Boom Times to Hard Times 1920-1941  Boom Times to Hard Times 1920-1941

Boom Times to Hard Times 1920-1941 - PowerPoint Presentation

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Boom Times to Hard Times 1920-1941 - PPT Presentation

M Hopkins US History Honors Society in the 1920s WWI caused many young people to challenge the established traditional values Flapper young woman who was bold and rebellious Young women broke with tradition by adopting radical styles of dress ID: 775881

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Boom Times to Hard Times 1920-1941

M. Hopkins US History Honors


Society in the 1920s

WWI caused many young people to challenge the established traditional values.


young woman who was bold and rebellious.

Young women broke with tradition by adopting radical styles of dress

shorter dresses and bobbed hair.

Young women also accessorized with close-fitted hats that accentuated their hair and heavy makeup.

While they had the right to, many women did not immediately start to vote.

Family obligations often meant that women had to make special arrangements for child care while they were at the polls.

Some women were also discouraged by their families or uncomfortable with voting.

The 1920s also saw the gap between rural and urban society widen.

Part of the gap was economic

farmers had become economically stressed while manufacturing and commercial business had begun to boom.

African Americans moved in large numbers to the North and West in search of new opportunities.


Mass Media and the Jazz Age

Before the 1920s, America was highly regional.

Mass media encouraged the dissemination of ideas from region to region.

Mass media

print, film, and broadcast methods of


information to large numbers of people.

Movies became very popular, and magazines and newspapers reported on their lives.

During the 20s, newspapers grew, but not as independently owned companies. Newspaper chains sprang up to make money on advertising.

Tabloids were all about entertainment and were published to make more money.

Mass media allowed for a common popular culture to grow in the US.

Radios were rare before 1920 in the US, but after Frank Conrad set up the first radio station in Pittsburgh, they grew in popularity.

Companies like the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) began linking stations together so that they could broadcast to wider audiences.

Both the migration of African Americans and radio made jazz popular in the 1920s.


Mass Media and the Jazz Age


musical style that features heavy improvisation and off-beat rhythm (syncopation).

Jazz grew out of African American music such as ragtime and the blues. It became very popular after radio brought its sound to more people.

Some people did not like jazz because they felt it was suggestive of the same loose morals that plagued the age.

However, it soon was embraced fully, and the 1920s came to be called the Jazz Age.

The Lost Generation were a group of expatriate writers and artists who were disconnected from their country and its values. These included Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In New York, the Harlem Renaissance was a literary and artistic flowering of African

American culture.


Cultural Conflicts

The main goals of Prohibition were:

Eliminate drunkenness and prevent abuse of family members

Get rid of saloons and the associated vices

Prevent absenteeism and job-related accidents that resulted from drunkenness

People turned to bootleggers to provide alcohol.


came from term for people who hid alcohol in a flask in the boot. Came to be used for alcohol smugglers.


illegal bars

Smuggling of liquor gave rise to organized crime as it was a profitable business with many complex operations.

These operations grew like any business, but competition between rival organizations was violent.

Eventually, criminal organizations branched out into other operations such as prostitution, gambling, and racketeering.

The teaching of evolution took center stage in the 20s as a struggle between traditional religious values and modern reason.


Cultural Conflicts

The fight over teaching evolution in schools culminated in the Scopes Trial.

Taking place in Tennessee, John T. Scopes defied a ban on teaching evolution.

Two of the country’s best lawyers, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow, faced off over the issue.

Scopes was defended by Darrow, and ended up winning his case. Bryan defended the Fundamentalist side of the argument.

Racial tensions were also high, with the summer of 1919 being known as the “Red Summer” because of the mob violence that broke out between white and black Americans.

The worst of the race riots took place in Chicago, where a young black boy was killed while swimming by a white man.

The KKK was also revived after President Grant had largely stamped it out. Colonel William J. Simmons of Atlanta used modern methods to give the organization new life.

The Klan also shifted to vowing to defend their white-Protestant culture from anyone they thought was un-American.

Little was done until a Klan leader was sentenced to life imprisonment, and the nation was shocked into action. By 1927, the Klan was largely inactive.


A Republican Decade

In the early 20s, Americans wanted a return to “normalcy.”

