Nativism and Social Anxiety in Post WWI America


After the Fact—Sacco and Vanzetti Case

What is similar about how a lawyers makes his case and how a historian makes his case?

What can historians do that lawyers cannot or should not do?

How do historians look at this case differently from lawyers or legal observers?

What strands of nativism existed in America in the 1920s?

What historical factors shaped the case inside the courtroom?

What explains the case’s focus on radicalism rather than the crime?

How did the prosecution portray this case?

Why did the “fuss” continue for several years after the trial and the after contributing factors had disappeared or subsided?


Gould, “The Hereditary Theory of IQ”

How did Goddard understand intelligence?

How did Goddard connect intelligence with morality?

Why were morons such a threat to society?

What does he suggest that society do with morons?

How did this Ellis Island study affect him?

What might explain his findings?

What was the relationship between WWI and IQ tests?

What were the basic findings or “facts’ of the Army tests?

How did these findings affect the immigration debate?

How did these findings changed immigration restriction laws between 1921 and 1924?


Evans, “The Klan’s Fight for Americanism”

Who does it purportedly represent in America?

Who in particular is the enemy?

What is Klan’s definition of Americanism?  What do they stand for?

What is missing from their message compared to earlier Klans?

 Larson, “Fundamentalists vs. Modernists in the Scopes Monkey Trial”

How does he define a “fundamentalist” and how did those who fall into this category shape the battle over the teaching of evolution in the schools?

What impact did WWI have on this debate over evolution?

Why did the ACLU challenge state laws that restricted teaching of evolution in the schools?

How did the case in Tennessee come about?

How did the author at the end of his article portray this case in terms of its larger significance?