution in School – Bryan/Fundamentalist vs. ACLU/Scopes/Darrow.


Al Capone

Elliot Ness, part of the Untouchables

Chicago gangster during Prohibition who controlled the “bootlegging” industry.

Agent with the U.S. Treasury Department's Prohibition Bureau during a time when bootlegging was rampant throughout the nation.

Detroit police inspecting equipment found in a hidden underground brewery during the prohibition era.


The "Noble" Experiement


John T. Scopes

Respected high school biology teacher arrested in Dayton, Tennessee for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

Clarence Darrow

Famous trial lawyer who represented Scopes

William J. Bryan

Sec. of State for President Wilson, ran for president three times, turned evangelical leader. Represented the


Dayton, Tennessee

Small town in the south became protective against the encroachment of modern times and secular teachings.

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The “Roaring Twenties” –Domestic Conflicts in Culture

Nativism, Immigration Quotas, and KKK– After WWI, many feared the influx of “NEW” immigrants because of questions of loyalty, employment, religion, and possible problems. The government set up 2 quota laws in 1921 and 1924 that limited the amount of immigrants coming from Asia & Eastern/Southern Europe.

KKK – “Red Summer” leads to riots and increased tensions between whites & blacks…revival of Klan….targeted Catholics, African Americans, Jews, Communist etc. This is the popular version of the Klan with white hoods, lynching, and cross burnings.

Rural Americans identify urban culture with Communism, crime, immorality
  • Sex becomes an all-consuming topic of interest in popular entertainment
  • Communities of home, church, and school are absent in the cities
  • Conflict: Traditional values vs new ideas found in the cities.

Rise of the KKK was due to the ever changing of a traditional America.

  • 1925: Membership of 5 million
  • 1926: Marched on Washington.
  • Attack on urban culture and defends Christian/Protestant and rural values
  • Against immigrants from Southern Europe, European Jews, Catholics and American Blacks
  • Sought to win U.S. by persuasion and gaining control in local/state government.
  • Violence, internal corruption result in Klan’s virtual disappearance by 1930 but will reappear in the 1950s and 1960s.
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The “Roaring Twenties” –Domestic Conflicts in Culture

Fighting the Discrimination –

NAACPtried to force Congress to pass anti-lynching laws and Marcus Garvey formed the UNIA, which focused on black nationalism/pride, separatism, economic self-sufficiency, and the Back-to-Africa movement. Also involved during this time was W.E.B. Du Bois.