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Politics of the
Roaring Twenties
Chapter 12, Section 1
Warm up
What do you think is isolationism?
Postwar Trends
Nation divided over the League of Nations debate
Nativism – prejudice against foreign-born people
Isolationism – policy of pulling away from
involvement in foreign affairs.
Returning soldiers faced unemployment or took old
jobs from women and minorities.
Fear of Communism
Communism – economic and political system based
on single-party government ruled by a dictatorship.
The Red Scare
 Vladimir Lenin estab. Communist state in Russia
 Symbolized by a Red Flag
 Communist Party formed in the United States
 Several dozen bombs were mailed to government
and business leaders, the public grew fearful
Communists were taking over.
Fear of Communism
US Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer took
action against “Red Scare”
The Palmer Raids
August 1919, Palmer begins to
hunt down suspected Communists,
socialists, and anarchists
Anarchist – people who oppose
any form of government.
Trampled the civil rights of those he suspected.
Soon, the public decided Palmer didn’t know what he
was talking about.
Sacco &
Nicola Sacco and Bartoleomeo Vanzetti
Both were Italian anarchists
Arrested and charged with robbery and murder
Found guilty and sentenced to death with
circumstantial evidence.
 “Suspects
appeared to be Italian”
Bartolomeo Vanzetti
Before execution on August 23, 1927
The Klan Rises Again
Used anti-communism as
excuse to harass different
KKK was devoted to
“100 percent Americanism”
 Keeping blacks “in their place”
 Opposing Unions
 Driving out Catholics, Jews, &
Klan parade. Richmond, VA 1920s
The Klan Rises Again
Controlled some
state governments
Criminal activity
led to decrease in
Limiting Immigration
Nativist sentiment:
“Keep America for Americans”
Immigrants worked for lower wages
Fear they were bringing Communism to the U.S.
The Quota System
Emergency Quota Act, 1921
Quota System – maximum number of people who
could enter the US from each country.
Did not apply to Western Hemisphere
Labor Unrest
Employers didn’t want to
give raises or let
employees join unions.
Employers labeled
strikers as Communists in
an effort to decrease
public support of unions.
Boston Police Strike
Police who asked for a raise were fired.
Remaining police decided to strike.
National Guard called
Mass governor, Calvin Coolidge said: “There is no
right time to strike against the public safety by anybody,
anywhere, any time.”
New police hired and strike ended.
Steel Mill Strike
Wanted to negotiate for shorter hours, living
wage, and union representation.
300,000 workers go on strike
Striking workers were beat by police and military
Ended Jan 1920, 3 years later a report about
working conditions shocked the public.
Steel Mill Strike Propaganda
Companies had
started propaganda
campaign calling
strikers communist.
Labor Movement Loses Appeal
Union membership dropped in the 20’s
1. Many immigrants willing to work in poor
2. Multiple languages hard to organize
3. Farmers who migrated to cities were use to
relying on themselves
4. Most unions excluded African Americans
The Harding
Chapter 12
Section 2
Warren G. Harding
President 1921
Campaigned for “normalcy” of simpler
days before Progressivism and the Great
 America had been rapidly
transforming over the past twenty
years, Harding’s ‘Normalcy’ campaign
was very attractive to Americans
Harding Struggles for Peace
1921 Washington Naval
Invited major world powers (excluding
Russia) to Washington Naval
Conference, where Charles Evans
(Secretary of State) urged that no more
warships be built for at least ten years
Charles Evans Hughes,
Secretary of State
Urged disarmament at the
The idea being that, a world with less
military weapons is a safer world for
Delegates (England, France, Japan, Italy,
and USA) agreed to partially disarm and
scrap many of their largest warships.
High Tariffs and Reparations
Fordney-McCumber Tariff – raised
taxes on US imports to 60 percent
Britain and France couldn’t sell
enough goods to repay debts
Germany couldn’t make reparation
France marched on Germany to
take either money or land
Dawes Plan – American investors
loaned Germany $2.5 billion to
repay war debts, in order to stop a
new war.
Harding admittedly did not understand many of
the nation’s issues.
Harding’s cabinet was full of corruption and
illegal activity.
Teapot Dome Scandal
Government set aside oilrich lands in Teapot Dome,
Wyoming for US Navy use.
Secretary of the Interior,
Albert Fall leased the land
to private companies and
received $400,000
Embarrassment to
Republicans and Harding.
“I have no trouble with my
enemies…But my…friends,
they’re the ones that keep me
walking the floor at nights!”
Harding Dies
August 2, 1923 – Harding
suddenly dies of natural causes
Calvin Coolidge takes over
presidency and is elected the
next year.
Coolidge helped restore
people’s faith in government
and the Republican Party.
The Business of
Chapter 12
Section 3
The Model A
Industries Flourish
Calvin Coolidge was the pro-business spirit of
the 1920s.
Believed in a lack of government oversight would
allow Businessmen to run their companies the most
efficient and effective way possible
Lassie Faire- Hands Off
“the chief business of the American people is
business…The man who builds a factory builds a
temple – the man who works there worships
Industries Flourish
Republicans favored policies that would
 Keep taxes down and business profits up
 Give businesses more available credit to expand
 Allow private enterprise to flourish.
Wages and productivity were rising because of new
Impact of the Automobile
Construction of paved roads
Route 66 provided route from
Chicago to California
Garages and carports in homes
Automatic traffic signals
“Liberated the isolated rural family, who could
now travel to the city for shopping and
Impact of the Automobile
Urban Sprawl – spreading out of city dwellers
Economic base for
Production Cities (Detroit, Dearborn, Flint, Pontiac)
 Oil-producing states (California and Texas)
Automobile became a status symbol
Airplane Industry
Began to be used to transport mail
Established form of peacetime travel.
Pan America had the first commercial Trans-Atlantic
Electric Conveniences
Factories used electricity to run machines
Electricity available to cities and suburbs
Homes use electric appliances.
Washing Machines, Vacuums, Toaster Ovens, Refrigerators,
all made the life of a ‘homemaker’ easier, freeing up time for
women. This allowed women more opportunity to work and
experience more of life outside the home
Modern Advertising
Psychologists studied how to appeal to people’s
 “Say it with flowers”
 “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet”
Producing Great Quantities of Goods
Business expands, companies merge,
manufacturing grows, chain stores sprout up,
national banks open “branches”
Farms are producing more crops with new
Overproduction of crops cause the price of food to
drop, causing economic hardships for farmers.
 Many farmers, and farmers family members leave
the farm and move to the city, where the fast paced
unhindered lifestyle is new to them.
Buying Goods on Credit
Installment Plan – enabled people to buy goods
over an extended period.
“You furnish the girl, we’ll furnish the home.”
“Enjoy while you pay.”
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