The Republican governments of the 1920s carried
out active, probusiness policies while undermining much of the progressive
legacy by neglect. The Washington Naval Conference indicated Americas
desire to withdraw from international involvements. Sky-high tariffs protected
Americas booming industry but caused severe economic troubles elsewhere
in the world.
As the Harding scandals broke, the puritanical
Calvin Coolidge replaced his morally easygoing predecessor. Feuding Democrats
and La Follette progressives fell easy victims to Republican prosperity.
American demands for strict repayment of war
debts created international economic difficulties. The Dawes plan provided
temporary relief, but the Hawley-Smoot Tariff proved devastating to international
The stock-market crash of 1929 brought a sudden
end to prosperity and plunged America into a horrible depression. Herbert
Hoovers reputation collapsed as he failed to relieve national suffering,
although he did make unprecedented but limited efforts to revive the economy
through federal assistance.