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The Politics of Boom and Bust

Warren Harding

became president in 1920, promising a "return to normalcy"; not much interested in the work of presidency, enjoying the pomp and circumstance instead; had many affairs; presidency marked by corruption and scandal, but he died before his political career was significantly damaged; Weak-willed president whose easygoing ways opened the door to widespread corruption in his administration

Ohio Gang

A group of poker-playing, men that were friends of President Warren Harding. Harding appointed them to offices and they used their power to gain money for themselves. They were involved in scandals that ruined Harding's reputation even though he wasn't involved.

Charles Evans Hughes

Secretary of State under Harding, Proposed a 10-year moratorium on the construction of major new warships at the Washington Conference; Strong-minded leader of Harding's cabinet and initiator of major naval agreements


Secretary of State who reduced taxes to encourage business, but this action shifted the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class

Albert Fall

The Secretary of the Interior who accepted bribes from an oil company and started the Teapot Dome Scandal.


attorney general who fully shared Harding's big business bias, clamped on the strikers one of the most sweeping injunctions (Railway Labor Board), very corrupt


chief justice during Harding's presidency

Adkins v. Children's Hospital

Supreme Court case that invalidated MULLER V. OREGON declaring that since women now had the vote, they were equal to men and undeserving of special protection, Supreme Court ruling that removed workplace protection and invalidated a minimum wage for women

Interstate Commerce Commission

government agency organized to oversee railroad commerce, however came to be dominated by men sympathetic to the RR owners

War Industries Board

Agency established during WWI to increase efficiency & discourage waste in war-related industries., disappeared vverryyyy quickly after the war

Esch-Cummins Transportation Act

the 1920 act of Congress in which the railroads were returned to private ownership with a pledge of government help to make them profitable

Merchant-marine Act

1920; this act authorized the shipping board, which controlled about 1500 vessels, to dispose of much of the hastily built wartime fleet at bargain-basement prices

Shipping Board

controlled about fifteen hundred vessels ; used to dispose of much of the wartime fleet at bargain-basement prices

La Follette Seaman's Act

Wilson - 1915 required good treatment of America's sailors, but it sent merchant freight rates soaring as a result of the cost to maintain sailor health.

Railway Labor Board

the 1920's successor to the wartime labor boards that ordered 12% wage cuts to certain workers in 1922 provoking a two-month strike, Attorney General Daugherty clamped injunctions on strikers (unions wilted and membership dropped to 30%)

Veterans' Bureau

Federal bureau created in 1921 to provide hospitals and services to disabled veterans

American Legion

WWI veterans' group that promoted patriotism and economic benefits for former servicemen

Theodore Roosevelt Jr

founded the American Legion in Paris in 1919

adjusted compensation

demanded by former servicemen to make up for the wages they had lost when they turned in their factory overalls for the war

Adjusted compensation Act

it gave every WW1 veteran a paid up insurance policy, vetoed by both Harding and Coolidge, but overridden by Congress

joint resolution

what actually ended the war with Germany many years later considering US didn't sign the Treaty of Versailles

unofficial observers

US "not delegates" who watched proceedings at the League of Nations

Anglo Japanese alliance

An agreement for an initial period of five years, in which the UK and Japan agreed to remain neutral if either was involved in a war with a third power. If either was involved in a war with two other countries, then the other would assist, made US nervous

Washington Conference

1921-1922. invitations went to all the major naval powers, except RUSSIA. proposed that the scaled down navies of America and Britain should enjoy party in battleships and aircraft carriers, Secretary Hughes laid out a plan for declaring a ten-year hiatus, held in DC

5-5-3 ratio

Hughes proposed that scaled-down navies of America and Britain should enjoy equality in the number of battleships and aircraft carriers, with Japan on the small end (Rolls-Royce, Rolls-Royce, Ford)

Five Power Naval Treaty

it was discussed in the Washington Conference, it put limitations on weapons and military in US, Britain, Japan, France, and Italy. Agreement that reduced naval strength and established a ratio of warships among the major shipping powers

four-power treaty

1921. Treaty between the US, Great Britain, France, and Japan to maintain the status quo in the South Pacific, that no countries could seek further territorial gain.

