Development of the USA and the change in racial attitudes (1929-2000)

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America 19292000
Changing life in the USA
Wall Street Crash
The 1920s had been a period of success for people in the USA. As a result of the economic boom
many people had money to buy new goods such as cars and radios. But in 1929 the Wall Street
Crash happened:
1. People were nervous that the stock market was going to fail.
2. People were selling shares.
3. Black Tuesday happened on Tuesday, 29 October 1929, when 16.5 million shares were
4. The value of all shares had dropped by $40,000 million by the end of 1929.
Causes of the Great Depression
The USA was divided ­ 5 per cent of the people owned 33 per cent of the country's wealth.
Old industries and farming had suffered during the 1920s.
The Republican Government believed in a l aissezfaire
Fewer countries were buying goods from the USA because they were highly taxed.
Too many goods were being produced and nobody wanted to buy them.
People took a chance on the stock market and poor people borrowed too much money to do so.
Early Republican attempts to deal with the depression (1930s)
1. President Herbert Hoover was called upon to help, but it was Hoover's opinion that people
should be able to look after themselves and not expect charity or social security from the
Government. He did not give unemployed people much help.
2. A lot of people lost their homes, and so shanty towns were built ­ Hooverville's H owever,
Hoover did try to help a little.
3. In 1932 Hoover gave $4 million to the states to open soup kitchens.
4. He created jobs by building the Hoover Dam .
5. In 1932 he gave $300 million to the states to provide support for the unemployed, but only
$30 million was used by the Republican states because they believed more strongly than
Hoover in rugged individualism . Many people believed that Hoover's efforts were too
weak and had come too late.
Recovery of the economy and society
Roosvelt and the New Deal
The people of America had lost confidence in Hoover and there were placards to be seen during
the election campaign of 1932 with the words 'Hang Hoover' on them. The Democratic candidate
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the new President, winning 42 of the 48 states. These were his
words after being selected by his party to fight Hoover:
"I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a New Deal for the American people."
President Franklin Delano Roosvelt
Roosevelt introduced the New Deal to the people of America. The Deal was also referred to as
the 3 Rs.
1. Relief ­ Measures to help the millions who were unemployed and homeless

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Recovery ­ Policies to rebuild the economy that had suffered due to the
3. Reform ­ Legislation and laws to create a fairer society
During Roosevelt's `first 100 days' as president, he created a number of new departments to try
to tackle the problems and called them the A lphabet Agencies . Their purpose was to help
people find work, make money to pay debts and start spending again.…read more

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The NRA and the Wagner Act brought better working conditions for workers and introduced
trade unions (labor unions).
They intervened in the business of Americans.
The Supreme Court announced that the AAA and NRA were unconstitutional.
The AAA paid farmers not to produce food ­ "shoot the cows and milk the government."
This did not help people who depended on farms for their income, eg farm hands.…read more

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At the beginning of the 20th century many Americans felt that they did not need the
rest of the world, and after the First World War, the USA returned to its policy of
This meant that the USA would avoid being involved in any dispute that could lead
to war, even though it still encouraged trade with other countries.…read more

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By 1960, 25 per cent of the American people lived in suburbs. These people had a
television, a record player, swimming pools and cars. People bought on credit ­ this
increased 800 per cent between 1945 and 1957.
Between 194560 the number of people who had a car rose from 25 million to 62 million.
Cars like the Cadillac were popular.
Senator Joseph McCarthy encouraged anticommunist feelings.…read more

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Five members of CREEP arrested, for breaking into Watergate.
Washington Post : Berstein and Woodward worked out they worked for CREEP.
The five burglars were charged in January 1973.
Watergate scandal was linked to the White House, Nixon denied all knowledge.
CIA investigate and demanded all tapes from Nixon's bugged office, he evnetally
handed over all tapes unedited.
This then linked him to the Watergate Scandal
Nixon then resigned on 30th August 1974.
Nixon the gained the nickname "Tricky Dicky".…read more

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In his second term as President, Reagan continued with his policy of reducing taxes. But the
Government was now spending most of its money on a research programme to send arms
into space to protect America from a nuclear attack.
The name of the scheme was the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), but it was later called Star
Wars by the media. It cost $26 billion.…read more

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What were the main social developments in the USA from
Changes in popular culture
The cinema and film stars
In the 1920s cinemas started being built and by 1930, 80 million people visited a cinema
every week.
In 1927 the film The Jazz Singer was the first talkie. In 1928 Mickey Mouse was made
famous in a film by Walt Disney, Steamboat Willie.…read more

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The blues music reflected the life of poor black people.
In the 1940s the work of Rogers and Hammerstein made musicals popular, eg Oklahoma was a
show on Broadway and it was made into a film in 1955. It depicted the USA as a successful and
optimistic country.
Rock and roll
In the 1950s, rock and roll was popular, combining aspects of the blues and country music. In
1956 Elvis Presley came to the fore with his energetic dancing and his sex appeal.…read more

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The growth of the feminist movement
In 1963 Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique . This was a very important
book in terms of women's rights and the feminist movement.
Friedan said that women should have equal rights with men in every way and that
women should be able to pursue a good career.…read more


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