The 1920’s Dbq

1920’s DBQ Question: The 1920’s were a period of tension between new and changing attitudes on the one hand and traditional values and nostalgia on the other. What led to the tension between old and new AND in what ways was the tension manifested? Analyze these documents in pairs. You can use their textbooks and/or the power point we used in class to help build their understanding of the material. You should write a thesis statement, intro paragraph and outline a proposed answer. The outline should indicate how you would use the documents to support their argument. Document A

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Just as he was an Elk, a Booster and a member of the Chamber of Commerce, just as the priests of the Presbyterian Church determined his every religious belief and the senators who controlled the Republican Party decided in little smoky rooms in Washington what he should think about disarmament, tariff, and Germany, so did the large national advertisers fix the surface of his life, fix what he believed to be his individuality. These standard advertised wares—toothpastes, socks, tires, cameras, and instantaneous hot water heaters—were his symbols and proofs of excellence; at first the signs, then the substitutes, for joy and passion and wisdom.

Source: Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt, 1922 Document B [pic] Source: Georgia O’Keefe, The Radiator Building at Night (NYC) , 1927 (painting) Source C [pic] Source: Ethel Walker, singer and actress, 1925 (photograph) Document D [pic] Source: The First Measured Century (PBS) Document E Mr Darrow: Do you claim that everything in the Bible should be literally interpreted? Mr. Bryan:I believe everything in the Bible should be accepted as it is given there; some of the Bible is given illustratively. For instance: “Ye are the salt of the earth. I would not insist that man was actually salt, or he had flesh of salt, but it is used in the sense of salt as saving God’s people Mr. Darrow: But when you read that Jonah swallowed the whale—or that the whale swallowed Jonah—excuse me please—how do you literally interpret that? Mr. Bryan: One miracle is just as easy to believe as another…. Mr. Darrow;Perfectly easy to believe that Jonah swallowed the whale?…. ****************** Mr. Bryan:You honor, I think I can shorten this testimony. The only purpose Mr.

Darrow has is to slur at the Bible, but I will answer his question. I will answer it all at once, and I have no objection in the world, I want the world to know that this man, who does not believe in God, is trying to use a court in Tennessee— Mr. Darrow:I object to that Mr. Bryan: (continuing) to slur at it, and while it will require time, I am willing to take it. Mr. Darrow:I object to your statement. I am examining you on your fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes. Source: Scopes Trial Transcript, 1925 Source F [pic]

Source: Edward Hopper, Corner Drug Store, 1927 (painting) Source G We are a movement of the plain people, very weak in the matter of culture, intellectual support, and trained leadership. We are demanding, and we expect to win, a return of power into the hands of the everyday, not highly cultured, not overly intellectualized, but of the old stock. Our members and leaders are all of this class—the opposition of the intellectuals and liberals who held the leadership, betrayed Americanism, and from whom we expect to wrest control, is almost automatic.

This is undoubtedly a weakness. It lays us open to the chare of being ‘hicks’ and ‘rubes’ and ‘drivers of second-hand fords. ’ We admit it. Far worse, it makes it hard for us to state our case and advocate our crusade in the most effective way, for most of us lack skill in language. .**************** The Klan, therefore, has now come to speak for the great mass of Americans of the old pioneer stock. We believe that it does fairly and faithfully represent them, and our proof lies in their support.

To understand the Klan, then, it is necessary to understand the character and present mind of the mass of old-stock Americans. The mass, it must be remembered, as distinguished from the intellectually mongrelized “Liberals. ” These are, in the first place a blend of various peoples of the so-called Nordic race, the race which, with all its faults, has given the world almost the whole of modern civilization. The Klan does not try to represent any people but these. Source: Hiram Wesley Evans, “The Klan’s Fight for Americanism,” The North American Review, March 1926.

