Chapter 21 -- A Society in Turmoil (The Demands of African Americans…
Chapter 21 -- A Society in Turmoil
Industry and Labor
Directly after the war, there was a severe recession in the US, drawing the public mind away from the Treaty of Versailles
The fighting had ended sooner than the people expected, causing an abrupt end to the wartime economy.
Raging inflation occurred as a result of a quick abandonment of wartime controls
5 million Americans lost their jobs to this recession
laborers were worried about job security as hundreds of thousands of veterans returned home
as a result, there was a severe rise in strikes during 1919
Boston Police Strike
The Boston police force was responding to wage cuts and layoffs
When the police went on strike, violence ensued. The efforts of locals to calm the city did not prevail
Governor Calvin Coolidge called in the National Guard to restore order. This was his statement "there is no right to strike against the public safety of anybody, anywhere, any time."
Coolidge fired the entire Boston police force and hired new ones
Steelworkers' strike defeated
September 1919 is when 350,000 workers in several easter and midwestern cities walked off the job. This was the greatest strike in American history
violence occurred as employers called for armed guards to dispersed the picket lines
AFL first endorsed the strike, but then had to break it up, which lowered their membership for more than a decade
The Demands of African Americans
Nearly 400,000 African-Americans returned from the war ready for complete integration into white society
Many African-Americans who remained at home during the war also believed that their men overseas would give their people enough glory for their race to be treated as equal citizens to whites
however, the fact that these men fought for the US barely changed white attitudes
The war raised the standards of African-Americans, creating a determination to fight for their rights. The war also provided many of them with much more supportive jobs than they were used to, furthering their anger at the postwar's efforts to go back to old society.
Actuality of racial climate
There was an increase in lynchings in the South
Northern factory owners laid these workers off as white veterans returned
Even blacks in northern cities faced more racist opposition than before
Chicago Race Riot -- a black teenager accidentally started swimming toward a white beach. Whites stoned him unconcious and he drowned. This started a huge riot in which blacks and whites traversed into their respective villages and killed many. 120 people died in Chicago due to race riots during that summer 1919.
The NAACP encouraged blacks to defend themselves and fight back, a new outlook to previous relations
Marcus Garvey began a movement called Black Nationalism where he urged blacks to reject assimilation and to take pride in their superior culture. He also encouraged many Americans to return to Africa.
The movement died out when he was charged with business fraud.
and its Aftermath
The Red Scare was formed as a response to fears about the power of Communism and the Comintern (or Communist International's) commitment to spread the revolution all around the world.
The National Communist party was formed in 1919 by radicals who had caused trouble in their countries before they moved to the US
in summer of 1919, 8 bombs went off in major US cities suggesting nationwide conspiracy.
The Post of Department intercepted several dozen parcels that were filled with bombs to be sent to public officials around the nation. The communists were blamed for this issue
In 1920, there was a terrible explosion in front of the Morgan bank which killed thirty people
As a result, many Americans began a fight against radicalism known as
the red scare
Anti radical newspapers made every form of instability sound like a revolution
30 states passed laws giving penalties to those who promoted a revolution
NYC police attacked the socialist newspaper's employees
Citizens began removing "subversive" books off the shelves
Attorney general A. Mitchell Palmer orchestrated raides on radical centers all over the country, arresting 6,000 people
The raids were supposed to find weapons, but they only found 3 pistoles. Some "revolutionaries" that were found not to be American citizens were deported (approx. 500)
Sacco and Vanzetti
Were two Italian immigrants who were charged with murder of a paymaster in Massachusetts. The evidence was questionable, but they faced widespread dissent because they were both confessed anarchists
They were sentenced to death
Efforts against the Red Scare -- The Democratic Party nipped Palmer in the bud, causing distaste of the party. The National Civil Liberties Union became supportive of "fighting faiths".
The Retreat from Idealism
Because of the 19th amendment, Congress became interested in the fairings of the voting block of women (assuming that they would all vote the same way
as a result the
policy was enacted (see next chapter for details.
Also caused the proposal, which was never ratified, to end child labor
Republican representative in 1920, Warren Gamaliel Harding, expressed the concern of some a Americans via their want to "return to normalcy" as he put it. He beat the Democratic candidate by a long shot