United States in the 1920s as Observed in Contemporary Cocuments

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This book offers primary sources needed to examine one of the most significant decades in American history, the 1920s represented a transitional time of social, economic, and cultural change. Wedged between World War I and the Great Depression this crucial decade encompassed postwar disillusionment, religious fundamentalism, the Red Scare, normalcy, the worst presidential scandals prior to Watergate, coal and railroad strikes, the Charleston dance, radios, automobiles, airplanes, stock market frenzies, booming prosperity, heroes and gangsters, the Scopes Trial, disarmament conferences, the Fordney-McCumber Tariff, Republican ascendancy, Prohibition, bootlegging, speakeasies, the flawed Kellogg-Briand Pact, Ku Klux Klan terror, Governor Alfred A. Smith, popular songs, flappers, a new morality, a lost generation, outstanding novelists and playwrights, changes in fashion clothing, Sacco and Vanzetti, McNary-Haugen, Hays Office, Silent Cal, Billy Mitchell, Teapot Dome, Senator Thomas J. Walsh, the Progressive party, Al Capone, sports figures, and “The Jazz Singer,” among others. Here is a wide range of divergent, often controversial, view points. It is reflective of American society in the 1920s and the diversity which shaped the United States.


“ ... Paschen and Schlup make a significant contribution and move beyond the stereotype of the ‘ballyhoo years’ of their title by demonstrating an appreciation for the diversity and complexity of American life during the 1920s. Each selection contains a carefully-crafted introduction which places the document within its historical context.” – Ron Briley, Assistant Headmaster, Sandia Preparatory School

“This work offers a unique portrait of a period of American history that was highly dynamic and replete with contradictions. The editors of the compilation represent each year of the decade through a judicious choice of documents written by contemporary figures who in themselves personified and shaped the vast range of cultural, political and social attitudes and beliefs that forged the character of the 1920s in the United States.” – Dr. Diana A. Chlebek, Associate Professor of Bibliography, University of Akron Libraries

“... this is an excellent resource for anyone researching the United States of the 1920s. Few books on the period contain such an intriguing mix of primary resources, allowing the reader to come to his or her own conclusions about this colorful epoch in American history.” – Dr. Michael P. Tosko, Assistant Professor of Bibliography, University of Akron Libraries

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ron Briley
Documents 1920-1929
1920 Red Scare – A. Mitchell Palmer
Lessons in Politics for Women Voters – Esther Everett Lape
Acceptance Speech and Concession Statement – James M. Cox
The Lynching of Henry Lowery – Memphis Press
Birmingham Speech – Warren G. Harding
Decryptions by the American Black Chamber – Herbert O. Yardley
Regulation of America’s Meat-Packing Industry – William S. Kenyon
To an Anxious Friend – William Allen White
Fordney-McCumber Tariff – Frank W. Tausig
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost
The New Generation of Women – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
America’s Treatment of Indians – John Collier
Art in the College – Frank J. Mather, Jr.
Defense of Homosexuality – Emma Goldman
The Trend of Preventative Medicine in the United States – John A. Ferrell
The Progress of Native Americans – Charles H. Burke
Address by the Permanent Chairman – Frank W. Mondell
Robert M. LaFollette and Progressivism – Fred E. Haynes
Undelivered Address on Evolution – William Jennings Bryan
Professionalism in Sports – James A. Ten Eyck
The Ossian Sweet Episode and Trial – Walter White
William Jennings Bryan: A Zany without Shame or Dignity – Henry L. Mencken
Tri-State Tornado Disaster – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The Scopes Trial – Clarence Darrow
The Necessity of Free Legal Advice – William Howard Taft
Ways to Peace – Calvin Coolidge
Negro Activists and the Racial Mountain – Langston Hughes
Address to the Convention of the National Association of Colored Women – Mary MacLeod Bethune
United States ex rel. Klonis v. Davis – Learned Hand
Progress in Political Research – Charles E. Merriam
Nixon v. Herndon – Oliver Wendell Holmes
Important Message to the American People on Peace – Nicholas Murray Butler
Defense of Catholics Holding Public Office – Alfred E. Smith
Letter to Governor Fuller – Edna St. Vincent Millay
Cogewea – Mourning Dove
Prohibition Enforcement – William Gibbs McAdoo
Women as Political Players – Eleanor Roosevelt
State Universities and Public Education – Lotus D. Coffman
American Public Libraries – Murray Fletcher Pratt
America’s Foreign Policy – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact – Frank B. Kellogg and Aristide Briand
Inaugural Address – Herbert Hoover
A Preface to Morals – Walter Lippman
Collapse of the Stock Market – Wall Street Journal
Stock Market Crash – New York Times
Advantages of Workmen’s Compensation to the Employer – Robert H. Tucker
Homemaking and the Personal Equation – Henry W. Holmes
Appendix I – American Historical Association Presidential Addresses
Appendix II – “President Warren G. Harding’s Visit to Oregon in 1923” – Leonard Schlup
Selected Bibliography

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