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The 1920's-A Decade of Change

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Emily M

on 4 February 2014

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Transcript of The 1920's-A Decade of Change

The Butler Act, a 1925 Tennessee law, prohibited public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of man's origin; prevented the teaching of the evolution of man from a lower orders of animals. Spurred by the American Civil Liberties Union's offer to fund the legal defense of any Tennessee teacher willing to fight the law in court, John Scopes purposefully incriminated himself.
Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the verdict was overturned on a technicality, where the trial served its purpose of drawing intense national publicity and was a theological contest and a trial on whether modern science regarding the creation evolution controversy should be taught in schools. The trial revealed a growing chasm in American Christianity and two ways of finding truth, one biblical and one scientific. After Scopes was convicted, creationists throughout the United States sought similar anti-evolution laws for their states. After Scopes was convicted, creationists throughout the United States sought similar anti-evolution laws for their states.
Popular/Consumer Culture
Mass media like radio, movies, sports, magazines, newspapers, and cars music were all new forms of change in popular culture.
The "New Women" and Women's Suffrage
Italian-American gangs, transforming themselves into sophisticated criminal enterprises, began smuggling, money laundering and bribing police and other public officials, mainly bootlegging alcohol.
In 1927 election, violence erupted in the attempt to sway the vote. Workers were assaulted and kidnapped; bombs exploded at their candidate’s house and political leaders were murdered. When attacked or insulted, the police would inevitably retaliate out of resentment, such as with Al Capone’s three-year reign of terror in Chicago.
Organized crime today has somewhat improved since the 1920's. An example of this would be the Mafia's cooperation with the U.S. government in the past years.
Rise of Nativism
A result to the Red Scare and anti-immigration sentiment, different groups and bigots used anticommunism as an excuse to harass anyone unlike themselves.
Reasons why prohibition was hard to enforce:
- People made a lot of money off of illegal bootleg liquor
- Secret bars would pay cops to not have them closed down
- Gangs used bribery and force to intimidate those charged with enforcing laws against alcoholic beverages. This resulted in deaths and wealth for gangs.
The 1920's-A Decade of Change
Organized Crime Leaders
Al "Scarface" Capone Buffalo Family Leader
What distinguished women of the 1920's from their previous decades:
Organized Crime
and Isolationism

-President Harding's priority was to return to normalcy which meant big business
-He wanted a national budget system and economy in administration
-Agricultural legislation to help farmers
-Association of Nations to prevent

President Harding's Priorities
and Isolationism
Major Political Changes
-Fordney McCumber Tariff: Raised tax on imports to 60%
-Kellogg Briand Pact: Renounced war as an instrument of national policy
-Limiting immigration
and Isolationism
Ratification of 18th Amendment
Why did prohibition fail?
Prohibition failed because it only caused more problems than it solved. Plus, the government realized that they could make more money off of taxing liquor.
Social and Political Consequences
-People began distrusting the government
- Hundreds of thousands of people lost their job. This encouraged people to break the law to support their families.
-Caused physical harm
- Prohibition caused the government to spend over a billion dollars
-Government lost tax revenue because alcohol sales went underground
Leading to Organized Crime
Prohibition made gangs well paid and well liked. Crimes needed to be organized to bootleg a massive amount of alcohol to supply the peoples demands. This led to murder, violence and theft.
The Scopes Trial
The Palmer Trials and the Sacco and Vanzetti showed the increase of nativism when the officials and government falsely accused only the immigrants, by sending them home without due process.
In other words, the KKK were people who felt threatened by changes occurring in American society. They resented the small advances African Americans made during WW1. They also felt their moral values were being attacked by urban intellectuals, and feared job competition from immigrants.
- A lot of young women became flappers. They wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain. Flappers also wore too much makeup, drank a lot, smoked, drove automobiles, and flouted sexual and social norms.
- Women started entering the workforce. Due to the Great War, they were employed in hospitals, offices and factories.
-They began to vote and challenge the traditions placed on women behavior
The "New Woman" and Woman's Suffrage
How Woman's Suffrage movement led to the 19th amendment:
Movies, music, theater, art, and books all began to attract Americans in the twenties.
The airplane and automobile led to greater uses of transportation and broadened the space of living in the United States, also creating commutes.
American bought goods produced in factories, creating a bigger demand for factory based products. Changing the aspect of necessities and luxuries.
The first woman's rights convention was led by Elizabeth Stranton and Lucy Mott in Seneca Falls, New York. The Elizabeth and Susan Anthony created the National American Women Suffrage Association where their strategies were to try and win suffrage state by state, and try and pass a constitutional amendment that would allow women the right to vote. Once a new generation of women joined, they started using more aggressive tactics such as parades, silent vigils, hunger strikes, and heckling politicians. It took forty-one years, but they were finally successful.
The Harlem Renaissance
President Harding
The African American left the South and moved north to big cities, due to racial violence and economic discrimination. Also due to floods, droughts, and destruction of cotton plants created job scarcity in the South. Northern cities did not welcome the massive influx of African Americans, tensions had escalated creating race riots.
The NAACP urged blacks to aggressively protest such racial violence, through peaceful methods. The organization fought, by means of legislation, to protect African American rights, and made anti-lynching laws main priority.
Harlem Renaissance
James Weldon Johnson, lawyer, poet and NCAAP executive secretary, led the fight. As well as W.E.B.Du Bois, founding member of the NCAAP.
The young writers expressed a new pride of the African American experience, they explored and celebrated their African heritage and their people's folklore. they wrote with defiance poignancy about the trial of being black in a white world. Poet, Claude McKay, a Jamaican immigrant helped establish the Harlem Renaissance.
Policies of isolationism led to decreased numbers of immigrants traveling to the United States
The American citizens were more involved in their own affairs, instead of being concerned with international affairs
Immigrants who lived in the United States may leave to live in their homelands or are treated the way before the war happened
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