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1920s and the Great Depression

The 1920s were a bustling time in Indiana. The steel and iron industries enjoyed success. Despite stiff competition from Henry Ford and the popular Model T, several Indiana automobile manufacturers (such as Marmon, Dusenberg, and Studebaker) continued to produce high-end vehicles. In addition, home life for some transformed as electricity and indoor plumbing became available.

At the same time, the Ku Klux Klan was very influential in Indiana's local and state politics. Klan members avowed 100-percent Americanism, and sought to rid Indiana of the influence of immigrants, Catholics, Jews and African-Americans. Indeed in 1924, Klan member Ed Jackson was elected governor of the state. Klan influence declined later in the decade after the organization's Grand Dragon, D.C. Stephenson, was convicted of murdering a  young woman.

The Great Depression, beginning in 1929, brought factory shutdowns and unemployment. Gov. Paul McNutt instituted government-sponsored public relief and charity work in an attempt to help struggling Hoosiers.

Lesson Plans

Let's Have Some Fun: Leisure in the 1920s

Modern Conveniences: Plumbing in the 1920s

The Farmer's Dilemma: Mechanization in Agriculture

The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana in the 1920s

Going to Town: How the Automobile Changed Indiana

What It Means to Go "Dry"

The Eighteenth and Twenty-First Amendments

Prohibition's Undertones


Temperance and Prohibition Timeline

Historical Essays

The Road to Prohibition