Social issues and policies in the United States during the 1920s

Category: 1920, Eugenics, Prohibition
Last Updated: 02 Apr 2023
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1. Two philosophies, Social Darwinism and eugenics, were two philosophies that affected societal actions from the 1900s well into the late 1920s. Examine the social issue of Social Darwinism and eugenics. Assess the consequences these two issues had for individuals and society in general; consider how the fallacy of these two issues was brought to light. (6a) 2. Red Scare- The U. S. experienced inflation at the end of WWI and this inflation resulted in riots and a. What main ideas prompted the Red Scare? b. Compare and contrast the Red Scare with Social Darwinism. (6a) 3.

Immigration- Immigration was a contentious issue for the country during the 1920s; the United States passed the National Origins Act in 1929. a. As a citizen of the 1920s, question your congressional representative by assessing the social and economic consequences of this act. (6a) b. Speculate on that you think what the societal impact of present day immigration policies is. 4. Prohibition- The prohibition era was ushered in by the 18th Amendment which outlawed the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages; however, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th amendment in 1933. (6a) a.

Identify the ideas and the historical highlights that led to the Prohibition era. b. Analyze the positive and negative effects of this era. 5. The Changing role of women- The text describes the 1920s as a time of the emergence of the “New” woman (Carnes 647). a. Evaluate the democratic means used to bring about the passage of the 19th amendment. In other words, what democratic processes were utilized to achieve this victory? (23b) b. Analyze the impact of the 19th amendment which changed the role of women? c. Preview the characteristics of the new woman and describe the impact that technology played in bringing about this change. 6a) d. How are women’s roles changing this today and how does these changes affect men? 6. Urban-Rural conflicts emerged during the 1920s and one of these conflicts was fundamentalism. “Fundamentalists rejected the theory of evolution as well as advanced the hypotheses on the origins of the universe. ” (Carnes: 653). Part of rejecting this theory was to prevent schools from teaching the theory of evolution in science classes. a. Describe the court case mentioned in chapter 24 that tested this issue. b. Distinguish between the roles played by Clarence Darrow and William Jennings. c.

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Think critically about the evidence presented by both lawyers and prepare questions that you would have asked them had you been the judge in this case. 7. New Technology flourished during the 1920s and brought a measure of prosperity to the country. Among the new technology was the automobile industry which thrived during the 1920s as a result of consumer demands. a. Assess the impact that Henry Ford had on the auto industry and on American society. (6b) b. Assess the impact that the automobile had on society. 8. Aviation Technology- The Great War hastened the evolution of airplane technology.

Many new pilots showed off their aviation skills performing aerial acrobats and other adventurous feats at county shows in the 1920s. But an early aviation pioneer, Charles Lindberg, achieved a different type of aviation accomplishment in the 1920s. a. Examine the impact that this event and Lindberg had on the field of aviation and on American society. Thinking Critically In a paragraph, synthesize your thoughts about the cause and effect of the significant events, social issues and individuals of the 1920; consider how this decade contributed to the history of the United States and the identity of its citizens.

Intro (revise): The 1920s enabled the United States to assume a greater economic role on the world stage. Unlike the major European powers at the time, the U. S. did not have to rebuild its economic infrastructure following World War I, enabling it to flourish and exhibit influence over many aspects of life during this decade. This included an increase in item production, the emergence of the automobile and the radio, and changes in American social and cultural life. The 1920s were an important decade in American history.

This would be the decade that laid the foundation for the journey that would propel the United States to the status of greatest world power. The 1920s had an impact on all parts of the American development. {{Consider: Ninety years ago, the United States was a different place. There were 107 million people living here; life expectancy was 54 years for men and 55 for women; the average annual salary was $1,236, and Gangland crime was rampant in major cities. The Ford automobile was mass produced and one could be had for $290 — although it took 13 days to reach California from New York due to the lack of paved roads.

And, On Aug. 26, 1920, women were granted political power for the first time. }} Social Darwinism/Eugenics: Social Darwinism was a popular theory of society that emerged in the late 19th/early 20th century. It was the ideology that people are the products of their social environments– that poverty is in fact a social condition and that people become criminals because of social and economic conditions, etc. It developed the belief that society's problems were not caused by oppressive economic conditions, but rather that social problems were caused by genetic inferiority.

This was adopted by many wealthy and upper-class Americans and was related to the development of the ideology of "Social Darwinism," the idea that certain people were "genetically" more fit and that the more fit legitimately had the right to rule the inferior. The idea that poverty, crime and ignorance are a product of social conditions was a threat to the dominant members of society because the call was for these dominant members of society to reform their ways to create increased equality for all people.

