Intolerance and Suspicion

Sacco and Vanzetti
The intolerance of the 1920's was greatly influenced by the attitudes of the past, causing conflict between the old ideas of previous decades and new ideas of the 1920's.  The intolerance of the 1920's could be seen in peoples' attitudes toward blacks and other minorities. 

The first major step in creating intolerance in the 1920's was immigration restriction because of increasing nativism.  Although immigration was unrestricted by the government before WWI, the war had shown that American industry did not need to rely on immigrants to keep the economy up.  one of the benefits of immigration restriction was that labor unions would no longer have to fear the competition from the immigrants. In 1924, congress passed a series of laws limiting the number of immigrants to 2% of each nationality counted in the 1890 census and completely banned Asians. 

The most prevalent symbol of the intolerance of the decade was the KKK.  The KKK, or Ku Klux Klan, used terrorist tactics to intimidate former slaves, Roman Catholics, Jews, foreigners, divorcees, and bootleggers.  Their tactics and their growth during the 1920's showed the intolerance of many during the 1920's. 

The Red Scare was the nationwide fear of communists, socialists, and anarchists.  This was the driving force behind the Palmer raids, which arrested and deported hundreds of suspected communists, socialists, and anarchists.  The Red Scare and Palmer Raids added to the already extensive nativism in the U.S. by adding more than just ethnic groups to the list of people that were hated.  It was also an example of the reluctance of Americans to be involved in world affairs because they were intolerant of many ethnic groups. 

Another example of the intolerance in the 1920's was the Sacco-Vanzetti trial.  During the trial, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were found guilty despite eye wittness testimonies by immigrants to prove their innocence. 

The Scope's' Trial in 1925, provides another example of the intolerance of the decade.  John Scopes, a high school biology teacher, was accused of illegally teaching the theory of evolution.  This trail sparked contraversy between the new ideas of evolution and the ol Christian ideas, but in the end, the trial was a major set back for the old ideas.