APUSH Unit 7: The New Era

General Timeline
General Map

Map # 1: The US

Course Content

The New Era:


Developments in the Economy

Economic & Technological Innovations

  • European industry was down at this time, so US industry boomed

    • Automobile industry boomed

      • This caused steel, iron, glass, tool, oil, and road construction industries to also boom

    • Radios became popular as they could transmit speech & music via radio signals

      • Almost all families had one by end of 1920s

  • There were many more technological innovations

    • Commercial planes were starting out

    • Trains became faster & more efficient

    • Home appliances were developed

    • Telephones became somewhat common

    • Early computers were developed


Welfare Capitalism & Decline of Labor Unions

  • Many employers adopted "welfare capitalism" where they give welfare benefits to employees

    • Shorter workweeks, higher wages, paid vacation

  • Unemployment was high because new tech was rapidly expanding, & old jobs become obsolete

  • Standard of living was increasing

  • Labor Unions started to decline​

    • Much harder to organize unions since jobs were less of manufacturing/unskilled & more of craft and contract labor​

    • Widespread anti-union sentiment as well

    • The spread of Welfare Capitalism prevented the need for labor unions & strikes

  • Some adopted the "American Plan," the idea that no employee should be required to join a labor union

    • This was also the idea that many employers would refuse to negotiate with a union

    • Caused labor unions to decline as well


Women & Minorities in the Workforce

  • Many women had "pink collar" jobs

    • Service jobs, clerks, telephone operators, teachers, etc.​

  • African-Americans migrated north in the Great Migration & many held low-class jobs

    • After Whites retook their industrial jobs after WW1, Blacks resorted to low-class jobs​

    • Janitors, domestic servants, etc.

    • Excluded from most labor unions

    • Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (est. 1925) was a Black labor union that got some benefits for Blacks

  • Many Asians were in the West & were discriminated

    • After Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), Japanese immigrants took their place

    • Some Japanese actually built their own successful businesses

      • CA passed Alien Land Laws of 1913 & 1920 to restrict land sales to Japanese

    • Filipinos also took unskilled industrial jobs, causing anti-Filipino riots

      • Led to Filipino Repatriation Act (1935) to limit Filipino immigration

  • Many Mexicans held low-income agricultural jobs in the Southwest

    • Less hostility toward them as most Whites actually needed their agricultural services


Agricultural Technology

  • More agricultural technology was developing

    • Tractors became common & efficient

    • Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. were created

    • This led to production of more crops w/ fewer workers

  • Many farmers left agriculture as there was too little demand for food due to high supply, causing crop prices to fall

  • Farmers promoted the idea of parity

    • Prices for goods are increased such as farmers can at least regain their production costs

    • Wanted the gov to purchase surplus goods & sell to international market

    • McNary-Haugen Bill promoted parity & was debated, but eventually vetoed by president


Development of a New Culture


  • As people now generated extra wages, they could use those to buy extra things

    • Bought kitchen appliances (vacuums, refrigerators, irons, etc;)

    • Women bought makeup & cosmetics

  • Companies were now able to advertise their products to promote their glamor & appeal

    • Advertising became a whole industry​

  • Many people also were able to buy cars

    • Rural people could now escape isolation & drive to the cities​

    • City dwellers could escape city congestion & drive to the countryside

    • Many middle-class city-dwellers moved to the suburbs as they could drive to the city for work

  • More people had access to vacations

    • Many middle-class & even working-class people had access to vacations​

    • Companies gave paid vacation days

  • Young people could use cars & move away from their parents, creating a new youth culture

Movies & Broadcasting Networks

  • Movies were becoming common as they had sound

    • The Jazz Singer (1927) was the 1st movie w/ sound

    • Made movies more appealing

    • People went to the movie theaters really often

    • Sometimes, the gov would ban any offensive movies

  • Radio broadcasting also became common

    • Networks like the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) (est. 1926) emerged

    • These were rarely supervised & somewhat had freedom to broadcast what they wanted


Modernist Religion

  • Many people abandoned strict religion & followed a more modern life

    • Due to the rise of movies & a consumer culture, they cared more about modern society​

  • Less people cared about religion, assumed it as a secondary role in life

    • Caused a decline in Church attendance​

  • This religious decline led to a religious revival (described in a below section)

  • Harry Emerson Fosdick was an important modernist


Changing Ideas of Women

  • People now had different views of mothers

    • Believed mothers should rely on guidance of doctors & nurses to raise their children

    • Believed marriage is more for love and pleasure

  • Margaret Sanger led the birth control movement

    • Many states had banned birth control

    • Now, women engaged in sexual relationships for pleasure, not for procreation, so they needed birth control

