10.3 A Clash of Values. I. Nativism Resurges. The Sacco-Vanzetti case reflected the prejudices & fears of the era They were Italian immigrants & anarchists accused of murder Even though there was little evidence, Judge Thayer & the jury were biased. Vanzetti and Sacco.
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Vanzetti and Sacco
“In all my life I have never stole, never killed, never spilled blood…. We were tried during a time …when there was a hysteria of resentment and hate against the people of our principles, against the foreigner…. I am suffering because I am indeed a radical; I have suffered because I was an Italian and indeed I am an Italian…. If you could execute me two times, and if I could be reborn two other times, I would live again to do what I have done already.” -B. Vanzetti
3. Found guilty & executed (1927) amid protest & controversy
“We believe that the pioneers who built America bequeathed to their own children a priority right to it, the control of it and of its future, and that no one on earth can claim any part of this inheritance except through our generosity…. We hold firmly that America belongs to Americans and should be kept American.”
- Imperial Wizard Hiram Evans
The KKK held numerous marches in Washington D.C., including this one in 1925, where over 60,000 marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.
2. Scandals & power struggles between leaders led to its rapid decline in the late 1920s
David Stephenson, leader of Indiana’s KKK, was convicted & jailed for murder.
D. Large number of Mexican immigrants came here as the demand for cheap farm labor increased
More than 890,000 legal Mexican immigrants came to the U.S. between 1910-1920 to escape revolution, social chaos, & economic catastrophe. The numbers continued to rise during the 1920s.
1. African Americans
WOMEN IN THE 1920s
Legislators from several states introduced bills to reform feminine dress. In Ohio…
-shirts & evening gowns couldn’t display more than 2 inches of the throat
-wanted to prevent the sale of any garment which accentuates the lines of the female figure
-females over 14 couldn’t wear a skirt that doesn’t reach to the part of the foot known as the instep
B. Science & religious fundamentalists clashed in the Scopes Trial (1925)
In his biology class, Scopes read a passage from Civic Biology stating: “We have now learned that animal forms may be arranged so as to begin with the simple one-celled forms and culminate with a group which includes man himself.”
C. Prohibition, the movement to ban alcohol, gained many supporters in the early 1900s
Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
Section 2. The congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
2. Congress passed the Volstead Act to enforce Prohibition
Federal agents had over 2000 square miles to patrol and received little money for doing so. Many accepted bribes and “looked the other way.”
3. People went to speakeasies to obtain illegal liquor
4. Organized crime grew as bootleggers earned huge profits making & selling alcohol
Al Capone was a famous Italian American gangster during the Prohibition era who had a leading role in illegal activities in Chicago. He was eventually charged with tax evasion and sent to prison.
George Remus was known as the “King of the Bootleggers” for illegally selling whisky. He made $40 million in 3 years.
5. Prohibition was repealed with the 21st Amendment (1933)
Deaths due to alcohol, Cook County, Illinois 1910-1926
Source: US Senate Judiciary committee Hearings on national prohibition, 1926