Election results 1920: A landslide for the Republicans Harding included talented men in his cabinet Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon
Harry M. Daugherty The Ohio Gang Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall Teapot Dome, Wyoming
A 1924 political cartoon commenting on the scandals of the Harding administration
Although a man of few words, Calvin Coolidge recognized the importance of modern political campaigning.
Revenue Act of 1926 Federal Trade Commission William Howard Taft – Appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1921 Muller v. Oregon overturned in 1923
Business was the real engine of American internationalism Businesses took advantage of cheap labor, low tariffs, and easy access to raw materials and markets
Direct U. S. investment abroad doubled during the 1920s – by 1930, the U.S. also led the world in exports American companies received generous assistance from the federal government • U. S. government was willing to send in the marines to support U. S. industry “Coolidge Prosperity” The businessman had replaced the “statesman, the priest, the philosopher, as the creator of standards of ethics and behavior.” – Stuart Chase
In the 1920s, consumption was now the key to the economy Between 1920 and 1929 output per person-hour increased by 63 percent New industries produced labor-saving home appliances such as vacuum cleaners, electric irons, refrigerators, and washing machines No product was more representative of the mass consumption culture of the 1920s than the automobile Between 1919 and 1929 the number of cars in the United States went from fewer than 7 million to more than 23 million
Few American farmers experienced the Coolidge Prosperity Nation’s farm families (22% of the American people in 1920) received 15% of the national income in 1920 1928: Farm families accounted for only 9% of national income At first glance industrial workers seem to have shared in the decade’s new material abundance American economy of the 1920s was seriously out of balance
The conditions under which many Americans labored in the 1920s were often obscured by the surface image of general prosperity 1929 – American wage earner had a longer workweek than did his counterpart in other industrialized nations Had almost no protection against unemployment Unions suffered in the 1920s • Once militant labor movement that had led the 1919 strikes had virtually disappeared • Red Scare had crushed the IWW
Employers used the economic downturn of 1920 and 1921 as an opportunity to reverse labor’s wartime gains Portrayed union shop contracts as an unpatriotic infringement on American liberties Launched “open shop” drive “American Plan” 1920: 5 million union members 1923: 3.6 million union members Unions failed to regain members when prosperity returned
In industries dominated by a few large companies, employers promoted stable labor relations with relatively high wages, benefits, or employee welfare programs • Ford’s Five-Dollar Day • wanted to reduce labor turnover Company Unions Prosperity was based principally upon increased productivity resulting from automated, assembly-line manufacturing The number of person hours worked fell by 7 percent between 1920 and 1929
In 1923 Ford introduced the first moving assembly line, on a conveyor belt, at his automobile plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
Despite prosperity, unemployment continued to be a problem American Federation of Labor (AFL) leaders grew increasingly cautious “Yellow-Dog” contracts upheld by Supreme Court William Green The disparities of the 1920s made it clear in hindsight that for many the prosperous decade was not so prosperous.