By Stephen J. Whitfield

ISBN-10: 0631211004

ISBN-13: 9780631211006

A significant other to 20th-Century the USA is an authoritative survey of crucial issues and subject matters of twentieth-century American heritage and historiography.

  • Contains 29 unique essays via best students, each one assessing the previous and present nation of yank scholarship
  • Includes thematic essays overlaying issues akin to faith, ethnicity, conservatism, international coverage, and the media, in addition to essays protecting significant time classes
  • Identifies and discusses the main influential literature within the box, and indicates new avenues of analysis, because the century has interested in a close

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PAR RI SH would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe’’ (quoted in Leuchtenburg 1963: 41). Only one prominent member of the founding scholarly generation entered a dissent against this generally Whiggish view of the seamless American political tradition and the New Deal. In his 1955 classic The Age of Reform, Richard Hofstadter, although an ardent liberal, questioned the intellectual trajectory from progressives to New Dealers. The former, he argued, remained pre-eminently Victorians who were devoted to the task of spiritual regeneration.

Nonetheless, it is hard to resist a 1 9 1 4 –1 9 2 9 31 teleological skepticism toward policies that ended in disaster. The New Era reached a feverish peak in the late 1920s under President Coolidge and his successor, Herbert Hoover, who was elected in 1928. As Secretary of Commerce under both Harding and Coolidge, Hoover had supervised the pro-business regime, so he seemed like the perfect caretaker for New Era prosperity. Hoover took office amid a wild stock market boom. Prices had doubled between 1925 and 1928; they doubled again in 1929, making Wall Street the wonder of the world.

Speculation also helped trigger the Wall Street stampede. Investors bought trendy stocks, like Radio Corporation of America, in hopes of turning a quick profit regardless of the company’s performance. They also bought shares in investment trusts whose sole assets were shares in other investment trusts, building speculative pyramids vulnerable to collapse. Many investors bought stocks ‘‘on margin,’’ borrowing money to purchase stock, with the stock itself serving as collateral for the loan. This practice was extremely dangerous because if stock values declined, banks issued margin calls, requiring borrowers to supply more collateral or repay their loans immediately.

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A Companion to 20th-Century America by Stephen J. Whitfield


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