AQA History AS - 1M USA 1890 TO 1945

Revision card for AS History - AQA - Unit 1M - USA 1890 to 1945.

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McKinely and the development of imperialism

McKinley was important in the development of imperialism in the years 1890 to 1920 as he led the US into the Spanish American war, which demonstrated the US's first real move into imperialism. The US subsequently developed its self in Cuba and the Philippines after beating the Spanish. McKinley also secured the annexation of Hawaii, and it could be argued that appointing imperialists such as Roosevelt and Hay into positions of power was in itself a contribution to imperialism. McKinley’s role was Important as it set the tone for future presidents; he believed that what he was doing was right in particular regards to Christian values. However, McKinley is referred to as a reluctant imperialist, and there were other presidents that played a part in imperialism. President Harrison was the first president to try and annex Hawaii; President Cleveland stepped into the Venezuelan crisis. President T. Roosevelt and J. Hay were arguably more important as he initiated the Open Door Policy in regards to the Far East, in setting in place the preparations for the Panama Canal which can be seen as a huge step in American imperialism, Taft then continued many of Roosevelt’s policies and he even created Dollar Diplomacy, Wilson who was the least imperialist of all the presidents even got involved in Mexico and eventually WW1. There were also other motivating factors with further developed imperialism in the USA, such as Imperial rivalry with Europeans nations such as France and Great Britain. The American markets also need new markets, and so trade agreements such as the Open Door policy were important Mahan's book 'The influence of Sea Power...' was also influential in government circles since the navy was key in developing imperialism. Social Darwinism, fitted in with the theory of the Manifest Destiny, and the desire to spread Christianity was also persuasive in the development of an empire.


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Why the USA built the Panama Canal

The Panama canal was finished in 1914, it linked the Atlantic to the Pacific thus linking areas of US interest, The most important reason why the canal was built President Roosevelt and his strong imperialist beliefs, other reasons are that it was economically and strategically important as it improved trade links and allowed passage of US navy ships from the east to the west coast. Theodore Roosevelt saw the canal as a prestige, he was a strong advocate of expanding US interests in the region and the building of the canal was a result of his own personal initiative in which Congress was not consulted, ‘What’s a constitution between friends?’, There were other reasons why the canal was built, the canal increased US in the whole area. It also allowed passage of ships which improved trade links especially with the Far East especially from industry on the east coast which became vital in the economic growth of the country, it also allowed naval ships to efficiently get from the east coast to the west with was important as naval power was considered crucial at the time. The canal also improved communication especially between the West coast and the Caribbean.

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Why was Prohibition introduced - 1919

Prohibition was introduced in 1919 for a number of reasons and those who supported it had a variety of motivations, The most important and obvious reason why it was introduced was to stop the consumption of alcohol, other reason include the campaigning of prohibitionist groups such as the Anti-Saloon League, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the Prohibitionist Party, as well as it reflecting the fundamentalist beliefs and the change in public opinion.  The Anti-Saloon League which was formed in 1893, pushed hard for reform on the grounds that drunkenness was a cost to society, which also reflected the fundamentalist protestant beliefs that alcohol was evil and the root of all crime and sexual decadence, The Prohibition Party also worked hard on reform in the political arena, The WCTU also helped publicise the need for reform, as they felt it would reduce domestic violence and prevent some families from falling into debt.  The reform was also part of progressivism and closer to World War one was part of anti-German feeling and was seen as a sign of patriotism. The primary reason for Prohibition was to put an end to drinking and cleanse society and elevate morality through legislation.

