The 1920's: Best or Worst?

By Eli Anderson and Jessica Elias

Worst of Times (,,#゚Д゚)

On may 1st, 1919, officials discovered 20 bombs in the mail of capatlists John D Rockefeller and J P Morgan jr, as well as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. And 8 months later, bombs exploded in eight US cities. On September 16th, 1920, a bomb left in a horse wagon exploded near wall street in Manhattan, killing 30 people and injuring hundreds. The police had reveiwed numbers of suspects, and even given a $80,000 reward. But no one was charged with the crime. At the end of WWI, fear had brewed in the US and known as the Red Scare. People had gone frantic, a sailor shot a man who refused to stand during a playing of the Star Spangled Banner and the crowds cheered this. Four attackers were killed in a gunfight before officials could reach the scene. A mob broke out in the jail, people took out one of the workers of the IWW (International Workers of the World) and hanged him from a railroad bridge. 165 IWW members were arrested with sentences of up to 25 years. President Wilson's attorney general, A. Mitchell Palmer led tons pf raids against the communist party. Government officials raided 33 cities at most. More than 4,000 alleged communists were convicted without bond.


Due to war inflation after WWI, food prices were doubled between 1915 and 1920. The cost of clothing was more than triple its original price. A steel strike began in Chicago in 1919. The 12 hour workday was abolished and turned into 8 hours instead. Half of the country's workers and a 48 hour work week. However, in the end of the war, there was union recognition, shorter work hours, and raises exceeding the inflation rate. Over 4 million workers (one fifth of the nation's workforce) went on strike. These numbers would not be matched until the Depression year of 1937. The strikes began when police officers in Seattle touched off several days of riots and crime. However, the most tumultuous strike was the steel workers. 350,000 steel workers in 24 separate craft unions went on strike to unionize the industry. Even Hungary, Germany, and Italy were having worker problems. The strikes eventually ended with the complete defeat of the unions. Many of labor's gains during WWI and the Progressive Era were rolled back. Union membership fell from 5 to 3 million. the US Supreme Court outlawed picketing, overturned national child labor laws, and abolished minimum wage laws for women.


The KKK (Ku Klux Klan) also started to make a huge rise in the 1920's. The KKK was founded in 1866 by ex-Confederate soldiers and other Southerners opposed to Reconstruction after the Civil War. By the middle of the century, there was 3 million to 8 million known Klansmen. In the 1920s, the Klan moved in many states to take over local and state politics. The Klan devised a strategy, in which every member of the Klan was responsible for recruiting ten people to vote for Klan candidates in elections. In 1924 the Klan succeeded in the elections of officials from coast to coast, including the mayors of Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon. In some states, such as Colorado and Indiana, they placed enough Klansmen in positions of power to effectively control the state government. Known as the "Invisible Empire," the KKK's presence was well known across the country.

The Best of Times (/^▽^)/

The 1920's had many names for it's era, some of them being the Jazz Age, the Age of Intolerance, and the Age of Wonderful Nonsense. Since WW1 had just finished, the 1920's were a great time for everyone to change. With a new president in office (Warren G. Harding) he promoted a "return to normalcy," which signaled a resurgence of natism, isolationism, and rejection of the progressive era's govenmental activism.


Many new items were invented during the 1920s and they played a vital part in the economy. One invention was Henry Ford's Model-T Automobile. More than 15 million were sold by 1927. His assembly line was the key to his great success. The radio was another great invention, the first public station was in Pittsburgh, and it led to thousands more across the country. In 1922 the first movie with sound was invented and it starred Al Jolson. In 1926 technicolor was invented. Canned food, ready made clothing, and household appliances took away the dullness of their household work.


Science, medicine, and health advanced remarkably during the 1920's. Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. Diptheria became better controlled in 1923 by newly introduced immunizations. People developed more torwards calorie consumption and physical vitality. Because of the Flapper's dieting lifestyle, more people were inspired to become thinner and, in a sense, more beautiful. Less fat and meat, more fruits and vegetables. Also, the discovery of vitamins and their effects occured at around the same time.