By: Warren G. Harding
Date: May 14, 1920
Source: Harding, Warren G. "Warren G. Harding Calls for a "Return to Normalcy," Boston, Mass., May 14, 1920. Available online at http://www.pbs.org/greatspeeches/timeline/w_harding_s.html; website home page: http://www.pbs.org (accessed January 28, 2003).
About the Author: Historians consider Warren Harding (1865–1923), the twenty-ninth president of the United States, as among the nation's worst presidents, largely because his administration was the most corrupt in American history. Born near Marion, Ohio, he began his career as a newspaper publisher. He was elected to the Ohio Senate, served as the state's lieutenant governor, and ran unsuccessfully for Ohio governor. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1914 and served as president from 1921 until he died in office.
In 1919, Harry M. Daugherty, who headed the Ohio Republican Party and would later serve as Harding's attorney general, began circulating Harding's name as candidate for the presidency. The nomination was up for grabs because none of the major candidates had widespread support. In 1920, at the Republican...
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By: U.S. Congress
Source: Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1920. National Archives and Records Administration. Available online at http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/charters_of_freedom/co... ; website home page: http://www.archives.gov (accessed May 15, 2003).
At the time of its founding, the United States did not explicitly prohibit women from voting in public elections. It was only when women agitated for suffrage that state legislatures clarified their constitutions to deny them the vote. From 1776 to 1784, women lost the right to vote in New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Fourteen years later, New Jersey, which granted the vote to all inhabitants "worth" fifty pounds, revoked women's right to vote, a right that the state had recognized since the crafting of its constitution in 1776. In addition to not being able to vote, unmarried women, either by law or local custom, were prohibited from jury service, public speaking, holding public office, attending college, or earning a living outside the positions of teacher, seamstress, servant, or mill worker. A married...
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Anti-Lynching Publicity Program
By: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Date: June 1922
Source: NAACP Anti-Lynching Papers, Anti-Lynching Publicity Program. Available online at (accessed January 28, 2003).
About the Organization: On President Abraham Lincoln's birthdate in 1909, Ida Wells and W.E.B. DuBois helped organized the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in response to the lynchings of African Americans. In 1919, the organization published Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States: 1889–1919 to call attention to the issue. In 1922, it supported federal legislation prohibiting lynchings.
The term lynch originated during the American Revolution. Amid the fighting and subsequent breakdown in civil authority, Colonel Charles Lynch, a prosperous Virginian plantation owner, established a "court" in his front yard and punished pro-British colonials, usually by beating them. As the American people migrated westward across the Allegheny Mountains in the postwar years, lynching was associated with vigilantism, in which citizens, assuming the role of judge, jury, and executioner, swiftly disciplined gamblers, cattle rustlers, horse thieves, and other outlaws....
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The Pivot of Civilization
By: Margaret Sanger
Source: Sanger, Margaret. The Pivot of Civilization. Elmsford, N.Y.: Maxwell Reprint Co., 1969. Available online at (accessed January 29, 2003).
About the Author: Born in Cornell, New York, to Irish American parents, Margaret Sanger (1879–1966) was the leading American proponent of birth control until her death. The death of her mother at age fifty after bearing eleven children had a profound impact on Sanger, who believed that women had a right to control their sexual and reproductive lives. In 1921, she established the American Birth Control League, which became Planned Parenthood in 1942.
In 1883, British scientist Francis Galton coined the term eugenics, from the Greek word for "good in birth." The term was first used to refer to the "science" of good breeding. In 1910, with the financial assistance of the Andrew Carnegie Institution, the Eugenics Record Office (ERO), a genetic research center, was established at Cold Harbor, New York. The ERO adapted the plant genetic experiments of Gregor Mendel into a social theory that sought to explain and predict complex traits and behaviors. ERO scientists visited insane asylums, prisons, and orphanages and compiled data...
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By: Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor (Ethel M. Springer)
Date: February 1923
Source: Springer, Ethel M. "Canal-Boat Children," Monthly Labor Review 16, no. 2, February 1923. Available online at (accessed January 28, 2003).
About the Organization: In 1906, Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana sponsored a bill to "prevent the employment of children in factories and mines." Though the measure was defeated, reformers pressured Congress to create the federal Children's Bureau in the Department of Labor in 1912. The bureau was charged with investigating and reporting "upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people."
In colonial America, child labor was not a subject of controversy. Children were an integral part of the agricultural economy. Not only did children labor on the homestead, they also were hired out to other farmers by their parents. It was not unusual for boys to begin their apprenticeship in a designated trade by the time they were ten years of age. Benjamin Franklin, for example, was apprenticed to work as a printer's assistance for his older brother at the age of twelve. In the early nineteenth century, child apprenticeships declined, but with the...
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"The Negro's Greatest Enemy"
By: Marcus Garvey
Date: September 1923
Source: Garvey, Marcus. "The Negro's Greatest Enemy." Current History 18 (September 1923). Available online http://www.isop.ucla.edu/mgpp/sample01.htm (accessed January 28,
About the Author: In 1916, Marcus Garvey (1887–1940) emigrated from his native Jamaica to New York City. A committed black nationalist, he created the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which promoted a self-help philosophy and promised racial grandeur in the "Empire of Africa." A controversial figure, Garvey successfully tapped into growing African American aspirations for justice, wealth, and a sense of communal identity. He ran afoul of the federal government and was deported to Jamaica in 1927.
