Racism and Intolerance in America During the 1920s Essay

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Racism and Intolerance in America During the 1920s

In the 1920s, it was widely believed around the world that the USA was a land of freedom and prosperity, in which an individual could escape from the poverty that plagued many parts of the world and build a better life for themselves and their family. In theory, America was a melting pot - immigrants would come into the country and lose their cultural identity to all fall under one label - American. However, the reality of life in America was quite different. Members of similar backgrounds tended to live together in certain areas of big cities, where there would be extreme poverty - an example of this is Harlem in New York. These would generally be
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Employers used violent and intimidating tactics with Government approval during these disputes.

The real reasons for the majority of these strikes were startlingly bad pay and working conditions. Despite workers in heavy industries often having to work more than twelve hours a day, average wages between 1914-1919 were way below the cost of living. The public and government had no interest in this matter, though, and reacted to the strikes as the start of a communist revolt across America. A series of bombing incidents took place in 1919, one destroying part of the home of the Attorney-General, Mitchell Palmer. Mobs and the police attacked May Day parades and the press caused a sensation. Socialist organization were raided and pamphlets were seized. After his home was attacked, Mitchell Palmer became devoted to fighting against "Reds". Up to 6000 suspected "aliens" were rounded up across the USA, and 556 were deported. In the end, it was shown that most of the suspects were not advocates of communism. Some people used the Red Scare as an excuse to attack a particular ethnic group that they disliked - less established immigrants such as Jews or Black people. Trade unions were weakened in the 1920s by persecution.

In 1921, the Republicans won the election, with Warren Harding as the President. They decided that problems thought to be caused by immigration, such as

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