The USA 1919-1928

From the end of World War One to the coming of the Great Depression.

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Volstead Act (1919)
Volstead Act (1919)
Full text of the Act designed to implement the intent of the 18th Amendment which had established the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the USA. The Act set out what was illegal and how prohibition would be enforced.
Red Scare Image Database
Red Scare Image Database
In the years 1919-1921 the USA was convulsed by both labour radicalism and a strong authoritarian backlash from the state. Leo Robert Klein's database offers an archive of editorial cartoons and clippings that give a sense of the way the Red Scare reflected wider concerns about capitalism, class, immigration and American identity.
A Mitchell Palmer, "The Case Against the 'Reds,'" Forum (1920)
A Mitchell Palmer, "The Case Against the 'Reds,'" Forum (1920)
Care of the 'Between the Wars' site, this essay from A. Mitchell Palmer put the case for a crackdown on red sedition.
1920 Presidential Election Campaign: Overview & Chronology
1920 Presidential Election Campaign: Overview & Chronology
From Bonnie K. Goodman's elections page. Gives you the candidates, the primary process, key quotes and other useful context.
American Leaders Speak: Speeches from WW1 and the 1920 election
American Leaders Speak: Speeches from WW1 and the 1920 election
As the title might suggest, sound recordings of politicians from the war years and the 1920 election,
Warren G. Harding, "Return to Normalcy,"  (May 14th, 1920)
Warren G. Harding, "Return to Normalcy," (May 14th, 1920)
Harding's key campaign theme has been taken to mean a number of different things (I've also included it in the foreign relations section). Is it signalling an end to Progressivism?
Between the Wars: The Klan Rides Again
Between the Wars: The Klan Rides Again
GMU's site is now quite old, but this section contains some sound basic context and links to some primary source material on the 'second Klan' which emerged in the aftermath of the 1915 civil war movie The Birth of a Nation'
American Radicalism: Ku Klux Klan Primary Sources
American Radicalism: Ku Klux Klan Primary Sources
A set of scanned documents from the second era of Klan popularity in the 1910s-20s. Built of the back of the film Birth of a Nation, the Klan became a national organisation with chapters motivated by concerns over issues race, immigration, religion and modernity. How do these sources reflect both their beliefs & fears?
The Ku Klux Klan in Washington State, 1920s
The Ku Klux Klan in Washington State, 1920s
Far from being limited to the Deep South, the KKK in the 1920s made inroads into many parts of the nation. This site from the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project has photos and articles from the local Klan newspaper. Why might the KKK appeal to white communities in the Pacific Northwest?
UC Davis: 1920s Advertising Images
UC Davis: 1920s Advertising Images
97 images of adverts from the Jazz Age. A useful resource for exploring the intensifying age of consumption.
Prohibition: Cartoons, Photographs, Documents
Prohibition: Cartoons, Photographs, Documents
A range of source materials from the 'Clash of Cultures' site giving an insight into the motivations for Prohibition and the consequences of it.
UMKC School of Law: Famous American Trials Sacco & Vanzetti (1921)
UMKC School of Law: Famous American Trials Sacco & Vanzetti (1921)
Douglas Linder's great site has maps, documents, testimony, statements and judicial decisions that you can explore to consider how this trial reflected American attitudes to crime, radicalism, ethnicity & nationality during the 1920s.
American Radicalism: Sacco & Vanzetti Sources
American Radicalism: Sacco & Vanzetti Sources
pdfs of contemporary pamphlets and cartoons both backing and attacking the two men.
National Origins Immigration Act (1924)
National Origins Immigration Act (1924)
A key piece of legislation from the 1920s signalled a final halt to the large-scale in-migration that had taken place since the late 19th century. Look at Sections 11 & 12: why do you think quotas were pinned to the 1890 population figures?
A Detroit Republican attacks Immigration Restriction (1924)
A Detroit Republican attacks Immigration Restriction (1924)
Robert Clancy a Republican congressman from Detroit states his opposition to the National Origins Act. What does this speech tell us about the dividing lines between those supporting or opposing immigration restriction?
Senator Ellison Durant Smith supports Immigration Restriction (1924)
Senator Ellison Durant Smith supports Immigration Restriction (1924)
This speech from a Democratic Senator from South Carolina provides an insight into the motivations of those supporting migration restrictions.
Quota limits imposed by the Immigration Act (1924)
Quota limits imposed by the Immigration Act (1924)
By connecting new immigration quotas to 2% of that nationality's population in the USA as of 1890, immigration from 'undesirable countries' was severely limited. Looking at the other sources in this list, what do you think the agenda of those framing the act was?
Impact of Immigration Quotas 1925-1927
Impact of Immigration Quotas 1925-1927
Table showing the impact of the 1924 immigration legislation. What do these figures tell us about the intentions of the Johnson/Reed (National Origins) Act?
Calvin Coolidge, Inaugural Address (1925)
Calvin Coolidge, Inaugural Address (1925)
How does Coolidge's speech highlight the political and economic agenda of Republicans during the mid 1920s?
Famous American Trials The Scopes 'Monkey' Trial (1925)
Famous American Trials The Scopes 'Monkey' Trial (1925)
Douglas Linder's resource provides some of the key testimony and contemporary accounts of this famous trial, ostenibly over the teaching of evolution, but also a battle over American values, modernity vs traditionalism and Clarence Darrow v William Jennings Bryan.