Was America A Free Society In The — страница 2
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immigrants, were the reasons for their arrest and execution. The evidence was inconclusive (and some say fixed), the defense clearly out weighed the prosecution, yet they were still found guilty of murder and armed robbery. They were put to death by electric chair on the 24th of August, 1927.The authorities were looking for someone to blame, and unfortunately it was them. The real guilty party here, were the WASPs. Anything that threatened WASP supremacy – even the slightest thing – would be instantly crushed, even if it meant ignoring the bill of rights, or the policies of the country. The ‘Red Scare’ was devised by the capitalist WASPs, to protect their interests and money, and it impinged on the freedom of many sections of American society. The new immigrants moved into ghettos in the big cities, which made the place look ugly, and was also thought to be a health risk. Irrational fears about immigrants began to take hold. The government decided to set up an immigration policy. At the root of this was the idea of not “polluting” the WASP communities. The red scare was also a major factor. If enough communists and left wing radicals were allowed in, it would be a threat the WASPs. By this time ,the open door policy was losing popularity as the new immigrants were blamed for rising crime and violence, and problems in the cities. The quota act was set up. This only allowed in 3 percent of immigrants of the same nationality that were there in 1910. This was gradually reduced until 1929 when a new quota was brought , stating that only 150,000 immigrants were allowed in per year. There were to be no Asians at all, and northern and western Europeans were allocated 85% of the space. Religious beliefs were a cornerstone of American life. Christianity was the only religion, and any one not found practicing it would be out cast. Native Americans were looked down on the most. Even though in 1926, Indians were declared full citizens of the USA, white authorities tried to destroy their traditional way of life and culture. Indian children were made to go to boarding school, and while they were there they were ‘reeducated’. All their traditional values were outlawed, and they were put on reservations and made to convert to Christianity. The epicentre of religious controversy was the monkey trial. A man called John Scopes taught the theory of evolution in a school in Tennessee (where the fundamentalists had it outlawed calling it blasphemy). He was brought to court, and fined $100. He was pleased with the outcome, because he knew that he had shown there was an alternative to following the bible word for word, and that science was sometimes the answer to life’s big questions. But the trail did illustrate the reluctance of American society to accept Darwinism – or a different interpretation of the Bible – and therefore underlined a reluctance to accept freedom of thought. So although America was portrayed by the politicians as the land of opportunity and liberty, this was only so for a privileged minority. The idea of freedom had a hollow ring for many sectors of American society.