Photographic book

Kentucky from 1920 to 1945


Albert Sidney Johnston
Albert Sidney Johnston

The 1920s saw the state vote down an antievolution bill and measures to outlaw pari-mutuel betting on races, engage in divisive political infighting, and reject an attempt to make Cumberland Falls a hydroelectric dam. Kentuckians also struggled with economic depression in agriculture and mining and with restrictions on the liquor industry as a result of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which introduced national Prohibition (1920-1933). The state’s economy was already in trouble before the stock market crash of 1929 that ushered in the Great Depression, the hard times of the 1930s. Kentucky was not affected as seriously as some parts of the nation because of its agricultural base and because liquor production was reopened in the 1930s when the 18th Amendment was repealed.

However, Kentucky still suffered during the Depression and wholeheartedly supported the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 and his program for recovery, the New Deal. New Deal programs funded conservation efforts, new construction projects, and support to the needy and elderly. Passage of these programs was aided by Kentuckian Alben W. Barkley, who was the majority leader in the U.S. Senate (and later the vice president of the United States under President Harry S. Truman). At the same time a political newcomer, A. B. “Happy” Chandler, began a long political career as state senator, lieutenant governor, governor, U.S. senator, and commissioner of baseball. With the coming of World War II in 1941, Kentuckians went off to fight and sacrifices were made at home as well, through rationing, volunteer work, and in other ways. However, the demand for workers led to more jobs and higher wages. Some Kentuckians went outside the state to work, and outmigration in the 1940s and into the 1950s was a serious problem. But those who remained became more prosperous than they had been before the war. "Kentucky" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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