GCSE History OCR - USA


Immigration & Roaring 20's


  • Empty - beacon of Statue of Liberty welcomed "poor & huddled masses"
  • 30 mil Europeans immigrated between 1875 - 1920
  • Problems caused - illiteracy, needed educating; disease; crime, Italians & Mafia; Germans, enemy in WW1, jobs, work for less wages
  • Quota Act - figure of immigrants from 1900 could enter, small fraction of each group

Roaring 20's:

  • Hollywood - cinema began, silent films, Rudolf Valentino etc
  • Jazz - black music, popular with young, new dances based on jazz beat
  • Sport - baseball, Babe Ruth popular, spent money on baseball games
  • Radio - new invention, ideal for rural areas, 'soaps' listened to
  • Cars - Henry Ford, women could afford them, 'petting parties'
  • Flappers - short skirts, smoked, danced, drank, only young city women, traditional conservative family opposed it
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How Free was America in the 1920s?

  • Monkey Trial - evolution theory taught by Johnny Scopes, defied creationist beliefs, sacked by school & fined, made Tennesee School Authorites look silly
  • Prohibition - 1919 Congress banned alcohol; Temperance Groups, brought disease, poverty, ruined families, Anti-Saloon League, grain should be for soldiers, faulty munitions, Budweisers & Schlitz were German (failed because: 7th biggest industry, in hands of criminals, moonshine & bootlegging, bribery, GRAFT)
  • Black Americans - Jim Crow Laws, lived in ghettos; sacked first, Ku Klux Klan, WASPs; migrated to north; work for less money - get jobs, angered KKK
  • Trial of Sacco & Vanzetti - convicted of robbery -wasn't them; judge intolerable; sentenced to death 1931
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What Helped the Boom & Women's Roles Changing

Lots of natural resources ---> benefitted from WW1 economically ---> 

immigration, cheap labour ---> mass production ---> tarrifs --->

Laissez Faire ---> banks lent money easily ---> catalogues, adverts --->

share prices inceasing

  • Roaring 20's - change in fashion & lifestyle, conflict with older generation
  • Hollywood - new cinema industry, encourage new independence, copied role models like Clara Bow
  • Economic boom - enabled women to buy cars, clothes, be more independent
  • Cars - gave richer women more independence & mobility
  • Vote - gave them a say in country's affairs, politicans began listening to them
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Mass Production, Consumer Goods Boom

Mass Production - before WW1, products hand-made, expensive & took time; Henry Ford introduced conveyor belt assembly line; mid 20s more Americans owned cars than anywhere else; demand for glass, rubber, steal, oil increased - more jobs - people spent more

Consumer Goods Boom:

  • Mass Production - fridges, washing machines, vacuums, telephones, radios, more jobs, more people bought them
  • Republican Government - believed in Laissez Faire - leave business alone; believed in tariffs & low taxes
  • Share Speculation - made money by gambling; constantly increasing; banks lent easily 10% deposit; buying on the margin; recklessly lending money - thought they would get it back
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Who Didn't Benefit & Farmer's Problems

  • Black Americans - paid less, sacked first
  • Farmers - struggled in 20s as sale to Europe ended
  • Immigrants - paid less & bad living conditions
  • Rural areas - no electricity for factories
  • Textiles & coal - industries suffered
  • Railways - used cars instead
  • Some businesses - hard to adapt to assembly line


Farmers problems:

  • before/during WW1, grain in high demand for Europe
  • war over - lost prophets, tried to make up for it by producing more
  • led to overproduction - lower prices
  • many mortgaged farms but couldn't pay back - lost farms
  • Natural disasters - late 20's poor rainfall triggered Dust Bowls in south; intensive farmeing made soil dry & wind blew top soil away - dirt storm; droughts
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Why USA Fell into Depression, What Hoover Did & Ef

Stock Market Crash, Sept 1929 - share prices fell dramatically, people ruined in short space of time; tariffs from Europe onto America; Laissez Faire - dodgy businesses; unequal wealth, not enough people could buy goods