Between 1910 and 1930, close to one million rural southern african americans, or 13 percent of the region's African American population, joined the "Great Migration" to northern cities. In some cases, entire church congregations and nearly entire communities fled the South to start anew in New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. African Americans left their southern homes not only to escape disenfranchisement,...
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Nativism versus Immigration
"Guarding the Gates Against Undesirables"
By: Ku Klux Klan
Date: April 1924
Source: "Guarding the Gates Against Undesirables." Current Opinion, April 1924, 400–401.
About the Organization: The Ku Klux Klan was organized in 1866, in Pulaski, Tennessee, located near the Alabama border. The Klan's mysterious name derives from the Greek word kuklos, meaning circle, the oldest symbol of unity.
Speech by Robert H. Clancy
By: Robert H. Clancy
Source: Clancy, Robert H. Speech. Congressional Record, 68th Congress, 1st Session, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1924, vol. 65, 5929–5932.
About the Author: Robert H. Clancy (1882–1962) was a four-term Republican congressman from Detroit, Michigan. In the 1920s, Clancy represented a large constituency of firstgeneration Polish, Italian, and Jewish voters. As an Irish American whose immigrant forebears experienced discrimination, Clancy fought to protect his supporters from native hostility.
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Taxation: The People's Business
By: Andrew W. Mellon
Source: Mellon, Andrew W. Taxation: The People's Business. New York: Macmillan, 1924, 9–14.
About the Author: Andrew W. Mellon (1855–1937) was the son of a successful banker. In 1874, he joined his father's banking firm and eight years later became its owner. Mellon exhibited a remarkable ability for investing in promising businesses and was a major shareowner of some of the nation's leading aluminum, coal, and oil businesses. He was also a philanthropist, donating his world-renowned art collection and $10 million to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
A fiscally conservative Republican, Andrew W. Mellon was the third richest man in the United States, worth an estimated $700 million, or $5.9 billion in 2001 dollars. Despite—;or perhaps because of—;his great wealth, Mellon left the private sector to devote his career to public service. In 1921, at the age of sixty-six, he joined the cabinet of President Warren G. Harding as treasury secretary. His accomplishments in this capacity earned him reappointments by Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. In part, he accepted the government position out of patriotism, for the nation faced dire post-World...
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Tennessee Laws Regarding the Teaching of Evolution
"Chapter No. 27, House Bill No. 185"; "Chapter No. 237, House Bill No. 48"
By: Tennessee House of Representatives
Date: March 13, 1925, and March 13, 1967
Source: Chapter No. 27, House Bill No. 185. Public Acts of the State of Tennessee Passed by the Sixty-Fourth General Assembly, 1925.; Chapter No. 237, House Bill No. 48. Public Acts of the State of Tennessee Passed by the Eighty-Fifth General Assembly, 1967.; Available online at http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scopes/ten... ; website home page: http://www.law.umkc.edu/ (accessed January 28,
About the Author: In 1925, state representative John Butler sponsored Tennessee's anti-evolution act. Four years earlier, Butler had listened to a Baptist preacher warn the congregation that Darwinism was being taught in all public schools. Butler, who had three boys in school, was outraged that state public schools were undermining his efforts to raise his children as Christians by teaching evolution. Promising to change the law if elected into office, Butler was overwhelming endorsed by district voters. Twenty-five years later the Tennessee House repealed the 1925...
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Letter from Nicola Sacco to His Son, Dante
By: Nicola Sacco
Date: August 18, 1927
Source: Sacco, Nicola. "The Letters of Sacco and Vanzetti." Available online at Court TV Online. The Greatest Trials of All Time. http://www.courttv.com/greatesttrials/sacco.vanzetti/sacco_... ; website home page: http://www.courttv.com/ (accessed January 28, 2003).
About the Author: Nicola Sacco (1891–1927) emigrated from southern Italy to Massachusetts in 1908. In 1912, he married an Italian woman, Rosina, and a year later their son, Dante, was born. Politically, Sacco was an active member of a radical Italian anarchist group that aligned itself with violent labor unionists and antiwar propagandists. In 1920, amid the hysteria of the "Red Scare," Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were found guilty of first-degree murder and sent to the electric chair.
Following World War I, the U.S. economy boomed as consumers spent wartime savings for automobiles, homes, and other goods that had been in short supply during the war. This pent-up demand for consumer goods resulted in temporary shortages, which accelerated the rate of inflation. Inflation, in turn, sparked...
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"Native American Chiefs Frank Seelatse and Jimmy Noah Saluskin of the Yakima Tribe"
By: National Photo Company Collection
Source: National Photo Company Collection. "Native American chiefs Frank Seelatse and Chief Jimmy Noah Saluskin of the Yakima tribe." LC-USZ62-92917 DLC. Library of Congress American Memory Collection. Available online at http://memory.loc.gov/ (accessed January 28, 2003).
