Week six, roaring 20s and great depression

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  • 1. The Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression Dr. John Holmes History 121, U.S After 1877 Diablo Valley College San Ramon Summer 2013

2. WWI: the Watershed of Modernity Before: a different world 1920s: many features of contemporary society modern literature and art sexual mores dress Signature: the automobile Basis: economic transformation Backlash to modernity the other story of the 1920s. Dualities. 3. The Age of the Automobile From a luxury good to mass ownership 1900 4,000 cars in America; 1914 half a million 1929, 23 million car owners, including half of all factory workers America, the first automotive society 4. Economic transformations Urbanization and the farming crisis Automotive age created by: Mass production, the assembly line Mechanization of factories US producing more electricity than rest of world combined Fordism: the affordable car 1920s prosperity includes workers 1922 to 1928: production +70%; GNP 40%; average income +30%; wages +22%, workweek -4% But social inequality increases 5. Birth of the Consumer Society US the first society geared to mass production of consumer goods From producerism to consumerism Workers can participate in the consumer economy Profileration of advertising Pro-business policies of government Coolidge document, 23-1 Critics: Niebuhr, doc. 23-2 6. Social transformation and women Birth of suburbia Changes in the family Suffrage and women in the workforce Revolution in housekeeping Separate spheres and womens professions Women enter public life Changes in sex norms The automobile back seat Contraception: doc. 23-4 Sanger: from the IWW to eugenics The flapper 7. Prequel to the Roaring 20s 1920-22 economic depression From labor offensive to business counteroffensive 1919: The Great Steel Strike Immigrant strike broken by US army William Z. Foster and the U.S. Communist Party David Montgomery: The Fall of the House of Labor Company Unionism and the Red Scare 8. The Great Backlash WWI repression and 100% Americanism Anti-immigrantism: from anti- Germanism to anti-Communism Anti-Semitism in the 1920s Fear for traditional American values Anti-Catholicism and Prohibition Scopes trial: the symbol Outdoor media circus Town picks Scopes for ACLU Social Darwinism vs. Protestant fundamentalism 9. The Ku Klux Klan Birth of American fascism Lynching of Leo Frank Birth of a Nation American values, doc. 23-3 Based in Midwest and West No longer tied to Democratic Party Indiana and California Republicans Demos: 1924 Klanbake Convention An urban Catholic party? From Al Smith to FDR 10. Transformation of Black America The New Negro. doc. 22-5 Immigration cutoff, Great Migration Blacks and immigrants in 20th Century American culture The Jazz Age Black culture and American music Jews as New York intellectuals Birth of Harlem from Jewish to black neighborhood Harlem Renaissance. Claude McKay (p. 748), Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Thurston 11. The Garvey Movement First mass black movement Values of Garveyism: doc. 23-5 Reaction to: White violence vs. the Great Migration Garvey speech after St. Louis riot Republican repudiation of blacks Back to Africa as expression of despair Garvey and KKK: call me a Klansman if you will, but potentially every white man is a Klansman 12. The Great Depression and the Mood of America From optimism to despair Not rebellion but paralysis Suicides among the rich Silence on the breadlines Failure of all American institutions banks -- 24 to 15,000! company unions & benefits Foreclosures and homelessness Huge unemployment--average 20% Lack of public services Rotting food amid widespread hunger 13. Depression Causes: External Results of WWI: US economic domination, but not military League of Nations and isolationism Europe: the Dawes Plan and the debt triangle Success until US bankers stop investing in Germany US entanglement in world economy leads to crash US influence in world only economic/financial Smoot-Hawley and Hitler 14. Domestic Roots of the Depression Genuine internal growth, but also era of wild speculation Marx Brothers and Coconuts 4 million investors in stock market Rich-poor gap: 3/4 of income gains to top 1% of population Consumerism and debt Uneven prosperity: farm crisis, higher wages plus unemployment Coal and textile Stock market crash sign of developing overproduction crisis 15. Depression Economic Theories Traditional explanation: its cyclical Grover Cleveland and Hoover Monetarism: Milton Friedman Interest rates too high under Hoover Was universally accepted Keynesianism: Underconsumption Solution: government spending Dominant interpretation then and again now Marxism: overproduction basic to capitalism 16. The Hoover Administration Elected as expert in disaster relief in Europe Opposes relief for American poor Hoovervilles Relief for banks in 1931 Bonus Army of 1932 Hoover sends US army against it Final crisis of American system? 17. Communists in the Great Depression Attraction of the Soviet model 100,000 US workers apply to emigrate to the Soviet Union Only party of social rebellion Unemployed leagues Physical resistance to foreclosures Farmworkers in California Wins a following among blacks Only anti-racist party in America Wins a following among intellectuals Capitalism bankrupt? 18. Next Class The New Deal and the Great Labor Upheaval of the 1930s Readings: Foner Chapter 21, and Johnson Chapter 24 Video of Flint Sitdown Strike