President Roosevelt signed the Pure Food and Drug Act at the same time as Federal Meat Inspection Act. The law was passed during the progressive era of legislative change in the United States. The essence of the Act was that manufacturers had to indicate harmful substances in the composition of goods and substances that are addictive (Boyer 609). If, as a result of the inspection, it became apparent that the law requirements were violated, it was supposed to seize the products and impose a fine on the seller. Roosevelt’s presidency was a great example of proactive political leadership. Roosevelt pursued a policy of fundamental but gradual reform of the system, observing the necessary measures to relieve social tension in society. Roosevelt’s reforms encouraged many to refer to him as “trustbuster” since his policy aimed to diminish trusts’ power (Boyer 609). Roosevelt, however, did not believe that trusts should not generally exist in the United States. Still, it was required to regulate the activities of those that violated antitrust laws during their actions.
President Wilson used dollar regulation and competition law to save the nation’s economy. After President Woodrow Wilson came to power, growing government spending required introducing a federal income tax, creating the Federal Reserve System, and budget cuts by streamlining the work of government agencies. At the same time, Wilson lowered customs tariffs and suppressed lobbyists for the interests of large corporations who advocated protecting the domestic market for their goods (Boyer 615). Federal Reserve Banks’ creation aimed to establish more effective control over banking in the United States of America. According to the legislative act submitted to Congress on June 23, 1913, the exclusive right to issue money was granted to the Federal Reserve Bank, which was an apparent innovation and contributed to the transfer of the entire banking system under the control of the state (Boyer 615). In 1916, Woodrow Wilson appointed Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court (Boyer 616). Brandeis, like Woodrow Wilson, was the leader of the progressive movement and used the law as a tool for social change. Brandeis’s position on regulating large corporations and monopolies was carried over into Wilson’s presidential campaign.
In the decade since the end of World War I, American society has changed enormously. According to the 1920 census, the urban population of the United States for the first time in history was higher than the rural population (Boyer 663). The 1920’s census was the first census when the state of New York recorded over ten million residents (Boyer 663). The electrification and proliferation of motorized vehicles worsened the environment’s overall condition, but in the 1920s, few worried (Boyer 664). The emergence and development of the media took place; particularly, radio broadcasting began in the United States in 1920 (Boyer 665). It quickly became clear that the new medium was reaching a large population, operating as a media outlet. Commercial radio has a primary goal of making a profit, and the most common profitable activity is advertising. The development of radio broadcasting in the United States followed this path; 1922 was when people started talking about commercial radio stations as a social and media phenomenon for the first time (Boyer 665). This led to the creation of robust national networks, among which the NBC Corporation – National Broadcasting Corporation.
After gaining suffrage, women did not end the political struggle, but now they focused on combating discrimination against workers based on gender. Dating became possible in more intimate settings, and frivolous sexual relations became normal in student life. During these years, there was a radical change in the moral values of young people who felt freer sexually (Boyer 669). Emancipation led to fashion radical changes: women refused to wear corsets; instead, they wore suits and sportswear. Makeup trends included bleached powdered face, bright red lips, red blush, clearly traced eyebrows. In the 1920s, the term flappers appeared; such a name was given to young women known for their life enthusiasm and love of freedom (Boyer 669). They supported a lifestyle that many at the time considered outrageous and wrong. The image of a flapper symbolized the rejection of the stereotypes of female behavior imposed by society (Boyer 669). Flappers’ appearance helped to overcome barriers to economic, political, and sexual freedom for women.
However, in American society in those years, social conflicts began to arise. Sacco and Vanzetti were anarchist workers fighting for their labor rights: they organized meetings and strikes. Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted for a crime primarily because of their nationality and political views. The press of those years described the trial as an absolute farce; the case was falsified. In the United States, the execution of these two men is still called the pinnacle of injustice in American justice. In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was re-established (Boyer 675). Ku Klux Klan members began to oppress African Americans and Jews, Chinese, Catholics, Communists, trade unionists, and gays. On July 10, 1925, court hearings started in the United States in Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, better known as the Monkey Trial (Boyer 674). During the trial, schoolteacher John Scopes officially admitted that he taught Darwinism, which was banned in Tennessee (Boyer 674). The court made a casuistic decision due to which Darwinism remained prohibited in educational institutions in several states for many years.
Roosevelt became the 32nd President of the United States of America. During the first hundred days of his presidency, an unprecedented number of legislative acts were passed. Among the most notable laws that were enacted during these 100 days were the following Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). AAA provided subsidies for farmers who voluntarily limited the production of certain commodities. CCC has equipped Americans with jobs in national parks and other government-owned facilities. The purpose of TVA was to provide navigation, flood control, power and fertilizer production, and the region’s economic development. Around the same time, in 1933, Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” began to appear on American radio (Boyer 690). Roosevelt told ordinary citizens about the process of overcoming the economic crisis, the danger of Nazism, the creation of the anti-Hitler coalition.
Boyer, Paul S. The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2018.