Warren G Harding elected after WWI promising return to normalcy, economic changes (efficiency increase, higher wages, fewer hours, more consumer goods) meant not possible, prosperity shared unevenly.

2nd Industrial Revolution: output increase sans labor increase. Factories electrified, automated machines required less skill, mass-production used for consumer-durable goods, consumer goods production doubled over 20s.

Modern corporations had high-level people w/no controlling interests, behavioral psych used to manage, understanding export markets important. success keys: research, product diversification, integrated production/distribution. 1929: 200 corporations had ~.5 USA corporate wealth, 100 had ~.5 industrial income, this oligopoly

Welfare capitalism: used to reduce union power by helping workers, included open shop(see: modern right to work laws), symbolic company unions, union leadership did little outreach, membership 2.5E6 lower, workers got insurance, stock-purchase, homeownership plans, tried to encourage identification w/company, could not address irregular employment, long hours, low wages, long-term unsafe conditions.

Assembly lines developed, car production frequency went from 13 hr (1913) to 10 sec (1925), cars cost 3 months wages for high-paid car factory workers. Car businesses (gas stations, roadside diners, repair shops) developed, made leisure by leaving work/school areas easier.

Urban populations grew dramatically, automobile suburbs less dense.

Republican presidents said their business-friendly policies were to thank for economy. Warren G Harding stopped from campaigning by own party due to concerns of showing his shallowness & intellectual weakness, said I knew that this job would be too much for me when elected, gave friends lots of power when in office, had lots of corruption scandals and 1st cabinet officer (Albert Fall) to go to jail (for renting navy oil reserves to private developers for bribes). Andrew Mellon tried to run government like a corporation by cutting taxes on wealthy.

Calvin Coolidge honest, wanted small government, spent 4 hr/day @ oval office, The business of America is business, reduced spending, lowered taxes, blocked congressional initiatives.

Herbert Hoover ran relief for Europe, stated government need only advise private groups about what actions to pursue, Reactionaries and radicals would assume that all reform and human advance must come through government … progress must come from the steady lift of the individual, wanted to actively help business community, wanted associative state of voluntary cooperation between sectors of economy. Encouraged trade associations, wanted to reduce competition to promote efficiency by concentrating wealth/power.

USA major WWI creditor, became largest econ power, high import tariffs made it hard for debtors to sell USA stuff, USA had to cancel many debts due to refusal to pay, 1924 Dawes Plan tried to help Germany repay war-guilt debt by stabilizing German economy, USA signed unenforcible Kellog-Briand pact outlawing war.

USA Latin American investment kept Latin American economies underdeveloped & centered around natural resources & cash crops by blocking diversification, USA interests favored reliable autocratic military regimes over mutable democracies.

USA farm sector shared little in prosperity due to surpluses, South lagged behind, McNary-Haugen bills had government buy & store farm surpluses to subsidize commodity farming, mechanized farming destroyed lots of grassland, farmers got poorer, as did coal miners and textile workers.

Roaring Twenties mass culture (ads, movies, radio, new journalism, recording industry) allowed media to create new nontraditional habit/dress/language/social norms. Moviegoing became habit for immigrants/working class, 7E6 admissions/day by 1914 for short films, feature films then developed by European-immigrant-run studios, silent film era ended 1927 w/Warner Bros The Jazz Singer. Star system/cult of celebrity idolized actors, used such status to sell consumer goods as liberating via displaying youth/athleticism/sexuality. Hollywood self-censored (Hays code) to prevent states concerned about Hollywood values from censoring them. Radio for the general public became a thing after amateur broadcasts from a Westinghouse employee of music became popular, leading to KDKA in fall of 1920 broadcasting elections, pre-KDKA radio for military, phone industry, ham operators. By 1923 ~600 stations, 6E5 radios sold. Individual stations funded by single sponsors, AT&T used telephone wires to unify stations such as National Broadcasting Company and Columbia Broadcasting System, squeezing out ethnic-minority-targeted shows. Variety shows by vaudeville comedians, once-isolated music forms & sports broadcasts became popular. USA shows dominated Canadian/Mexican airwaves despite existence of local systems.

Tabloids became popular, NY Daily News folding subway/bus-friendly, reporting centered on sex, scandal, sports, 1.3E6 circulation 1929, new tabloids created & others copied style, gossip column popular.

Ads used to be pure dry info, creative ads only used for questionable patent medicines, then advertisers wanted to copy WWI propaganda’s success. Ad agencies used market research & psych (behaviorism, Freudianism), ads tried to link products to consumer mental traits/beliefs instead of promoting qualities.

Phonograph developed w/wax cylinders in 1890, hard to use wax cylinders, so was unpopular, permanently grooved discs introduced ~WWI more popular w/consumers, transformed business, sheet music & cylinders displaced. Regional/ethnic markets discovered (blues, jazz, country) finally recorded, played on radio, sold overseas.

Athletes became celebrities, especially MLB athletes, used for celebrity endorsements. Scandals like teams throwing games for $ occurred. Attendance huge. African-Americans played in segregated leagues despite skill.

