1920s America

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  • Created by: Sunset
  • Created on: 06-04-14 12:28

Wall Street Crash


1. Overproduction
3.On the Margin & Negative Equity
4.Small banks.
5.Big Businesses


29th Oct 1929 - Black Tuesday. 16 million shares were traded for any price.
Big investors had begun selling and panic set in throughout mid-October


1. Loss of confidence
2.Houses Repossessed
3.100 000 companies went bankrupt
4.By 1932 25% of workforce unemployed.

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Enforced by the 1920 Volstead Act

Groups such as Women's Christian Temperance Union & Anti-Saloon League campaigned because:
1. Caused wife beating, child abuse & poverty
2. Caused crime and lawlessness
3. Lowered moral standards
4. Caused absenteeism.
Many brewers were German - after the war anti-German feeling was high.

1. Enforcement: too few prohi's & many bribed
Bootleggers smuggled acohol in for speakeasies, which were often disguised as Jazz clubs.
2. Organised Crime: Criminals took over the alcohol trade.

END - 1933
Increased social problems anyway
Brewing Jobs & taxes valuable after Wall Street Crash.

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Organised Crime

Prohibition lead to an increase in Organised Crime as the alcohol trade went underground, and was controlled by criminals.
1) Ran speakeasies, supplying illegal alcohol
2) Had 'protection rackets' where they forced homeowners to pay the gang to protect their property.


1) Chicago. He bribed the Mayor (Big Bill Thomson)
2) He had a massive empire of speakeasies, brothels, illegal breweries
3) He had over 200 rivals killed between 1924-9. His gang killed 6 members of the Bugs Moran gang during the St. Valentines Day Massacres. of 1929
4) He was a colourful figure - he wore a diamond ring & held press conferences in silk pajamas.
5) He became a celebrity figureto those who envied his lifestyle and diliked prohibition - he just 'provided what people want.'

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American Isolationism

America had a history of being neutral - in 1914 Woodrow Wilson said that America was a nation of many loyalties that would be divided by war.
After the war, Wilson campaigned for the League of Nations but Americans wanted isolationism. Harding won the election & didn't ratify the treaty. Why:

1. Distance
2. Tradition
3. 'Back to normalcy
4. Majority
5. Divided Nation 


 Increasingly more non-WASPs who were poor & needy. People feared communism.

1921 Emergency Quota Act - 3% of 1910, 350 000 limit

1924 National Origins Act - 2% of 1890

1929 Immigration Act - 150 000 limit, no Asians

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