The Roaring 20's was a time when Americans wanted to leave the nightmare of World War I behind them.
American Presidents wanted to become Isolationists again. The American people wanted to enjoy an
economic Boom, and spend their money on all the new products that were available.


"Return to Normalcy"
Kellogg-Briand Pact
Installment Buying


Presidents of the 1920's

wg-harding.jpgWarren G. Harding (1921-1923)
From Ohio

Warren G. Harding is best known for his slogan promising a "return to normalcy"
for the American people. He wanted to get back to normal, the way things were before
the Progressives and World War I. To him, and to most Americans, normal meant
Isolationism and more laissez-faire Capitalism. He won the 1920 election by a landslide.

Biography of Warren G. Harding Learn more about Harding's background and personality in this short video.

During his Presidency, the United States continued to stay out of the League of Nations.
He raised the tariff to protect American business from foreign competition.
Harding, however, is often ranked as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history.
A group of historians and politicians ranked him 38th in a C-SPAN survey (see the
whole list here). That's because his presidency was rocked by corruption and scandals,
caused mostly by Harding's own friends. His group of friends became known as the Ohio
Gang, because he brought most of them to Washington with him from Ohio. The worst
scandal was known as the Teapot Dome Scandal. The scandal involved Harding's
Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall, and some secret deals that he made to make a
profit off of oil discovered in Teapot Dome, Wyoming. Harding died suddenly of a heart
attack in August, 1923 while in San Francisco. He was president less than two years.

Works Cited
C-SPAN Historians Presidential Leadership Survey.
Hamilton, Neil A. "Harding, Warren G." Presidents: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2001.
American History Online. Facts On File, Inc.
Teapot Dome Scandal. Spartacus Encyclopedia.
Venezia, Mike. Warren G. Harding: Twenty-Ninth President. Scholastic Library Publictions, New York. 2007

coolidge.jpgCalvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
From Vermont

Calvin Coolidge was a quiet, intelligent man. He was nicknamed "Silent Cal". A woman once bet President
Coolidge that she could get the President to say more than two words. President Coolidge responded,
"You lose".

coolidge_cartoon.gif President Coolidge wanted to clean up the scandals of the Harding presidency. While Harding had a
reputation as someone who liked to have fun, Coolidge was very dignified. He wanted to reestablish
America's trust in the President. This cartoon shows Coolidge scrubbing off the Republican party,
symbolized by an elephant. Like Harding, Coolidge wanted a return to normalcy, and he continued
many of Harding's policies. Coolidge's motto was "the business of America is business". He believed
that less government interference in the economy (laissez-faire capitalism) was a good thing. He reduced
regulations on businesses, kept the tariff high and lowered taxes. He did not approve of a government
plan to support farmers. Watch the video to see how the economy - manufacturing, labor and the stock
market - all boomed during the 1920's. Coolidge differed from Harding in foreign policy. While Coolidge
was basically an Isolationist, he was also very interested in world peace. During his presidency,
the Kellogg-Briand Pact was made by the United States and France and eventually signed by more than
60 countries. The Kellogg-Briand Pact stated that war was illegal and banned from the world.
Click here to see the original treaty and who signed it. Coolidge wanted the United States
to be part of the League of Nations' Court of International Justice, but the U.S. Sentate rejected his idea.

Works Cited
Greenberg, David. Calvin Coolidge. TImes Books, New York, 2006. Hamilton, Neil A. "Coolidge, Calvin." Presidents: A Biographical Dictionary.
New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2001. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc.
ItemID=WE52&iPin=PRE030&SingleRecord=True Karol, John. "Ding" Darling. Persistance Plus Productions.
Peace Through Strength. President Coolidge, First Presidential Film (1924). YouTube, 2007.


millionaire.jpgThe Roaring 20's was a time of great prosperity in the United States. Many new inventions caused industry
to grow. The United States had been undamaged by World War I. All their natural resources, factories and
transportation systems were still in good shape. The United States was able to see a lot of goods to Europe,
which had been badly damaged by the War. New industry and high profits meant lots of jobs, and good
salaries for workers. Wealth was everyhere! The number of Americans millionaires increased by 400%
during the Roaring 20''s. Click here to see statistics on the economic boom of the 1920's. There were many new products that everyone wanted. Retailers introduced a new credit system so that everyone could get anything they wanted. It was called the installment buying system. A consumer could pay for a product in installments over time, for example, one payment per week until the product is totally paid for. By the end
of the 1920's, Americans used installment buying to buy 90% of the things they wanted. People may have
been living with more luxuries, but their debt increased. 1928chev.jpgAnother new industry in the 1920's was the advertising industry. Advertisements were everywhere - on the radio, in magazines and on roadside billboards. Like today's ads, adverstisements of
the 1920's showed happy, attractive people using products and encouraging consumers to buy those products. Brand names like Maytag and Chevrolet became familiar to all Americans. You can see many ads from the 1920's by clicking here

Listen to a radio advertisement for Campbell's Tomato Soup from the 1920's.

Works Cited
Harnisch, Larry. The 1947 Project.
Schulzz, Kevin M. HIST. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Boston, 2010 Streissguth, Tom. "Prosperity: 1928." The Roaring Twenties, Eyewitness History, Revised Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. ItemID=WE52&iPin=EHRTEssay12&SingleRecord=True Vintage Commercials. Old Radio World.