About the Subjects: Native American Chiefs Frank Seelatse and Jimmy Noah Saluskin were members of the Yakima tribe from eastern Washington State. The tribe called themselves Waptailmim, meaning "people-of-the-narrows," because their
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The Problem of Indian Administration
By: Lewis Meriam
Date: February 21, 1928
Source: Meriam, Lewis. The Problem of Indian Administration. Report of a Survey made at the request of the Honorable Hubert Work, Secretary of the Interior, submitted to him on February 21, 1928. Institute for Government Research Studies in Administration. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins Press, 1928. Available online at http://www.alaskool.org/native_ed/research_reports/IndianAd... ; website home page: http://www.alaskool.org/ (accessed January 29, 2003).
About the Author: In 1906, Lewis Meriam graduated from Harvard with a law degree and a master's degree in government and economic studies. In 1916, he joined the staff of the newly organized Institute of Government Relations (IGR). The IGR was founded by a select group of progressive social scientists and Republican businessmen who sought to bring nonpartisan budgetary efficiency to the executive appropriation process. In 1926, the IGR became the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan, independent research organization.
For nearly four centuries, Native Americans have been subjected to...
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Behind the Scenes in Candy Factories
By: Consumers' League of New York
Date: March 1928
Source: Consumers' League of New York. Behind the Scenes in Candy Factories. New York: Consumers' League of New York, 1928. Reprinted in the Library of Congress American Memory Collection. Available online at http://memory.loc.gov (accessed January 29, 2003).
About the Author: Frances Perkins (1882–1965), who wrote this report for the Consumers' League of New York, was influenced by the investigative muckraking journalists Lincoln Steffens, Jacob Riis, and Upton Sinclair, along with her involvement in Jane Addams's Hull House. In 1910, she headed the National Consumers' League and successfully fought to shorten the work week for women to fifty-four hours. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her to head the Department of Labor—;the first woman in American history to hold a cabinet position.
The National Consumers' League (NCL) was probably the most effective middle-class voluntary women's reform organization in American history. In 1899, Florence Kelley was appointed secretary of the New York Consumers' League and helped establish sixty-four local consumers' leagues throughout the country under the umbrella of...
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By: U.S. Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys
Date: May 28, 1928
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys. Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves and Activities of the Continental Trading Co. (Ltd.) of Canada. 70th Cong., 1st sess., May 28, 1928. S. Supplemental Report No. 70–1326, Pt. 2, at 3. Available online at http://www.brook.edu/dybdocroot/gs/ic/teapotdome/teapotdome... ; website home page: http://www.brook.edu (accessed January 29, 2003).
About the Author: In April 1922, Wyoming senator John Kendrick introduced a Senate resolution that launched one of the most important Senate investigations in U.S. history. Earlier, The Wall Street Journal had reported a secret deal in which Albert B. Fall, secretary of the interior, had leased Wyoming's Teapot Dome oil reserve to a petroleum company. Six years later, the committee released its scathing report on the incident.
In the presidential election of 1920, Republican Warren G. Harding emerged the winner. The Republican Party had been confident because it correctly assessed that the county was weary of the progressivism of...
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By: Frank Kellogg and Aristide Briand
Date: August 27, 1928
Source: Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928. United States Statues at Large, vol. 46, part 2, p. 2343. Reprinted in the Avalon Project at Yale Law School. "The Kellogg-Briand Pact and Associated Documents." Available online at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/kbpact/kbpact.htm (accessed January 28, 2003).
About the Author: Frank Kellogg (1856–1937) was one of the premier attorneys in the United States. As a "trustbuster," he won antitrust suits against the General Paper Company, Union Pacific Railroad, and the Standard Oil Company. In 1925, he became the U.S. secretary of state, and in 1929 he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Aristide Briand (1862–1932) served in the French government for over thirty years, dating from his election to the Chamber of Deputies in 1902. He served as premier and at the time of the pact was minister for foreign affairs. In 1926, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
By the conclusion of World War I (1914–1918), over 116,000 Americans had lost their lives, and another 234,000 were wounded. As a result, the vast majority of Americans wanted to withdraw from international affairs...
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By: Herbert Hoover
Date: October 22, 1928
Source: Hoover, Herbert. "Rugged Individualism" Presidential Campaign Speech, New York, N.Y., October 22, 1928. Available online at The History Net: http://history1900s.about.com/ (accessed January 29, 2003).
About the Author: Herbert Clark Hoover (1874–1964) was the first American president born west of the Mississippi River. In 1883, he was orphaned when his mother died of pneumonia. In 1895, he graduated with a geology degree from Stanford University in California. By the age of forty, the skilled mineral engineer owned Burma silver mines and was a self-made multimillionaire. Hoover became president at the onset of the Great Depression.
During World War I, Herbert Hoover earned a reputation as a great humanitarian. When war erupted in August 1914, the U.S. Embassy in London, where Hoover had been residing, requested that he organize a committee to evacuate 120,000 stranded Americans in Europe. The committee made available $1 million in loans, along with providing food and lodging in England and then passage to America. Hoover also organized the Committee for the Relief of Belgium. The Germans had occupied the small nation and...
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