2. The 1920s was essentially a time for change. To name a few, the decade saw social, political and economic changes. The 1920s was also known as The New Era because America was becoming more modernized. Some didnt like all the new customs and rebelled. The assembly line paved the way for many advancements. With the automobile and motor vehicles it spiked a need for more contruction with people being able to get around more. In the 1920s radio was very popular.
Reginald Fessenden made it possible to transmit speech and music, earlier radio was morse code. The 1920s saw rapid growth of cities and the middle class was on the rise. Commercial aviation was being developed very slowly and mainly a way to deliver mail, it was used more as a use of travel in the 30s the 20s essentially paved the way. Trains were getting faster due to the developments of the diesel-electric engine. Electric,oil,plastics,home appliances all saw growth and spurred an economic boom.
For fear of recession, the idea of over-production was looming, the New Era was striving to create an economy that wouldnt collapse again. Henry Ford did remarkable things like shortening the work week, raised pay, and implimented paid vacation hours. Welfare Capitalism improved working conditions. Unions were most often forbidden and Welfare Capitalism really didnt last long. While wages did rise it still wasnt enough. It really was dependant on several workers in a typical household to make ends meet. While unemployment was lesser in the 20s, some were out of work for at least some portion of the decade with some jobs becoming obsolete alltogether. Woman worked Pink-Collar jobs that were underpaid. African Americans were stuck with jobs like janitors, dishwashing and garbage duty as they were often excluded in major trades. Agriculture was taking on new technolgies in hopes of producing more. There was alot more tractors on American farms and they were decked out with combustion engines. It allowed more crops and less workers to tend to it. A lot of people left agriculture in the 20s. Other farmers demanded Parity or a set price that way they would at least earn back their production costs regardless of any fluctuations. The Mcnary-Haugen Bill attempted to get parity for the farmers and was shot down by Coolidge. By the end of the 1920s there were more than 30 million cars on American roads, it allowed people to venture from their homes and go out and about. People were able to travel for vacations and for lesiure. Traveling wasnt just for the wealthy anymore. A successful book of the 1920s was entitled The Man Nobody Knows by Bruce Barton. Women bought cosmetics and clothes and men smoked cigarettes. Middle class families were purchasing new appliances and these appliances made an impact in womens lives. Advertising was becoming big with the rise of newspapers and magazines like the Saturday Evening Post. Movies were a great form of entertainment and the addition of sound in 1927 made it even more enjoyable. The National Broadcating Company was formed in 1927. Women were still limited as far as occupations although there were a few women doctors and lawyers, However most middle class women who were married did not in fact work outside the home at all. Margaret Sanger thought women should be able to have a healthy sex life without always having to procreate, due to her teachings birth control became more readily availible especially to middle class. Some birth control was illegal however. The flapper image tore down old views of the way a woman should be. Women could wear seductive clothes, smoke, drink, and dance until their hearts content. It was a liberating thing for women as they could attend clubs and dance halls. The Flappers werent completely liberated because they still depended largely on men in both the workplace and at home. The national womens Party campaign was launched in 1923 and had little support in congress. Women were awareded the right to vote. Education was becoming more important in the 1920s than previously. Enrollment in colleges and universites were increasing. Adolescents were recognized as a period in your life that sets the stage for adult life. African American culture was on the rise, with the launch of Jazz and the Harlem Renaissance. Alain Locke who was published in 1925 made people take notice. Aaron Douglas was commissioned for murals at the universities. Prohibition was going strong in January 1920. Al Capone essentially built a criminal empire because of alcohol being illegal. A new KKK sprung up and in 1924 there were around 4 million members or so. The Klan went downhill quickly after 1925. The Scopes Monkey trial was very stressful for most fundamentalists, Clarence Darrow defended scopes. Scopes agreed to be arrested, Darrow scored an important victory for modernists and it was broadcasted on the radio. Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge served as president during most of the 1920s. Harding was elected in 1920. He was a gambler from Ohio. In the summer of 1923, he suffered two major heart attacks and died. Coolidge followed Harding as president and he was an honest man. Coolidge opted out of the presidency years later by handing the press a paper that read that he didnt want to run for president in 1928. What a way to resign! The New Era seemed great on the surface, however there were many cultural and political conflicts and while there were many industrial achievements, more than half of the actual population didnt really get any benefits. With many a controversy, ultimately the decade ended with an economic crash as well as many Americans not liking the changes and challenging them.
