Segment descriptions
Politics & Society in
     20th Century America
Roaring 20s, Part 1     

           Description: Fascism 2

  Roaring 20s, Part 1
      sampler  1-19   (63 lecture)

Why in the 1920s is Benito Mussolini considered an American business hero?

              play sampler


Changes in The Twenties,


Continuity, not sharp contrast .  The popular image of bathtub gin and excitement is  not the full picture.  The immigrants who come by the millions since the late 1800s as cheap labor for the factories are from south and eastern Europe.  They are very different from typical Americans, and despised.  In 1924 and 1925 the U.S. decides it has enough labor, enacts a quota system that favors north and west Europe and restricts south and east Europe.


Anti-radical feelings.  Immigrants are identified with radicals.  After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, there is a fear of the spread of their ideals, fear of anarchists.  The great cause of Sacco & Vanzetti, which turned some people to more radicalism.


Wilsonian Moralism.  President Wilson has a self-righteous sense of absolute certainty which greatly influences events.  The Prohibition Amendment. .


The Scopes Trial, which pits modernism against creationism.  Short term victory for modernism, short term defeat for fundamentalism.


Race.  Mostly ignored, yet another continuation of the Progressive Era. Revival of the KKK in the 1920s, which becomes a force in the Democratic Party, with national influence.


Both political parties are equally conservative.  In economics, a partnership between business and political parties, contrary to rhetoric.  Tendency toward monopolies increases, as small businesses pushed out.


Evolution of economic policy.  Prominence of advertising.  Credit buying.  Electrification of homes.  Rise of the chemical industry for new products.  New industries.  Charles Lindbergh's solo Atlantic flight in 1927.  Finance capitalists are dependent on banks, but Henry Ford is self financing.  Ford's dark side:  acts brutally against unions, is a vicious anti-Semite.