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					“Silent ____________________” CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO, “THE POLITICS OF BOOM AND BUST: 1920-1932” “The haves and the have-notes can often be traced back to the dids and the did-nots.” – D. O. Flynn

MAIN QUESTION FOR CHAPTER: To what extent did attitudes toward immigrants and women change in the early twentieth century?

Word or phrase demagogue (760)

Meaning in context someone who appeals to people’s emotions and prejudices to advance personal political ends

Most Relevant Theme(s)

Identification 1. Andrew W. Mellon was Harding’s Secretary of the Treasury and a multimillionaire collector of paintings. He was like a treasure in a heap of trash (Harding’s cabinet was mostly corrupt; he was one of the three good members) (CK). He was like a coin sorter, keeping track of the nation’s financial affairs (JM).


2. Adkins v. Children’s Hospital reversed the Muller v. Oregon ruling; instead of offering protection for women in the workplace, the Supreme Court said that now that women had suffrage, they were equal and no longer needed special protection. This was like what Spiderman was told about his abilities: ―With great power comes great responsibility.‖ The power (suffrage) was gained, so responsibility for protecting oneself increased (EFT). It was like cooking a meal whose recipe you had developed (Muller v. Oregon) and enjoying it greatly, but then becoming sick and throwing it up (AB.

3. The Esch-Cummins Transportation Act of 1920 was passed by Congress and, to the disappointment of the progressives who wanted to see government-operated lines, encouraged private consolidation of the railroads and pledged the Interstate Commerce Commission to guarantee their profitability. This new philosophy, that the railroads needed to be saved for the country and put in private hands, is like a hungry fisherman who is fishing with only a hook and not catching many fish who then sacrifices his nice way of bait-less fishing by handing his rod to the successful fisherman standing next to him who promises that he will catch him a ton of fish by using his fancy bait and lures (Alyssa).

4. In order to get out of the shipping business after the war, the federal government passed the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. The act authorized the Shipping Board, which controlled about fifteen hundred vessels, to dispose much of the hastily built wartime fleet at bargain-basement prices. This is like a blow out sale at The Gap when all the prices are reduced in order to get rid of last season’s line (AG).

5. The American Legion was an organization of veterans founded in Paris in 1919 by Teddy Roosevelt. It was distinguished by militant patriotism and antiradicalism and lobbied for veterans’ benefits, including adjusted compensation to make up for the factory wages lost by soldiers during their service. The legion was similar to the Boy Scouts of America, which provides boys with an opportunity to meet and blow off steam but is also influential in each chapter’s community (Meri).

6. Passed in 1924, after Congress overrode Coolidge’s veto, the Adjusted Compensation Act gave every former soldier a paid-up insurance policy due in 20 years, adding $3.5 billion to the costs of World War One. The act was similar to parents placating their children by increasing their allowance for doing their household duties (Meri).

7. Signed in 1922, the Five-power Naval Treaty ensured a 5:5:3 ratio of battleships for the US, Britain and Japan, respectively. As a compensation to Japan, the US and Britain agreed not to fortify their Far East possessions, while Japan had no such restrictions. It was like older siblings, each with a later bedtime, giving their younger sibling an ice cream sundae to smooth over any resentment (Meri). 8. Four-Power Treaty – as a further compensation to Japan for the Five-Power Naval Treaty, this treaty replaced the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and bound Britain, Japan, France, and the US to preserve the status quo in the Pacific. Afterward, however, the US declared that it had made no commitment to the use of armed force or joint action, rendering the treaty useless. It was like a group of upperclassmen agreeing to organize a dance for the younger students, but when one older student decides it’s not cool, the whole plan falls apart, and the dance never happens (Meri).

9. The Nine Powers Treaty was signed in 1922 when the Washington Conference agreed to enforce the Open Door Policy in China. It was like the TV show Survivor when all the contestants agree to gang up on one other contestant to ensure their place in the next round of the show (Meri).

10. Kellogg-Briand Pact was known officially as the Pact of Paris. Sixty-two nations signed this pact agreeing to foreswear war as an instrument of national policy, although it still allowed for defensive wars, a loophole that rendered the document virtually useless. It was like when a child agrees not to let their parents see them causing trouble, as they can rationalize their actions by saying that it’s okay if no one sees them doing it (Meri).

