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USA 1910 - 1929

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Thomas Morey

on 14 May 2014

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Transcript of USA 1910 - 1929

Problems & Challenges
Federal Republic
Young Country
Vast land mass
The USA - A Nation of Immigrants
Between 1850 & 1914, over 40 million people emigrated to the United States
That is around 10% of the population of Europe
This is why the USA of the 1920s is often referred to as a 'melting pot'
'Smith' is a typically British name, 'Hernandez' is a typically Spanish name - there is however, no typically American name as they have been passed down through generations from immigrants from all over the world
There are many communities of different nationalities in America which reflect this aspect of America's history for example................
In Boston there is a very strong connection with Ireland - millions of Irish emigrated there during the Irish Potato Famine in the 1800s
In New York, there is a very strong connection with Italy. The New York 'accent' even has a distinctly Italian character.
Why did people want to move to America?
Push factors
Pull factors
Cruel persecution
Land - plenty of space for houses and lots of cheap oil, timber, iron and coal
High Wages & lots of jobs and opportunities to set up businesses
Freedom of religion and speech
when people emigrate it is either because they want to leave the place in which they are living or because they want to live in the place to which they are moving. Often it is a combination of both - we refer to this as 'Push' and 'Pull' factors
'The American Dream....'
For many people, America was the land of gold, it was the land of opportunity, the richest country in the world where anyone could make it and new industries and innovations were transforming people's lives for the better.....
What was the journey like?
"we had been 14 days on the ship going to America from Naples
I was one of 1600 people on the ship
We had weathered one of the worst storms in our captain's memory
But now at last we were here - my mother, my step-father, my brother Guiseppe, my two sisters Liberta and Helvetia - and we clustered happily on deck
Mothers and fathers lifted their babies up so that they could se the Statue of Liberty
Many older people, remembering the poverty they had left behind, wept openly"
United States of America
1910 - 1929

Arrival - Ellis Island: 'The Isle of Tears'
Medical tests
Checks for mental/physical abnormalities
Checks for contagious diseases - TB, Leprosy
Those with a mental illness marked with an 'X'
Those with heart problems marked with a 'H'
Also checked for back problems
Each arrival had their eyes tested and then names were taken (or given in some cases!)
America needed workers:
Those who looked unwell, weak or unable to work would have found it harder to get on the boat - The boat owner would have had to pay for the return journey for anyone who did not gain entry
The process of entering America through Ellis Island could take weeks and for many was a painful experience - hence the name 'The Isle of Tears'
The Open Door Policy
This meant that America was actively encouraging immigrants to come into the country
However, attitudes towards immigrants changed as the 20th century wore on becoming more hostile and suspicious
From 1917 all immigrants had to pass a literacy test to be allowed entry into America.
The 1921 Immigration Act introduced a ‘Quota System’. Only 3% of each nationality living in the USA were allowed in each year.
The act also limited immigration to 357,000 people a year. Before 1921 over a million were entering each year.
The 1924 Immigration Act reduced the limit to 164,000 new immigrants each year and banned Asian immigrants.
The ‘Open Door’ had been firmly closed.
Changing attitudes towards immigration
The Quota System - Example
Immigrant Populations in America in 1920 (figures are not accurate):
Russians 5,000,000 3%= 150,000
Italians 3,000,000 3%= 90,000
Germans 4,000,000 3%= 120,000
Poles 6,000,000 3%= 180,000

Maximum 1921 = 357,000
Maximum 1924 = 164,000
Black Americans
In the 1920s the ‘Jim Crow’ laws were used to keep black people separate or segregated from white people. The idea was that blacks should be ‘separate but equal’ although this was never the case in reality. Black families were always worse off than white families. Segregation could be economic (to do with wealth and jobs) or social (to do with the way people live and the way they are treated).
The Ku Klux Klan
“human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty parades”

