Essay about Racial Discrimination in America During the 1920's

2423 Words Dec 17th, 1999 10 Pages
The motto of the United States of America is "E Pluribus Unum" meaning ‘Out of one, many'. It neatly recognises that although America may be a single nation, it is also one originally made up of immigrants who arrived not only from Europe and Asia, but forcibly as slaves from Africa and of Native Americans. It's population is the most racially and culturally diverse in the world and for that reason is often referred to as a "Melting Pot".
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<br>During the 1920's, racial tensions in American society reached boiling point. New non-protestant immigrants like Jews and Catholics had been arrived in their masses from south-east Europe since early on in the century. Together with Orientals, Mexicans and the Black population these minorities
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Black people around this time were still being referred to as either Negroes or more commonly Niggers. Although these colloquial terms are fairly mild compared with those used today, their sheer presence in American vocabulary at the time tells us that people were becoming much more intolerant of the ethnic minorities they encountered.
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<br>In reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, came widespread fears that a similar communist revolt might sweep through America. This so called ‘Red Scare' was the accumulative belief that it was the foreign influences, especially those immigrants from eastern Europe that were to blame for the ‘Bolshevik inspired' incidents throughout the USA, such as labour strikes and riots. On the 20th January 1920, at the height of the Red Scare, the Justice Department co-oridinated federal marshals and local police in raids on the homes of suspected communists and anarchists. With no search warrants, they arrested more than 6000 people, grossly violating civil rights and simple decency. These "Palmer Raids" named after the then Attorney General, Mitchell Palmer, who arranged them, reflected the paranoiac mood within the nation towards foreigners. Even though the Red Scare died out by the end of 1920, it did leave an acrid aftertaste on the USA. Throughout the twenties there was an upsurge of nationalism with the term 100 % Americanism coined at this time and more people began to clamour for tougher…

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