11. The Fordney-McCumber Tariff (1922) was one of the first of many high tariff laws to be passed by Congress under the Republican regimes of Harding and Coolidge. The tariff increased duties on farm produce and the principle was proclaimed that the general rates were designed to equalize the cost of American and foreign production. Enacting this tariff was like giving the Americans the choice of getting their groceries from either Market Basket (U.S. goods) or Whole Foods (foreign goods) (AG). 12. “Teapot Dome” was a scandal in which secretary of state Albert B. Fall was bribed to lease the naval oil reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming and Elk Hills in California to oilmen Harry F. Sinclair and Edward L. Doheny. Fall ended up serving one year in prison while Sinclair and Doheny were acquitted, causing a loss of faith in the court system by Americans. The scandal was like drug users being incarcerated while dealers run free, as the bribed was sent to jail while the bribers were exonerated (Meri). 13. Capper-Volstead Act was an act that exempted farmers’ marketing cooperatives from antitrust prosecution. It was similar to the distinction between ―white‖ lies, which are okay because they are just told to spare someone’s feelings, and real, bad lies, which cover illicit actions and hurt the parties involved (Meri). 14. US occupations of Haiti and Nicaragua were the exceptions to America’s isolationist indifference to the outside world, with US troops occupying Haiti from 1914-1934, and Nicaragua from 1909-1925 and 1926-1933 (Meri).

15. After Germany defaulted on reparation payments to France, the French army sent troops into the Ruhr Valley, the most industrialized area in Germany, and took over the factories, hoping to gain a profit equal to the money owed to them by Germany. As a result the German government allowed its currency to inflate astronomically as revenge. This would be like a friend who was owed gas money by another friend and decided to hijack the friend’s car and drive it until the gas used was equivalent to the gas that was owed, so the other friend drained the gas tank as revenge (SDW).

16. The Dawes Plan was a system devised by the US to help repair the international economy. American investors would lend money to Germany who would pay off its debts to France and England, who could then pay off their money to the US. The plan also changed the German reparation payments, making it easier for Germany to pay on time. This is like the episode of Kid Nation in which the town council decided to trade a member of each district to another district. The districts were unbalanced and even though one of the districts (the US) was very successful, the others (Germany, France, and England) worked poorly together, so the best district sacrificed a player so the town as a whole would work better (SDW).

17. Democrat Alfred E. Smith was nominated for the 1928 presidential race against Herbert Hoover. Nicknamed ―the Happy Warrior,‖ Smith was a wisecracking, glad-handing liberal. Both a Catholic and an alcoholic, Smith had hardly any hope of becoming president. Smith’s chances were similar to the chances of a pig winning a marathon against Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot—three-time winner of the Boston Marathon (AG). 18. The Agricultural Marketing Act (1929) was passed under Hoover’s administration at a time when stocks were soaring, but farmers were still not benefiting. It was designed to help the farmers help themselves, largely through producers’ cooperatives and set up the Federal Farm Board, with a fund of half a billion dollars. This act was like one of those books that you find in the self-help section of Barnes and Nobles (AG).

19. The Grain Stabilization Corporation was a group created in 1930 by the Federal Farm Board for the purpose of buying excess produce from farmers. The goal was to bolster falling prices, but the group failed when prices dropped dramatically and there was simply too much excess produce to buy. This would be like the people who rush to the store the day a new X Box comes out and buy 20 in hopes of later reselling the products on EBay and making a profit, but later realizing that there were plenty of X Boxes at the store so no one would want theirs (SDW).

20. The Hawley- Smoot Tariff, passed in 1930, was originally designed to be a simple, protective measure for farmers, but after passing through the senate with the help of powerful lobbyists it had completely morphed. It became a monstrous document, nearing almost 1,000 amendments, and became the highest protective tariff in US peacetime history. The duty on ―nonfree‖ goods was raised from 38.5 percent to almost 60 percent. This was similar to the protective tariff on manufactured goods, or the Tariff of Abominations in 1828, on steroids. It is a similar idea, but to a much larger scale (SDW).

21. After a British effort to take in more capital by raising interest rates, American investors sold their stock in a furry. On October 29, 1929, ―Black Tuesday,‖ 16,410,030 shares of stock were sold, causing huge economic repercussions that plunged the US into the Great Depression. This would be like a celebrity saying that she really liked a particular store and thousands of girls rushing to the store to buy clothes over the course of a week. But by the end of that week, the same celebrity said that the store was no longer cool and all the girls returned the items that they had bought forcing the store that had already spent most of the money on ordering more clothes into bankruptcy (SDW). 22. ―Hoovervilles,‖ shantytowns nicknamed after President Herbert Hoover, were established during the Great Depression. People who were homeless, destitute, and desperate constructed shacks out of any materials they could find (cardboard, tin cans, scrap wood). Hundreds of shacks that sprang up in one place to create a ―town‖ created a ―Hooverville.‖ Many ―Hoovervilles‖ sprang up across the country during the Great Depression. It was like when people camp out at ticket booths before concerts in tents, except these people had no other options for housing (Julia M).