George Orwell
Who were the KKK and where did they come from?
Nathan Bedford Forrest Became 1st Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in 1867
One the most outstanding Generals of the Civil War.
Accused of atrocities during the civil war including burying captured negro soldiers alive, burning tents containing wounded Federal soldiers, and torturing surrendered enemy soldiers.
Inspired by D.W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation (1915), under leadership of Hiram W. Evans, the organisation grew rapidly.
By 1925 membership reached 4,000,000. Even on the rare occasions they were arrested for serious crimes, Klansmen were unlikely to be convicted by local Southern juries.
The KKK carried out lynchings on black people but also beat up and mutilated anyone they considered to be their enemy.
They stripped some victims and put tar and feather on their bodies. Many policemen and southern politicians were members of or sympathetic toward the KKK.
After the conviction of the Klan leader, David C. Stephenson, for second-degree murder, and evidence of corruption by other members such as the governor of Indiana and the mayor of Indianapolis, membership fell to around 30,000.
In the 1950s the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement resulted in a revival in Ku Klux Klan organizations. The most of important of these was the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan led by Robert Shelton. In the Deep South considerable pressure was put on blacks by Klansmen not to vote. An example of this was the state of Mississippi. By 1960, 42% of the population were black but only 2% were registered to vote. Lynching was still employed as a method of terrorizing the local black population.

On Sunday, 15th September, 1963, a white man was seen getting out of a white and turquoise Chevrolet car and placing a box under the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Soon afterwards, at 10.22 a.m., the bomb exploded killing Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14). The four girls had been attending Sunday school classes at the church. Twenty-three other people were also hurt by the blast.

A witness identified Robert Chambliss, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, as the man who placed the bomb under the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. He was arrested and charged with murder and possessing a box of 122 sticks of dynamite without a permit. On 8th October, 1963, Chambliss was found not guilty of murder and received a hundred-dollar fine and a six-month jail sentence for having the dynamite.
The Development of the KKK
1867 - 1874
1915 - 1944
1950 - 1970
In decline?
The Birth of a Nation (1915) D.W. Griffiths
Black Americans in the 1920s
Who joined the KKK in the 1920s?
Challenges to Racial Discrimination
"Blacks should fight for full equal rights in every area of life."
"Blacks should aim to move from America to set up a homeland in Africa."
How should discrimination be challenged?
The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. Set up in 1909 by W.E.B. DuBois and other founder members, its main aim was to achieve Civil Rights for all black people. By 1919 the organisation claimed a membership of 91,000 and concentrated on opposing racism and segregation by means of legal action and non-violent activities.
The Universal Negro Improvement Association argued that blacks all over the world were one people and that Africa was their homeland that had to be liberated from colonial control of European countries. Its founder Marcus Garvey wanted black people in America to return to Africa.
Who were the Americans?

