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The New Era. Chapter 24. I. The New Economy. Economic Growth Huge economic boom in early 1920s output up 60% per capita income up a third Causes debilitation of European industry technology automobiles connected to everything else radio cheap and readily available energy

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the new era

The New Era

Chapter 24

i the new economy
I. The New Economy
  • Economic Growth
    • Huge economic boom in early 1920s
      • output up 60%
      • per capita income up a third
    • Causes
          • debilitation of European industry
          • technology
          • automobiles connected to everything else
          • radio
          • cheap and readily available energy
          • STUFF (home appliances, plastics, synthetic fibers, aluminum, aviation, electronics)
economic organization
Economic Organization
  • Consolidation: U.S. Steel and “Little Steel”
  • Administration and expansion: General Motors
  • Cooperation: trade association
  • Limiting competition connected to fear of overproduction
labor in the new era
Labor in the New Era
  • Strong economy, but uneven distribution of wealth
    • 2/3 lived no better than “minimum comfort”
    • 1/3 of the population “subsistence and poverty”
    • lack of political organization limited power of the poor
  • Positive Changes for Labor
    • rise in the standard of living (STUFF)
    • improved working conditions
    • many employers wanted to avoid labor unrest: allowed trade unions
    • paternalistic “welfare capitalism”
      • U.S. Steel: improved safety and sanitation
      • Ford: shortened workweek, raised wages, instituted paid vacations
labor in the new era continued
Labor in the New Era Continued
  • Limited / Negative Changes for Labor
    • unions feeble
    • “welfare capitalism” survived only as long as industry prospered… when 1929 hit, the entire system collapsed
    • limited increase in salary due to large supply of workers
    • making ends meet with more than one job
    • unemployment 5-7%
  • Union movement looked at as best hope, but weak
    • William Green, head of AFL 1924 frowned on strikes
women and minorities in the work force
Women and Minorities in the Work Force
  • increased number of women working “pink collar” jobs
    • salesclerks, telephone operators, secretaries
    • underpaid
    • not represented in unions
  • African Americans
    • janitors, dishwashers, garbage collectors, laundry
    • not represented in unions
    • Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters 1925 all black union
women and minorities in the work force continued
Women and Minorities in the Work Force Continued
  • Asians in the West and Southwest
    • excluded from Unions
    • Chinese Exclusion Acts (Angel Island)
    • Japanese success as truck farmers, laws passed in response to make it difficult for them to buy land
    • Filipinos: Anti-Filipino riots led to legislation in 1934 eliminating immigration from the Philippines
  • Hispanics in the West and Southwest
    • major part of unskilled labor force in the Southwest and CA
    • ½ million Mexicans entered US in the 1920s /

total over 1 million

    • concentrated in urban cities “barrios” without plumbing or sewage
    • no laws to exclude, necessity for ready pool of

low-paid, unskilled, unorganized workers

the american plan
The “American Plan”
  • Strength of corporations was the principal reason for the absence of effective labor organization
  • Corporate leaders worked hard to label unionism with radicalism
  • Protection of the “open shop” became “American Plan”… principal behind harsh campaign of union busting
  • Government Assistance goes to corporate leaders
    • 1921 the Supreme Court declares picketing illegal and supported the right of courts to issue injunctions against strikers
    • 1922 Justice Department quells a strike of 400,000 workers
    • 1924 courts refused to protect members of the United Mine Workers when mine owners launched a violent campaign to break up a strike
    • union membership decreases as a response
the plight of the farmer
The Plight of the Farmer
  • number of tractors on American farms quadrupled in the 1920s… lead to 35 million new acres of cultivation
  • increased production did not increase demand… result was overproduction
    • decline in food prices
    • drop in income for farmers
    • farmer only made about a quarter of the salary of the non-farmer
  • 3 million people left agriculture in the course of the decade… many that remained forced into tenancy
  • most farmers moderate… few demanded gov’t relief
  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • Parity: a formula for guaranteeing farmers a fair price for their crops regardless of national or international fluctuations
  • McNary-Haugen Bill… vetoed repeatedly by conservative presidents

