Adkins v. Children’s Hospital (1923) A landmark Supreme Court decision reversing the ruling in Muller v. Oregan, which had declared women to be deserving of special protection in the workplace.
Nine-Power Treaty (1922) Agreement coming out of the Washington “Disarmament” Conference of 1921-1922 that pledged Britain, France, Italy, Japan, the United States, China, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Belgium to abide by the Open Door Policy in China. The Five-Power Naval Treaty on ship ratios and the Four-Power Treaty to preserve the status quo in the Pacific also came out of the conference.
Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928) A sentimental triumph of the 1920s peace movement, this 1928 pact linked sixty-two nations in the supposed “outlawry of war”.
Fordney-McCumber Tariff Law (1922) A comprehensive bill passed to protect domestic production from foreign competitors. As a direct result, many European nations were spurred to increase their own trade barriers.
Teapot Dome scandal (1921) A tawdry affair involving the illegal lease of priceless naval oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming and Elk Hills, California. The scandal, which implicated President Harding’s Secretary of the Interior, was one of several that gave his administration a reputation for corruption.
McNary-Haugen Bill (1924-1928) A farm-relief bill that was championed throughout the 1920s and aimed to keep agricultural prices high by authorizing the government to buy up surpluses and sell them abroad. Congress twice passed the bill, but President Calvin Coolidge vetoed it in 1927 and 1928.
Dawes Plan (1924) An arrangement negotiated in 1924 to reschedule German reparations payments. It stabilized the German currency and opened the way for further American private loans to Germany.
Agricultural Marketing Act (1929) This act established the Federal Farm Board, a lending bureau for hard-pressed farmers. The act also aimed to help farmers help themselves through new producers’ cooperatives. As the depression worsened in 1930, the Board tried to bolster falling prices by buying up surpluses, but it was unable to cope with the flood of farm produce to market.
Hawley-Smoot Tariff (1930) The highest protective tariff in the peacetime history of the United States, passed as a result of good old-fashioned horse trading. To the outside world, it smacked of ugly economic warfare.
Black Tuesday (1929) The dark, panicky day of October 29, 1929 when over 16,410,000 shares of stock were sold on Wall Street. It was a trigger that helped bring on the Great Depression.
Hoovervilles Grim shantytowns where impoverished victims of the Great Depression slept under newspapers and in makeshift tents. Their visibility (and sarcastic name) tarnished the reputation of the Hoover administration.
Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) (1932) A government lending agency established under the Hoover administration in order to assist insurance companies, banks, agricultural organizations, railroads, and local governments. It was a precursor to later agencies that grew out of the New Deal and symbolized a recognition by the Republicans that some federal action was required to address the Great Depression.
Norris-La Guardia Anti-Injunction Act (1932) This law that banned “yellow-dog,” or anti-union, work contracts and forbade federal courts from issuing injunctions to quash strikes and boycotts. It was an early piece of labor-friendly federal legislation.
Bonus Army (1932) Officially known as the Bonus Expeditionary Force (BEF), this rag-tag group of 20,000 veterans marched on Washington to demand immediate payment of bonuses earned during World War I. General Douglas MacArthur dispersed them with tear gas and bayonets.
Warren G. Harding Twenty-ninth president of the United States, from 1921 to his death in office in 1923. He began his career as a newspaper publisher before getting elected to the Ohio Senate, where he served from 1899 to 1903. He then served as lieutenant governor of Ohio (1903-1905) and as a U.S. senator (1915-1921) before winning the presidency. His time in office was beset with scandals, many of them the result of disloyalty of designing friends.
Albert B. Fall A scheming conservationist who served as secretary of the interior under Warren G. Harding, Fall was one of the key players in the notorious Teapot Dome scandal.
Calvin Coolidge Vice President “Silent Cal” Coolidge became the thirtieth president of the United States when Warren G. Harding died in office. A friend of business over labor, he served during the boom years from 1923 to 1929.
John W. Davis The unsuccessful Democratic candidate for president in 1924. The wealthy, Wall-Street-connected Davis was no less con ser va tive than his opponent, Calvin Coolidge.
Robert M. (“Fighting Bob”) La Follette Hailing from Wisconsin, “Fighting Bob” La Follette was one of the most militant of the progressive Republican leaders. He served in the Senate and in the Wisconsin governor’s seat, and was a perennial contender for the presidency, keeping the spirit of progressivism alive into the 1920s.
Albert E. Smith Colorful New York governor who was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for president in 1928. His Catholicism and “wet” stance on Prohibition made him a controversial figure, even in the traditionally loyal Democratic South.Although Smith lost the electoral vote to a Hoover landslide, his appeal to urban voters foreshadowed the Northern urban and Southern coalition that would gain Franklin Roosevelt the White House in 1932.

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