How far was the USA intolerant in the 1920’s? The roaring 20’s was a period of economic boom and prosperity, but there was a darker underside to this. American society was undergoing vast changes in the early twentieth century. The world was changing and America was not to be left behind. In the past America had been a very intolerant society with slavery being one of its key industries and although it operated a ‘melting pot’ open door policy was the white, Anglo Saxon, Protestant (W. A. S. P) society really as open minded as they liked to believe about the mixture of other cultures?
The aim of this essay is to try and explore how intolerant American society really was, looking into the key areas of racism, political and religion intolerance and the other side of the argument. After the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan, used terrorist tactics to frighten former slaves. A new version of the Ku Klux Klan started to rise during the early 1920s. Throughout that time period, immigration, fear of radicalism,and foreigners were only the most obvious targets of the Klan. Bootleggers and divorcees were also targets.
Contributing to the Klan’s growth was a post-war depression, the migration of African Americans into Northern cities. The Klan efforts were directed against African Americans, Jews, Catholics, and immigrants. . Lynchings (of Blacks, mostly) were still common. The Civil Rights Act didn’t even exist, and “Jim Crow” laws (separate drinking fountains, seats on buses, ability to own property in certain areas) were uncontrolled, not only in the South. Latinos in California had their land stolen basically worked for slave wages on farms there.
Chinese and Japanese immigrants were also badly treated and like Blacks and Jews, herded into segregated neighbourhoods, usually nicknamed “Chinatown”. Even Italian and Irish immigrants were seen as second-class citizens and along with many Jews. There was also Religious intolrane in the 20’s like scopes or the monkey trial, what kicked it off was that a biology teacher (Scopes) was teaching evolution to his class, but this was against the state law. There is almost a general agreement that this was, however a set up, and Scopes merely taught evolution.
Scopes was then taken to trial, and was crossed by ex-candidate William jennings Bryan.. He argued that the bible was correct and that Scopes should have been punished. This happened in roughly the early 1900′. This lasted maybe a week, and the judge gave Scopes only a small fine. Political intolerance, had an open door policy which meant that anyone one in a any race, religion could come to America, however these immigrants were treated unfairly, poor living and standard jobs. The red scare casused a wave a strikes in the 1919 .
There were two of them, both based on the growing sense of anti-communism. The first one was in the 20’s, and it was the growing fear on americans about communism taking over the US capitalist society by revolution and political people. The second one occurred in the 50’s, which focused on the fear of communism infiltrating the US government (eg corruption). The Palmer Raids were a number of attacks on Socialists and Communists in the United States from 1918 to 1921. The raids are named after Alexander Mitchell Palmer, United States Attorney General under Woodrow Wilson.
Palmer stated his belief that Communism was “eating its way into the homes of the American workman,” and that American Communists were responsible for most of the country’s social problems. Sacco and Vanzetti ( were two Italian anarchists, who were arrested, tried, and executed in Massachusetts in the 1920s on charges of murder of a shoe factory paymaster, security guard and of robbery, The murders and robbery happened in April 1920, with three robbers. Only Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of the crime.
Judge Webster Thayer, who heard the case, supposable described the two as “anarchist bastards”. They were electrocuted in Massachusetts in 1927. In October 1961, ballistic tests showed that the bullet was fired from Sacco’s gun, leading many people to conclude that Vanzetti probably was innocent, Sacco probably was guilty. Women didn’t get the vote until 1920, but it didn’t improve tolerance for their rights much. They were still seen as less than equal, discouraged in pursuing higher education and told their only purpose was to be a wife and mother. The flappers! n the 1920’s came new and shocking fashions — SHORT skirts that came all the way up to just below the knee! NO corsets! SHORT hairstyles for women (bobbed hair)! and young women began going out on dates with their boyfriends — without chaperones!! Jazz became the hot new popular music of the day, and jazz dances like the Charleston and the Black Bottom became all the rage as well. It was all VERY different from what the older generation was used to. The 19th amendment, says that -‘The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on ccount of sex’. -‘Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriatelegislation’. The cause of racism is usually ignorance or intolerance of someone who is of a different colour. Racism during the twenties became more pronounced by the popularity of the Ku Klux Klan, whose membership rose to nearly three million members during that decade. Racism expanded over a great deal of suffrage. Verbal and physical abuse, church burnings, house burnings and murder in cold blood. Hibah khan