*When talking about the Volstead act it is recommended to mention that it enabled the implementation of the 18th Amendment and acted as legal mechanism

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The success of organised crime 1920-1933

Although, organised crime was successful in a number of ways, as huge profits could be made from illegal supply which allowed many gangs to expand, and thus control large areas such as Chicago. However organised crime was not completely successful as there was a decline in drinking especially in rural areas, and many gang members died young. Prohibition was difficult to enforce because there were miles of coastline and borders in which alcohol could be smuggled across, such as from Canada and the West Indies, There was also home produced liquor. The demand was high specifically in the urban areas and the number of speakeasies grew this allowed many gangs to make a huge profit, and expand with many taking over whole areas such as then Capone gang in Chicago. They were also able to bribe many enforcement agencies as they were underfunded and therefore open to corruption. Gangs soon spread into other areas such as Drugs and Prostitution these activities grew enormously in the 1920s and early 1930s, Gangster soon became folk heroes which all added and was a sign of the success of organised crime. However, organised was not completely successful, there was a decline in drinking practically in the rural areas and many areas weren’t penetrated at all by organised crime. Law enforcement agencies, such as the ‘Untouchables’; did have some success in truncating some of the activities by smashing stills and catching smugglers as did border officials and naval patrols.

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Why did the stock market crash in 1929?

The stock market crashed in 1929 for a number of reasons, The most important reason was that the stock market was unregulated and it became greatly inflated, other reasons for the crash were that there was an over confidence on the index and that the stocks were bought using credit. The height of the index had been built on very shaky foundations. The stock market was unregulated, in line with basic laissez faire policy, and the market had become greatly inflated because of over speculation and the prices of the stocks lost touch with the underlying asset value of the companies. There was a mania for buying shares and many bought stocks without understanding the nature of gambling on the stock market, the bought on the margin (using credit), looking for easy profit. This was all dangerously unstable as a sudden plunge in prices led to panic, and a wave of selling led to the stock market prices falling, this led to further selling. Sellers could not find buyers which led to more panic. The news also spread across America fast through the medium of radio and newsreels which led to more sellers because they wanted to get out before they lost everything.

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F.D.R's success solving the depression by 1941 (1)

Although, President Roosevelt was able to solve the economic problems of the USA by 1941 to an extent, through the New Deal he was able to inspire confidence, and give hope to many who finally felt something was being done, He also had success with the first 100 days. However, in many ways Roosevelt was not successful many of his programmes such as National Recovery Administration (NRA) and the Agriculture Adjustment Agency (AAA) were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, The USA also experienced a recession in 1937 and unemployment went back down to 10 million and the imminent arrival of the Second World War was arguably more successful at helping the USA out of the depression. Presidential Roosevelt developed the New Deal in 1933 by using leading economic theorists to help him he also needed the support of congress (Brains Trust), by using the ‘fireside chats’ he was able to inspire confidence in the government and his handling of the depression. On March 9th he started the first 100 days, he began by closing the banks (bank holiday) for 4 days this helped restore faith in the banking sector. Government spending was now the new way to get out the depression, and the creation of Alphabet agencies such as the CCC, AAA, TVA and NIRA helped agriculture, industry and unemployment.

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F.D.R's success solving the depression by 1941 (2)

The TVA was particularly successful. In the second New Deal programmes such as the WPA were set up which was notably successful when dealing with unemployment, Roosevelt also set up other acts such as the Wagner Act which was more successful that NIRA and the Social Security Act. However, much of what Roosevelt was not successful as the first new deal was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and programmes such as the NRA and AAA had to cut. There was also a cut in spending in 1937 during the Roosevelt recession in which unemployment went back down to 10 million and remained there, despite an increase in deficit spending, until 1939. The imminent arrival of the Second World War was arguably more successful at solving the economic problems, once wartime production started unemployment went down to zero. Therefore it was not just Roosevelt on his own who solved the economic problems of the USA.



