The Irresponsible Age:
America at Home and Abroad in the 1920's

Primary Source Reading List.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8  Week 9  Week 10
Week 11  Week 12  Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16  Week 17  Week 18  Week 19 Week 20

Resources identified by students of this course

Week 2. America, the First World War and the League of Nations

American Leaders Speak: from the Subject Headings:

League of Nations: All Speeches

World War 1914-1918, Propaganda United States: All Speeches

World War 1914-1918, United States: All Speeches

Avalon Project, Yale Law School:

The Treaty of Versailles: Especially Part One, the covenant of the League of Nations

Woodrow Wilsonís Fourteen Points, 1918

League Of Nations:

pro-League of Nations speech by Woodrow Wilson from September 25th 1919, presented by The Center for Presidential Studies and The Department of Speech Communication at Texas A&M University.

The Senate and the League of Nations:

Henry Cabot Lodge's Reservations

Senate Debate

Nations of the World Unite!

1997 Atlantic Article

this article contains links to, ĎLeague of Nationsí H.G. Wells Article, 1919.

Week 3. Prohibition, The Great Crusade

Temperance and Prohibition. Subject Headings:

Cartoons from Prohibition: All

Richmond P. Hobson argues for Prohibition

American Prohibition in the 20ís: Council of Churches statement, testimony by

La Guardia and Yale student.

American Local History Network:

Wickershaw Commissions Volstead Act: 18th Amendment and Prohibition Act,

Museum of the City of San Francisco:

Senator Phelan attacks Prohibition and the anti-saloon league

Rum Bribery Higherups Hunted as Plotters

Printed Resources:


Prohibition has Justified Itself 1925
A National Survey of Conditions under Prohibition 1926


'a distracted daughter' to Herbert Hoover 1928
E. J Richardson to Herbert Hoover 1927
S. M. Carpenter to Mass Temperance Society undated

Week 4: The Palmer Raids and the 1920 Elections

American Leaders Speak:

Subject Headings: Read all entries in:

Campaign Speeches - 1919 - Democrats

Campaign Speeches - 1919 - Republicans

Campaign Speeches - 1920 - Democrats

Campaign Speeches - 1920 - Republicans

Communism - United States

Patriotism - United States

Documents on the Interwar Period:

Red Scare: Go to image Database

Browse database of 137 images and select one for class discussion

The Palmer Raids

"The Case against the Reds"

"The Most Brainiest Maní

A Satirical Article by Robert Benchley

A Chronology of US Historical Documents:

Espionage Act of 1918

Printed Resources:

Documents from the Hoover for President Campaign of 1920

Week 5: The Klu Klux Clan

MSU: Special Collection, Radicalism

Note: the articles below are all in image format. You will have to use the NEXT IMAGE button to read all of each article.

America for Americans

Constitution and Laws of the Knights of the KKK

A Fundamental Klan Doctrine

Installation Ceremonies

The Klanís Fight for Americanism

Women of America

Printed Resources:

The American Standard 15 November 1924

Bulletin of Sons and Daughters of Washington August 1927

The Menace of Modern Immigration 1923

Unsigned letter to Herbert Hoover, 22 August 1926

Week 6. American Radicalism in the 1920s

The Coolidge Era and theConsumer Economy, 1921-1929.

Subject Heading: 'Labor'
#3 'New Masses, 1927.' Look at items 3, 4, 7, 18.
(use enhanced image)

MSU Special Collections: Radicalism:

Subject Heading: IWW: (International Workers of the World)

Historical Catechism of American Unionism

Giant Industry and the I.W W.

Basic Readings in US Democracy

Part VII, Freedom of Expression

Abrams v. United States

Whitney v. California

Printed Resources:

'Manifesto and Program' Communist Party of the USA Undated
'The Coolidge Program' by Jay Lovestone 1925
'Capitalism and Crime' Debs excerpt 1927


Week 7. Idealism and American Foreign Policy in the 1920s

Internet Resources

Documents of the interwar period.

Treaty Between the United States of America…..13 December 1921
Treaty Between the United States of America…..6 February 1922
The Treaty Relating to the uses of Submarines…..6 February 1922
Text of Resolutions adopted at the Washington Conference, February 1922
Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928

Printed Resources:

Miscellaneous State Department and Navy Department Documents
On the Washington Conference.


Week 8. Black Americans in the 1920s

The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929.

Subject Heading: 'Afro American Business
Southern Workman-1927,

Migration Difficulties in Michigan
Negro Women and Business.