New Morality not so novel or prevalent, the flapper (young, sexually aggressive, competitive, assertive, drank, smoke, shorter hair & skirt) non-representative, as sensuality/personal pleasure/rhythmically complex dance/music common among subcultures (radicals, African-Americans, working-class dance halls) already, sexual openness more common due to WWI army sex ed, don’t repress messages from psych, Sanger promoting contraceptives. Gay/lesbian subcultures had become a bit less covert, despite treatment as mental illness.

Prohibition: 18th amendment banned alcohol consumption starting 1920 Jan. Occurred because drinking associated w/bad parts of urban politics, degradation of working-class family. Law underenforced, bootlegging & speakeasies & illegal stills rampant, police bribed not to enforce, boosted organized crime. Successful organized crime leaders (Al Capone) got lots of media coverage, organized crime pervaded legal business, unions, local governments. Per capita consumption was reduced, but binge drinking by young people grew.

Immigration from Asia, southern & eastern Europe subject to quotas, new immigrants had darker skin, often Catholic & Jewish, seen as more foreign and slower to assimilate. Scientific racism based on misunderstanding of evolution to argue USA was committing race suicide, tried to explain success solely via racial differences, 100% American fervor & Red Scare discouraged south/eastern European immigration further. Racism coded into immigration laws in increasingly tight quotas, Asian-Americans never allowed to become citizens.

Ku Klux Klan revived in 1915 by Birth of a Nation film which portrayed original Reconstruction KKK as heroes, dentist Hiram W Evans ran it starting 1922 & hired PR for fundraisers/recruitment via paying people for sponsoring new members/publicity, focused on 100% Americanism & maintenance of White Supremacy. KKK portrayed self as defender of small-town Protestant USA values, pro-Prohibition, anti-Catholic, anti-contraceptives, anti-Darwinism, had >3E6 members 1924, slogan Native, White, Protestant Supremacy, used boycotts, threats, violence (public whippings, lynching, arson), mostly targeted African-Americans, Catholics, Jews. Became involved in Democratic party 1924, lost influence 1925 due to sex scandal.

Religious fundamentalism grew, focused on literal Bible parsing even when it contradicted science, creationism led to restricting evolutionary bio classes, John T Scopes deliberately broke restrictions, Scopes Monkey Trial got major publicity, anti-evolution law stopped being enforced.

Feminists had trouble keeping unity after suffrage, national hostility towards political idealism present, activsts unsure whether to push protection due to gender difference or equality due to similarity, National American Woman Suffrage Association became League of Women Voters, supported women in politics due to presumption of altruism and protective laws based on gender difference. National Women’s Party anti-patriarchy & opposed protective laws due to them hurting women’s ability to compete in workforce, proposed ERA. ERA’s still never passed. Press focused on announcing firsts for women as small number of professionals made great gains. 1921 Shepard-Towner act 1st federally-funded health care, matched state funds for prenatal & infant care, accused of pandering to women voters, no major gender gap in votes found. AMA lobbied to cut program, closed in 1929.

Mexican immigration for agriculture jobs soared, became more permanent, immigrants lived in segregated barrios. Racist stereotypes used by agribusiness to support more open borders. Mutualistas (mutual aid societies) important social institutions: death benefits, widows’ pensions, centralizing anti-discrimination/civil rights violations resistance.

Harlem grew hugely post-WWI thru migration from South & Caribbean, many activists from Caribbean because unused to racism and had enterpreneurial experience. High rents led to overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. Harlem Renaissance of art (esp. literature) occurred through focus on black culture, new movements developed, African-American music entered mainstream. Harlem became stereotype of nightlife but average resident never entered nightclubs.

Intellectuals in USA alienated by war, Prohibition, oligopoly, cultural intolerance, leading some to live abroad. Called lost generation. WWI created revulsion, cynicism. Novelists chronicled searches for dignifying personal moral codes. Hemingway covered WWI+aftermath, Fitzgerald covered Jazz Age & distrust of prosperity promises in politics, HL Mencken edited American Mercury & scorned nativism/Prohibition/fundamentalism, Sinclair Lewis satirized small-town life. Radicalism on defensive, Sacco & Vanzetti executed for murder due to prejudice against anarchism, organized labor, pacifism. Intellectual Fugitives described selves as alienated by industrial progress & mass culture, promoted agragarian cultural norms, saw antebellum plantation-centric society as moral for protecting dependents (read: women & African-Americans) and respecting land.

1928 Election showed importance of ethnic & cultural differences in politics. Democrat Al Smith was from NYC Lower East Side, of Irish/German/Italian ancestry, was Catholic, came from Tammany Hall, sympathized w/poor & working-class. Accent & suits identified him as NYC urban, as did anti-Prohibition promises, drew anti-Catholic bigotry, tried to be economically conservative. Herbert Hoover model of American success, self-made millionare engineer, had XP w/humanitarian aid & efficiency, pro-business. Hoover won 58% popular vote & 82% electoral vote.