Presidents of the 1920's
Woodrow Wilson 1913-1921 : Democrat – Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations
Warren Harding 1921-1923 : Republican – ‘Normalcy’, criminal friends, died.
Calvin Coolidge 1923 -1929 : Republican – US became the richest country in the world.
Herbert Hoover 1929 -1933 : Republican – self-made millionaire, rugged-individualism. US economy collapsed.
rugged individualism - individualism in social and economic affairs
normalcy - return to normality
Why was there an economic boom?
1) Wealth and Resources - USA was rich in raw materials, new technology and skilled inventors
2) First World War - Great boost to supply Br and Fr with armaments and food, also able to trade with the rest of the world while others were fighting
3) Republican Policies - believed in ’Isolation‘ (High tariffs to protect US industry from foreign competition), ‘Laissez-faire’ (no government interference in business and peoples’ lives) & low taxes on high incomes.
4) New Industries -
- Car industry created more jobs in other industries
- Chemical industry created new, cheap materials - Rayon
- Electricity production led to demand for consumer goods (cookers, washing machines, radios)
5) New methods - mass production (assembly lines) + advertising + hire purchase = BOOM!
6) State of Mind - most americans believed it was good for them to spend money
Did all American's benefit from the Boom?
Farmers, workers in older industries, unemployed, immigrants and Black Americans were part of the 40% of Americans who lived below the poverty line. Bad news for all Americans by 1929.
Lost European markets after 1WW
New machines meant fewer workers needed.
New machines increased production but this mean prices of produce fell
Fewer mouths to feed because immigration restricted
Competition from Canada.
Many lost their land and their jobs. Blacks drifted to the cities for work.
The Roaring 20's!
Name given to faster pace of life in USA – many changes for prosperous Americans. This was shown by...
Cars: Many more Americans bought cars – changed lifestyle (leisure, places to live and work). Advantage of more freedom and creation of jobs but crashes, traffic jam, getaway cars etc.
Radio: 700+ stations broadcast popular music and adverts & sporting events & political broadcasts
Cinema: Industry developed in Hollywood first with silent movies & then talkies. BY 1930 100m+ went to the cinema – escapism, fashions, behaviour. Cinema blamed for the decline in sexual morals. Hays Office set rules of conduct.
Jazz: new music made popular by black musicians in night clubs with new dances like the Charleston. Older generations appalled.
Sport: Became mass entertainment. More leisure time. Baseball, boxing.
Settlement: Growing population – by 1930 more than half in cities. Tension between rural and urban America.
How did the lives of women change?
Before the 1WW women led restricted lives – housewives and in rural areas religion made restrictions tight.
1917: During war increasing numbers of women worked (new independence?)
1920: Women got the right to vote.
Modern well-off women (middle class) – flappers – drank, smoked, wore short skirts. Advertisers targeted women and films provided role models. Labour saving devices changed domestic life.
But limitations: mainly m/c women in cities, most women (working class/rural) continued in their same traditional role.
Causes of the Wall Street Crash!
1) Speculation - This means gambling on the stock market. People did this by buying shares on credit, and this worked as long as there was confidence. This became difficult in 1928 as goods became difficult to sell
2) Poverty and Overprodution -
- Farmers had produced too much food in the 1920s
- there were too many goods being made and not enough people to buy them.
- Many people lived in primitive conditions close to famine.
- There were many similar Hoovervilles all over America.
3) Farmer's Problems - For many American farmers, life in the 1920s was a constant struggle against poverty. During the First World War, farmers had been encouraged to grow as much food as they could. They continued to do this in the 1920s until they had produced more cotton and wheat than they could sell.
4) International Trade Problems - the collapse of European banks caused a general world financial crisis.
Consequences of the Wall Street Crash
Effects of the Depression
- Unemployment - 13 million people were out of work.
- Industrial production dropped by 45 per cent between 1929 and 1932.
- House-building fell by 80 per cent between 1929 and 1932.
- The entire American banking system reached the brink of collapse.
- From 1929 to 1932, 5,000 banks went out of business.
- Although many people went hungry, the number of recorded deaths from starvation during the Depression was 110, although many other illnesses and deaths were probably related to a lack of nutrition.