Nine-power treaty

1922. Treaty that was essentially a reinvention of the Open Door Policy. All members to allow equal and fair trading rights with China (the sick man of the Far East). Signed by (9) US, Japan, China, France, Great Britain, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and Portugal.

Kellogg-Briand Pact, Pact of Paris

sec state Kellogg, all nations that signed would no longer use war as offensive means. Toothless international agreement of 1928 that pledged nations to outlaw war

Fordney-McCumber Tariff Law

tariff law that reversed Democratic policies and established the high-tariff American economic isolationism of the 1920s, Congress passed this to raise the tariff from 27% to 39% because businessmen wanted to keep the home markets to themselves, however didn't realize the tariff wall worked both ways, Americans couldn't sell to Europe (build surplus->deflation), and Europe couldn't recovery from war by selling to America

Charles Forbes

head of the Veterans Bureau, was caught stealing $200 million from the government, chiefly in connection with the building of veterans' hospitals.

trade associations

organizations representing the interests of firms and professionals in the same general field

Teapot Dome

Albert B. Fall leased oil rich land in Teapot Dome, WYOMING, and Elk Hills, California, to oilmen Harry F. Sinclair and Edward L. Doheny, but not until Fall had received a "loan" of $100,000 form Doheny and about three times that amount from Sinclair. The scandal greatly affected the public view of the government in a negative way.


Sec of the Navy also involved with Fall and the Teapot Dome scandal

Sinclair, Doheny

two oilmen who gave fall a bribe/loan of over $400,000


President who followed Harding, who during this period practiced a laissez faire policy toward business (famous cartoon Cash Register Chorus, businesses have a friend in Coolidge) Tight-lipped Vermonter who promoted frugality and pro-business policies during his presidency

gasoline engine tractor

STEEL MULE, made a revolution on American farms, took place of plodding after the horse-drawn plow with high footed gait

farm bloc

A group of both Democratic and Republican members of Congress from the farming states of the Middle West that pressures the federal government to adopt policies favorable to farmers.

Capper-Volstead Act

exempted farmers' marketing cooperatives from antitrust prosecution

McNary-Haugen Bill

Farm proposal of the 1920s, passed by Congress but vetoed by president Coolidge, that provided for the federal government to buy farm surpluses and sell them abroad

La Follette

old Wisconsin liberal, progressive candidate in 1924; Leader of a liberal third-party (Progressive Party) insurgency who attracted little support outside the farm belt and his home state

John Davis

Democratic convention nominee in 1924 against Coolidge. He was a wealthy lawyer connected with J.P. Morgan and Company. Coolidge easily defeated him, Weak, compromise Democratic candidate in 1924

yanqui imperialism

Mexican term for Coolidge's mail-fist tactics

Ruhr Valley

coal rich land first taken by France for war reparations for WWI, then it was taken beck by Germany

Dawes Plan

A plan to revive the German economy, the United States loans Germany money which then can pay reparations to England and France, who can then pay back their loans from the U.S. basically a merry go round, America never really recieved payments, just caused hatred of America from other European powers as a selfish power; American-sponsored arrangement for rescheduling German reparations payments that only temporarily eased the international debt tangle of the 1920s


only country to repay ALL of it's WWI debt, finished by 1976

Herbert Hoover

Secretary of commerce under Harding whose reputation for economic genius became a casualty of the Great Depression, Republican candidate who assumed the presidency in March 1929 promising the American people prosperity and attempted to first deal with the Depression by trying to restore public faith in the community.

Alfred Smith

He ran for president in the 1928 election for the Democrat Party. He was known for his drinking and he lost the election to Herbert Hoover. Prohibition was one of the issues of the campaign. He was the first Roman Catholic to run for president, and it was during a time many people were prejudice toward Catholics. The "Happy Warrior" who attracted votes in the cities but lost them in the South (because he was Catholic and against prohibition)

planned economy

economy that relies on a centralized government to control all or most factors of production and to make all or most production and allocation decisions

solid South

Term applied to the one-party (Democrat) system of the South following the Civil War. For 100 years after the Civil War, the South voted Democrat in every presidential election.

rugged individualism

The belief that all individuals, or nearly all individuals, can succeed on their own and that government help for people should be minimal. Popularly said by Hertbert Hoover.

