How did the politics of the 1920s reflect changes in the economy and in American society?

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As society in the 1920s became more fluid and more affluent, Americans on the whole tended to become more insular, and this was reflected in the domestic political situation.

After the end of World War I, a general consensus emerged that the United States should take care of its own...

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As society in the 1920s became more fluid and more affluent, Americans on the whole tended to become more insular, and this was reflected in the domestic political situation.

After the end of World War I, a general consensus emerged that the United States should take care of its own problems instead of getting involved with the internal affairs of other countries. This growing sense of isolationism was strengthened by the rapid growth of the American economy and the fundamental changes in society it brought about. Most people were no longer concerned with high-flown rhetoric about making the world safe for democracy; they wanted to take advantage of a booming economy to make themselves rich. The political life of the era reflected this attitude with its hands-off approach towards business. The prevailing consensus held that government should step back and let American business get on with investing and creating jobs.

During this decade, the make-up of American society changed dramatically due to mass immigration. This sparked a huge backlash from white Protestants who felt that the newcomers were a threat to what they regarded as pure Americanism. Politicians pandered to this growing hostility towards immigrants by severely restricting how many people could enter the United States and banning immigration altogether from Asia.

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The politics of the 1920s reflected changes in our economy and our society. The 1920s was a very prosperous decade. The going political philosophy toward the economy can best be summed up in the concept of laissez-faire. The government took a hands-off approach to our economy. There were few rules and regulations on businesses. The government worked closely with businesses. This was reflected in the hands-off policy.

Another change politically in the 1920s was our strong desire to play a less active role in the world. We passed immigration laws to significantly limit the number of immigrants coming to our country from South and East Europe. These immigrants had different cultures and customs than the immigrants from North and West Europe. These differences frightened some people. Some of these immigrants had very radical views on politics. As a result of these and other factors, the Emergency Quota Act and the Nation Origins Act were passed in the 1920s.

We took additional steps to reduce our involvement in world affairs. We supported several agreements from the Washington Naval Conference. The Five-Power Treaty, the Four-Power Treaty, and the Nine-Power Treaty were designed to reduce the chances of war. We also agreed to the non-binding Kellogg-Briand Pact that outlawed war. We wanted to have less of a role in world affairs.

The 1920s was a decade for enjoying ourselves. The politics of the 1920s clearly reflected that preference.

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