20 - Chapter 20 TELESCOPING THE TIMES Politics of the...

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Chapter 20: TELESCOPING THE TIMES Politics of the Roaring Twenties Section 1: Americans Struggle with Postwar Issues MAIN IDEA A desire for normality after the war and a fear of communism and foreigners led to postwar isolationism. Events in faraway Russia had an effect on the United States after World War I. Massive protests led the Russian ruler to step down from the throne in March 1917. In November of that year, radicals seized the government and established the world’s first Communist state. Soon, this new government issued a call for worldwide revolution. Its leaders wanted to overthrow the capitalist system and abolish private property. About 70,000 people, called “Reds,” joined the new Communist party in the United States. Though their numbers were small, their radicalism and threats aroused fear among many people. As a “Red Scare” swept the nation, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer decided to remove the threat. Palmer formed a new agency in the Justice Department to find and punish radicals. His agents arrested Communists, Socialists, and anarchists, who opposed any government at all. The agents often disregarded the rights of the people they arrested. Hundreds of radicals were sent out of the country without a trial. But Palmer never found evidence of a conspiracy to overthrow the government, and the fear passed. The U.S. was actually becoming isolationist again—pulling away from world affairs. Dislike of foreigners resulted in a new immigration law. With the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, Congress limited the number of people admitted into the country each year. A revised version passed in 1924 cut the flow of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. It put a stop to Japanese immigration altogether. In 1929, Congress voted to further limit the number of immigrants admitted each year.
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