The motivation behind the exclusion laws was partly xenophobia (especially in the case of the Chinese and other Asians, whose appearance and customs are so different than the western European heritage of most native-born Americans in the 1920s) and partly to protect jobs, wages and resources for the benefit of Americans (Ibid.).
Prohibition, Speakeasies and Bootlegging
The issue of prohibition illustrates the polarity of sentiment felt by many Americans during the Twenties. Many believed that alcohol was the cause of a significant number of social evils and that its eradication would permanently erase those evils (Rumbarger 11). After prohibition went into effect, many urban dwellers began to frequent 'secret' clubs known as speakeasies where they could illegally purchase and consume alcohol. Many rural residents began to make their own alcohol, known as moonshine (Ibid 24).
The federal government was unable (and in many cases unwilling) to effectively enforce prohibition, which...
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