US Entry into the First world war
- Did not Enter the war until 1917, but it did have a profound effect on the role of the government.
- They tried to fund the war by increasing the taxation, however, many people resented. in 1913 tax was 7% by 1918 it was 77%.
- Spring 1918 Congress granted President Wilson almost dictatorial power over political and economic life.
- Over 500 agencies were set up to control and direct the war effort.
- the 1918 Sedition act made it Illegal to criticises the American war effort.
- Once the war was over many wanted the government to dismantle it new agencies.
- they also wanted to cut tax and cease involvement in Europe Affairs.
- so in the 20s US politics were dominated by reaction to American involvement in the war.
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The psychological impact of the war
- the psychological impact of the war on American Society was significant.
- many had seen the war a European imperialist war, as America stayed out of Europen problem since the 19th century.
- Allied effort to preserve their imperial power at the treaty of Versailles (1919) reinforced this belief.
- When Wilson returned from Versailles, Republican ‘Irreconcilables’ & ‘Reservationists’ opposed membership of the league of nation.
- the senate voted 55-38 against the US becoming a member in October 1921
- this, in turn, means the 20s can be seen the reaction to the "progressive era"
- the 20s can be charactered by fear for of foreigners and for a desire for a non-interference from the government.
- The fear of foreigners in the 20s come from Woodrow Wilson administration whipping up of anti-German feeling.
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The "first red Scare" (1919-1921)
- between 1913 and 1920 there was a significant rise in the rate of inflation.
- price doubled and leading to a spate of industrial unrest.
- it was a popular belief that the strikers were lead by Communist hoping to achieve a Marxist revolution as had happened in Russian in 1917.
- fear grow following strikes. such as the Seattle General strike Feb 1919 and the Boston police strike in sept of 1919.
- August of 1919 saw the Attorney General, A Mitchell Palmer created the General intelligence division (GID) a forerunner to the FBI
- During the "Palmer raids" of November 1919 and January 1920, only 3 pistols were discovered in 6,000 arrests
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The Sacco & Vanzetti case
- Italian-born anarchists which were arrested for carrying out the armed robbery of a shoe factory in South Braintree, Massachusetts in May 1920.
- there trail in 1921 which resulted in the men conviction in trail which was highly controversial.
- They were arrested with firearms, this could not be definitively linked to the crime.
- A number of witnesses claimed that Sacco & Vanzetti were in Boston and Plymouth when the crime was committed.
- They were executed in 1927 after year of legal appeals.
- The historical consensus is that they were convicted largely due to their political beliefs.
- In many urban area, there were widespread protest at the execution.
- In rural America it was well received.
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- Concerns about the rapidly changing nature of society led to something of a revival in religious belief and fundamentalism.
- Popular Christian evangelists, such as Billy Sunday Spoke of hellfire and dammation if the America people continued to live what he viewed as immoral lives.
- Despite much condemnation of new technology such as cinema and pop music theses evangelists take advantage of new technologies to spread their message.
- They used the new technology such as radio to be used as advertising, they also used mass rallies as a method to gain support.
- The overall number of worshipers continued through the 20s, the churches that remained grew in size.
- this growth was seen larger churches in big cities, perhaps because god fearing urbanites were worried about the sinfulness of their neighbourhoods.
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The scopes trail 1925.
- Controversy over religion come to head with the scope trail of 1925.
- John T.Scopes, a teacher in Dayton, Tennessee was prosecuted for teaching the theory of evolution.
- Support from fundamentalist such as the Anti-Evolution league had led to 6 states including Tennessee banning the teaching of evolution in schools.
- William Jennings Bryan, a former presidential candidate, was ridiculed by the defence for the fundamentalism.
- Scopes was fined $100.
- this trail acted a media sensation, highlighting the division between urban and rural America.
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- The US prided itself on being a land born of immigrants and a safe haven for the "poor huddled masses yarning to be free"
- in truth, it only welcomed white immigrants from north-west Europe.
- Immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from Southern and Eastern Europe, this lead to a growth in racism toward these groups.
- They believed that the "anglo- Saxons" were being swamped by inferior races.
- The immigrants from southern and eastern Europe were linked with communism and plot to overthrow the American system of government.
- This can be supposed assassination attempts on high-profile America such as John D.Rockerfeller Jr.
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- Prior to the US entry into the frist world war, the government began to introduce restriction on immigration.
- ØAsiatic Barred Zone Act of February 1917 restricted the immigration of migrants from the Far East.
- It also barred from any "country not owned by the U.S adjacent to the continent of Asia."
- In 1918 the wartime measure act was passed, which prevented the departure from or entry into the US of an individual contrary to public safety.
- The 1921 Emergency Quota law, placed strict limits on immigration from Europe.
- The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 banned immigration from Japan and introduced even stricter quotas.
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The Ku Klux klan
- Racism overt or otherwise was widespread in the early 20th century.
- The army had the Standford-Binet intelligence test to identify officer.It was biased against immigrants, as it need a good knowledge of America History and Geography.
- The KKK was reborn in 1915, as anit- immigrant, anit Catholic prohibitionist and anti-Semitic Organisation.
- When it was featured in the film "the birth of a nation" 1915, which helped in it Rebirth.
- they quickly gained support in the rural area, such as the southern states and the midwest
- It said it was defending "morality, Americanism and protestant and white Supremacy"
- It attacked idea such as the theory of evolution and practice of working on the Sabbath.
- Raised fund by running it as a business.
- In 1925 it had 5 million member after the scadle with it leader, it member ship dropped to 200,000.
- It was also hurt by financial mismanagement. in Pennsylvania.
- in 1925 at peak 40% of it member come from just 3 states Indiana, Ohio and Ilinois. #
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- The war provided a powerful catalyst for reform of the franchise, with many women gaining the vote for the work they did in the war.
- prior to the war, only 11 states had female suffrage, which were in the Western part of America.
- In may of the 1919 the 19th Amendment was proposed, it would enfranchise women nationwide. it was passed into law in August of 1920 in time for the election in November that year.
- There was some delay in implementing reform due to the opposition from the southern state, as they were concerned that extending the rights of women would lead to calling fo greater civil right for African- American.
- Many Women supported prohibition so this may have been seen to be an important factor.
- Many Women tended to vote along the same line as their male counterparts.
- They were less likely to use their vote than men
- By 1928, there was only 2 female congresswomen and 2 female governors.
- reform was accompanied by further reform to guarantee equal right for women as the Equal right Amendment failed to pass congress in 1923.
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