II. The New Culture

  • society in which people could buy things not just out of need, but out of pleasure
  • new products: electric refrigerators, washing machines, electric irons, vacuum cleaners, wristwatches, cigarettes, cosmetics and automobiles
  • how the automobile changed American life
    • 30 million cars on American roads
    • expanded geographical horizons of millions
    • vacations now available to more people
      • means of escaping rural isolation
      • city dwellers able to escape from city life
    • suburbs
    • social lives for younger, affluent people

*Fake Smile*

  • advertising grows in response to success of WWI propaganda
  • no longer just about sharing information… now about persuasion
  • The Man Nobody Knows, Bruce Barton… portrayed Jesus Christ as a super salesman… advertising looked at as good business
  • new vehicles of advertisement: newspapers, magazines… Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest and Time Magazine
the movies and broadcasting
The Movies and Broadcasting
  • Films
    • 40 million had seen films in 1922 / 100 million by 1930
    • First feature length “talkie” The Jazz Singer
    • 1921: Motion Picture Association to set up “standards” on films
      • Will Hays uses broad powers to conform film industry
    • Rudolph Valentino
    • Radio
      • most important new communications vehicle
  • KDKA first commercial radio station in America
      • National Broadcasting Company (NBC) first national radio network
      • 1923 500 radio stations
      • 1929 12 million families owned radio sets
      • much less centralized than filmmaking
        • self regulation
        • more controversial than film industry
modernist religion
Modernist Religion
  • movement to abandon some literal interpretation of the Bible for a belief system that would help individuals live more fulfilling lives in the present world
  • Harry Emerson Fosdick: aim of Christian religion was not unexamined faith, but a fully developed personality… liberal Protestantism
  • many stopped well short of embracing this new religion… but pointed to general trend: the devaluing of religion to a secondary role
  • Sunday becoming a day filled with activities and entertainments
professional women
Professional Women
  • substantial group of women now combined marriage and careers: 25% of all women workers married
  • continued debate about what were suitable roles for women workers
  • “new professional woman” was a vivid and widely publicized image in the 1920s… but reality was different
  • most female workers were lower class and unskilled… most middle class women in the home
changing ideas of motherhood
Changing Ideas of Motherhood
  • 1920s = redefinition of motherhood
  • “behaviorist” psychology began to challenge the idea that women had an instinctive capacity for motherhood
    • mothers should rely on assistance of experts and professionals
    • motherhood more connected to institutions outside of the family
  • women become less likely to allow children to intervene with development of marital relationship
  • focus of sex shifts from procreation to romantic expression
  • birth control = both a cause and an effect of this new way of thinking
  • Margaret Sanger = advocate of birth control
    • working class women
    • poor communities
    • spread to middle class
  • Many birth control devices banned in many states… abortion illegal nearly everywhere

Margaret Sanger

the flapper image and reality
The “Flapper”: Image and Reality
  • some women believed that the in the “New Era” it was no longer necessary to maintain a rigid, Victorian female “respectability”… general release from repression and inhibition
    • smoke and drink
    • dance
    • wear seductive clothes and makeup
  • attend lively parties
  • flapper = term used to describe “New Era” woman whose liberated lifestyle found new expression
    • dress
    • hairstyle
    • speech
    • behavior
  • huge impact on lower-middle class and working class single women who were flocking to new industrial jobs in the service sector
  • despite independent image of flapper, most women remained highly dependent on men: workplace and at home
pressing for women s rights
Pressing for Women’s Rights
  • realization that the “new woman” was a myth lead many women to continue to press for reform
  • Alice Paul: National Women’s Party, continued to press for an Equal Rights Amendment
  • League of Women Voters
  • 1921 Sheppard-Towner Act: provided federal funds to states to establish prenatal and child healthcare programs… 1929 program terminated due to opposition on many fronts
  • 1929 discovered that female vote had done little change to electoral votes… women divided the same way as men… thus male politicians felt little concern about the consequences of opposing the demands of female reformers
education and youth
Education and Youth
  • more people going to school than ever before
    • high school attendance from 2.2 million to 5 million during decade
    • enrollment in colleges and universities goes up threefold from 1900 to 1930
    • attendance increasing at trade and vocational schools
  • emergence of separate youth culture: concept of adolescence
    • influenced by Freudian psychology
    • extended period of training and preparation was necessary before a young person was ready to move into the workplace
    • school not just a place for academics, but extracurricular activities
the decline of the self made man
The Decline of the “Self-Made Man”
  • increase in the beliefs of education and adolescence lead to the gradual disappearance of this theory
  • crisis of self-identification and dependence among many American males
  • Different outlets for masculinity
    • sports
    • fraternities
    • warfare
  • Creation of three heroes… all of which represented the triumphs of modern technology, but did not have formal education
    • Thomas Edison: inventor of light bulb and other technological marvels
    • Henry Ford: creator of assembly line, one of the founders of auto industry
    • Charles Lindbergh: first aviator to make a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean

