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CONSERVATISM AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN THE 1920S

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  1. CONSERVATISM AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN THE 1920S

  2. Key Concepts • 1920s were dominated by conservative Republican presidents. • Americans experienced consumer activity as new mass-produced commodities were made available. • Tensions prevailed between rural and urban America. • The decade witnessed a rise in nativism and racism. • The period was culturally vibrant as new forms of music and art became popular. • U.S. government persecuted radicals in the Red Scare.

  3. 1920’s Presidents • Warren Harding • Harding administration sought to cut taxes, especially for the wealthy in the Mellon Tax Plan which reduced government spending by passing Fordney-McCumber Tarrif which was so high other nations raised their tariffs which led to depression. • Widespread corruption, the most famous of which was Teapot Dome Scandal when secretary of interior Albert Fall was convicted of bribery. • He died suddenly.

  4. Calvin Coolidge • He adopted a strict laissez-faire attitude toward business – “The business of America is business.” • Under his conservative leadership, business sector flourished but farm prices slumped in the post-war years.

  5. Mass Consumerism • Economy reached unprecedented heights as nation engaged in consumer spending stimulated by the stock-market “bubble” • Americans began to buy on credit causing many to fall into debt. • Department-store catalogs made it easier to purchase products. • Radio provided Americans a new form of entertainment and faster access to news and advertisers. • Most notable consumer item was the automobile. • Expansion of automobile led to highway construction, increased suburbanization and growth of other industries.

  6. Divisions on the Domestic Scene • Urban versus Rural – women and Prohibition • Moderate versus radical unionism – moderate unions such as American Federation of Labor experienced a decline – radical unions had growth • Science versus religion: Scopes Monkey Trial – teaching of evolution • Modern versus traditional in art forms – Harlem Renaissance by African Americans – Lost Generation writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald.

  7. Nativism • Reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan – targets now included Jews, eastern Europeans, Catholics, radicals and unions, as well as black Americans. • Sacco and Vanzetti Trial – two Italian anarchists convicted and executed for murder despite insufficient evidence. • “Hundred Percenters” • Limits on immigration such as Literacy Test Act, Emergency Quota Act, Immigration Act, and Chinese Exclusion Act

  8. Prohibition • Eighteenth Amendment • Volstead Act – enforced 18th amendment • Speakeasies – illegal clubs • Charleston • Led to rise of organized crime – Al Capone • Flappers • Repealed by 21st Amendment under FDR.

  9. Great Depression and New Deal – Key Concepts • Extent of economic collapse for U.S. and world was unprecedented • President Hoover failed to stem decline of the economy. • FDR instituted a vast array of relief, recovery, and reform policies and agencies to address collapse of the economy. • Several New Deal programs were ruled unconstitutional by Supreme Court.

  10. Cause of Great Depression • Unequal distribution of wealth. • Underconsumption • Overproduction • Rise of protectionism – Fordney-McCumber Tariff – kept nations owing US money from repaying debt • Inadequate capital investment • Fragile banking system – made numerous bad loans • Borrowing on margin • Stock market crash in 1929.

  11. Hoover’s Response • Believed government intervention would undermine character of hardworking, independent Americans and would create a welfare system. • Localism – responsibility of local and state governments – not federal government • Voluntarism – charitable organizations would provide needs • Rugged individualism • “Too little, too late” • Responded somewhat by moratorium on war reparations and debts, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and Federal Home Loan Bank Act

  12. Growing anger against Hoover • “Hoovervilles” • Bonus Army March – veterans camp in Washington D.C. was destroyed by General Douglas MacArthur • Farmers organized Farmers’ Holliday Association.

  13. Franklin Delano Roosevelt • “Brain Trust” – advisers – intellectuals and university professors • “New Deal” to address short- and long-term goals – Relief, Recovery, and Reform • Maintain Americans’ loyalty to the government and to the capitalist system as a whole. • Create conditions favorable to capital accumulation.

  14. First New Deal • First Hundred Days • National Bank Holiday (Emergency Banking Relief Act) • Glass-Steagall Act (Banking Act of 1933) – established Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) • Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) • Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA) • Home Owners’ Refinancing Act • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) – dams in Tennessee River Valley • Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – young men in conservation work • National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – regulate stock market • Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

  15. Growing Disillusionment • Farmers and laborers • Conservative business leaders • Francis Townsend – wanted Old Age Revolving Pension Plan - $200 monthly for citizens over 60 • Father Charles Coughlin – National Union for Social Justice • Governor Huey Long – “Share Our Wealth” program – a home and $2,000 income for every American family - assassinated

  16. Second New Deal • Fair Labor Standards Act – set maximum workweek at 40 hours, established minimum wage, and limited child labor. • Works Progress Administration (WPA) • Resettlement Administration – brought assistance to small farmers and sharecroppers. • Rural Electrification Act (REA) – brought electricity to rural areas • National Labor Relations Act • Tax restructuring – higher income tax placed on wealthy and on capital gains • Social Security Act – retirement plan, disabled, unemployed, dependent mothers and children

  17. Keynesian Economics • Government should create additional demand by becoming a major purchaser/consumer of goods and services. • Government should encourage investments by private sector by lowering corporate tax rate. • Government should facilitate the growth of exports. • Government should use deficit spending during an economic downturn.

  18. Court-Packing Scheme • Supreme Court found some programs unconstitutional. • FDR responded with plan to increase number of Supreme Court justices from 9 to 15. • Even FDR supporters were against this idea. • Before he died, FDR would eventually appoint 7 new justices

  19. End of black support for Republican party FDR record does not reflect great concern for black population Some New Deal programs segregated or excluded blacks Black tenants and sharecroppers lost property when forced from their land. Blacks tended to be hired last and first fired. Eleanor Roosevelt greatest supporter of blacks FDR’s record regarding women is mixed More women entered workplace but had lower wages than men They were laid off first Rarely received promotions Denied access to certain jobs so as not to compete with men Found opportunities in government First woman to hold a cabinet position, Frances Perkins, was appointed secretary of labor by FDR Women and Minorities Under the New Deal

  20. Legacy of the New Deal • FDR’s fiscal and monetary policies stimulated nation’s economy • Confidence in economy and government improved. • Effects of depression continued until World War II • Changed how Americans viewed the role of the federal government. • Federal government had increased role in people’s lives. • Created division between those who view NEW Deal and undermining states’ rights, the free-market system, and social and cultural traditions and those who believe government intervention is necessary for a stable economy. • Many of the New Deal programs still exist today.