President Warren G. Harding won in 1920 due to his campaign promises of normalcy.

Americans were distrustful of Europeans, and especially wary of Russia because of their Communist regime.

These fears were founded because in 1919, Russian-backed Communists tried to overthrow the German government.

Seattle also experienced a large strike and terrorist bombings at about the same time.

Yellow journalism again contributed to a Red Scare

an intense fear of communism or other radical political ideas.


v. U.S.

Supreme Court case where Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that the government was allowed to silence free speech when it presented a clear and present danger.


v. New York

Supreme Court case involving a state conviction. First case to use the Fourteenth Amendment to make the Bill of Rights apply to state actions.

Remember: the argument was that the Bill of Rights is meant to protect citizens from the federal, not state governments.


A Republican Decade

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer conducted raids in over 33 cities that arrested thousands of suspected radicals and without evidence charged them with anarchy. Many were completely innocent.

IN 1920, a paymaster and guard of a shoe factory were killed in a robbery. Two Italian immigrants, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were arrested.

Even though both were anarchists and had guns on them at the time of their arrest, many Americans believed that they had been arrested simply because they were radical immigrants.

After what many called an unfair trial, Sacco and Vanzetti were sentenced to death, and despite mass protests, the sentence was carried out.

The Red Scare encouraged people to vote Republican. Harding, a Republican, took office as it was dying down.

After WWI, many Americans wished to remain isolationist.


policy of avoiding political and economic alliances with foreign countries.


program in which nations voluntarily give up their weapons.

Americans also became more nativist as they became more isolationist.

Nativism returned partly because of beliefs regarding patriotism, religion, urban conditions, jobs, and the Red Scare.


A Republican Decade

Nativists distrusted an differences between themselves and immigrants.

Nativists encouraged Congress to pass a law that placed a quota on the number of immigrants that could enter the country.

In 1924, a permanent one was set in place under the National Origins Act.

Harding was playing for his white supporters with the above legislation, but when he tried to appeal to black voters by urging for anti-lynching laws, the proposal died in the Senate.

Harding’s presidency ended in scandal

that he had nothing to do with

as his administration was proven to be riddled with corruption.

President Coolidge favored laissez faire economic practices, and Congress went along with it.

Coolidge was insistent on a minimal role for government, that when encouraged to toughen laws on buying stocks on easy credit, he refused.


A business Boom

Consumer economy

an economy that depends on a large amount of spending by consumers.


individuals who use, or consume, products.

Increased spending by the consumer pushes up profits for businesses which then lead to higher wages and encourages more spending.

Traditionally, Americans valued thrift, so people only bought what they needed and very little of what they wanted.

Borrowing money was also viewed as unthrifty and immoral.

Buying on credit developed as goods such as refrigerators and cars became available.

Installment plans

plan where the consumer pays a set amount of money over a period of time until a debt is paid off.

Manufacturers pushed installment plans so that they could move more products.

The electric power industry grew in response to the demand for more power to run electric appliances.

Mass advertising also became a huge industry during the 20s.


1920s Advertisements


A Business Boom

Gross National Product (GNP)

the total value of goods and services a country produces annually.

Henry Ford began making the first affordable car in the 20s, and streamlined the assembly line.

As more people began to buy cars, hundreds of goods and services rose up to meet demand.

Cars also allowed suburbs to expand and people to live farther away from where they worked.

Aviation also expanded during this era.

However, the farm economy was still not great.

During the good times right after the war, many farmers had bought new farm equipment on credit.

During the late 20s, most farmers could not pay back these loans due to low farm prices.


The Economy in the Late 1920s

Herbert Hoover won the 1928 election, and when he took office, the economy looked like it was in good shape.

Welfare capitalism

approach to labor relations where companies tried to meet some of their workers’ demands in order to limit union intervention and keep productivity high.

Employers raised wages, provided benefits, and even offered English classes for immigrants.

Despite success stories, on the stock market, the rich were the ones getting richer.

Huge corporations rather than small businesses dominated American industry.

Government tax cuts on the wealthy also contributed to this imbalance. When income taxes were cut, this only affected the rich who paid them.

Personal debt grew huge as more people used credit to buy what they wanted.

