History 416

The 1920s Constitutional Order

October 11, 2005


I. Where We Were


            1. The Election of 1916 (Wilsonian strategy; importance of left; decision for war)


            2. The Course of War (US military contribution; US moral contribution; Wilson domestic bargain with progressives)


            3. The Early League Debate (compromises at the Paris Peace Conference; domestic reaction)


II. The League of Nations Outcome


            1. The Rejection of Versailles (the Lodge reservations; the irreconcilables; the mild reservationists; WW and failure to lead public opinion; refusal to compromise; key issues: Article X, Article XI, Shantung; swing around the circle; WW stroke and Senate rejection)


            2. The US and the Russian Revolution (Wilson, Lenin, and the competition for international reform sentiment; the Bolsheviks and WWI; the decision to intervene—European interests, fear of Japan, importance of Czechs, anti-communism; the effects of intervention—hardening of anti-radical sentiment; confrontation with Congress; disillusion of progressives—Johnson, Robins; origins of the Cold War?)


            3. The Postwar Drift (Latin America and the collapse of the progressive consensus—Root, Wilson and alternatives to intervention; Fall and anti-radical mood; 1919 crisis; anti-interventionist coalition; battle for US public opinion; Haiti, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica)


III. The New Constitutional Order


1. Further Amendments (prohibition movement—role of ASL and WCTU; from state to federal focus—role of Webb-Kenyon; wartime moralism and skewed voting; women’s suffrage—from federal to state and back again; conservative or radical?; 1920s divisions—labor vs. NWP)


2. Battling Radicals (the Red Scare and A. Mitchell Palmer; Debs and the IWW; deporting radicals; Schenck—“clear and present danger” test; changing nature of immigration law; Sacco-Vanzetti case and civil liberties; incorporation doctrine—Gitlow v. New York (1925))


          3. The Backlash (anti-evolution movement; Scopes trial—Mencken, Darrow and public perception; Volstead Act: urban/rural divisions, rise of organized crime, popular attitudes toward the law; what to do?: political movement; nullification; change Volstead Act; challenge constitutionality of 18th amendment; repeal)