Socializing capitalism

The Century during the Great Depression

In the decade following World War I, Americans confronted a rapidly changing cultural context. Prohibition took effect in 1919 and gave birth to an era characterized by the frustrations of law enforcement and a booming business for “bootlegging” and organized crime. Throughout the decade, the Century underestimated the strength of voices opposing prohibition. Editors condemned the evil of liquor without much recognition of the social circumstances that might drive some people to drink. Though, in principle, they condemned single-issue politics, they came perilously close, on occasion, to modeling its worst features. Presidents Harding and Coolidge were too soft on enforcement issues to satisfy either Charles Clayton Morrison, the Century’s editor, or columnist Alva Taylor.


This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.