1920s: A Conservative Decade Why Conservative? • Starts with fear of Communism – Workers in Russia had united, overthrown the capitalist upper class, and instituted a communist government. – Values of Communism • • • • Gov’t ownership of land and property Single-party gov’t Needs of country always trumped the rights of the individual Communism must be spread to other countries to ensure its survival. – Why might Americans be weary of each of these communist values? The “First” Red Scare • Red Scare – Era when the USA became paranoid of the infiltration of Communism. • Reaction against communists or sympathizers within the USA. – What group (within the USA) will likely be the target? Red Scare: Palmer Raids • Palmer Raids (1919-1920) – Attorney General Palmer believed there was a “conspiracy” to overthrow the government. • Arose after a series of bombings throughout American cities. – Created a task force to arrest and deport suspected communists and anarchists. • Thousands of people were arrested and held as terrorists. – Many were deported. Red Scare: Sacco and Vanzetti • Sacco and Vanzetti (1920) – Two Italian immigrants charged with murder in Massachusetts. • Both were admitted anarchists. – Convicted on circumstantial evidence, sentenced to death. • Died in 1927 in electric chair. • Many historians now agree they were wrongly convicted! Red Scare: Unions • The American public lost sympathy with striking workers. – Unions were equated to communists. – National Guard was frequently called in to break up strikes. • Boston Police Strike (1919) • Steel and Coal Strikes (1919) • As a result… – Union membership goes down. – Labor strikes become more infrequent during the 1920s. “A Return to Normalcy” – Conservatism is Born! • • As a reaction to the Red Scare and Progressivism, “Conservatism” is born! Elect Republican Warren G. Harding in 1920. – “A Return to Normalcy” • Conservative Policies: – Domestic Policy • Laissez Faire Economics • Restricted Immigration – Emergency Quota Act limited immigration to 3% of an ethnic group’s US population. – Foreign Policy • Isolationism – Refused to join League of Nations – Instead: Disarmament! • Kellogg-Briand Pact – Agreement between more than 60 nations “not to have war as an option” when dealing with one another. • Economics – Tariffs! 1920s: A Conservative Decade The RED SCARE Union Membership goes down. People elect conservatives to power. Gov’t becomes more sympathetic towards business. Lower Business Taxes, -Adapts “Laissez Faire” Approach. Isolationism Tariffs, Economy Booms!