American Life in the Roaring Twenties 1919-1929 Chapter 31 Reactionism ~

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American Life in the Roaring Twenties

Chapter 31
Reactionism ~

1. Red Scare: Define the issues and people below that illustrate reactionism to

the perceived threat of invasion by the Communists

Seattle General Strike – labor strike, but mayor over-reacts and calls for

Federal troops to head off the “anarchy of Russia”

Billy Sunday – preadched of the evils of the Bosheviks

A. Mitchell Palmer – Att. Gen. that was the force behind the Red Scare of

1919-1920, rounded up nearly 6000 suspects

Buford - Ship filled with nearly 250 alleged alien radicals to be sent back to

Russia - deportation

criminal syndicalism laws – anti-red statutes – unlawful the “mere advocacy

of violence to secure social change”

Sacco and Vanzetti Case (1921) – two Italian anarchists that were convicted

of killing a Boston pay master. Evidence would probably not have convinced

a jury today to give the death sentence. Illustration of xenophobia
2. Why did the KKK see such a resurgence during the 1920’s?

- they were the principle voice against the onrush of immigrants. They were

nativists. They were seen by some as a force against “many of the forces of

diversity and modernity that were transforming American culture”

3. Immigration: What was the U.S. immigration policy before 1921? Define the

limits imposed by the Emergency Quota Act of 1921. How and why did the

Immigration Act of 1924 change it?
- Prior to ’21 – open immigration with the exception of the Chinese (1882 Act)

and the Japanese who had self-limited through the Gentleman’s Agreement

and the resulting Root-Takahira Agreement of 1909.

- Emergency Quota Act – 3% of the 1910 level

- Act of 1924 – 2% of the 1890 level

- Change? – Fewer immigrants in 1890, thus lower total immigration overall

and the year switch favored the western and northern European immigrant for

there were more in that year.

4. Prohibition: What were the arguments for the prohibition of alcohol (18th


- associated with public drunkenness, prostitution, corruption, crime

What areas of the country supported it and why? - West - lawlessness

Which areas of the country opposed it and why? – East – ethnic centers

Quantify the societal impact of Prohibition?

- made ordinary citizens outlaws. (legislated a thirst)

- increased corruption in police departments for they were paid off

- increased gangsterism (Al Capone) – St. Valentine’s Day massacre

- bank savings did in fact increase and absenteeism fell.

5. Scopes Monkey Trial: What was the issue in the case?

What was the significance of the case when seen as a reflection of society?

- issue – John Scopes taught evolution in class / violated the Tenn. law that

mandated the teaching of creationism –

- reflection of society – some bought into it and some did not. He was fined

Fundamentalism took a hit in the media for Clarence Darrow made their

principles appear foolish in the courtroom. Shows schism in society – Should

schools teach both – What of today?

Modernism ~
6. Consumerism:

- How did producers increase buying desires of consumers?

- “buying on credit”; advertisements

- Bruce Barton: Who was he? – Symbol of advertising salesman – “Jesus Christ

was the best adman of all time.

- “Buying on credit” – what was this concept? How was it diametrically opposed

to previous traditional norms on the subject?

- buy goods in installments. Little down and pay off the remainder later.

before people still held to the belief that if you couldn’t afford it you don’t buy it

and that way you don’t get into debt.
7. Who was Frederick W. Taylor and why was he important?

- Father of Scientific Management, made assembly lines and factory work more

efficient. Eliminated wasted motion

8. Automobile – List the many of the social and economic effects that the creation

of the car had on the United States.

Social: Americans were no longer isolated culturally. Exposure to new ideas.

Furthered the development of suburbs “vehicle” for the youth to explore.

and be adventurous/. Women were less dependant on men. Less attractive

states lost population./ Consolidation of schools with autobuses./ Hundreds of

deaths/ crime wave of the 1920’s assisted by the get-away car. Actually helped

with pollution for horse manure no longer the breeding ground in all public

Economic: ushered in mass-production assembly line style; affordable even for

the average worker – thus made America mobile; “Spin-off industries – from

gas stations to tire factories to repair shops to road-building companies. RxR

industry was decreasing.
9. Airplane: Identify the following people

Wright Brothers – Kitty Hawk - 1903

Spirit of St. Louis (Charles Lindbergh) – 1927 – first transatlantic flight

NY to Paris

Explain the impact of the airplane on the world.

- aerial bombings during war

- shrunk the world. peoples and countries could no longer be isolated
10. Radio: Who was the inventor and what impact did the radio have on society and

the world?

- long-range comm. during the war

- advertising went paperless and allowed more free enterprise

- family and neighbors gathered to listen to favorite shows / standardized idioms

and accents

- Sports stimulated

- Politicians had to adjust their message to radio

11. Entertainment – Who and/or what were the following?

Nickelodeons – first 5 c black and white silent movies

The Great Train Robbery – 1st movie (1903)

Birth of a Nation – 1st full length feature movie – KKK and Reconstruction

Talkies – movies with sound

The Jazz Singer – (1927) – first full length talkie
What was the effect of the movie industry on society?

- parochialism of neighborhoods and ethnic communities broke down

- ethnic tastes and preferences were discarded for standardized American


12. Social and Cultural Movements – Identify these people or movements

of the 1920’s that defined the age as the “Roaring Twenties”

Margaret Sanger – birth control

Alice Paul – ERA amendment – never passed

Modernist Churches- Christ was a friend / jettison fundamentalist doctrine

Flappers” - liberated women that wore dresses to their knees

Dr. Sigmund Freud – nervous and emotional ills caused by sexual repression

Jazz - (list early greats and songs) – Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver

Paul Whiteman Band – St. Louis Blues

Harlem Renaissance (p. 741 + 743) – What was it and who were its champions?

- Built Af/Am. racial pride by uplifting the Black in America.

United Negro Improvement Association – Marcus Garvey – “African

homeland” – Negroes purchase from black owned stores only. Built racial self-

pride and confidence

13. Literary masterpieces and writers - What did the writers of the 1920’s have in

common? State who wrote each piece and its theme.

- They were disillusioned with conformity, authority and traditional ways

American Mercury (monthly)– H.L Mencken – assailed all things traditional

This Side of Paradise – F.Scott Fitzgerald – “Bible for the Young” – encouraged

reckless abandon

A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway – about WWI - disillusionment

Babbitt – Sinclair Lewis – portrayal of middle-class conformism

“The Waste Land” – T.S. Eliot – melancholy portrayal of life – influential

poem of the 20th century

14. Bull Market of the 1920’s – Create a picture of the era by defining the business

practices and effect during this decade –

(“buying on margin”, Mellon’s tax reductions, Florida land Boom and Bust)

- period of unbridled investment, people bought stock with credit (margin) and

were fine if the price kept ascending. The Florida Land deal that went sour

should have been a protent of the overspeculation and flimflamery of the era.

Mellon cut the wealthy’s taxes under the belief that they then would have more

money to invest and it would trickle down and help the poor by creating more

jobs. (Shifted the burden to the Middle Class)

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