The Roaring 20's

Leading Stories of a Decade

Table of Contents

1... Cover Page

2... Table of Contents

3... Returning Nativism & the KKK

4... The Political Corner

5... 1920's Court Cases

6... 1920's Scope Monkey Trials

7... Innovations, Innovators, and Culture of the 1920's

8... Letter to the Editor

9... Political Cartoon

Returning Nativism & the KKK

KKK's Revival

The Ku Klux Klan, an elitist group originating in the mid 1800's just after the Civil War, has been making a public revival for the past decade. However, the KKK today is very different from the KKK that was around after the Civil War; the KKK is not only anti-black as it was preceding our Civil war, but also anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, and anti-alien. This elitist group is the very definition of a Nativist Movement. American Nativism, or the intense opposition to an internal minority on the grounds of its allegedly un-American characteristics, has been around as long as America has been a country, especially directly following times of war, and have usually had a great effect on politics of the time, just as the Ku Klux Klan is doing now.

Nativism's Revival

Nativism has also greatly returned after several years when it was comparably small. This is likely partly thanks to the KKK, but also WWI. Since going to war with the Central Powers, Russians, Slavians, and most people from East Europe, even Jews, have become fairly hated in this country, even more so than before.

3 New Laws as a Result of Growing Nativism

As a result of this heavy Nativism, several laws have been passed over this past decade, mainly the following three that restrict immigration and Emigration.

1) Emergency Immigration Act (1921) - Limited the amount of immigrants to an annual 3% quota.

The Immigration Act of 1924 - Reduced the quota to only an annual 2%

Nation Origins Act (1924) - Penalized Japanese and Asian Immigrants, as well as Southern and Eastern European Immigrants further.

(In 1927, the quota was reduced further to only allow 150,000 annual immigrants.)


- "Nativism, Immigration Restrictions, and the Red Scare." APUSH Roaring 20s

- "Nativism." US History in context, Gale group

The Political Corner

The Teapot Dome Scandal

One of the largest Political scandals in history, the Teapot Dome Scandal was unprecedented in severity. Albert Bacon Fall, the Secretary of the Interior during the scandal, is now one of the most famous, or rather infamous men of the decade. After President Warren G. Harding transferred supervision of the naval oil-reserve lands from the navy to the Department of the Interior in 1921, Fall secretly granted rights to several oil reserves to multiple different companies, the most famous case being the grant of the Teapot Dome reserve in Wyoming to the Mommoth Oil Company in April of 1922. Although President Harding was not directly involved in the granting scandal, his decision to entrust Fall with the reserves fell back on him, and he met his untimely end due to stress from the situation, all before the full extent of the wrongdoings were completely determined.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact

The Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in Paris on August 27, 1928, is quite possibly one of the greatest achievements in Human history. This pact essentially put a ban on all war, outlawing it and declaring peace for the rest of the foreseeable future. Not everyone believes in the actuality of something of the such, but if this Pact works as intended, it will be the dawn of a new age of peace.

Palmer Red Raids

The Palmer Red Raids were a series of raids conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice in an attempt to arrest and deport foreign anarchists, communists, and radical leftists. These raids were conducted by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and are what would have been called the highlight of the Red Scare.

The Red Scare

The Red Scare is what the period of International Paranoia is called following WWI. This era is arguably still occurring over a decade after WWI. This Paranoia is driven by the terrifying thought that corrosive and unfair government (or lack there of in the case of anarchy) such as communism, anarchy, dictatorship, and leftism are all infectious diseases that can be spread from one country to the next. This fear was nurtured by the international spread of communism, but also by things such as the Palmer Raids, which not only nurtured fear of communism and other undesirable governments, but also a hatred and hostility for immigrants who came from such countries, even ones that came seeking refuge.