The huge climb in stock values encouraged speculation - the practice of making high-risk investments in hopes of getting a higher return.

Buying on margin

option that allowed investors to buy a stock for a fraction of its price, and borrow the rest.

Supply began to out-weigh demand, and goods couldn’t be sold. Associated industries also slumped.

Rural banks failed trying to help farmers who couldn’t repay their loans. President Coolidge also twice vetoed a bill to help farmers.


The Stock Market Crash

The stock market peaked in September of 1929, and prices for many stocks soared far above their real value in terms of the company’s earnings and assets.

Stock prices began to fall, and some brokers began to call in loans, while others loaned even more.

On October 23, the Dow Jones average had fallen 21 points in an hour. On Oct. 24, investors began to sell, and stock prices fell.

Bankers stabilized prices by pooling money to buy stock, but this only worked for a few days.

Investors raced to get their money out, and this panic led to the collapse of the stock market on Black Tuesday.

Black Tuesday

October 29, 1929.

The crash was a part of the nation’s business cycle, or the span in which the economy grows and contracts.

The crash was


felt only by the people who had invested heavily in the stock market.

The effects rippled out to the rest of the nation through the banks.

Banks loaned out large sums of money to risky businesses, as well as to individuals.


The Stock Market Crash

Panicked people made runs on banks in order to get their money out, and banks couldn’t pay back all the money since those deposits had been loaned out.

This led to widespread bank failures that wiped out many people’s savings.

Businesses cut back production, and in turn had to lay off many employees.

As people spent less and less, production was further reduced.

This was the beginning of the Great Depression.

After large businesses failed, small businesses began to feel the effects.

Because of the interdependence of the international economy, America’s economic depression spread to the rest of the world.

The stock market crash did not cause the Great Depression

both were symptoms of underlying problems.

The 1920s lacked a firm base, as wealth was not evenly distributed. Wealthy families tended to save and invest rather than buy goods.


that was based on borrowed money.

Mistakes in governmental policies also included the Federal Reserve limiting the money supply, leaving too little money in circulation to help the economy recover after the Great Crash.


Social Effects of the Depression

Poverty was widespread.

Homeless people built shantytowns known as


, mocking Hoover who many blamed for the Depression.

The environmental disaster of the Dust Bowl compounded problems.

Farming practices caused severe erosion that was made worse by severe drought.

Many people left due to lack of money and the severe dust storms.

The lack of jobs caused a rise in discrimination.


Surviving the Great Depression

Farmers supported each other by working together to help those in foreclosure.

In penny auctions, farmers would bid very low on land and farm equipment. Then, the buyers would return the property to the original owner.

Thousands of teenagers left their homes in the mid-1930s and began riding the rails on freight trains.

Prohibition was overturned with the passage of the Twenty-First Amendment.

People used humor as a way to get through the hard times.


The Election of 1932

President Hoover did very little after the Great Crash, and insisted that businesses take voluntary controls to end the financial crisis.

Hoover was committed to his philosophy of government, up to the point that people began to blame him for the Depression.

Hawley-Smoot Tariff

the highest import tax in history. Backfired when it caused Europeans to raise their tariffs too, and international trade slowed.

Reconstruction Finance Corporation

program that gave government credit to large institutions. The idea was that helping the top would help the bottom. Ultimately, didn’t really work.

Bonus Army

WWI veterans who marched on Washington demanding a pension bonus.

Hoover was the Republican candidate in 1932, with Franklin Delano Roosevelt as his opponent.

Roosevelt had a compassion for the people most affected by the Depression, and he was willing to experiment with the government to try to help.

The election came down to the argument of whether the government could not and should not try to fix people’s problems, or that the government should fix large scale problems like the Depression.

FDR won by a huge margin, but mostly because he was not Hoover rather than for his ideas.


Forging a New Deal

The first thing FDR had to deal with was a second Bonus Army march.

His wife, Eleanor, went out to the second Bonus Army and spoke with them. By doing so, she demonstrated compassion that soothed fears.

New Deal

the relief, recovery, and reform programs implemented by FDR’s administration to combat the Great Depression.

During his hundred days, FDR pushed many programs through Congress.

