In America during the 1920’s there was a time of great prosperity, with the economy booming and still getting bigger. America was the super power in the World. Despite all this wealth and prosperity there was an underlying intolerance going on in America at the time. Intolerance is where you are not accepting practice and beliefs that differ from your own.
In the essay I will measure the level of intolerance by measuring its seriousness. I will rank these accordingly using ranks of low level intolerance, middle level intolerance and high level intolerance. I will give specific examples to the intolerance, for example a low level intolerance would be: pushing, name calling and boycotting of shops. For the middle level of intolerance I will use examples of destroying property and being physically abusive. For the higher level of intolerance I will use of examples of murder and being seriously physically abused. I will then decide which the most serious intolerant group was.
To measure the level of seriousness for the particular intolerance I will see how many people were in each of the intolerant groups. Also, I will see how many victims there were, whether it was a small number or a large number of victims. Also, I will see whether intolerant group goes against: The American Constitution, The Declaration of Independence or The Bill of Rights.
Women in 1920’s America had led restricted lives and were expected (like Women in Britain) to wear respectable clothing, behave politely in public and not to wear make-up. Women were discouraged to take part in Sport or smoke in public; in most states they were not allowed to vote. The restrictions for women were even tighter in rural America due to Churches traditional attitude to the role of women. After World War I younger woman wore more daring clothes and smoked in public. They also went out with men in public and drank with them. These types of women in America were known as ‘Flappers’.
There was an intolerant group that were against women dressing and acting like this; they were known as, ‘The Anti-Flirt League’. This was a group of worried mothers that protested against the Flappers and their behaviour. The President of the Florida University said that, “The low cut gowns, the rolled hose (stockings) and the rolled the short skirts are born of the Devil and all his angels are carrying the present and future generations to destruction”. This is showing that what the Flappers were wearing was leading present and future generations to be less of a traditional woman.
The group of Women that were not tolerated were the Flappers. They were the young, fashionable women of the 1920’s they wore more daring clothes and did things that previous generations would not have done. They would go on dates with men and if this wasn’t bad enough, they would go on these dates without a Chaperone. This usually led to them going on all nigh drives with men and having sex before marriage; the Anti-Flirt League was completely against this. The daring clothes that the Flappers wore were more revealing than previous generations. For example, they wore short skirts that were just below the knee, and silk stockings rolled just above the knee. People felt strongly about women and their behaviour. In 1922, police arrested Bathers in Chicago for being indecently dressed. There was a lot of name calling against the Women or Flappers as they were called.
The seriousness of this Intolerance was low level as there was only name calling and little more. No violence was used and there were only Flappers being arrested. There were very few victims only a few were arrested. The Anti-Flirt League breaks the Declaration of Independence because they go against the, “Pursuit of Happiness”. The women were waiting to be free and happy but the intolerant group were not allowing this.
This intolerance is not as serious as the next intolerance as it only involves name calling and arrests.
In the 1920’s most people in and around America were very religious people. These communities felt very strongly about their religion and were devoted to God and church going Christians. However, within the Cities and busy areas of America church attendance had been decreasing. The Revitalists were set up to try and stop this dipping in attendance and aimed to revitalise interest in Christianity. Most Americans belonged to the Protestant churches such as Methodist and Baptist. But Protestants were unsure about the Theory of Evolution and some disagreed about the theories. Christians believe that God created Universe in 6 days and rested on the 7th.
The intolerant group that disagreed with the Theory of Evolution was a group of Fundamentalists; they take what the Bible says almost literally. They set up the, ‘Anti Evolution League’, in 1924. They went around different states in America making speeches about their beliefs about Evolution and they were successful in some making the change their Laws to make illegal to teach the Theory of Evolution. An example of this law would be from Tennessee, “It shall be unlawful for any teacher… to teach any theory that denies the story of the divine creation…” This is showing that they believe God created the World and no one else.
The people who the Fundamentalists were intolerant towards were the people that believed in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. This theory was that life began millions of years ago and Humans slowly developed from apes and monkeys. For example, Johnny Scopes a Biology teacher that decided to teach Darwin’s Theory in a lesson even though he new it was going against the law. What Scopes was doing was illegal and he was therefore arrested, he had a fair trial and he was found guilty; he was fined $100. It made people very curious into the Theory of Evolution especially children in the 6 banned states as they had never been taught it.
Overall, this intolerance is low level because it had the changed in 6 states in America and a man went to trial for going against the law by teaching the Theory of Evolution in schools. However, what the Fundamentalists did, went against the Bill of Rights, “The Freedom of Speech”, it states everyone is entitled to this.
