Chapter 24: The New Era of the 1920s - Emily Freiman...

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Emily Freiman Chapter 24: The New Era of the 1920s 1. a) During the Red Scare, leaders feared that Russia’s radical Bolshevik revolution was threatening American principles and values. In 1919 a rash of labor strikes seeking to raise wages to meet rising prices and to retain wartime bargaining rights sparked the Red Scare. All told, more than 3,300 striked involving 4 million laborers jolted the nation that year. Many lashed out at American radicals, casually applying the term “red” (derived from the red flag used by communists) to discredit them. b) Victor Berger: A socialists living in a heavily German district in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a former member of Congress, Berger was indicted under the Espionage act for denouncing U.S. entry into the war. He was elected to Congress in 1918 however did not take his seat because early the next year he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. While out on bail Berger won the special election held to replace him, however was once again not admitted. The Supreme court reversed his conviction in 1921 and he took his seat in Congress in 1924. c) Boston Police Strike: Boston police officers went on strike on September 9, 1919. They sought recognition for their trade union and improvements in wages and working conditions. Some sniffled at Bolshevik conspiracy, but some thought it was crazy to label the police as radicals. Calvin Coolidge proclaimed that nobody had the right to strike against the public safety. State guardsmen soon replaced the striking policemen. d) Steel Workers Strike: Many steelworkers worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and lived in squaling houses. When postwar unemployment in the industry climbed and the U.S. Steel Corporations refused to meet with committee representatives, some 350,000 workers walked off the job demanding the right to collective bargaining, a shorter work day, and a living wage. The steel barons hired strikebreakers and sent agents to club strikers. The companies won and the strike collapsed in 1920. e) John Reed: a defector from the Socialists party, John Reed founded the Communist Labor Party in 1919. The party did not command many followers and in 1919 the harassed socialist party could muster no more than 30,000 members. f) Palmer Raids: Government agents in 33 cities broke into meeting halls and homes without search warrants. More than 4,000 people were jailed and denied council. Because of court rulings and the courageous efforts of Assistant Secretary of Labor, most of the arrestees were released, although nearly 600 were deported. g) J. Edgar Hoover: Palmer appointed J. Edgar Hoover to head the Radical Division of the Department of Justice. Hoover compiled index cards bearing the names of allegedly radical individuals and organizations. Hoover also planned and directed the Palmer raids.
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