His first action was to inspect the banks to ensure that they were okay. This restored Americans’ confidence in the banks.

People began to deposit more, and with more cash, banks were able to start loaning money that helped stimulate the economy.

Congress also passed the Glass-


Banking Act of 1933, which established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to insure bank deposits.

Federal Securities Act

required companies to make their finances public if they sold stock.

Securities and Exchange Commission

set up to regulate the stock market


Forging A New Deal

Public works programs – government funded projects to build public facilities.

Civilian Conservation Corps – program that employed young men by having them maintain beaches, forests, and parks.

Civil Works Administration – gave unemployed jobs working on building or maintaining roads, parks, airports, and other facilities.

Tennessee Valley Authority – helped farmers and created jobs by reactivating a hydroelectric power facility.

FDR’s administration broke new ground by appointing a woman to the Cabinet, as well as hiring African Americans in policymaking posts.

After New Deal programs did not significantly lift the economy, people became concerned that these programs were giving the federal government too much power.

In 1935, FDR pushed ahead with more programs known as the Second New Deal. This included more social welfare benefits, stricter controls over business, stronger support for unions, and higher taxes for the rich.

The New Deal pushed forward rural electrification, which pushed up demand for electric appliances. This benefited manufacturing companies and local merchants.


Forging a New deal

Social Security Act - created the Social Security system to provide financial security to people who could not support themselves.

Social Security offers three types of insurance: Old-age pensions and survivors’ benefits, unemployment insurance, and aid for dependents.

Old age pensions are paid into by people’s work, and they could begin drawing at age 65 when they retired.

Unemployment insurance is funded by employers with more than eight employees, and the government distributed the money to people who lost their jobs.

Dependents included children, the blind, and the disabled, and the government gave grants to states to help support needy individuals.

In 1936, FDR won every state but Maine and Vermont with a 523-8 vote count.


The New Deal’s Critics

The New Deal did put women at a disadvantage. Some codes did permit lower wages for women’s work in some cases, and in keeping with the times, men were given preference.

Federal relief programs in the South reinforced segregation, and African Americans as a rule were not offered jobs at a professional level.

African Americans were also kept out of skilled labor on dam and electric power projects, as well as being paid less for the same work.

Social Security also initially did not cover nearly two thirds of African Americans because it did not cover farmers and domestic workers until the 1950s.

The New Deal did not end discriminatory practices in the North either. White businesses in predominately black neighborhoods could still employ all white staff.

Politically, many Republicans felt that the New Deal did too much.

Many wealthy people disagreed with programs such as the TVA and rural electrification which they felt were too socialistic.

The American Liberty League was formed to protest the New Deal, and said that programs such as Social Security unemployment insurance were unconstitutional and limited American freedoms.


The New Deal’s Critics

Progressives and Socialists said that the New Deal didn’t do enough.

Demagogues – leaders who manipulate people with half-truths, deceptive promises, and scare tactics.

Two infamous demagogues of the era were Father Coughlin and Huey Long who both initially supported FDR, but later broke and had large followings.

The New Deal has modern critics as well. Many disagree with job distribution, policies of paying farmers not to plant in a time of hunger, and deficit spending.

Deficit spending – paying out more money from the annual federal budget than the government receives in revenue.

FDR finally received much criticism from his attempt to add justices to the Supreme Court.


Last Days of the New Deal

While the New Deal halted the downward spiral of the Depression, it did not make things much better.

In 1937, the economy entered another recession.

Because of new labor laws, strikes became common.

Radio and movies became an outlet for people, and notable movies of the era include

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington


The Wizard of Oz,

and Disney’s

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

. Disney also delighted crowds with his humorous Mickey Mouse cartoons.

FDR also earmarked funds to support the arts since he believed they were not luxuries to be given up in hard times. These funds help support artists, community art programs, and the preservation of local folk music and art.

The New Deal brought about several changes in American life. Americans began to expect Presidents to formulate programs to help solve problems.

The TVA, SEC, and FDIC still exist and work according to the plans set down during the Depression.

Social Security is still in place and has been amended to serve a wider array of Americans.

The New Deal’s greatest achievement was hope. Troubles weren’t over, but people began to hope again.