The Great War fought and won, America wanted to get back to the old days, and forget about future obligations to Europe.  The 1920 campaign slogan of The Republicans was "A Return to Normalcy."   America was also finished with the Progressive Era.  The nation wanted economic prosperity, and the Republicans, long considered to be the party of big business, planned on delivering it.  With the rather modest ticket of Senator Warren Harding (the Republicans had many second-rate guys and Harding was simply the best of the second raters) and Governor Calvin Coolidge, the Republicans won an easy victory. 

The sole highlight for the Democrats was the performance of their vice-presidential candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt.  He was expected to be the future of the Democratic Party, until he contracted a case of polio in 1921, which almost every expert believed ended his political career.

Harding's presidency was racked with scandals, most notably over Teapot Dome.  When Harding died while still in office in 1923,  'Silent Cal' Calvin Coolidge assumed the presidency, and easily won a full term in 1924.  In 1928, the Republicans ran Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce, who easily defeated Democratic Al Smith, Governor of New York.  The nation was satisfied with nearly a decade of economic growth under the Republicans.  Al Smith holds the distinction of being the first Catholic to receive the nomination of a major political party for national office.

Charles Lindbergh - First person to fly solo, non-stop across the Atlantic, in 1927.
"The Red Scare" - the search for Americans who might be Communists (Bolsheviks) in the aftermath of World War I.  (Red is the color of Communism.)
Volstead Act - Congressional legislation which enforced the 18th Amendment (Prohibition)


Tindall, Chapter 27


AReturn to Normalcy@ The Red Scare ASilent Cal@ Coolidge Prohibition and the Volstead Act Election of 1928 Al Smith Roaring Twenties


Why did America turn conservative in the election of 1920?

Why did Hoover defeat Al Smith in the election of 1928?



Hoovervilles - Villages of people who lost their homes because of the Wall Street Crash, folks who were forced to lived in card board boxes.
Bonus Army -
World War I veterans who went to Washington. DC, in 1932 to seek an early payment of the pensions they were promised for their military service.  Since the Hoover administration had no money for them, the Congress voted the vets train fare for a return trip home.  Those veterans who refused to move out of their village in Washington were forcibly removed by troops led by General Douglas MacArthur.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democrat of Hyde Park, NY, unsuccessful vice-presidential candidate in 1920, elected Governor of New York in 1928.  Roosevelt was elected to the presidency in 1932 over Herbert Hoover, and three additional times,  in 1936 over Alf Landon, in 1940 over Wendell Willkie, and over Thomas Dewey in 1944.  Died in his office in Warm Springs, Georgia, in April 1945.
"Brain Trust" -
FDR's close inner circle of advisors, among them Harry Hopkins.
Bank Holiday - The closing of all American banks in March, 1933, upon the inauguration of FDR, for federal inspectors to review bank records and convince Americans they were safe in leaving their money in banks.
FDIC - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, created by the New Deal, to insure individual bank accounts up to a sum of $5,000 per account, in order to convince Americans that their bank accounts were safe.
"Buying on Margin" - Rule which allowed individuals to purchase stocks while only fronting 10% of the stock value,  and borrowing the remaining 90%.
Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act) - created the National Labor Relations Board to oversee relations between unions and management, and enter negotiations as needed.  Act also required that,  under penalty of law and possibly heavy fines, both management and the duly elected labor union representatives negotiate in good faith with each other.
Roosevelt Recession - economic recession of 1937-38 caused by the ending of  government funding for a number of New Deal programs.  The recession and subsequent unemployment rate increase proved that the nation's economy still needed the heavy government assistance of the New Deal.  A variety of WPA/PWA projects were reopened for financing by the FDR administration.
"Packing the Court" - FDR's plan to add members to the Supreme Court beyond its current membership of nine justices, up to a total of fifteen depending on the ages of the judges, because the Court had declared unconstitutional portions of New Deal legislation.  Plan was rejected by Congress.  Later, when there were openings on the Supreme Court,  Roosevelt's appointees to the Court included Felix Frankfurter, William O. Douglas, and Hugo Black, each of whom remained on the Court well beyond FDR's death.
TVA - Tennessee Valley Authority
WPA - Works Progress Administration
PWA - Public Works Administration
"Fire Side Chats" - A series of radio broadcasts made by FDR to the nation, in an attempt to assure Americans that, together, the country could overcome the Great Depression


Tindall, Chapter 28


FDR The Great Depression Wall Street Crash New York Stock Exchange ABuying on Margin@ AHoovervilles@ Bonus Army AThe New Deal@ Social Security Act AThe Hundred Days@ AThe Brain Trust@ Wagner Act First New Deal Second New Deal TVA WPA PWA Bank Holiday and FDIC Roosevelt Recession APacking the Court@ Deficit Spending Good Neighbor Policy


What were the causes of the Great Depression?

What is the difference between the First and the Second New Deal?

What caused the Roosevelt Recession?

What New Deal program provides protection for elderly Americans?

Who were the Justices that FDR nominated to the Supreme Court? Why did Roosevelt want to Apack@ the Court?

What was the purpose of FDR=s Afire side chats?@


William E. Leuchtenburg, Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.