  • Women also started to depart from their traditional role & were more active in modern society

    • They were allowed to smoke, drink, attend parties, etc.​

    • Women wrote the "flapper" image of clothing: They wore short skirts

      • This demonstrated that they could choose their own clothing​

  • Women also sought to campaign for equal rights

    • National Women's Party (est. 1916) wanted the Equal Rights Amendment

      • Believed 19th amendment wasn't enough

      • Wanted equal rights for men & women in all circumstances​

      • Was never implemented

    • Sheppard-Towner Act (1921) established prenatal & child care programs

      • Was terminated as women hated that it classified women as mothers, not normal people


Rise of Education & Youth Culture

  • High school & college enrollment increased

    • Colleges now provided training in technical skills (engineering, management, economics, etc.)

    • Some colleges were vocational schools

  • This caused a rise in youth culture

    • This was a time when people enjoyed & celebrated the adolescent age

    • Adolescents had their own social patterns, hobbies, interests, activities, etc.

    • Schools now also had athletics, clubs, fraternities, etc. causing a rise in youth culture


The Harlem Renaissance

  • In Harlem in NYC, a group of Black artists & writers created a new Black culture

    • Many jazz musicians became common

    • Many theaters had musicals & vaudevilles

  • Black art, poetry, and literature flourished

    • Black artists depicted the richness of their culture​

    • Langston Hughes was a famous Black poet

    • Aaron Douglas painted murals in many important buildings

    • Alain LeRoy Locke is known as the "Father of the Harlem Renaissance"

      • Wrote a collection of writings in The New Negro (1925)

Conflict with Traditional Culture

Feeling of Disenchantment

  • Many people felt disenchanted & alienated after WW1 and believed 1920s to be a lost generation

    • Felt personal alienation​

    • Ernest Hemingway: A Farewell to Arms (1929)

      • An American officer is fighting in Europe but returns home as there is no point in fighting​

  • Many people also critiqued modern society & rejected their successes

    • F Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby about a rejection of wealth


Alcohol Prohibition

  • The 18th amendment (banning alcohol) wasn't really enforced

    • Very few police officers actually enforced this

    • Government couldn't get local police to enforce this

  • Many people organized an illegal alcohol trade

  • Many progressives who supported prohibition later changed their minds

  • 18th amendment was repealed in 1933

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Nativism and the 2nd Ku Klux Klan

  • Many progressives sought to limit immigration

    • Believed immigration causes radicalism​

  • Congress passed Emergency Immigration Act (1921), limiting immigration severely

    • National Origins Act of 1924 made these restrictions even more severe​

      • Banned immigration from East Asia entirely (Japanese people hated this)

  • This renewed nativism allowed the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) to gain more support

    • The first Klan died in the 1870s

    • Nativists met in Stone Mountain (GA) to create the 2nd KKK in 1915

      • Had 4 million members by 1924​

  • This Klan persecuted Blacks and other minorities and also sought to impose traditional values

    • Persecuted White protestants who drank too much or had sexual promiscuity​

    • Promoted prohibition of alcohol

  • Declined after 1925 due to scandals involving its leaders


Religious Revival & Fundamentalism

  • A group of people called Fundamentalists sought to promote traditional religion​

    • Opposed the Modernists, who wanted to adapt religion to modern society (described earlier)

  • Many Fundamentalists were evangelists who promoted religious revival

    • Billy Sunday was a famous revivalist

    • Opposed Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory b/c they believed all humans came from god

    • Got some local governments to ban Darwin's teachings in school

      • State of Tennessee did this in 1925​

  • Tennessee's banning Darwin's teachings led to the Scopes Trial ("Monkey Trial")

    • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposed the law & employed a teacher to break the law

    • The case was very long, and William Jennings Bryan even came as a witness

    • Fundamentalists won, but the victory was long & embarrassing, causing them to decline


Political Developments

Warren G Harding

  • Democrats lost power due to internal divisions

    • Divided among those who favored traditional values vs modern values of society

  • Warren G Harding became president in 1920​

    • He became unpopular due to the Teapot Dome scandal​

    • His Sec. of Interior, Albert B Fall, leased the oil reserves of Teapot Dome, WY, to businessmen

      • Fall received money in return, which he used to pay off personal debts​

      • Fall was convicted of bribery

    • Harding went on a tour of the US West, and he died in San Francisco in 1923


Calvin Coolidge

  • Calvin Coolidge was very calm & passive

    • Was Harding's VP, became president after his death in 1923

    • Reelected in 1924

  • Coolidge tried to help the US's economy

    • Wanted isolation in foreign policy​

    • Gave huge tax cuts

    • Limited his aid to farmers