How far was the usa a divided society in the 1920's

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  • Created on: 20-05-14 19:21
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  • How far was the usa a divided society in the 1920's
    • Racism
      • Despite having gained freedom from slavery in 1860, segration of blacks and immigrants was still legal. Blacks had the worst houses and jobs, could not travel with whites and could not get fair treatment in the justice system.
      • 1896- Jim crow laws- meant balcks could be treated as inferior people. - in the 1920's - 1 million people left the south to migrate to the north as there was less racial dsicrimination.
      • The KKK was formed in 1866, disbanded in the civil war and refiormed in 1915, now opposed to jews, catholiocs and all immigrants as well as black people.
      • Black people feared the actions of the klan- they got beated raped and in extrem cases lynchings.
        • The klan lost popularity and racism levels lowered in 1925 when klan leader David stephenson was found guilty of the kidnap, rape and mruder iof a woman and sentenced to life.  This popularity decrease is shown by the difference in the number of lynchings- it went from 76 to 17 in a year by 1925.
    • Rich and poor
      • In early 1929, about 1/third of the nations wealth was held by 5% of the scoiety.
      • Blacks made up about 10% of the population, but many had little or no money as living conditions in the cotton fields in the south werw appalling when compared to toher areas.
      • Immigrants were left poor, as they were seen as a threat to americian culture.
      • Workers in old industries like textiles and coal had very bad working conditions despite the formation of trade unions like the IWW, and extremly low wages
      • 1929- 71% americian families had annual incomes of less than $2500.
      • Children were also exploited- forced to work up to 11 hours a day for very low wages.
      • Farmers continued to struggle due to overproduction and very low prices- tariff barriers and a lowered demand for cotton meant that many farmers fell into debt and lost their land.
    • Immigration
      • Some Americians began to get alarmed at the number of immigrants  who arrived in the country in the 25 years before 1914, as virtually none of them spoke either english or german.
      • 1917- a literacy test was introduced for all immigrants- this favoured those from northern and western europe. Mostly ineffective though.
      • 1921- Congress passed the emergency quotas act- limiting the number of immigrants in any one year from a particular country to 3% of the population of people from that country in America in 1910.
      • 1924- the national origins act was passed- this further limited immigration to 2% of the population in 1890.
    • Gangs and crime
      • Al Capone- leader of the criminal world in chicago.
        • up to $100 million income a year, 227 murders but no-one arrested, St valentines day masacre- Alcapone's gang shot six members of Bugs moran;'s gang.
        • Claimed to be supplying public emand.
      • Gangs comntrolled alcohol trade- used protection rackets- threatening to damage property unless money was recieved to protect it.


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