Scope Monkey Trials

The Issue of Evolution

This decade has seen one of the most famous court case in the history of the United States: The Scopes Monkey Trial. In 1925, John Scopes was accused of teaching principles of Evolution against Tennessee State law. The great and famous attorney, Clarence Darrow, as well as 3 time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, both got involved in this case fairly early on. The most important issue of this case was the constitutionality of the law. This law made "teach[ing] any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals," punishable by fine, and while America was founded on Christian ideals, freedom of religion is meant to be guaranteed by law thanks to the 1st amendment to the constitution.

How the Case Unfolded

Early on, the case seemed easily won. William Jennings Bryan, arguing against Scopes, was very confident, and Clarence Darrow, arguing in favor of Scopes seemed set to lose from the start. His case was completely trashed when the judge clearly established that in was Scopes that was under questioning, not the law that he offended. Seeing that his odds of winning the case were slim to none, Darrow changed tactics. For the remainder of the trial, Darrow called Bryan himself as witness and forced him to give ignorant and contradictory statements concerning the law in question, the constitution, and his own literal interpretations of the Bible in front of a very large crowd. While Bryan won the case, and scopes paid $100 (the minimum enforceable fine) he suffered great humility thanks to Darrow.

Innovations, Innovators, and Culture

Henry Ford

Arguably the most famous man of the decade, Henry Ford established his Ford Motor Company in 1903. By 1913, he had introduced revolutionary mass production methods that allowed him to make large production lines using standardized, interchangeable parts. By the beginning of the 1920's, Ford was able to turn out tens of thousands of cars a year, making them affordable to the average family. In 1927, the Ford company released their new model A cars, having produced over 15 million model T cars by this point and establishing themselves as the largest automotive manufacturing company in the world.

Entering the Age of Jazz

Jazz, the music that has progressed the music industry farther than ever seemed possible is now becoming the most popular type of music in History. Originating in New Orleans, over the past 15 years it has spread like wildfire throughout the country. With the development of the phonograph, it is now possible to play your choice of music in your own home, and almost everyone is playing Jazz. At the beginning of the 1920's, thousands of job openings occurred in the north giving black and white musicians alike plenty of incentive to move north to areas like Chicago and all throughout New England from areas like New Orleans, which only progressed and spread the music industry further. It is now rare to see a family home without a phonograph, or at least a radio in it.

Letter to the Editor

The Prohibition

Dear Editor,

The fact that this magazine doesn't cover issues like the Prohibition is outrageous, and should definitely be included. Since before the 1920's began, there has been a nationwide ban on alcohol. They justified this by saying that alcohol was the cause of domestic abuse, yet there has been almost no decrease in the amount of abuse that is happening. In fact, that many people don't have alcohol to drink like they used to turns them to become even angrier with their spouses and families. Not just that, but it has made it so many people turn to illegal methods of obtaining alcohol which in all senses is much worse than it is before. Now there are gangs dedicated to smuggling alcohol. It's not just the drunkard that you would see at the tavern at midnight before the prohibition either, even the rich, actually, specifically the rich, are turning against the law and supporting black market economy heavily by buying illegal alcohol. The prohibition has done little to nothing to benefit American society over the past decade, and the few things that it has made better may as well not exist in the wake of the things that it has made worse. You guys need to cover Prohibition soon, and we, the U.S. citizens need to end this counterproductive Prohibition nonsense.

Sincerely, a concerned reader

Political Cartoon

Big image

Symbolism, Sarcasm, and Labeling

This Political Cartoon presents the issue of the Immigration laws passed over the 1920's due to the rapid growth of Nativism. The Cartoonists true opinion is very ambiguous in the sense that it could be taken 1 of 2 very distinct ways. A man could look at this and be fully justified in his belief of new immigration laws, it's "the only way to handle [the issue]" after all. Meanwhile, another man might look at it and sense sarcasm in that very line, distinguishing the injustice of such harsh laws on struggling refugees. Either could be the cartoonists original opinion. No matter what way you interpret such a cartoon, it instills much more conviction in the belief you originally take.