Definition: A social innovation where certain companies such as General Electric
pledged to care for their employees giving the incentives for working hard. Built workers
clean, safe factories, installed cafeterias, hired trained dieticians, formed baseball teams
and glee clubs. Several firms encouraged employees to buy company stock as well as
enroll in unions.
Significance: Was not largely popular embracing barely 5 percent of the workforce.
Often only gave benefits to skilled laborers, the hardest ones to replace.
Definition: The first automobile that was so affordable at $290 that almost anyone could
buy one. Were all the same color and made the same way.
Significance: Provided so many jobs for workers, led to the creation of the moving
assembly line. Wages for Ford’s workers went up. They could use their excess to
maintain a booming economy.
“New” Ku Klux Klan
Definition: New members who took after the older Klan in Reconstruction days, who
were insecure and worried about the changes and conflicts in American society. They
attributed these changes to rising immigration, “uppity women”, and African Americans
who did not “recognize their place”. They only allowed native born, white, gentile
American men to join the group now, whereas before any white man could join. Drew on
the small-town culture of America. Members came mostly from middle and working
class. Common ideals were white supremacy, chastity, fidelity and parental authority.
Also fought for laissez-faire capitalism and fundamental Protestantism. When
demonstrations failed to “cleanse” communities, they resorted to floggings, kidnappings,
acid mutilations and murder.
Significance: Gained nearly 3 million dues-paying members by the early 1920’s. Became
involved in politics, electing governors, senators and local officials. In the end the Klan
unraveled when David Stephenson, the Indiana leader and most powerful Midwest leader
was sentenced to life in prison for rape and murder.
National Origins Act (1924)
Definition: Limited number of immigrants allowed entering the United States
significantly. In 1924, the National Origins Act limited the cap of immigration from
350,000 to 150,000 and reduced the percent of each nationality living in the United States
from 3 percent down to 2 percent.
Significance: “Fixed” problem of immigration and reduced southern and eastern
European immigration down to a trickle. An era of immigration came to an end.
Red Scare (1919-1920)
Definition: A general fear of communism after WWI. In April 1919, a plan to mail thiry
six bombs to a variety of prominent Americans was uncovered. On June 2 the same year,
bombs exploded in eight different cities within the same hour.