5. The Red Scare They blamed workers for the rapidly rising cost of living, which jumped nearly 80 percent between 1917 and 1919 When in 1919 the Soviet Union’s new Bolshevik leaders founded the Third International, intended to foster revolutions abroad, some Americans began to fear that dangerous radicals were hiding everywhere In April 1919, alert postal workers discovered and defused thirty-four mail bombs addressed to government officials Palmer escaped unharmed, but he used the incident to fan public fears, precipitating a hysterical Red Scare. The Palmer raids peaked on a notorious night in January 1920, when federal agents invaded homes and meeting halls, arrested six thousand citizens and aliens, and denied the prisoners access to legal counsel. . Convicted of the murders, Sacco and Vanzetti sat in jail for six years while supporters appealed their verdicts. In 1927, Judge Webster Thayer denied a motion for a new trial and sentenced them to death
6. Politics in the 1920s After a few early reform victories, including achievement of national women’s suffrage, the dominant motif of the 1920s was limited government President Calvin Coolidge declared, “The man who builds a factory builds a temple. The man who works there worships there.” The same theme prevailed in continued U.S. interventions in Latin America and elsewhere: American business needs were the top priority. 7. Women in Politics The committee’s greatest accomplishment was the first federally funded health-care legislation, the Sheppard-Towner Federal Maternity and Infancy Act (1921). Sheppard-Towner provided federal funds for medical clinics, prenatal education programs, and visiting nurses In 1923, Alice Paul, founder of the National Woman’s Party, also persuaded congressional allies to consider an Equal Rights Horrified at the suffering caused by World War I, some women joined a growing international peace movement. In 1919, they created the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), whose leading American members included Jane Addams. Members of the league denounced imperialism, stressed the human suffering caused by militarism, and proposed social justice measures. The WILPF came under fierce attack during the Red Scare because it included socialist women in its ranks. And though women proved to be effective lobbyists, they had difficulty gaining access to positions inside the Republican and Democratic parties. 8. Republicans and Business With President Wilson ailing in 1920, Democrats nominated Ohio governor James M. Cox for president, on a platform calling for U.S. participation in the League of Nations and continuation of Wilson’s progressivism. Harding’s most energetic appointee was Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, well known as head of the wartime Food Administration. Under Hoover’s direction, the Commerce Department helped create two thousand trade associations representing companies in almost every major industry.
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