23. Herbert Hoover was described as a “rugged individualist.‖ This attitude made him worry that if the government was to give hand-outs the ―moral fiber‖ of the American people would be destroyed. In other words he withheld funds from the government because he feared that if the people were given aid they would be less likely to work hard to earn money when jobs were available. This is like when teachers give hard, practically impossible assignments, even when they know they are flawed simply because they believe a ―struggle‖ will turn students into better people (SDW).

24. The most imposing of the new public enterprises, the Hoover Dam was a gigantic dam on the Colorado River. It created a manmade lake for purposes of irrigation, flood control, and electric power. It was like a diagnosis in that it was a quick response to the Great Depression just as a diagnosis is a quick response to an illness (RM).

25. The Muscle Shoals Bill, a bill that intended to dam the Tennessee River, was supported by Franklin Roosevelt’s Tennessee Valley Authority. Hoover, viewing the bill as ―socialistic,‖ vetoed it because it would cause the government to compete with its own citizens and private companies in selling electricity. Hoover’s actions surrounding the bill led Congress to establish the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932. This would be like Comcast becoming the official TV service affiliated with the government, wiping out other companies like HDTV and Cablevision; Hoover’s veto would allow everyone to compete equally without one company being favored by the government (Julia M). 26. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) (1932) under Congress’s approval became a government lending bank. It was designed to provide indirect relief by assisting insurance companies, banks, agricultural organizations, railroads, and state and local governments. This in a way bypassed Hoover’s stern rugged individualist ideal. The RFC was like a much needed soup kitchen in a poor city (Jon).

27. The Norris-La Guardia Anti-Injunction Act (1932), passed by Congress and signed by Hoover, outlawed antiunion contracts and forbade the federal courts to ban strikes, boycotts, and peaceful picketing. The act provided benefits for labor and maintained the people’s First Amendment. This would be like if the principal of a school forbade teachers from not allowing students to protest homework assignments and assessments in class. The principal (Hoover) would make the students (American workers) happy because they would have the right to speak up if they were being overworked (Julia M). 28. The ―Bonus Army” was a large group of impoverished World War One veterans who marched on Washington demanding that their bonuses. They set up camp in vacant lots and refused to leave until their bonuses were paid. Hoover charged that they were led by riffraff and had one of his generals kick them out by force, an act that lessened Hoover’s popularity dramatically. This would be like a large group of retired men and women asking for their social security payments all at once rather than over time, and the government refusing to pay because it didn’t have enough money (SDW).

29. The Japanese seized the opportunity to conquer Manchuria (1931) in September while the Great Depression consumed the Western world. Although the Americans had few economic aspirations in China, they were insulted because Japan had violated many international agreements. Suggestions to put economic pressure on Japan were unsuccessful in creating boycotts or blockade; the U.S. decided to warn Japan by proclaiming the Stimson doctrine (the U.S. would not recognize any territorial acquisitions achieved by force). This would be like if two siblings agreed with their parents not to fight and one sibling lunged at another’s favorite toy. The other sibling would feel taken advantage of (like the U.S.) and would ignore her sibling’s claims to that toy (Julia M).

30. After the Japanese invasion of China the Hoover- Stimson Doctrine was passed in 1932. It stated that the US would not recognize any territorial acquisitions attained by force. This was merely a ―slap on the wrist‖ to Japan because the US took no real action to stop them. This was a clear display of the US’s weakness at this time; the Japanese were able to exploit the US’s weak economy and political leaders to invade China with no real repercussions. This would be a like a teacher stating in front of the class that anyone who cheated would get a zero, but ignoring the students who still decided to cheat (SDW).

Other Questions to Consider


To what extent did the United States successfully pursue an isolationist foreign policy in this era?


Is it fair to compare Presidents Grant and Harding?


Evaluate the presidency of Calvin Coolidge. How successful was he?


To what extent was Hoover responsible for the Great Depression?


How should we rate Herbert Hoover? What is the role of government, especially in the economy?

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