This intolerance is more serious than the Flappers of the 1920’s because it has the law changed in 6 states and a man went to trial because he disobeyed the law. However, this intolerance is not as serious as the intolerance towards people who have different Religious beliefs. This is because people were beaten up and shops were boycotted.
With the USA growing and developing very quickly, people from all over the world wanted to come to America. But this attraction attracted (in the eyes of many Americans) the wrong kind of people. They differed in religion and language Americans were not happy with these people coming in to their country. Americans particularly did not welcome Catholics as the reason why Americans fled to America in the 1600’s because of Catholic intolerance. Also the majority of people in America were White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASP’s).
The intolerant group were White Anglo Saxon Protestants, ‘WASPs’. The majority of America was WASP’s and did not like new people coming into their country. They did not like Catholics because they felt that what they did was advised from the Pope, when they really should be looking to their President or Prime Minister. Also, they were very jealous of Jews because of their successful businesses and careers. They did not like this and also blamed Jews for the Wall Street Crash. With a lot of people being WASPs in America they had the support of the Government.
The group that were not tolerated by WASPs were people of different Religions. This group were treated quite badly with the boycotting of shops and beating them up in public. The amount of Catholics and Jews was ever increasing as more and more people of different Religions were coming into the Country every day.
The seriousness of this intolerance is on the lower/middle level of intolerance. Firstly, there were beatings up, name calling, pushing and boycotting of shops and businesses. This goes against the Bill of Rights, it clearly states about the, “Freedom of Religion”. The intolerant group in my opinion are jealous of their success and are therefore targeting them because of their religion. Also this could be seen as being very hypocritical as they have all descended from immigrants. Finally, they are going against the Statue of Liberty, “…Your huddled masses yearning to be free”. This is stating that America welcomes those seeking freedom and a new life.
The intolerance is more serious than the Theory of Evolution, because there were beatings up of the group not tolerated and vandalism. Whereas, he other intolerance persuaded 6 states to change their laws. However, this is not as serious as Communism and Anarchism as being were not being falsely arrested and wrongly sentenced to death.
Americans were very paranoid about Communism. They were concerned about Anarchists; this is because the American President William McKinley was assassinated by Leon Czolgosz in 1901 he was an Anarchist. The threat of Communists in America was very little and there was a percentage of 0.1% that was actually Anarchist. Americans feared that Communism would spread from Russia because they had overthrown the Russian government. The paranoia of the Americans outweighed the threat.
The intolerant group were again, White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs). The vast majority of America was White Anglo Saxon Protestants; also the intolerant group had power in high government and therefore had an advantage over the Communists.
The group that were not tolerated were the communists or anarchists. They were coming over to America by the numbers and this frightened the Americans. They feared that they would bring new ideas to American society they feared this greatly. In 1920 the Palmer Raids took place this was where they arrested 6000 suspected communists and they were put in prison. They had to be released weeks later as there was no evidence to prosecute, out of the whole 6000 only 3 pistols were found no explosives. Also on 5th May 1920 Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were wrongly arrested and charged with a wages robbery in which two guards were shot dead. When Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested they were carrying loaded guns. They were found guilty and sentenced to 7 years in prison and they later received the electric chair on 20th August 1927. A leading American Lawyer said this about the Judge that the two were put in front of, “…he is a narrow-minded man; he is a half educated man; he is an unintelligent man; he is full of prejudice; he is carried away by the Reds, (communists) which has captured about 90% of the American people”.
This seriousness of this intolerance is middle level; this is because two innocent men are sentenced to death. Even though 107 witnesses saw them swore the saw them somewhere else when the robbery went on. Also, in my opinion I feel Sacco and Vanzetti had an unfair trial as the judge they had was very prejudice. This is where someone has made a judgement already hence, ‘pre-judge’. A top American lawyer described, “…he is carried away by the fear of reds, which has captured about 90% of the population”. This means that the Judge had already before the trial had already started. Judge Thayer also turned down every appeal and then they were both executed. This goes against the Bill of Rights, “Freedom of beliefs”.
This intolerance is more serious than Religion this is because in the previous intolerance there were only beatings up and boycotting of shops. Whereas, in this there were two innocent men killed. However, this intolerance is not more serious than Prohibition because this doesn’t affect that many people but Prohibition affects the whole country and there fights beaten Mobs and gangs throughout America.
Also in 1920’s America there was an influx of immigrants; America was described as a ‘melting pot’ of different Nationalities. Masses of people were coming into America daily, a lot of White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASP’s). The people coming in were mainly Jews and Catholics. There were at least 5 million British, 2 Million Irish, 3 Million Dutch and 4.4 Million Germans in USA in the 1920’s.
