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Politics in 1920s. Ch. 14, Sec 1. The Red Scare. 1917-1920-Russian Revolution. Communists under Lenin overthrew Czar Nicholas II & took over Russia. Communism - Needs of the state took priority over rights of individuals. Gov’t owned all factors of production.

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politics in 1920s

Politics in 1920s

Ch. 14, Sec 1

the red scare
The Red Scare
  • 1917-1920-Russian Revolution.
    • Communists under Lenin overthrew Czar Nicholas II & took over Russia.
  • Communism-
    • Needs of the state took priority over rights of individuals.
    • Gov’t owned all factors of production.
    • Single political party ruled nation.
  • Americans did not like communism.

Americans concerned that Communists infiltrating USA with immigrants.

  • Strikers and labor leaders termed “revolutionaries”, bombers mailed bombs to gov’t officials.
  • Fear of communist infiltration & takeover called “Red Scare”.
  • Court cases supported Red Scare & Communist crackdown.
    • Schenck v. USA-During WWI, Charles Schenck mailed letters to draftees, urging them not to report to duty.
      • Convicted of breaking Espionage Act, appealed on free speech.
      • Supreme Court stated that free speech can be suspended in case of national emergency.

Gitlow V. New York-Bernard Gitlow, Socialist, published letters urging overthrow of gov’t.

      • Supreme Court upheld conviction, affirmed that 14th Amendment also applied to states.
  • June 1919-bomb exploded at home of A. M. Palmer, Atty Gen. of USA.
    • Palmer believed radicals attempting to overthrow gov’t.
    • Set up Palmer Raids on Communist, Socialist, & anarchist groups.
      • Thousands arrested in 33 cities, 500 deported to home countries.
    • Had public’s support, but they turned on him when Labor Day passed without riots he warned about.

April 15, 1920-2 men robbed payroll of show factory in Massachusetts, killed guard.

  • 2 Italian immigrant anarchists arrested.
    • NicolsSacco & BartolomeoVanzetti.
      • Both found carrying guns.
    • Many believed Sacco & Vanzetti arrested for political beliefs.
    • Put on trial (trial was unfair).
    • Found guilty, executed by electric chair August 1927.
labor strikes
Labor Strikes
  • Waves of strikes during Red Scare; many believed Communist agitators behind strikes.
    • Was actually due to inflation & lowered standard of living.
  • Boston Police Strike-Cops had no raises since WWI started.
    • Tried to organize union, 19 fired, cops struck.
      • Led to riots in Boston, state guard called in.
  • Steelworkers struck for shorter hours in Indiana.
    • Strikebreakers killed 18, injured hundreds.
    • Troops called in, strike failed.

Coal miners struck for better pay.

    • Courts demanded miner work, miners refused.
    • Winter-coal shortage, strikers win, 14% raise.
  • Public did not like unions and strikes, saw them as Commie agitators hurting USA.
  • Union membership began to decline, led to sharp drop in strikes by mid-1920s.
warren g harding
Warren G. Harding
  • Served 1921-1923. Republican.
  • Isolationist-no alliances with foreign nations.
  • Promoted disarmament-nations would voluntarily give up weapons; promote peace.
  • Raised import tariffs to highest ever.
    • Promoted American business.
  • Created Dawes Plan-payment schedule for Germany to pay off war debt.
  • Passed immigration quotas-limits to certain ethnicities.

Harding’s presidency plagued by scandals.

    • No proof Harding was involved in them.
  • Worst-Teapot Dome Scandal.
    • Secretary of Interior Albert Fall secretly gave oil-drilling rights in Elk Hills, CA, and Teapot Dome, WY to two companies.
    • Received $300,000 in bribes for rights.
  • This and other scandals probably led to Harding’s death in 1923.
  • Vice-President Calvin Coolidge sworn in as new President.
calvin silent cal coolidge
Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge
  • Not involved in scandals.
  • “The chief business of the American people is business.”
  • Laissez-faire business policy.
    • Lowered income taxes, higher tariffs.
    • Not all liked it, many Progressives felt gov’t should do more.
  • Continued isolationist policies.
  • Kellogg-Briand Pact-15, later 60 nations agree not to use threat of war in diplomacy.
    • Outlawed war.

Coolidge refused to run for 2nd term as President.

  • Herbert Hoover nominated by Republicans to replace Coolidge.
    • Organized, pro-business, pro-Prohibition.
  • Won in 1928 by large margin.