The Red Scare
Political Corruption
The Great Migration
As the industrial cities of the North grew and developed, many black people fled the Southern States to pursue a new life away from the discrimination and segregation imposed by the Jim Crow laws.
They were followed by many more when the Great Depression hit in the early 1930s following the Wall Street stock market crash in 1929.
The situation for Black Americans was slightly better in the North without the Jim Crow laws.
However, migrating to the North did not mean equality for Black people. Discrimination still existed in the North.
Most noticeably, black people were discriminated against economically
"Last to be hired, first to be fired" went the old saying.
White Anglo-Saxon Protestants
The term WASP is often used to refer to the first European settlers who came to America from Northern and western Europe.
Not every WASP is an Anglo-Saxon, or even a Protestant - the term simply denotes the general background of this group of immigrants.
Black Americans
Old Immigrants
Native Americans
Cowboys and Indians
Despite the fact that they were indigenous to the Americas, Native indians - as a result of immigration, became a minority in the new nation.
White Europeans had fought and subjugated the Native Indians since the first settlements in the early 1600s.
The process by which white Americans dominated the native population has been referred to as a 'holocaust', others have called it 'The 500 year war'
Geronimo - one of the greatest Apache Tribal Chiefs - how could he be linked to George W. Bush?
How did Europeans affect the lives of Native Indians?
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Native Americans had been placed in reservations
In 1924 the Indian Citizenship Act was passed and Native Americans were finally granted full US citizenship
People only really recognised Native Americans in a very stereotypical way - demonstrating crafts, speaking Indian languages, performing in traditional Indian costumes
In some states, Native Americans and other 'undesirables' were managed by programs of social planning, education, and reproductive control.
Trying to 'Americanise' the Natives often resulted in the destruction of their identity & culture for example many Native American children were taken from their families and sent to boarding schools, encouraged to not speak their own language and converted to Christianity
The original migrants were determined to ensure that their culture remained dominant!!
In 1928 The Meriam Report stated that the boarding schools were poorly run, staffed and were underfunded - the attempt to assimilate through education had failed.
The report recommended that the European-American curriculum be dropped and that Native Americans should be provided with the skills necessary for their own traditional rural communities as well as urban society.
What is Communism?
This is the symbol of Communism – The Hammer and the Sickle
Karl Marx
Freidrich Engels
10. The government attempts to keep law and order and people pay taxes but the government has much less direct control over people’s lives.
4. No one is able to make any private profit – everything is supposed to be shared fairly amongst the people.
2. All land, industry, buildings and resources of the country are used to provide for the people. In theory everyone would get a fair share and no one would need money.
9. In reality this system is often built on propaganda and harsh repression against any opposition. There is little freedom or protection of human rights and no free speech or other political parties allowed.
1. Most land, property, business and industry is owned by private individuals.
3. In theory, this system is fair because anyone is free to make money if they work hard – this provides an incentive to be successful.
8. In practice there is often a wide gap between the richest and poorest people in society.
7. In America this is seen as much fairer and more democratic as people are free to decide things for themselves rather than the government doing it for them.
5. The aim of this system is that no one would be rich and no one would be poor.
6. In reality it is difficult for the state to organise all production centrally and therefore the needs of the people are often not met leading to major economic problems and corruption.
What were considered ‘Un-American’ ideas in the 1920s?
What does this picture tell us about how some Americans viewed new immigrants?
Senator Mitchell Palmer
The Palmer Raids
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson appointed A. Mitchell Palmer as Attorney General
Palmer recruited John Edgar Hoover and together they launched a campaign against radicals and left-wing organisations in the USA
Palmer was convinced that communist agents were planning to overthrow the government, this belief was strengthened by the discovery of a bombing campaign against politicians - including a bomb that exploded outside Palmer's home
On 7th November 1919 (The anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution) the Bureau of investigation (later to become the FBI) and local police arrested thousands of Russian workers across 12 cities
The arrests were widely publicised and, while no evidence of a revolution was found, many were imprisoned without trial and around 250 were deported
More raids with thousands more arrests took place in January 1920 - Palmer claimed a revolution was planned for May 1920
When the revolution never materialised, attitudes towards Palmer changed and he was criticised by many for abusing basic civil liberties
The Sacco and Vanzetti Case
Nicola Sacco and Bartolemeo Vanzetti were two Italian immigrants who were accused of the robbery and murder of two shoe factory workers who were carrying the company's payroll in April 1920
Both men were known to have radical political beliefs and this had a huge influence on the trial
The main evidence against the two was that they were both carrying guns at the time of their arrest
They had been identified by some who witnessed the crime, many people disagreed however, and both men had good alibis for the night in question
The trial was very controversial provoking protests in many European countries.
It was clear that the men's limited grasp of English worked against them as did the approach of the Judge Webster Thayer who was clearly prejudiced against anarchists
The trial lasted 7 weeks and on 14th July 1921 both were found guilty and were sentenced to death by electric chair
Over the next 6 years a campaign was fough against the conviction involving many high profile activists, artists and writers
The Judge was criticised for his conduct during the trial but the verdict was upheld and on 23rd August 1927 Sacco and Vanzetti were executed as over 250,000 people held a silent protest in Boston
Why were the Palmer raids & the Sacco & Vanzetti case important?
Both the Palmer raids and the Sacco & Vanzetti case illustrated how America had been affected by a fear of political extremism and xenophobia
In both instances, the state was willing to go to great lengths to combat what they saw as a threat to the American way of life
Both cases were high profile and received lots of publicity around the world. They demonstrated the intolerance of American Society suggesting that immigrants in particular were not always given the rights they were entitled to
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