The intolerant group were White Anglo Saxon Protestants WASP’s. The majority of America was WASP’s. They had power through government and had high jobs in business. They felt that immigrants did not fit in and Catholics they believed they looked to the Pope for governing and advice instead of the President. Also they felt threatened fro their jobs.
The group that was not tolerated was the immigrants; they were mainly from southern and eastern Europe. As some WASP’s had high positions in government laws were made to restrict the amount of immigrants coming into the Country. The 1917 law set up made sure immigrants could pass a literacy test before they could enter the country. In 1921 more than 357,000 immigrants were allowed to enter America. Two more immigration acts were implemented and therefore this was cut to 150,000. The existing immigrants had their shops vandalised and were beaten up.
I believe the WASP’s are very hypocritical as they all descended from immigrants themselves. They immigrants were not breaking the constitution as they were not full Citizens. This has a significant intolerance because they are using positions in government to make laws and restrict the amount of immigrants coming into America. They go against the Bill of Rights, “Pursuit of Happiness”. Immigrants coming to America is so that they can escape a bad life and start a new life; pursuing a happy new life.
This intolerance is placed after Communism and Anarchism because of the fact that this was on a mass scale; around 15 Million Immigrants and the majority of America. Also, they had several Laws made and changed to restrict the amount of immigrants coming to the country. However, this intolerance has been placed before Prohibition; this is due to it causing the nationwide ban and huge amounts of gang violence.
Another example of intolerance in the 1920’s is Prohibition. This was the banning of the sales, manufacture and consumption of alcohol and therefore doing this was illegal. This ban was implemented in January, 1920. In America 18 states had alcohol band by 1917 then the nationwide wide ban was put in place. The ban was supported in the rural areas of America.
The group that were intolerant were the ‘Anti-Saloon League’, they saw alcohol as evil. The felt people were wasting all their wages on alcohol and in the saloons. They strongly felt that people’s morals were slipping due to alcohol. There were a lot of members of this League and it changing the Law in 18 states and eventually America, this shows they must have been powerful.
The group that were not tolerated were alcoholics Speakeasies (Secret Bars) and people liked to drink. These people were faced with a nationwide ban and cannot get it legally. They ended up going to Speakeasies and they had to give passwords to enter these illegal premises. The ban affected everyone in the whole country not just alcoholics etc.
This intolerance in my opinion was very hypocritical as it caused a lot of violence and more corruption than it did before. Gangsters made a lot of illegal alcohol and money; this caused gang violence as they were always fighting over who had alcohol. This does not go against the constitution but it had a huge impact on the nation as a whole because of the ban and the after effects. This was also very hypocritical because another group that were against the consumption of alcohol were the KKK. But there leader D.Stephenson, (A leading Klan Member), had his very own secret supply of alcohol. All these pints go against the theory that banning alcohol would reduce problems not cause anymore.
This intolerance is more serious than the intolerance of Immigrants because it affected the whole country and the effects to follow were really bad. They was gang violence, shootings, they would probably be killings and beatings up. However, this is not more serious than the intolerance of Black People. This is because there were a lot of killings and affected a large amount of people.
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is an organisation that has been around America since the 19th Century. The Klan claim to be true Americans, and are very nationalistic and patriotic, with very strong Christian Beliefs. They have a strong belief in ‘White Supremacy’. They often use violence and intimidation to scare groups that they are against, for example Black People. Even after the abolishment of slavery the Klan and WASP’s found it difficult to accept this. People still remained prejudice towards Blacks.
The intolerant group were Ku Klux Klan (KKK). They felt that black people were inferior to white people, they also believed inter-marriage was wrong. In the southern states of America they believed in segregation. This is where black and white people are kept in separate areas. For examples not being allowed to the same schools, allowed on the same bus and the same restaurants. In total there were about 5 million members.
The group that were not tolerated were Black people. They were harshly treated and in southern states they were segregated. They were also forced to live in the ghettos of America and the worst areas. The Ku Klux Klan used extreme violence, terrible beatings up, set fire to houses and schools. Also, they used extreme forms of violence in particular murders. This form of extreme violence occurred a lot.
The intolerance for this is high level; this is due to it using extreme violence. This goes against the Declaration of independence, this is because it says “All men are born equal”. The Klan does not believe this. Also, this goes against the Bill of Rights, “Everyone is entitled to a fair trial”. A jury at a black person’s trial were always white. The intolerant group had 5 million members this is showing it is a very large group.
The KKK intolerance has been placed last as the highest level intolerance. This is because the intolerant group and the group not tolerated have huge numbers and it involves a lot of America. Also they were very violent for example: extreme violence, terrible beatings up, setting fire to houses and schools. Also there were murders. All of these acts go against the foundations of America, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.