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The Twenties: A Decade Of Friction And Conflict Between The Values Of Rural And Urban America

1711 words - 7 pages

It is accurate that the Twenties was a decade of friction and conflict between the values of urban and rural America. Traditional, rural Americans were conservative, and as a result feared change advocated by the new urban Americans who brought forth new attitudes and ideas. Both clashed on the lines of immigration, politics, religion, and women's rights.In an analysis of the 1920s, William, E. Leuchtenburg wrote the Perils of Prosperity and in it stated that there were different two Americas at that time, rural and urban America. Rural America wanting to preserve their old US began to attack urban America based on radicals, religion, and prohibition of alcohol.During World War 1, Americans were asked by the federal government to do two things: despise Germans and to not go on strike. After the war ended, two things consequently followed. First, American emotions still persisted and more people were included now: blacks, Catholics, foreigners, to name a few. Second, by not striking, workers felt that they fell behind in wages, therefore, a record number of strikes (3,600) occurred in one year. Third, with the success of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, Americans began to fear Communism, known as the Red Scare, and associated it with not only foreigners, but with the new union strikes and with a few acts of violence which involved 3 separate letter bombs, where in one case 38 people were killed in Wall Street. All of the American accusations proved to be ludacris. Nevertheless, these were the main causes of the intolerance toward urban America during this decade.There were many efforts to cleanse America of the Bolsheviks, or radicals. A. Mitchell Palmer, the attorney general, launched a nationwide crusade to purge the country of the communists. On January 1st, 1920 6,000 suspected radicals were captured during simultaneously conducted raids. These raids proved to be in vain as 90% of the suspects were innocent Americans, but nonetheless 600 were deported back to Europe on "Noah's Ark"In a similar attempt, 2 Italians were convicted for murder and robbery of a factory paymaster and sentenced to death. Many trials were conducted on behalf of the dubious, but they are executed in 1922, even after worldwide protest. There were many holes in the case with the judges also being biased, but many believed they were executed because of the public hysteria on communism. Even today, the case is still unproven, but this would eventually end the Red Scare of this period.The federal government also responds to the public fear by passing restrictions on immigration. The notion was that millions of Europeans would emigrate to escape their devastated countries and within these immigrants would be Bolsheviks. The first of three restriction acts is the Emergency Quota Act of 1921. Here, each country received a quota of 3% of their population living in America in 1910. To the Americans, though, it was still too much. The passing of the Immigration Act of 1924 was...

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