It is out of all of these ideas that the American eugenics programs began, funded by wealthy Americans such as Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller. The idea was that people were born poor or born criminal, etc. They were "bad seeds", and thus the problem of poverty was not really a social problem, it was a problem of bloodline, to be fixed by selective breeding programs, forced sterilization, and the maintenance of "racial purity". Racial purity was the idea that races "should not mix" out of the fear that if whites and blacks ixed the inferior black bloodline would "corrupt" the white bloodline, leading to more crime, poverty, and ignorance. Between 1900 and 1930 in the United States, support for eugenics continued to grow. The fallacy of selective breeding in humans was only realized when the wealthy were suddenly poor, and the reality of genocide had demonstrated the extreme end of eugenics—in other words, with the shock of the Great Depression and the rise of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, which ushered in the Holocaust.

But the dissolution of eugenics in the United States was a slow process, because racial discrimination persisted. Involuntary sterilization laws, enacted in the early 1900s, were finally repealed in 1979. The Red Scare: The Red Scare of 1919 occurred at a time when the American people felt threatened by the rising tide of Communism in Russia, widespread labor unrest, and the often bizarre forms of Anarchism and Anarcho-syndicalism that were supported by some recent immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe.

The Scare itself was caused by the revelation in April of that year that a militant Communist group existed in the United States, and that it was plotting to send mail bombs to a number of prominent figures in the government (Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, for example) and several rich capitalists (J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, among others). On June 2nd 1919, bombs exploded in eight different cities within an hour of each other. One of the targets was Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, whose home was bombed. He was unharmed, but very angry! The most important government response was the beginning of the Palmer Raids.

These were a series of mass arrests and deportations of immigrants who were suspected of being Communists or radicals. Between 4,000 and 10,000 individuals were arrested over the next two years. (J. Edgar Hoover, only 24 at the time, was placed in charge of the Raids). Prisoners were questioned without access to attorneys and their bail was often set so high none could afford it. Many were beaten during their arrest or questioning. The raids were initially highly praised by the public and press. In the early years of the 1920s, the scare seemed to disappear as quickly as it had begun. Immigration:

Passed in 1924, this law placed a limit on immigration. Americans were becoming outraged at the amount of jobs they were losing to immigrants and there was also a wide-spread panic of potential spies amongst the immigrants. The act sharply restricted the total number of immigrants who could come to the United States and established quotas for various nationality groups. The chief purpose of the act was to limit the number of "less desirable" immigrants from southern and eastern Europe and from Japan, many of whom had played a vital role in the nation's industrial development. The Prohibition:

Prohibition was a period of nearly fourteen years of U. S. history in which the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor was made illegal. It led to the first and only time an Amendment to the U. S. Constitution was repealed. After the American Revolution, drinking was on the rise. To combat this, a number of societies were organized as part of a new Temperance movement which attempted to dissuade people from becoming intoxicated. At first, these organizations pushed moderation, but after several decades, the movement's focus changed to complete prohibition of alcohol consumption.

The Temperance movement blamed alcohol for many of society's ills, especially crime and murder. Saloons, a social haven for men who lived in the still untamed West, were viewed by many, especially women, as a place of debauchery and evil. Prohibition, members of the Temperance movement urged, would stop husbands from spending all the family income on alcohol and prevent accidents in the workplace caused by workers who drank during lunch. Changing Role of Women: The Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote.

It was proposed on June 4, 1919 and ratified on August 18, 1920. Consequently, the impact of this was enormous--it gave to women the same power and control that men had, although still held back by the values of the day. But it did create a strong influence and created a cultural impact. It gave women of the era more confidence and a sense that they could accomplish more. --and a thirst for more freedoms in a world where previously they were considered second class and only as a man's property. The lifestyle changes of the 1920's showed how big and important that impact was.

Women became much more confident and wanted to utilize this new "power" in other areas, too. They gave up many of the "controlling" aspects of the Victorian age, from the long and buttoned up clothes to new aspects of personal freedom--they started to live outside the confines of being a wife and homemaker--women got jobs outside the home, they started playing sports, they shortened their dressed and bobbed their hair--and had fun! The Roaring Twenties was a new age, and an age where women first started enjoying more freedom and influence.

That has continued on to this day, although there is still work needed to level the playing field between men and women. Technology: He had a huge impact on society by inventing and mass producing the Model-T car, which made cars all the rage from that point onward. He is basically the father of the modern auto industry. He also helped America out of the Depression when he contributed to build the Hoover Dam, which at the time when it was built was the largest hydro-electric dam in the world.

Aviation Technology: Charles A. Lindbergh did not just open a passageway to Europe; he opened up the hopes and interests of people who never thought they would see beyond their continental boundaries. His flight opened up possibilities. Prior to Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, it seemed travel was confined to the ground or the sea; and even cars and wagons were blocked by waterways or treacherous terrain, and boats exposed to rough seas. Travel had boundaries rior to Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic, but after his flight people could see beyond those boundaries. Works Cited: Social Darwinism: Consequences: http://rationalrevolution. net/articles/rise_of_american_fascism. htm http://www. vectorsite. net/taevo_05. html Fallacy brought to light: http://www. freemarketfoundation. com/ShowArticle. asp? ArticleType=Publication&ArticleID=170 http://immigration. laws. com/national-origins-act

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