Events, Figures
and Perspectives
The 1920s
“Volstead Act”
No person shall sell, barter, transport,
import, export, deliver, furnish or possess
any intoxicating liquor except as authorized
by this act.
- Industrial alcohol
- Sacramental wine
- Toilet preparations
- Syrups
- Cider
- “near” beer (.05%)
- Patent medicines
- Flavoring extracts
- Vinegar
- Dr. prescriptions
(no more than 1 pint/10
Why support the
 Regulate
18 ?
people’s behavior by force
 Better health
 Increased morality (and religiousness)
 Solve problems of delinquency
 Solve problems of poverty, prostitution,
political corruptness
Impacts of Prohibition
 MOONSHINE: Other names include: hooch, mountain dew and
White lightening. This is high-poof distilled spirits which are produced illegally. TodayAppalachian area of the country
 BOOTLEGGING: The illegal business of transporting or
smuggling the liquor
PA based, illegal liquor store or nightclub
“… an army of the Lord to wipe away the
curse of drink."
“Now an era of clear thinking and
clean living!”
"Come in and take a drop. The first drop led
to other drops. He dropped his position; he
dropped his respectability; he dropped his
fortune; he dropped his friends; he dropped
finally all prospects in this life, and his
hopes for eternity; and then came the last
drop on the gallows. BEWARE OF THE
A Child’s Promise:
I promise not to buy, sell, or give
Alcoholic liquors while I live;
From all tobacco I'll abstain
And never take God's name in vain.
Outcomes of the 18th
 Who
– got $ votes for looking other way…
Bootleggers (Gangsters/Club Owners)
– owned clubs, $$$$$$
Outcomes of the 18th
 Who
suffered? (3)
– lost $1/2 billion in taxes & respect
- blamed, lost culture, jailed
Saloon Owners/Alcohol makers
- lost jobs
The Effects of the 18th…
 Created
disrespect for the law
 Eroded respect for religion
 Created organized crime
 Corrupted law enforcement, courts, &
 Overburdened police
 Harmed people financially, emotionally,
morally - lost jobs (profession became a crime)
 Harmed
Unsafe alcohol – blindness,
kidney/liver/brain damage
Attacks by mob, police
 Changed drinking habits of the country
Public drinking now common
Women drinking
Hard liquors more popular
 Increased cigarette smoking
1922: 5,000 Saloons
1927: 30,000 Speakeasies
CA grape growers produced a
grape juice product. It’s literature
carefully instructed buyers what
not to do, because, if they did
those things, they would have
wine in sixty days. The demand
for grape juice grew dramatically.
Owen Standy
(Democratic Senator)
“My country ‘tis of thee,
Land of grape juice and tea,
Of thee I sing,
Land where we all have tried,
To break the laws and lied!
From every mountain side,
The bootlegs spring.”
Franklin P. Adams
(The New York World – Feb. 1931)
Prohibition is an awful flop,
We like it.
It can’t stop what it’s meant to stop,
We like it.
It’s left a trail of graft and slime,
It don’t prohibit worth a dime.
It’s filled our land with vice and crime,
Nevertheless, we’re for it.
Herbert Hoover
(President 1929 – 1932)
“Prohibition is a great social and
economic experiment —
noble in motive and
far-reaching in purpose.”
Andrew J. Volstead
(U.S. Senator)
“They can never repeal it.”
1933, the
was passed.
It repealed the 18th.
has been the only
amendment in U.S. History to
be repealed.
Go to Prohibition Nationwide in the menu
bar. Click on the bottle representing
Seattle, WA and the bottles representing
PA and NY. Complete the homework
given in class that accompanies this.
of the 1920s
Al Capone
This Italian gangster is the most well
known in history. He began in NY then
moved to Chicago where he was known
as a murderer, a pimp, and bootlegger.
He was eventually arrested and served
the rest of his life in Alcatraz where
he died in 1947 of syphilis.
Eliot Ness
This special agent in the Prohibition
Bureau is known for chasing Capone for
two years until he finally brought him to
justice. Or did he? He routinely seized
alcohol, trucks, stills and equipment
from bootleggers. His men earned the
nickname “The Untouchables” because
they couldn’t be bought out or bribed
like other officials.
Eliot Ness continued…….
Why do you think that we have
embellished Ness’s role in apprehending
Capone? How do the different sides of
Eliot Ness mirror the different sides of the
1920s? Explain.
George Moran
This Irish leader of the Northside
Gang was nicknamed the “Jolly
Murderer” and “Bugs”. He was the
target of the Saint Valentine’s Day
Massacre, but escaped harm. He was
eventually arrested for bank robbery
despite being known as “Chicago’s
Robin Hood”.
Charles Luciano
This Italian gangster was considered
the “Boss of Bosses” in NYC. He
worked under Johnny Torrio and
earned his nickname “Lucky” after
surviving an attack with an icepick.
After his arrest, he helped the U.S.
during WWII with the invasion of
Sicily and so he was set free to live
the rest of his life in Italy.
