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Why did Roosevelt win the election in 1932?

Hoover was deeply unpopular:

  • Republicans were blamed for the great depression
  • He was critisiced for the harsh treatment of the Bonus Marchers
  • His relief schemes were too late/ small
  • He couldn't offer anything new

Roosevelt was popular

  • Democrats offered a more caring image
  • He had survived Polio- he was a fighter
  • He kept his message simple with relief, reform, recovery
  • He promised the Americans a New Deal
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The New Deal

January 1933

EBA Emergency banking act: Government closed all banks for 10 days; government backed 5000 banks helping to restore confidence

CCC Civillian Conservation Corps: This provided 6 months of work for men aged between 18 and 25 in conservation projects such as sweeping leaves. By 1940 over 2 million men had been given work in the CCC.

TVA Tenessee Valley Authority: Set up to build 21 dams to genenerate cheap electricity and control flooding, in order to attract industry to the area.

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Successes and Failures of The New Deal


  • Preserved democracy
  • Prevented faschism
  • Restored faith in people
  • Around 200,000 black Americans gained benefits from the CCC
  • Stabilised US banking system


  • Gave too much power to the federal government
  • Only provided short term solutions
  • Roosevelt did little to end segregation in the deep south
  • Out of the 2.75 million people employed by the CCC, only 8000 were women
  • Some of the nation industry recovery acts of 1933 required women to be paid less than men
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Oppositions to The New Deal

The Supreme Court

  • US vs Butler: decided giving help to farmers was a matter of state government, not federal government. As a result of this, all help to farmers ceased.
  • Mostly republican judges. Blocked new deal wherever possible


  • Republicans felt it was too generous
  • Some democrats disliked trade unions having so much power
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JFK- The New Frontier 1961

  • Civil Rights- Kennedy appointed Thurdgood Marshall, the first black federal judge in America. 
  • Economy- cut taxes to encourage people to spend
  • Social Reform- introduced medicare, a cheap system of state health insurance. Social Security act 1962 gave financial help to the elderly and unemployed.

LBJ- The Great Society

  • Civil Rights- Civil Rights Act 1964 banned discrimination. Voting Rights Act 1965 ensured fair voting. 1967 ban on mixed marriages was lifted.
  • Economy- Cut taxes to boost buisnesses and encourage people to spend
  • Social Reform- Medical Care Act 1965 provided Medicare (for the elderly) and Medicaid (for the poor).
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Reagan, Bush Snr and Clinton

Ronald Reagan


  • cut taxes by $33 billion, largest tax cut in US history
  • hoped to encourage people to spend more which would create more jobs
  • 1987 saw the worst stock market crash since 1929

George Bush Snr

  • Forced to go back on election promises and increase taxes
  • Calculated that in 1992 14% of the american population were living in poverty
  • 1990- Disability Act which forbade discrimination

Bill Clinton

  • Abandon Reaganomics- increased taxes
  • 1996 he introduced a minimum hourly wage
  • Investigation in 1996 revealed he had been having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. He was threatened with impeachment
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Social Changes

Popularisation of cinema

  • Multiplex- first one opened in Kansas city in 1963
  • Drive in cinemas became popular with car ownership growing. Looked down on by the older generation


  • 1945- 25 million Americans owned a car
  • 1960- 60 million Americans owned a car


  • 1975 Bill Gates set up Microsoft
  • 1976 Steve Jobs set up Apple
  • Late 1990s saw the development and growth of the internet

Teenage rebellions

  • Teenagers has more money than ever before, and they wanted to rebel, especially against whatever their parents believed in
  • Influenced by james dean, elvis presley etc- drinking alcohlol,cruising in cars, formed gangs (beatniks)
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Life in the 1930s for black Americans

In southern states (mississippi, georgia etc) there was strict segregation. These were called the Jim Crow Laws. Segregated people in schools, parks, hospitals, swimming pools, restaurants etc. Black Americans also prevented from voting unless they passed a near impossible voting test. 

Northern states (michigan, NY etc) did not have segregation, however racism was still common and black Americans were still treated as second class citizens. People were given low paid jobs and often lived in ghettos. 

However there were improvements for some- Jazz brought fame to black singers and musicians, e.g. louis armstrong. 

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  • Formed in 1909 by William Du Bois
  • Main opponent to the KKK
  • In 1930 the NAACP blocked the the nomination of a racist judge from being appointed at the Supreme Court.
  • They employed black lawyer Thurgood Marshall to fight against segregation- he secured equal salaries for teachers
  • Through pressure from the NAACP, the Supreme Court ruled that blacks had the right to the same quality of graduate education as whites.
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Black People and WW2

  • In the army there were black only units which became known as the Jim Crow Army
  • Up until 1944, black soldiers were not allowed into combat machines- they had to transport supplies, be cooks or labourers
  • The navy would only accept blacks to work in the canteen
  • Black soldiers were treated far better in Britain than they were in the US
  • Nurses were only allowed to treat black soldiers. 
  • Discrimination was worst in the navy, with black soldiers given the most dangerous of jobs. 
  • In 1944 a horrific accident occured, and the majority of people killed were black. 
  • De segregation in the navy came in 1946, and the other services in 1948.
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Civil Rights- Brown vs Topeka, Little Rock 9

Brown Vs Topeka

  • in 1952, 20 states had segregated black schools
  • Linda Brown had to walk a long way and across a train track to get to her black only school, while there was a white only school much closer to her home
  • in 1952, her father, with the help of the NAACP, took the board of education to court
  • after losing the case in the state courts, the NAACP took the case to the surpreme court
  • may 1954 the supreme court said segregation in schools went against the US constitution
  • however surpreme court had no power to impose the desicion therefore many southern states ignored the ruling

Little Rock High School

  • September 1957, 9 African American students attempted to enter the white only high school in Little Rock.
  • The school was surrounded by guardsmen to prevent them from entering. 
  • The president sent in 1000 federal troops to protect the students for the rest of the year. 8 of the 9 students ended up graduating. 
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Civil Rights- Significance of the Little Rock 9

Improved life for black Americans

  • It helped to moderate the views of some of the white Americans at the time
  • Many US citizens saw, for the first time, the racial hatred that existed in the southern states
  • It involved the president, and this demonstrated that civil rights was an issue that could be no longer ignored 

Did not improve life

  • Demonstrated that states could be overruled by the federal government 
  • Black activists realised that the reliance on the federal courts was not enough to secure change 
  • It did the USA no good to be seen as an oppressive nation when it was critisiscing communist countries for not allowing their citizens basic human rights
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