Agricultural Marketing Act

Established the first major government program to help farmers maintain crop prices with a federally sponsored Farm Board that would make loans to national marking cooperatives or set up corporations to buy surpluses and raise prices. This act failed to help American farmers.

Federal Farm Board

Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; it offered farmers insurance against loss of crops due to drought; flood; or freeze. It did not guarantee profit or cover losses due to bad farming.

Grain Stabilization Corporation

also for COTTON, Created by the Federal Farm Board in 1930 in an attempt to raise the price of wheat by purchasing excess wheat

Hawely-Smoot Tariff

Sky-high tariff bill of 1930 that deepened the depression and caused international financial chaos; the highest import tax in history, Americans thought to protect own markets Europeans, however, did the same thus, limiting all trade.

Black Tuesday

October 29th, 1929: the day when prices in the stock market took a steep dive, plunging over $10 million dollars THE GREAT CRASH

Great Depression

THREADBARE THIRTIES, a severe, world wide economic crisis which lasted from the end of 1929 to the outbreak of World War II. *****The stock market crash DID NOT cause the depression; the depression caused the crash.everyone blamed Hoover even tho it was the policies before him.


shanty-towns that housed many who had lost everything. Shelters were built of old boxes and other discards. also hoover blankets (newspapers)

Hoover Dam

a dam built in the 1930s, with funding from the federal government, to control the Colorado River.

public works

projects such as highways, parks, and libraries built with public funds for public use, intended to stimulate job growth

Muscle Shoals Bill

Bills that would allocate funds to dam the Tennessee River and provide employment, is vetoed by Hoover; public works proposal was vetoed by President hoover because it involved the government production of electricity for sale to citizens

Reconstruction Finance Corporation

RFC was an independant agency of the United States government. It granted over 2 billion dollars to the local and state governments. Hoover-sponsored federal agency that provided loans to hard-pressed banks and businesses after 1932

Norris-La Guardia Anti-Injunction Act

1932 outlawed "yellow-dog" contracts & forbade federal courts to issue injunctions to restrict strikes, boycotts, peaceful picketting

Bonus Expeditionary Force

aka the BONUS ARMY thousands of WWI veterans, who insisted on immediate payment of their bonus certificates, they marched on Washington in 1932, violence ensured when President Hoover ordered their ten villages cleared (BEF play on words with the AEF)

General MacArthur

called in to break up the Bonus Army in DC, used too much force, later become important military leader

Battle of Anacostia Flats

The name given to the time when Herbert Hoover ordered federal troops to forcibly remove the World War I veteran Bonus Army who marched into Washington D.C. and demanded early payment of a bonus

Hoover depression

people blamed him for the Depression - mocked him - "Hoovervilles" were shanty towns with stacks of scrap material

Henry Stimson

Hoover's secretary of state, who sought sanctions against Japan for its aggression in Manchuria

Stimson doctrine

1932, Hoover's Secretary of State said the US would not recognize territorial changes resulting from Japan's invasion of Manchuria

economic imperialism

Independent but less developed nations controlled by private business interests rather than by other governments

Good Neighbor policy

FDR's foreign policy of promoting better relations w/Latin America by using economic influence rater than military force in the region


one of the main causes of the Great Depression, too many manufactured as well as farm products


companies try to decrease production, as a result they ____ their workers, leads to many more problems

private charities

organizations that originally set up relief such as soup kitchens, etc., government did nothing, reason why Hoover blamed for depression

hoover flags

Another jab at the president to describe the penniless state of America; this nickname was for inside out pockets that symbolized "flying the flag" of his presidency.


country was handing out dole payments to its people, president didn't want this to happen, believed more in self-help


a political system headed by a dictator that calls for extreme nationalism and racism and no tolerance of opposition, many people worried this is what America would fall into as many other countries had already because of the depression


assistant to MacArthur at "Battle of Anacostia Flats"


chinese province invaded by Japan in 1932


Southern Democrats who turned against their party's "wet" Catholic nominee and voted for the Republican in 1928


site of a large race riot in the summer of 1919

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