Dion O’Banion
This Irish gangster owned a flower
shop and consistently stole alcohol
from Al Capone. He was killed in his
flower shop by Torrio’s men because
he often stole alcohol from Torrio. He
was known for running the best
distilleries in town.
Johnny Torrio
This Italian gangster killed his own
uncle to take over the business. He
attempted to unite all Chicago gangs
and was successful in all cases
except with O’Banion. He was
retaliated against after attacking
O’Banion. After this incident, he
turned over his gang to his famous
successor and moved back to NYC.
Red Scare #1
Fear that communism was taking
over the United States… and the
Why did the Red Scare begin?
 Rise
of communism in the world
= ____________
 Increase
in the number of anarchists,
socialists and communists
 Continued immigration
 1919:
 Increase
-- 1921: 805,000
in strikes
with socialism…
Results of the Red Scare
 Palmer
Mitchell Palmer – U.S. Attorney General
Raided houses of known anarchists,
socialists and communists – i.e. immigrants
WITHOUT a search warrant – this is illegal
Still, many were jailed and/or deported
WHY? 1. Fear the U.S would be
2. Bombs were being sent through
mail to powerful citizens and
Results of the Red Scare
 Immigrants
were put on trial for
crimes they did not commit
Sacco and Vanzetti
 Emergency
Quota Act (1921)
2% of an ethnicity allowed in U.S. based
on 1890 census
Discriminated against Asians and Eastern
Europeans because they had just begun
emigrating in 1880 == not many here for
Results of the Red Scare
 Immigration
Act (1924)
can’t become citizens
Which means no civil rights or voting
 National
Origins Act (1929)
2% of an ethnicity allowed in U.S. based
on 1920 census
More fair to Asians and Eastern Europeans
Rise of the Klan
 Died out in the 1870s
 Revived again in 1915 – WHY?
 Reached peak in 1924 - 4.5 million members
Kept old practices: white hoods &burning crosses
GOAL: to keep out “foreigners”
Opposed unions and supported prohibition
“felt threatened by changes in American society”
What is it?
Why was it done?
 Used as a scare tactic
 Existence of a racist environment
 Permissive government
1880 – 1950 = 5,000 killed with 70% being Black
1880 = 23 people every 2 ½ days
Heaviest in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama,
Lousiana and Arkansas –
What do they all have in common?
Not restricted to South – for example:
Zacharia Walker 1911 – Coatesville, PA
Sacco & Vanzetti
Victims of xenophobia
or Guilty?
Shoe Factory
Southern Part
Fish Peddler
Northern Part
Accused of
murdering a
paymaster &
shoe store
security guard
Paymaster carrying $16,000 in payroll
receipts when shot!
Money was never traced to
either man
Not impartial
Referred to Sacco &
Vanzetti as “Dagos”
Webster Thayer
Denounced their
background & pol.
Unfair treatment
Both convicted of murder &
sentenced to death
Vanzetti - I wish to say to you
that I am innocent. I have
never done a crime, some
sins, but never any crime. I
thank you for everything you
have done for me. I am
innocent of all crime, not only
this one, but of all, of all.
…Only because they
were foreigners
No foreigners
in US!
Sacco & Vanzetti
Americans feared
about foreigners
in the
Woodrow Wilson
1913-1921 Democratic
(1st in 20 years)
Campaign Platform: “New Freedom”
A moderate Progressive:
- Banking reform
- Anti-trust legislation
Developed League of Nations
"Some people call me an
idealist. Well, that is the
way I know am an American.
America is the only idealistic
nation in the world."
"If you want to make enemies,
try to change something."
Warren g harding
1921-1923 Republican
Campaign Name: “A Return to Normalcy”
Established high protective tax on imports: Why?
Repealed war taxes on U.S. goods
Restricted immigration (E. Europe)
Cabinet: “Ohio Gang”
- known for scandals
ex: Teapot Dome – leased oil
land to private companies
Stress from scandals=stroke=died
"My God, this is a hell of a job!
I have no trouble with
my enemies . . .
but my damn friends,
they're the ones that keep me
walking the floor at nights."
Calvin coolidge
1923-1929 Republican
“Chief business of America is business” – offer jobs
First president to address the nation on radio ('23)
Credit introduced, it was a prosperous era with
electricity being introduced into the home. There
was wealth but not well distributed. Agriculture,
RR, textiles and coal were in trouble. Kept the
import tax.
"If you don't say anything,
you can't be called upon
to repeat it.“
"I have never been hurt by
anything I didn't say."
Herbert hoover
1929-1933 Republican
President during 1929 Stock Market Crash
1st president to have telephone on desk
Believed in “Rugged Individualism”
– local gov’t to help
during depression
Blamed for the Depression
Dedicated to maintaining peace
"Peace is not made at the
Council table or by treaties,
but in the hearts of men."
"A splendid storehouse of integrity and
freedom has been bequeathed to us by
our forefathers.
In this day of confusion, of peril
to liberty, our high duty is to see
that this storehouse is not
robbed of its contents."
"Absolute freedom of the press to discuss
public questions is a foundation stone
of American liberty."