The 1920s Economic Order
October 17, 2005
I. The League Debate and Its Aftermath
1. The Rejection of Versailles (the Lodge reservations; Article X, Article XI, Shantung; Wilson role)
2. The US and the Russian Revolution (the decision to intervene; hardening of anti-radical sentiment; origins of the Cold War?)
3. The New Constitutional Order (further amendments; battling radicals; backlash)
II. The Court and the Economy
1. The Constitution according to William Howard Taft (the Taft Court—WHT, Pierce Butler, Sutherland, McReynolds, Willis Van Devanter; conception of role—professionalization and celebration of judiciary; ABA efforts and federal rules of procedure; limiting labor and injunction laws; effects)
2. The Court in 1920s politics (Bailey v. Drexel Furniture (1922)—child labor; Adkins v. Children’s Hospital (1923)—minimum wage; progressives on the defensive: failure of Child Labor amendment; progressive crusades—role of Borah, Norris)
3. Federalism (movement away from anti-trust enforcement; gutting of FTC—FTC v Gratz (1920); movement to state level—question of rate regulation; Southwestern Bell (1922), Bluefield Water Works (1923)—Court holds that “unreasonable” rates confiscatory)
III. New Economic Structures
1. Corporatism (the economy according to Herbert Hoover; Hoover background and role in GOP politics; vision of Commerce Department; updating of Progressive Era efficiency concepts?; Taylorism and celebration of efficiency; Henry Ford, assembly line, and role of auto industry; advertising, media, and development of consumer economy)
2. Those Left Behind (1920s rural economy; aftereffects of World War I; McNary-Haugen and political difficulties; labor—Truax and use of injunctions; labor and nativism; 1921 and 1924 Immigration Acts)
Midterm essay questions. The following two questions will appear on the midterm; you’ll have to answer one of them.
1.) The historian Daniel Rodgers has claimed that progressivism is best understood as the coming to prominence of three ideas—anti-monopolism, an emphasis on social bonding and cohesion, and a celebration of efficiency. Do you agree? Discuss, referencing both Wilson and either Roosevelt or Taft. A successful answer will use examples from both the readings and the lectures.
2.) To what extent were foreign policy and domestic politics interconnected—ideologically, practically, in terms of specific initiatives—during the Wilson presidency? Discuss, using at least three separate events. A successful answer will use examples from both the readings and the lectures.