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Why the USA became Isolationist after WW1

The USA became in increasingly Isolationist in the years 1918 to 1921 for many reasons the most important reason was most likely because of economic reasons is was believed that the USA could return to economic prosperity by remaining out of foreign entanglements other reasons include public opinion many were disillusioned with the idea of war after WW1, also the popularity of the republicans and the desire to move away from Wilsonian Idealism contributed to shift back to isolationism.  After the war it the USA re-adopted the policy of staying out of foreign affairs this was primarily due to the desire to protect the USA’s economic interests it was widely thought that foreign entanglements would lead to another foreign war and this would have a negative impact on the US’s role of an economic superpower. After the WW1 there was also a shift in public opinion many were disillusioned with the idea of war and uncomfortable with amount that had died, this led to a shift away from Wilsonian Idealism and Roosevelt’s Expansionism this was seen in the Republican domination of the time with Harding promising a return to ‘Normalcy’.

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Why Congress passed the Neutrality Acts

The most important reason why Congress passed the Neutrality act in the years 1935 to 1937 was because Congress wanted to remain out of foreign affairs and they were concerned Roosevelt would drag the US into another foreign war. Other reasons include wanting to stop the supply of arms from the US to belligerents and to keep the US neutral. The neutrality act were spurred by the isolationism and non-interventionism of the US after its costly involvement in WW1, Congress wanted to keep out of another war, they did not want to engage in hostilities the desire to remain isolationist felt threatened in 1935 when they feared Roosevelt would try and intervene in foreign affairs.  The Neutrality acts also stopped firms from supplying arms to belligerents, stopped American citizens from travelling on ships of warring nations and even stopped banks from supplying loans to nations at war.  This was all part on attempt to keep the USA neutral through a series of laws based on traditional foreign policy.

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Why membership to the KKK grew 1919-25

Membership to the KKK increased in the between 1919 and 1925 for many reasons the most important reason was the atmosphere post WW1 and the growing fear of communism, The Klan also appealed to racists, especially white racists, who felt the Klan was offering action against ‘Non-Americans’ . By 1919, much of the public feared communism and were insecure after WW1, this contributed to the rise in Klan members as the Klan offered a return to past values. The Klan also appealed to racists and the Poor as many wanted to stop the progression of black and ‘non0-americans’ up the social ladder and living in the ‘boom’’ especially when so many ‘True Americans’ were suffering, the Klan offered what they saw as a solution as they offered action, Lynching, where the Government appeared to do nothing.  This further links to the large arrival of immigrants taking ‘white’ jobs with different cultural values who looked different , which led to an increase of fear of Communism, many then joined the Klan to oppose the arrival of more immigrants .

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Using the A-Bomb to assert the US's world power st

The use of the Atomic Bomb in 1945 strengthened the USA’s position a world power for many reasons the most important reason would be that the A-bomb was more advanced than any other weapons showed the USA was to be feared, and showed they were more technologically advanced however the fact that the US were yet to fight on their territory meant that they already had an advantage.

The Atomic-Bomb was much more powerful than conventional weapons this not only made the US technologically and strategically above other nations, as they were the first to develop such a weapon, making it one of the world’s first superpowers but it also meant that the USA would be able to protect its interests across the world without any conventional fighting, thus making them able to impose their views/ foreign policy

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Imperialism dividing America 1900 and 1914

The issue of Imperialism divided America in many ways in the years between 1900 and 1914, the most important reason why it divided America is that many felt that imperialism was a threat to the fundamentalist values of America yet it was also felt that American’s had the duty to expand its values to the rest of the world.  By 1900, the issue of imperialism became a huge political divide William Jennings Bryan who ran as the Democratic candidate in 1900 made anti-imperialism a key issue he argued that imperialism abroad would lead to a dictatorship in the USA, imperialism would also threaten fundamental American values that was a betrayal to American history in which it broke away from the British empire, and it was being driven my big industrialists who wanted to expand solely on the idea they could make money. Many anti-imperialists such as Mark Twain, who led the anti-imperialist league, took a very strong moral ground and frequently came under attack from the yellow press and Roosevelt. Roosevelt was one of the big driving forces behind imperialism; the argument was that imperialism would bring economic prosperity through developments such as the Panama Canal and that it was essential to the ideals and nature of the USA because they had the Manifest Destiny and it was their duty to spread their values and ideals across the world which was based on the idea of the White Man’s Burden.

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