How Culture and Economy Were Effected By Presidency
In the period between 1920 and 1930, four presidents ruled America. It is during this period in history that significant events occurred, which later shaped the lives of the Americans in one or the other. These events include the great depression, the new deal, and the progressive era among others. The presidents are seen to have influenced the economy in a number of ways, as they will be discussed especially on their individual contribution. Woodrow Wilson, a democrat, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover, all republics are the greatest personalities who steered America during this era. It is necessary to appreciate the fact that the actions and leadership by these presidents had significant impacts in effecting the American culture and economy. While applauding the achievements made during the progressive era in the early twenties, it is worth noting that the great depression, which took a toll on Americans in the thirties, started in 1929.
Woodrow Wilson was the first personality to rule American during this period having taken office in 1913. Wilson graduated from John Hopkins University in 1883 and this is where he is seen to have adopted his political and leadership ambitions. During his first term in office, Wilson affected the economy of the US in a number of ways (Clements 2004, 62). He first secured a Federal Reserve Act which when it became operational in 1915, facilitated the financing of Allied and American wars. Other economic legislation, which later affected the 1920-1930 period, includes a number of economic legislations. These include the Antitrust Act, Federal Farm Loan Act among others, all which were expected to spur economic growth in America. In terms of culture, President Wilson declared a war policy warning its citizen not to take sides during, the WW1 (Clements 2004, 65).
Wilson was able to overcome internal wars in America by pushing for the passing of the Espionage Act in 1917, which saw America partnering with socialist. As he entered 1920, he introduced the policy of American Federation Labor, which saw an insurmountable growth. However, in terms of economy, the buying of bonds resulted in a tax increase, which affected significantly the white-collar jobs. Additionally, consumer prices skyrocketed while fuel supplies were rationed. This is a clear illustration of the American economy as it entered the 1920-930 era. During the postwar period, he laid off more than four million soldiers without proper logistics because he did not organize for their money or benefits. This acted as a big blow to the economy. Farmers too became bankrupt and the economy was generally dilapidated.
Warren Harding took office in 1921 after having a career in journalism and political career in Ohio. After entering office, President Harding came with the reconciliatory idea creating friendships with those who were enemies in the WW1. He is considered to have played a significant role in uplifting America’s economy in the postwar ear. He was able to do this by coming up with policies which of significant economical importance. By signing the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, Harding obtained a congressional authority to establish the bureau of Budget. This was a body that saw America enter into progression period. Unemployment rate and taxes significantly decline from the levels that were higher just after the end of the war. The effects of improved economy were felt in 1923 (Murray 1969, 45). President Harding was able to achieve this by coming up with a number of policies. These include the veterans’ bureau, which ensured that veterans were given medical care and extra job training. Farm acts amendments were also initiated and this saw the elimination of manipulations, controls, and trusts which had significantly hurt the farmers. Other policies include the revenue and highway acts, which saw America experiencing significant improvement in the economy.
There are also a number of policies signed by President Harding during his tenure that shaped the American culture. In 1921, he gave a speech that advocated for the rights of the African Americans. This also saw the appointments of various blacks into government positions. This significantly enhanced immigration, which would in turn shape the American culture. This also eliminated the culture of lynching movements, which appears to have been on the rise during this era. The working culture was also affected in the sense that citizens were to now start working for eight hours a day rather than the classical twelve hours. The maternity act also created the culture of welfare programs in the American society. It is apparently clear that there were significant improvements in the American economy during the leadership of President Harding. He died mysteriously at the State House and he was succeeded by Calvin Coolidge (Murray 1969, 49).
John Calvin Coolidge became the third president America during this period. He became president from 1923 to 1929 after succeeding Harding. It is during this that Americas progressing economy was felt because he played a significant role to restore the confidence of the public in the government. He is reputable for his ability to reduce the size of the then bloated government, minimized scandals, put in place measures to control the economy. Progression of the economy was possible during his tenure because he instituted a number of policies that favor it. The industrial policy promoted the expansion of business especially in the radio and airlines industry. Some have however criticized his laissez-faire ideology, which gave room for any citizen to do anything that was regarded to be economically right (Gilbert 2005, 92). Other parameters instituted by Coolidge and contributed much to the economic success include tax cuts and farm subsidies. This was further enhanced by the reduction in the federal expenditure and few people, especially the rich were expected to pay the federal tax. The president also played a part in controlling flood in Mississippi.
In relation to culture, President Coolidge promoted cultural growth in America by signing the Indian citizenship act, which gave the Indians to become American citizens while at the same time retaining their culture (Gilbert 2003, 288). This is seen as an effort by the president to enhance cultural diversity in America. He also played a significant role in the institution of anti-lynching laws though it failed to pass. He however broke ties with the Soviet Union. He was succeeded by Herbert Hoover in 1929.
Herbert Hoover who was initially a mining engineer became president in 1929 and was exceedingly optimistic of the improving America’s economy. However, it was during his term in office that America experienced the great depression. Hoover did not in any support the laissez-faire legacy that was supported by the preceding president. His wrong thinking contributed much in the killing of the American economy because it encouraged volunteerism. He made it worse by expanding federal positions, cancellation of privet oil leases, and a couple of other un-instituted policies. The president was not receptive at all to issue related to civil rights (Doenecke 1987 311). All these ideologies resulted in the great depression. This is because of the fact that it was based on voluntarism where the government had little control over the activities of its citizens.
Between 1920 and 1930, four presidents ruled America. It is conclusive to say that Hoover and Woodrow contributed much in the falling of American economy and decline in cultural values. President Coolidge and Harding on the other hand however instituted policies that were citizen-friendly. These include the new deals, progressive economy, and other meaningful acts being passed. The American culture also significantly grew as depicted by the African American acts and the Indian American acts all which allowed them to become citizens while retaining their culture. The government at some point was receptive to people’s rights but was later worsened by Herbert Hoover. His actions drove America into the great depression where live became unbearable.
Clements Kendrick . “Woodrow Wilson and World War I”, Presidential Studies Quarterly 34:1 (2004). pp 62+
Doenecke Justus. “Anti-Interventionism of Herbert Hoover” Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1987, 8(2), pp. 311–340
Gilbert Robert . “Calvin Coolidge’s Tragic Presidency: the Political Effects of Bereavement and Depression.” Journal of American Studies 2005 39(1): 87-109.
Gilbert Robert . The Tormented President: Calvin Coolidge, Death, and Clinical Depression. Praeger, 2003. 288pp
Murray Robert . The Harding Era 1921-1923: Warren G. Harding and his Administration. University of Minnesota Press, 1969
How Culture and Economy Were Effected By Presidency