The Interracial Forum and Boley: an Exclusively Negro Town in Oklahoma.

Subject heading: Afro-American Social Conditions
'National Urban League Papers', A Survey of the Negro Population in Fort Wayne Indiana.

Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers

American Series:

Series IV through VI, September 1921-December 1927'
Sample Documents (read all)

Printed Resources:

'Georgia: Invisible Empire State' by WEB Dubois
Unsigned letter to Herbert Hoover, 22 August 1926

Week 9. American Women in the 1920's

The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929.
Subject Heading: 'Women Consumers'

The Household Magazine, Editorial,
Article entitled 'Around the Family Table.'
Good Housekeeping, All Advertisements

Subject Heading: 'Women-Employment-USA'

The Saleslady, Introduction

MSU Special Collections: Radicalism:
Subject Heading: Birth Control Movement

Debate on Birth Control, pp 4-22

A Flapper's Appeal To Parents

Flapper Jane

Week 11 (term 2 week 1). Religion and the Scopes Trial

The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929.

Subject Heading: Spiritual Life
Address by Calvin Coolidge, 10 October 1928

Material History of American Religion

The Man Nobody Knows by Bruce Barton (excerpts)
The Minister and his Savings

Tennessee vs. John Scopes: The 'Monkey' Trial

Tennessee's Anti-Evolution Statute
Trial Pictures and Cartoons
H. L. Mencken's Reports of the Trial
Trial Excerpts; read as much as possible of the excerpts, in particular:
'Debate on Prayer': 'Debs Examines Bryan': 'Bryan's Summation'.

Week 12 (Term 2 Week 2). Sacco and Vanzetti; and, Leopold and Loeb

MSU Radicalism.
Subject Heading: Sacco and Vanzetti

Case of Sacco and Vanzetti in cartoons….
Decision of Governor Alvin T. Fuller

The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti: 1927 Frankfurter Article in the Atlantic

The Leopold and Loeb Case of 1924

All Newspaper Articles

Illinois vs. N.Leopold and R. Loeb

Darrow's Summation
State's Summation

Week 13 (Term 2 Week 3). Republican Presidents: Harding, Coolidge and Hoover

American Leaders Speak.

Speakers Index:

All Speeches by Harding and Coolidge

Documents Relating to the Interwar Period

Harding Inaugural Address-1921
Coolidge Inaugural Address-1925
Hoover Inaugural Address-1929

The Coolidge Era and Consumer Economy, 1921-1929

Title Index
Coolidge Address: Memorial Exercise Arlington VA: 31 May 1926

Printed Resources

Speech by the Honorable Herbert Hoover
16 October 1925

Week 14 (Term 2 Week 4): Gangsters

Museum of the City of San Francisco.
1922: Rum Bribery Higher-ups

American Local History Network
The Players: Read All

Gangster: Site from the Twenties Reconstruction Society
Read All

Yahoo links about Al Capone
Check all links

Yahoo's St. Valentine's Day Massacre links
Check all links

The Purple Gang in Detroit

Note: These are mostly secondary sources, so they must be read with a more critical eye. They often resort to generalization and myth-making, relying on the stereotype of 'gangsters.' What I want from you is to try and discover this stereotypical image and to see to what degree you believe it to be true.

Week 15 (Term 2 Week 5). American Business in the 1920's

The Coolidge Era and Consumer Economy, 1921-1929

Subject Heading: Business Ethics,
Atlantic Monthly, Select Article from 1927

The Forum 1929: July Selections

I Plutocracy in the Saddle
II Bondage Exchanged for Bonds

Subject Heading: Business-Speeches
Coolidge Address, 19/11/25

Subject Heading: Businessmen: 1920-1930
Look at all pictures

Published Sources

Henry Ford, My Life and Work, London 1923.
Introduction, Chapter VIII, and Chapter XIII

Week 17 (Term 2 Week 7). Jazz and the Harlem Renaissance

Does Jazz put the Sin in Syncopation
Faulkner Article, 1921

Jazz Age Page
All music clips from 1920s

Roaring Twenties Concert Extravaganza
Listen to as many music clips as possible

Yahoo Links to the Harlem Renaissance

Harlem Renaissance-NKU Edu

ZN Hurston short story, 'Black Death'
(optional) look at as many of the 1920's paintings as possible
The poetry of Langston Hughes

Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro
Contents of the Survey Graphic Harlem Number
(as much as possible-this is probably the most important document).