Throwback Thursday: 1920s Edition

Sydne D, Karla B, Cassady B, Esteffany A

To Live In The 1920's


Laws passed due to Nativism and the beginning of the KKK

What is Nativism? Nativism is the belief that native born Americans are superior to immigrants. Nativism flourished in the 1920s due to the Red Scare and the Sacco & Vanzetti trial (see page 5). Three laws were passed as a result of Nativism. The Emergency Quota Law of 1921 limited the number of European immigrants entering the U.S. to a quota of 3% of the size of each nationality group; the quota was based on the U.S population of 1910. The Married Women's Act of 1922, also known as the "Cable Act" granted women rights of citizenship in the U.S regardless of their husband's legal status, repealed the provision of the Expatriation Act of 1907 that revoked the citizenship of women who married foreigners. The National Origins Act of 1924 restricted the immigration of Eastern and Southern Europeans by using quotas based on census to determine the size of a nationality group. The National Origins Act lowered the quota to 2%, from 350,000 to 160,000. Founded in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) based on white supremacy, extended into almost every southern state by 1870 and became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks.

1920s Politics

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Harding, Teapot and Kellogg

William G. Harding was the 29th President of the United States, elected in 1921, Harding symbolized hope for a postwar America. Harding’s slogan “return to normalcy” motivated the citizens as he promised to focused on situations regarding America, rather than foreign policies. Harding also supported isolationism and the laissez faire policy of less government interference. During Harding’s presidency Harding lowered tariffs, cut the unemployment rate, restricted and passed laws against immigration. Harding is best known for the scandals that occurred during the 1920s.

Teapot Dome Scandal (1921-1922) involved national security, corruption and big oil companies. After President Harding transferred control of Teapot Dome, Elk Hills and Buena Vista oil reserve lands from the Navy to Secretary of Interior, Albert B. Fall. Fall leased Teapot Dome to Harry Sinclair and a few months later Fall leased Elk Hills and Buena Vista oil fields to Edward L. Doheny. Under the General Leasing Act of 1920, leasing of government was legal, accepting loans was not; Fall was found guilty of accepting loans of about $400,000 from Sinclar and Doheny. Fall was sentenced to one year in prison for bribery.

Kellogg Briand Pact After World War 1, a peace offering was proposed by the foreign minister of France, Aristide Briand to the United States making war illegal between the two countries. To avoid France from interpreting the pact as an alliance, the U.S Secretary of State, Frank B. Kellogg decided to include other countries in this outlawing war pact, 15 nations signed in 1928 and later more nations joined the Kellogg Briand Pact. Although the pact had good intentions it had flaws- there was no punishment to countries who broke the pact, the pact didn’t limit and didn’t address countries self-defense. The pact failed it’s purpose.

Court Cases

Red scare

A new fear of communism, anarchist and immigrants. Communist threatening to spread their revolution to other nations. The first red scare was about worker socialist Revolution and radicalism, resulted in a nation cruised against left wingers. It broke backs of unions, anxiety in the United states And Europe over an emerging government in Russia all but overshadowed allied victory. It said that there were over 150,000 anarchist and communist in the United states in 1920 alone. The most serious threat to our nation. The fears of communism increased when a series of strikes occurred in 1919. Following the palmer raids sacco and van zest I and Schenck v. The United states.
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Palmer raids

Italian anarchist sets off bomb at attorney Palmers house in 1919. The nation demands action, series of raids by the United States department of justice intended to capture, deport and arrest radical leftist, these raids targeted immigrants. January of 1920 General A. Mitchell palmer was the leader of the palmer raids, palmer staged a series of unsuccessful raids aimed at Russian immigrant labor group's. The palmer raids occurred In the large context of the red scare. The justice department launched a series of raids on January 2,1920. In June 1920 a decision was made by Massachusetts, district court judge ordered discharge. Palmer once seen as a likely presidential candidate lost his bid to win the democratic nomination for president later in that year.

Sacco and Vanzetti

Executed for murder! Worldwide demonstration in support of innocence? Sacco and Vanzetti two Italian immigrants were tried, convicted and execute for robbery and murder, a pay master and security guard were killed during an armed robbery of a shoe company in Massachusetts, although both men carried guns and made false statements upon their arrest, both men were convicted and sentenced to die, many thought they were being executed for being communist, this was recognized to many as being unlawfully. The arrest of sacco and Vanzetti had coincided with the period of the most intense political regression in American history "the red scare". After a hard fought trial for six weeks the jury found sacco and Vanzetti guilty of robbery and murder on July 14, 1921, this however marked only the beginning of a legal struggle to save the two men, it went on until the year 1927, after all the men were sentenced to death, by then the dignity and words of the two men had turned them into powerful symbols of social justice for many in the world, sacco and Vanzetti were executed on august 23, 1927. It became the last of a long train of events that had driven any sense of vision our of America life.