Henry Ford

Thomas Edison

Charles Lindbergh

the disenchanted
The Disenchanted
  • generation of artists and intellectuals who found new society disturbing
  • rather than change society, they tried to isolate themselves
  • “Lost Generation” (Who’s Lost?)
    • belief that modern America no longer provided individuals with avenues by which they could achieve personal fulfillment
    • aftermath of war was shattering… war was a fraud
    • saddened by repudiation of idealism with “business as usual”
    • disgust with materialism and consumerism
the disenchanted continued
The Disenchanted Continued
  • Ernest Hemmingway, Farwell to Arms
  • “debunkers” writers who wrote savage critiques of nearly every aspect of society
    • H.L. Mencken “why do people go to the zoo?”
    • Sinclair Lewis
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby
  • many went to live in isolated places and engaged in hedonistic lifestyles
  • end result was one of the greatest decades of American Literature
the harlem renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance
  • once an affluent white suburb in northern Manhattan… by the end of WWI: one of the largest and most influential African American communities
  • “Harlem Renaissance” term used to describe a new generation of black artists and intellectuals who created a flourishing African American culture
    • nightclubs (The Cotton Club) featuring jazz musicians (Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson)
    • theatres featuring musical comedies
    • poetry (Langston Hughes, Claude McKay…)
    • visual art (Aaron Douglas)
  • Brought African American products to the attention of larger society
  • Some blacks combined there art with radical politics
the southern agrarians
The Southern Agrarians
  • centered around Vanderbilt University
  • questioned modern industry
  • “Renegades” not originally connected to the South, but eventually targeted the South because it was underdeveloped… became Agrarians
  • I’ll Take My Stand… Agrarian manifesto
    • Justified segregation
    • Critique of industrialization
  • “backwards” South as model for a nation drunk with visions of limitless growth and modernization