  • Republican - Laissez Faire, low taxes, helped rich & business, wasn't government's job to help the poor
  • Rugged Individualism - stand on your own two feet, don't expect help
  • Reconstruction Finance Corporation - charities, companies & individual states work together to help poor, voluntarism, didn't really work

Effects of Depression:

  • 1932 - millions were hungry, cold & homeless
  • Hooverstew - free soup & bread from charities
  • Job vacancy - 1000s would apply
  • Shanty towns - Hoovervilles, Hooverblankets, made out of anything
  • The Bonus Army - WW1 soldiers, wanted pension early
  • Fear of revolution
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Why Crash led to Depression, Why FDR Won Election

Nobody bought shares - pushed prices lower; banks didn't get money back; companies starved of money to invest - sacked people - high unemployment, make less - VISCOUS CIRCLE; by 1930 12M unemployed

Hoover - born poor, orphaned, self made millionaire, didn't like taxes, blamed for depression

FDR - wealthy, polio, thought government should help poor, grandfatherly like, friendly, won a landslide victory

FDR's 100 days - ended prohibition, emergency federal relief for poor, agencies, closed all banks & reopened safe ones, fireside chats on radio

Relief - helping poor, FERA

Recovery - industry on its feet again, agencies

Reform - changes to avoid another depression, businesses don't like being told what to do, some unconsititional agencies

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New Deal Agencies & Who Opposed FDR

PWA - created jobs for unskilled older people, road-laying, building

CWA - older skilled men - dams, hospitals, schools

CCC - young men work on conservation jobs, camped & fed, $1 a day

AAA - paid farmers not to produce food, overproduction ends & prices increase

TVA - Tennessee River dams, ended droughts & floods, make electricity & jobs

NRA - reform American industry & business, good quality goods & decent wages

Who opposed FDR?

  • Republicans - opposing party, Laissez Faire, taxed too much, only states should do agencies
  • Businessmen - fed up with interference like NRA & pay more taxes
  • Huey Long - Governor of Louisiana, wasn't doing enough for poor
  • Father Coughlin - thought he was a communist
  • Supreme Court - declared some agencies unconstitutional
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'Court Packing' Episode & 2nd New Deal

  • 1935-36 Supreme Court declared some agencies unconstitutional, started with 'sick chickens case', NRA poultry company selling dosgy chickens
  • Interference with court - 9 Supreme Court Judges, wanted 6 more that he could choose
  • Introduced Judical Reform Bill - Congress rejected it - trying to gain more power

2nd New Deal:

  • WPA (Works Progress Administration) - combined all work creation agencies of 1st New Deal
  • Social Security Act - gave payments to old, sick & unemployed
  • The Wagner Act - gave workers right to belong to unions & employers must listen to those unions
  • FSA (Farm Security Administration) - helped poorer farmers by relocating land/cheap loans to buy own land

Congress lost interest in New Deal after 1937, didn't give him enough money, felt he was wasting money & being too powerful

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What Did FDR Achieve?

  • New Deal didn't end unemployment, reduced it up to 1937 then started to rise
  • Other areas of business hugely improved
  • Bank failures virtually disappeared
  • Old age pensions introduced
  • Social security introduced to help unemployed
  • GNP back up to 1920s levels
  • Business failures reduced
  • Farmers who owned farms really benefitted from AAA
  • Poorer farmers helped by 2nd New Deal
  • TVA definitely helped although some thought he was a socialist
  • Workers could join unions
  • Didn't really help black Americans/women, wife campaigned for them
  • New Deal gave people HOPE
  • People on New Deal schemes kept PRIDE - still working
  • New Deal gave HAND-UP not a HAND-OUT, allowed people to believe in Rugged Individualism
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Hi the notes are helpful, however you should add a little on the economic boom and what factors caused them... Who also gained benefit from the boom and who didn't. Thanks though.

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