USA 1929-2000

for the wjec syllabus, covers briefly america in transition and the race issue. NOT USA and the wider world.


America In Transition

Key issues: How did the USA change between 1929-2000

  • Hoover Vs. Roosevelt
  • WWII's effects on the country economically
  • The 50s "Affluent Society"
  • McCarthyism
  • JFK and the New Frontier
  • Nixon and Watergate
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Popular Culture, young people and protest
  • Changing role of women
  • Clinton and the 1990s
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1929-33 - Herbert Hoover, Laissez Faire and Rugged Individualism
1933-45 - Franklin D. Roosevelt, New Deal and AA's
1945-53 - Harry S Truman (FDRs vice president)
1953-61 - Dwight Eisenhower, Red Scare and McCarthyism
1961-63 - John F. Kennedy, New Frontier and assassinated
1963-69 - Lyndon B. Johnson - JFKs vice, Great Society, Vietnam War
1969-74 - Richard Nixon, Watergate, Resigned and ended Vietnam War
1974-77 - Gerald Ford (Nixons vice)
1977-81 - James (Jimmy) Carter, son of a poor Farmer, seen as weak
1981-89 - Ronald Reagan, Ex-film star, ends cold war, greed is good.
1989-93 - George Bush (Senior) Regans vice, Gulf war, one term president.
1993-01 - Bill Clinton, Third Way, affair with Monica Lewinsky.

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New Deal

First 100 days

  • Closed banks and reopened those that could function well
  • Set up alphabet agencies like:
    • Tennessee Valley Authority - developed by built dams, houses & roads, used hydroelectric power.
    • Civillian Conservation Corps - conservation work for unemployed men 18-25, low pay in return for food and shelter.
    • Agricultural Adjustment Administration - paid farmers to destroy crops and slaughter their animals to boost prices (was later declared unconstitutional)
    • Federal Emergancy Relief Administration - gave money to individual states to help unemployed and homeless.
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Did it Work?


  • People began to trust in businesses again, so they invested.
  • People got pensions and benefits from the social security act.
  • Americans ideas about the government changed, they began to prefer the new deal to the old rugged individualism approach.
  • Workers had better wages and more rights due to the NRA.
  • Millions of jobs were created.
  • Industry and Agriculture began to recover.
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Did it work?


  • Women and blacks still didn't have equal rights.
  • Many small farmers, city workers and blacks were still out of work.
  • The depression didn't really end until world war 2.
  • Rich objected to paying taxes to help poorer people.
  • Republicans didn't like it.
  • Some believed he was doing too much (wealthy people) whereas some believed he was doing too little (poor people)
  • Supreme court opposed Roosevelt.
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Impact of World War 2

The war brought the USA out of the depression because:

  • 1941 - lend lease agreement that USA would provide Britain anything they needed and they wouldn't need to pay back until the end of the war.
  • The USA entered the war late so they didn't suffer as badly as other countries.

The USA entered the war after the bombing by the Japanese in 1941.

For Blacks they created the 'double V' campaign.

  • Victory against the racist Nazis.
  • Victory against racism in the USA.

They had enjoyed integration in the UK and Europe and so wanted it in America also.

Women had the chance to prove themselves equal with men, however when the men returned women were forced back into their traditional roles in society.

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Impact of WW2 on America


  • Richer than before the war
  • USA lent money to other nations
  • US farming was back on its feet
  • War bonds put more money into the economy


  • America was a Superpower
  • Helped set up the United Nations
  • Army bases all around he world

Business and Technology

  • American businesses became multinational 
  • Led the world in technology
  • Only USA had atomic bombs
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Impact of the War on Society


  • Rosie the Riveter became an idol for liberated women
  • One third of all factory workers were women
  • After the war women saw higher wages but still not equal
  • Many women after the war left there jobs and independence


  • War acted as the start of the fight for equality
  • The "double V" campaign had started, stopping racism at home and abroad.
  • Only 12 black officers were appointed in the army
  • Black women could become nurses but only to treat other blacks
  • Many stayed in the army or in the U.K
  • Roosevelt set up FEPC - investigating and discouraging discrimination within businesses.
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Impact of WW2 on society & Women

Japanese Americans

  • Prosecuted due to the aftermath of Pearl Harbour
  • 100,000 Japanese Americans were interned/put in jail
  • Sent to relocation camps where their property was taken away.


  • During the depression they lost jobs to men
  • WW1 got the right to vote
  • WW2 increase job opportunities gained independence
  • After WW2 returned home to be a typical house wife
  • 1960s protested against inequality and women to be able to use the pill and have abortions
  • 1964 - Banned any discrimination based on sex
  • 1973 - Abortion legal
  • 1989 women still earned only 70% of mens wages
  • 1990 women were 6x more likely to be living in poverty than men.
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The Affluent Society.

Growth of Suburbia - William Levitt was behind the creation of Levittowns.

Consumerism increased, people tried to "keep up with the Joneses"

Similarities and Difference between the 20s and 50s booms:
similarities; both started by wars, consumer goods bought in record numbers, car industry was at the center of the prosperity, rise in prosperity, black people did not always benefit from the wealth.
Differences: Laissez-faire in 20s, "Big-gov" in 50s, High taxes in the 1950s to help "big gov" spending, new technology, farmers new immigrants also benefited, middle classes moved to suburbia.

However 22% of Americans lived in poverty, mainly old black and southern people.

The government encouraged religion as it was a good way to stop communism. People who lived in Suburbia went to church for social reasons.

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this really helped with my revision .. thanks

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