The USA did not join WW1 until the introduction of unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917. This was because the president in office at the time, democrat Woodrow Wilson, hated the idea of war, and also because of the number of immigrants from Europe, the USA would have divided loyalties.
The USA and the League of nations
- Woodrow Wilson wanted to play a vital role in the league.
- Republicans disagreed and wanted to cut all affairs with Europe.
- Americas views towards Europe were changing rapidly.
- Wilson travelled the country making speeches, however after suffering a stroke was fighting a loosing battle agaisnt the republicans.
- In March 1920, there was not enough votes to formalise the Treaty of Versailles and therefore the USA did not join the League of Nations.
- Warren HGarding elected in 1920, with a view to return the 'normalcy' and isolation, and keep out of European and world affairs.
- Relation with European countries were not very good as the USA had taken so long to come to thier aid in the war.
- The USA capitalised on being nuetral until 1917 by exporting goods and trading with countries at war such as Britain and France.
Fordney- McCumber Tariff
- Placed high tariffs (taxes) on all foerign goods sold in USA.
- Meant American goods were cheaper, therfore helping American buisnesses.
- Included farm goods, therfore helped American farmer's trade boom.
- Europe eventually put high taxes on American goods.
- Lead to a manufacturing boom until the market became saturated.
- Manufacturers could not sell goods overseas.
- Factories cut produvtion and therfore employment.
- Contributed to wall street crash and depression.
- Henry Ford utilised mass production first when creating the Model T, by using an assembly line.
- The car took 93 minutes to produce, and as more were produced more efficiantly the price went down, whilst wages still increased.
- 4 million jobs depended on the motor industry, and the number of cars 20 folded in as many years.
- The textiles industry also boomed from the intorduction of mass production.
- New York created 60 storey scrapers, instead of just 20, a clear sign of the boom in America.
- By 1930 10 companies controlled 72% of Americas electricity.
Consumer Industries and Advertising
- The consumer industry for products such as vaccum cleaners and washing machines boomed, as more poeple had more disposable income to spend on luxuries such as these, as their wages also insreased, Therfore there was a higher demand.
- Thios meant advertising for these accesories also increased. Mant new advertising techniques were introduced such as in newspapers, radio and on billboards.
- By 1930 the biggest 200 companies owned 20% of the nations total wealth.
- Hire purchase was introduced so the consumer could afford more expensive items without having to buy them outriught.
- A deposit would be placed, and the could would be paid in smaller installments.
- It was very easy to get a loan of banks at this time, and therefore this meant people could afford more expensive luxuries.
- + Income = +Demand = +Porduction = +Jobs and wages = +income = +Demand......
Share purchase; Stock market boom.
- Investors bought shares in companies, with hope they could sell them on for a higher price.
- Many Americans bought shares as it seemed an 'easy' way to make money.
- Many shares were bought on the margin by borrowing from banks in order to purchase them, with confidence the srock prices would continue to grow.
- Banks loaned out more money than they had.
- More disposbale income due to prosperity = more leasuire activities.
- Jazz and Blues became ppopular in the south, and blacks therefore profited and became more admirable.
- Jazz bars set up, e.g. The Cotoon Club, NY.
- More people could go and watch sports, so sports stars begin to appear.
- By 1930 110m people went to the cinema each week.
- Stars such as Charlie Chapman became very popular.
- First non-silent film releasaed in 1927.
- No immigrations laws pre WW1 meant more esatern Europeans came to America, and different cultures and languages started to appear.
- In 1917 a lirteracy test was implemented, which favoured western Europeans and portestants.
- 'Emergency Quotas Act' passed in 1921. Allowed only 3% of a nationality in, of of the total number of people already living in America from that nation.
- 1924 the 'National Origins act' was passed. This limited the number to 2% or a toal of 150,000.
- 'Volstead Act' passed in 1920, banned production, trading or movement of liquor. This was definied by a drink containing >0.5% of alcohol.
- Introduced as many wives suffered from abusive husbands when drunk. Also led to absences from work.
- Huge quantaties of alcohol were bought the week before prohibition was introduced, for those who wished to continue drinking.
- Organisations such as 'The Women's Christian Temperence Union' and in particluar churches were the main leaders in the fight for prohibiton.
- The 'Association against the Prohibition Amendment', (AAPA), was founded in 1918, and claimed alcohol had many medical benefits.
- Speakeasies became popular after the law was intoduced, and were typically diusguised as jazz bars. There were roughly 200,000 set up in the USA.
- 'Bootleggers' smuggled alcohol across borders into the USA, and sold it at high prices.
- Prohibition agents were introduced by the government to enforce the law, however they were far outnumbered and generally unsuccessfull. 'Izzy and moe' being the mopst famous agents, raiding 3000 speakeasies in total.
Organised Crime and Gangsters
- Post prohibition selling alcohol became big business, and organised crime started to increase.
- Al Capone controlled chicago, with a private army of around 1000 men.
- He bribed officials such as the police or politicians so he could carry out his buisness openly.
- The valentines massacre of 1929 was proof of Al Capones power in the city.
- 'Moonshiners' produced illegal alcohol to be sold to gangsters and speakeasies, which became big business.
The Ku Klux Klan
- Re-gained popularity under 'Hiram Wesley Evans'.
- Had 6m members by 1925.
- Preched '100% Americanism' and 'intolerance for blacks'.
- Mainly made up of 'WASPS', or white, anglo-saxon, protestants. Included judges and police officials, however.
- The members were known as 'klansmen', and followed the 'Kloran'.
- The boom occured due to a increase in immigration.
- Typically met at night wearing white robes, and took part in lynchings, beatings, burnings and even ****.
Distribution of wealth
- Wealth was spread very unevenly throughout America during the 'boom'.
- In 1929, 33% of the nations wealth was shared between 5% of the population
- 10% of the population was black, but the majority lived in slums or poverty.
- Workers in the north did not benefit greatly, as they were explouted for low wages and working in poor conditions.
- In 1929, 71% of the population lived below the minimum income for a decent standard of living.
- Farmers suffered due to overproduction and low prices, and therefore many farmers were forced out of work or into debt.