III. A Conflict of Cultures

  • when passed, huge symbol of progressivism
  • within a year “noble experiment” not working well
  • did reduce drinking in some regions of the country
  • produced growing violations that brought integrity of the law into question
  • in many places, easier to acquire illegal alcohol than it was to acquire legal alcohol before prohibition
prohibition continued
Prohibition Continued
  • trade once operated by legitimate businessmen now operated by organized crime
    • Al Capone, Chicago
    • Violent deaths of 250 people between 1920 –1927
  • rural, Protestant Americans continue to defend Prohibition
      • saw drinking to be connected with Catholic culture
      • old stock Americans trying to discipline new stock
  • “wets” v. “drys”
  • 1933 repealed during Great Depression
    • (21st Amendment)
nativism and the klan
Nativism and the Klan
  • again, old stock trying to discipline new stock
  • post war ideology: immigration associated with radicalism
  • Spreading Growth
      • 1921 immigration act establishing quotas: cut immigration from 800,000 to 300,000
      • National Origins Act of 1924 banned immigration from east Asia entirely
      • Large communities of foreign peoples, threat to older more homogeneous America lead to rebirth of KKK
nativism and the klan continued
Nativism and the Klan Continued
  • KKK
    • Leo Frank, 1914 Jewish man lynched in Atlanta, Georgia
    • Stone Mountain, near Atlanta in 1915
    • D.W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation: glorified early Klan
    • Originally connected to intimidating blacks, but after WWI, primary concern shifted to Catholics, Jews and foreigners
    • Spreading in North (Indiana) and West (Oregon and Colorado)
    • 1923: 3 million members / 1924: 4 million members
  • Systematic Terrorism
    • boycott businesses
    • threaten families
    • public whipping
    • tarring and feathering
    • arson
    • hanging
nativism and the klan continued again
Nativism and the Klan Continued Again
  • The Klan didn’t just fear “racial impurities” they feared any challenge to “traditional values”
  • Provided poor whites with a sense of community and seeming authority
      • secret language and excitement
      • social “sphere” for women
  • Downfall of Klan 1925
      • David Stephenson, Indiana: convicted of murder
      • He had control of everyone in Indiana with written agreements
      • However, he breaks all of the rules of KKK (1. Prohibition 2. Protecting White Women 3. Acting like a Christian)
        • Drinking, Rape, Caniballism, and Murder!!!
        • Stephenson, individually, helped the rise and the FALL of the KKK!
religious fundamentalism
Religious Fundamentalism
  • American Protestantism divided into two camps
      • Modernists: mostly urban, middle-class people who had attempted to adapt religion to modern science
      • Traditionalists: largely rural, fighting to maintain the centrality of religion in American life “fundamentalists”
  • i. strongly opposed Darwin
  • ii. literal interpretation of the Bible
    • Tennessee March 1925: adopted a law making it illegal for any public school teacher to teach evolution opposed to creation
religious fundamentalism continued
Religious Fundamentalism Continued
  • American Civil Liberties Union: founded in 1920 by citizens who were alarmed with the repressive legal and social climate of the war and it’s aftermath (Jane Addams, Norman Thomas and Helen Keller)
      • offered free council to anyone willing to defy the law
      • 24 year old biology teacher, John T. Scopes agreed to have himself arrested
  • Trial pitted two famous lawyers against each other
      • Clarence Darrow: famous defense attorney
      • William Jennings Bryan: important fundamentalist spokesman
      • Judge refused expert testimony by expert scholars
      • Scopes was fined $100, case later dismissed in a higher court
      • Bryan put on the stand as an “expert on the Bible”!
      • Scopes Trial = huge setback for fundamentalists
      • Who were the real winners???
the democrats ordeal
The Democrats’ Ordeal
  • suffered in response to fractions between urban and rural factions
  • on one side: prohibitionists, Klansmen, and fundamentalists
  • on the other side: Catholics, urban workers, and immigrants
  • 1924 Primary: 103 Ballots! Split between Alfred E. Smith (urban Catholic) and William McAdoo (rural)
  • 1928: Alfred E. Smith secures party nomination and secures total division in Democratic party (the next and last Catholic to receive a major party nomination would be JFK)
  • Herbert Hoover took office widely believed to be one of the most capable and well equipped to take office….
harding and coolidge

IV. Republican Government

Harding and Coolidge
  • two men who characterized the nature of 1920s politics: passive
  • Warren G. Harding
      • undistinguished
      • easily controlled
      • lacked the strength to abandon interests that made him president
      • Scandal! Secretary Fall convicted of bribery for selling gov’t oil preserves… one year in prison (TeaPot Dome Scandal)
      • died of “heart attack”
  • Calvin Coolidge
    • main advisers were from the advertising industry
    • built a reputation as a simple man defending country virtues… but was thoroughly urban man of modern sensibilities
    • conviction that gov’t should interfere as little as possible
    • “He aspired to become the least President the country ever had. He attained his desire”
    • “Silent Cal” but not governor of Massachusetts
    • Written statement “I do not choose to run for president in 1928”
government and business
Government and Business
  • despite ineptness of presidents, much gov’t was working effectively to adapt public policy to the widely accepted goal of helping business and industry operate with maximum efficiency and productivity
  • Business continued to work with gov’t… but in altered form which was contrary to progressive ideals
    • Business Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon: cut taxes on corporate profits
    • Herbert Hoover: believed public institutions had a responsibility to create a new, cooperative order
    • William Howard Taft: Chief Justice 1921
    • Lochner v. New York: struck down a law limiting the number of hours bankers in New York could be required to work.
    • Bailey v. Drexel Furniture: struck down federal legislation regulating child labor
    • Adkins v. Children’s Hospital: nullified a minimum wage law for women
    • Sanctioned trade unions as being hurtful to competition, but allowed U.S Steel to continue its monopolistic practices…
government and business continued
Government and Business Continued
  • Remaining progressive reformers lacked the power to overthrow presidential vetoes
  • Some progressives were encouraged with the election of Herbert Hoover… widely regarded as the most progressive member of the Harding and Coolidge administrations… but he would have little opportunity to prove himself