4. On March 6th, 1933 two days after taking office, Roosevelt closed all American banks for four days by issuing something called a proclamation. The bank hiatus brought relief. Roosevelt sent The Emergency banking act over to congress, which was approved in as little as four hours from its presentation. By march 12th, Roosevelt told the people in his first fireside chat, that the reopened banks would be safer than under the mattress and three days later most banks were reopened and had a strong cash flow oncemore. Roosevelt also moved quickly on the prohibition issue. He signed a bill to make the manufacturing and sale of beer a legal endeavor. In whats known as Gross Farm income, it was increased under the New Deal and agricultural economy was much more stable than it had been in a long time. There were several things that were implimeneted to aid poor farmers. Public work spending was introduced along with the National Industrial Recovery act, passed in 1933 respectively. The NRA umtimately failed under the New deal in its endeavors. The Tennessee Valley authority was essentially intended to be revitalize the region, aid in water transportation and hopefully terminate flooding in that region, and to give electricity to those who have never had it. Despite the TVAs endeavors unfortunately, Tennessee valley was still a pretty poor area. Just like many other New Deal programs the TVA didnt try very hard to make a stand against local customs and prejudices upon discovery. Roosevelt established FERA which gave cash grants to aid in bankrupt relief agencies which was led by Harry Hopkins who was very generous in grant giving. The president and Harry misjudged things. Roosevelt was pretty popular in his first two years of presidency, but with the depression looming the New Deal started to take a hit. The public began criticizing harshly and intensely. Roosevelts response was the Second New Deal. By 1934, there was hostilty surrounding the New Deal. The Townsend plan paved the way for what we now call Social Security. Francis E. Townsend led a movement with more than 5 million members! The second New Deal came about in 1935. The president seemed more willing to get things done. There were a number of tax reforms proposed in 1935. The Wagner Act and NLRB compelled employers to recognize unions. While Roosevelt wasnt jumping for joy to sign the bill he did it anyway because he knew his own political future was at stake. The Trade union movement was one of the most important developments of the 1930s. Unions were becoming more committed to ideals of uniting workers based on skills. The CIO was very receptive to women and African Americans and was a miltant organization. On memorial day 1937, a picnic and demonstration was held in South Chicago. A peaceful march took place until Police open fired also known as the Memorial Day Massacre. In 1935, Roosevelt gave his support for the Social Security Act that was also passed that same year. The Social Security Act also allowed people who were laid off to recieve temporary assistance, as well as people with disabilties and children to recieve benefits.The WPA was launched in 1935 to aid unemployed Americans. Roosevelt was reelected. There was what was known as the Roosevelt Recession in 1937, until he was able to get funds moving again in 1938. The conservatives were Roosevelts worst critics even accusing him of abandoning the Constitution. Roosevelt appointed quite a few black officials in what became known as the black cabinet. Eleanor Roosevelt made many strides to ensure that The new deal relief programs didnt leave out African Americans. The 1934 act didnt do much for the indians and they still remained impoverished. The New Deal didnt exclude women but didnt do much for them either. The New Deal was limited in regard to women because they werent sure of their options, it was hard to find a voice in a densly male economy. The West and the South recieved significant federal funds compared to other regions. The New Deal directed attention to the souths lack of economic facilties. The federal government in many efforts strived to aid in unemployment and poverty and only had limited successes. Although the New Deal did help many, despite the New deal flaws it did help the people see the government was willing to help those in need.
Social Darwinism was essentially the application of Charles Darwins laws of evolution and Natural Selection. It made claims that only the fittest of individuals survived. Herbert Spencer was a very intergral part of this theory. He wrote books that were largely popular in the 1870s and 1880s. Social Darwinism appealed to businessmen because it made them feel powerful due to their success. It essentailly justified their practices and dominance. However Social Darwinism had little to do with any corporate economies.
Teapot Dome was a scandal involving Naval Oil reserves in Wyoming and Elk hills California. Harding transferred control of those reserves from the Navy department to the interior department. Albert Fall who was secretary of the interior secretly leased them to rich businessmen to ease his financial burdens. Fall was convicted of bribery. Soon later, Harding died from two major heart attacks.
On February 25th, the british gave Wilson a telegram that was intercepted from the German foreign minister Arthur ZImmerman to the government of mexico. In stated that if the U.S. and Germany went to war, mexico should side with Germany to regain lost provinces when the war was over. The Zimmerman Telegram helped gain popular sentiment toward war and really amped up public opinion.
Frances Perkins and other women reformers were key creating support and shaping the Social Security act of 1935. They built into the bill their own perception of womens place in a male dominated economy. Emphasized special protections regarding women.