GCSE History America paper revision notes

my revision notes for edexcel gcse history paper 2- america

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America Notes
The US Economy 1919-29
Background to America...
America after WWI
During WWI, America loaned lots of money to Britain and France. This would be paid
back with interest, so America had more money.
Britain owed $4,277 million and France owed $3,405 million
America also picked up extra business as they had to supply Europe with food and
manufactured goods. Other European countries had lost this trade as they were busy
fighting the war
High employment rates and good wages
America had lost lots of soldiers in the war
The war made America very rich
Politics in the USA
Higher taxes to create a safety net and Believe in the low taxes and free trade
look after the poorer members of Prefer tradition and are tougher on
society through better benefits and law and order
healthcare A welfare state may be seen as
Law and order policies tend to be important, but not as much as left wing
more relaxed. Focus on rehabilitation parties think.
than just punishment Too many benefits = lazy people
And extreme left wing view is (rugged individualism)
Isolationism: not becoming involved in world politics
The USA became isolationist as they believed they should let Europe fight its own
battles and not risk American soldier's lives. They also believed that America would be
more financially independent. It tried to protect America businesses from foreign
competition. Another policy of isolationism was restrictions in immigration. It was
designed to keep America American and cut immigration sharply.
Mass production

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Meant goods could be made cheaply and quickly in large quantities.
Henry ford was the pioneer of mass production and used it in car production.
Once the effectiveness had been shown, other companies began to use the method.…read more

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More employment was also generated
Advertising and Marketing
Was first used for propaganda during the war, but could now be used to advertise
Advertisers set up agencies to sell products
It simulated other industries and became an industry within itself
Credit and Hire purchase
A `buy now, pay later' scheme
Banks had more money from loan repayments from the war, so they lent this money to
people to pay back later
Companies also developed a system of hire purchase which encouraged spending
The building…read more

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During the war, demand had increased as America was now supplying food for large parts to
Europe. As a result of this, famers took out large loans to buy more land and new machinery so
they could cope with the demand. After the war, Europe began to recover and the demand from
food from Americas dropped. Prohibition, in 1920, also reduced demand for grapes and barley
and the production of new synthetic materials reduced the demand for cotton and wool.…read more

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One of the most popular leisure activities in the 1920s was going to the cinema. In Hollywood a
major film industry was developing. Film stars were paid huge amounts and people soon
wanted homes, cars and clothes like they had (American state of mind). Before 1927, all movies
made were all silent movies, but afterward, the first `talkie' was made.…read more

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This made women more
equal to men and more women worked than ever before. Although women had the vote,
women were still seen as `unelectable' and were not part of political parties or groups, mainly
because men didn't understand this new equality.
Electrical Goods
New products such as the hoover and washing machines meant women had more time for
working and for leisure activities. Cars gave them the freedom to travel and go places which
before were off limits.…read more

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Speakeasies: These were illegal secret drinking bars where people went to drink
alcohol. They were called speakeasies as people had to talk quietly in order to not be
Bootleggers: People who imported and transported illegal alcohol. Was usually sent
over from abroad or countries such as Mexico. This was called `bootleg' alcohol.
Controlling Prohibition
Prohibition was very hard to enforce as so many people still wanted to drink.…read more

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The Law: As many people wanted to drink, many people broke the law. This meant people
disrespected the law a lot more as they could see how easy it was to break (in this
circumstance). This new found disrespect for the law meant more people were willing to drink,
but also meant they broke the law in many other ways as well as they knew they could do it.
Cars: The development of the car meant breaking the law was much easier.…read more

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Some examples of how white people
expected black people to behave include:
Get the worst education
Cook the food but eat on the steps
Stay segregated
Live in the worst houses
Don't look me in the face
Be harassed by the police at any time
Except lower wages and harder work
Risk lynching if you talk to a white woman
Racism in the North
Although the north had no segregation laws, blacks still experienced racism.…read more

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South. Hundreds gathered around to watch and take part, even children. It was
one of the most shameful aspects of the USA at this time.
WASPS: Stands for White Anglo Saxon Protestants. This is how the Ku Klux Klan
wanted to keep America, so essentially it stayed `American'.
The vast majority of people living in America were immigrants or descendants of immigrants.
Many Eastern Europeans and Italians fled to America in search for a better life and work.…read more


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