Schenck Vs. United States

The "cleat and present danger" test, the first amendment was violated? Socialist party member Charles Schenck opposed the was as well as the military Draft the United states instituted during World War one. Schenck urged the recently drafted men to resist the Draft, he condemned the federal government, was and Draft with very strong language but advocated only peaceful resistance, Schenck was charged with violating the espionage act of 1917 which prevented people from trying to stop military actions or supporting United States enemies in wartime. Schenck argued that the act was unconstitutional, he believed it violated his rights under the first amendment. The court then said the act did not violate the first amendment because of the circumstances surrounding the case. The Case Went To The Supreme Court And Had To consider If Freedom Of Speech Is An Absolute Right. The most important note that came out of this case was that freedom of speech was not actually unlimited

Scopes Monkey Trial

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On March 21, 1925 the Butler Act was passed in Tennessee to ban the teaching of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in schools. The Butler Act was “ an act prohibiting the teaching of Evolution Theory in all Universities, normal and public schools of Tennessee, which are supported in… school funds”. The Evolution Theory states that all species develop from other species through natural selection. To some Christians this theory was unacceptable; In the Butler Act the Evolution Theory “ denies the story of the Divine Creation of man taught in the Bible to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals". John Scopes, a science teacher from Tennessee, went against the law and taught Darwin's Evolution in class, Scopes was arrested afterwards and put on trial in 1925. Clarence Darrow defended John Scopes; Darrow was a lawyer known for his involvement in popular trials. William Jennings Bryan was the prosecutor; Bryan was the former secretary of state of and was popularly known as the “ Great Commoner” for his devoted Christian faith. Modernist, people who support modern ways, supported Scope, while Fundamentalist, people who wanted to preserve religion, opposed Scope. The trial lasted a week and Scopes was found guilty of breaking the Tennessee law and was fined 100 dollars. The Butler Act remained intact after the trial was completed and was repealed on May 17, 1967.

Innovations, Innovators & Culture


The 1920s phenomenon, a new woman was born, one of short bobbed hair and straight loose knee length dresses. She smoked, drank and danced she wore makeup, went to petting parties and even chewed gum, she was giddy. These new women came to be known as flappers. Flappers came to symbolize a new freedom many women felt, a new independent attitude starting to rise taking more risks than ever . Flapper girls came after the Gibson girl who was all the rage in the 1890s , with this women sought to eliminate double standards, many celebrate the age of the flapper as a female declaration of independence and changing the roles of women.

jazz age

What did many young people want to do most? Dance, the 1920s is often commonly called the jazz age, by the 1925s jazz age was in full swing. The Charleston, the cakewalk and the flea hop were some of the popular dance rages, although the older generation objected to jars music calling it voulger, many of the young people loved the freedom they felt on the dance floor. Jazz music became incredibly popular, originating in communities in new Orleans, jazz slowly moved it's way north and became a national phenomenon thanks to the radio. Along with new music came scandalous new dances. This Helped Shape The Freedom Of Taking New Risks For The Years To Come.


Overly formal styles associated with victorianism were replaced. Literacy creatively soared throughout the 1920s. The great gatsby was one of the most popular books in 1925, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novel based on issues of decadence and is widely known as a cautionary tale . Books started to reflect changes in society. While authors of the period struggled to understand the changes, others praised the changes. Prior to radio and television most people gained knowledge of the world and current events in printed materials.


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This cartoon plays off the fact that the stock market in 1929 had changed drastically. Going up and down, much like a roller coaster, the stock market dropped 36% in 3 months. Therefore, from the late 20s to the early 30s stocks lost almost 73% of their value. This was one of the contributing factors for the great depression.


Dear Editor,

I gotta beef with prohibition. Some folk think its the bees knees, but i wanna tell this awful law to beat it! Its none of the governments beeswax if i have a drink or two before work or not. People always ask me, " Whats eating you?" and i always tell them "I need some hooch!" When they passed the law, i hadn't realized it would outlaw ANYTHING over 1% of alcohol. I miss sharing a beer with my laddies after work. I could get bootleg, but I don't want to risk getting bumped off by a big fella. Me and my pals just want to say to the Big Cheese up at congress - REPEAL THE 18TH AMENDMENT!



Beef- A complaint or to complain

Bee's Knees- An extraordinary person, thing, or idea; the ultimate

Beat It- Scam or get lost

Beeswax- Business, i.e. "none of your beeswax"

Whats Eating You?- Whats Wrong

Hooch- Bootleg Liquor

Bootleg- Illegal Liquor

Bump Off- To kill, to murder

Big Cheese- The most important or influential person; boss. Same as big shot.


Mckbride, Alex. "Landmark Cases." N.p., Dec. 2006. Web.

"Ku Klux Klan." N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2016.