As Communism reared its head in the east during the end of WWI a panic swept through the United States. No one knew who was Communist and who was not, but as soon as someone was accused of being communist their reputation was forever damaged.
The Harlem Renaissance was a revival of African American culture in Harlem, NY during the 1920s and ‘30s. It was brought on by the many activists of the time and gave African Americans cultural pride.
Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants who were convicted of armed robbery and murder. They were anarchists and used the fear of the time to their advantage. They gained support from radicals all over the world but lost. Sacco and Vanzetti’s case was a cause of great controversy because, although they were proven guilty by several sources, they did not receive a fair trial.
The Prohibition was put into place in 1920 after a large push from large religious groups that believed alcohol was the cause of sinful behavior. The 18th amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. It was repealed in 1933 with the 21st amendment after a dramatic rise in organized crime.
The 19th Amendment was passed under Wilson after years of women protesting and lobbying. The amendment gave everyone the right to vote regardless of gender, and this allowed women to vote.
After WWI thousands of European immigrants flooded the US. The Quota System tried to protect the economy by setting a maximum number of immigrants that could enter the United States every year, and corresponded with a rise in nativism and anti-immigrant sentiments.
Harding, the 29th president of the United States, promised a “return to normalcy” after the war. He selected a cabinet consisting of his friends, who came to be known as the “Ohio Gang” (the gang was the cause of scandal which marrs Harding’s reputation). Harding was pro-business and enacted the Quota System which limited the total number of immigrants allowed in the US per year. Harding died suddenly in 1923 and was succeeded by Vice President Calvin Coolidge.
Albert Fall, Secretary of the Interior and part of Harding’s Ohio Gang leased land illegally for personal gain. He was bribed by two different companies and received a total of $400,000 dollars in his personal account, seemingly overnight. He became the first cabinet member to be found guilty of a crime while in office.
Calvin Coolidge was the 30th president of the United states. He became president following Harding’s death in 1923. He was responsible for cleaning up the mess that Harding’s scandals had caused. His conservative policies focused on letting things take their course and allowing businesses to operate freely. His policies somewhat contributed to the great depression.
Route 66 was built because of the growing use of the automobile. It connected Chicago to LA and allowed people to travel great distances on a proper road.
Following the stock market crash in October, 1929, the United States fell into an economic depression. Unemployment and homelessness skyrocketed and money became essentially worthless. This depression lasted 10 years, until the start of World War II.
Hoover, the 31st president of the United States, was partially blamed by the American public for the Great Depression. He had been in office for less than a year, and his predecessors are more to blame than he. However, he did not recognize the severity of the Depression until it was too late and thus was vastly unpopular. People mocked him in their anger. Shantytowns were called “Hoovervilles,” empty, turned out pockets called “Hoover Flags,” and newspapers called “Hoover Blankets.”
On October 29th, 1929, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 12 percent as panicked stock owners tried to sell. This day is marked as the beginning of the Great Depression.
Drought overtook the over-farmed great plains during the 1930’s and as a result the dry soil formed clouds called “Black Blizzards.” These storms wreaked havoc on the inhabitants for nearly a decade.
WWI veterans were promised a bonus for their service upon their return to the states; this was to be paid in 1945, more than 25 years after the end of the war. In 1932 thousands of veterans traveled to Washington D.C. and lobbied for their bonuses to be paid immediately under the circumstances of the depression. After a bill that would make these bonuses immediate did not pass, the veterans remained in D.C. Eventually, Hoover--who was already vastly unpopular--had the protesters gassed.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or FDR, was the 32nd president of the United States. He beat Hoover by a landslide in the 1932 election, promising a “new deal for the American people.” His “New Deal” was a set of policies that focused on relief, recovery, and reform. FDR had a tradition of “fireside chats” when he would broadcast himself speaking intimately with public over the radio. FDR was elected four times and his presidency saw the end of the Great Depression and the beginning of WW2.
The 21st amendment repealed the 18th. It was passed in 1933 after it was clear that the prohibition was doing more harm than good.
FDR instituted many new policies as president and began a tradition of “fireside chats” when he would talk to the public over the radio. This way of communicating with American citizens was new and intimate, and greatly increased the people’s trust in their leader.
FDR promised a “new deal for the American people.” He enacted a set of policies with 3 main goals: relief for needy, economic recovery, financial reform. 15 New Deal policies were passed during the first Hundred Days.
Hitler joined the Nazi Party in 1919 and gradually became more popular. He wrote a book called Mein Kampf which set out the basic beliefs and plans of the Nazi Party. The German people were in desperate need of leadership because of their failing economy and other repercussions of the Versailles Treaty. In 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and established the Third Reich.
FDR enacted a Second New Deal in 1935 with a new set of policies and a Second Hundred Days. These policies further helped the economy but were not as popular with the public.