Source H Jazz to me is one of the inherent expressions of Negro Life in America: the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul—the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world, a world of subway trains, and work, work, work; the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and pain swallowed in a smile. Yet the Philadelphia clubwoman… turns up her nose at jazz and all its manifestations—likewise almost anything else distinctly racial…She wants the artist to flatter her, to make the white world believe that all Negroes are as smug as near white in smug as she wants to be.

But, to my mind, it is the duty of the younger Negro artist …to change through the hidden force of his art that old whispering “I want to be white,” hidden in the aspirations of his people, to “Why should I want to be white? I am Negro—and beautiful. ” Source I When, because of what we believe him to be, we gave Lindbergh the greatest ovation in history, we convicted ourselves of having told a lie about ourselves. For we proved that the “things of good report” are the same today as they were nineteen hundred years ago.

We shouted ourselves hoarse. Not because a man had flown across the Atlantic! Not even because he was an American! But because he was a clean in character as he was strong and fine in body; be cause he put ‘ethics’ above any desire for wealth; because he was as modest as he was courageous; and because-as we now know, beyond any shadow of doubt—these are the things which we honor most in life. To have shown us this truth about ourselves is the biggest thing that Lindbergh has done. Source: Mary B.

Mullett, “The Biggest thing That Lindbergh Has Done,” The American Magazine, October 1927 Source I [pic] Source: Marcus Garvey, 1925 (photograph) Source J Be it resolved that the National W. C. T. U (Women’s Chirstian Temperance Union) encourages further scientific research into the effects of nicotine and urges all public and private school teachers and Sunday school workers, both by precept and example, to assist in an educational campaign to make these effects known with a view to instructing the youth as to the well-proven facts of science; and

Be it further resolved, that the national W. C. T. U. brands as untrue the charge made by the Association Opposed to National Prohibition that we are engaged in a secret campaign for an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting tobacco…. [Mrs. Ella A. Boole, President of the NY State organization says:] “We are working on this question from a scientific standpoint and from an educational standpoint. After all, the duty of motherhood is still relegated to the women of the nation.

Just as long as that is true we must protect the coming generation by teaching the present one the effects of the habit of smiking on the unborn…. ” Source: “Women Smokers,” The New York Times, February 29, 1928 Source K [pic] Life Magazine Cover, 1926 Source J [pic] Source: The Daily Worker, August 22, 1927 Source L . The struggle continues over the Johnson bill to restrict immigration to two per cent of each national group domiciled here in 1890.

The opposition comes mainly from certain groups of Southern and Eastern Europeans, and individuals representing them. Specifically the opposition comes from Congressmen representing districts in which compact blocks of Italians, Poles, Russians, Greeks and Slavs now reside. Against these unassimilated and unassimilable peoples the proposed measure would discriminate. They all represent the newer immigration. Before 1890 the United States received mainly folk from northern and western Europe. Since 1890 the majority have come from southern and eastern Europe.

By basing quotas upon the 1890 census Italian immigration would be cut down from over forty thousand to under four thousand, the Russians from over twenty thousand to under two thousand, and the Poles from about twenty thousand to five thousand, admissible in one year. The new bill would not greatly reduce the number who would come in from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France and Germany. These groups have made no protest against a measure which aims to cut the immigration total approximately in half, from about three hundred and sixty thousand to about one hundred and eighty thousand persons….

There is no blinking the fact that certain races do not fuse with us and have no intention of trying to become Americans. The Poles, for example, are determined to remain Polish. No doubt this is good Polish patriotism, but it is very poor Americanism. The Polish Diet, as the Indianapolis News points out, has adopted a resolution asking the government to request the Holy See to use its influence with the Catholic hierarchy in the United States to permit the continued use of the Polish language in Polish Catholic churches and parochial schools.

A dispatch from Warsaw declares that the resolution is part of an effort to stop “the systematic Americanization of the Poles”! Nevertheless, as the News declares, if we are to permit any Poles to come here in the future, “the systematic Americanization” of them must continue. Source: “Guarding the Gates Against Undesirables” Current Opinion, April, 1924


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