History - USA 1919-1941

What were the factors of growth in the USA
Huge demand in Europe for US products and grain, Europe depending on US for loans, new export markets open to US, Laissez-faire, tariffs-boosted US home sales, new industries, new tech and processes e.g. mass production
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Describe how America became an isolationist country
The US didn't want to be involved in anymore European Wars, so they refused to join the League of Nations. America wanted isolationism, so they created tariffs to contribute to this
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What were the Tariffs and when?
Emergency Tariff Act (May 1921): Imports from outside the USA cost more than home-produced goods & Fordney McCumber Tariff Act (September 1922): US people bought US goods instead. In response, foreign countries put tariffs on US exports. US sold less
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Describe the term 'laissez-faire'
French for 'leave it alone', meant that the US government have businesses control over practically all aspects of their business. This included workers pay and charge for products.
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How many immigrated to USA from 1900-1920?
12.5 million (many were unskilled communist workers) from Europe, and 1.5 million from Canada, Asia, and Mexico through Ellis Island.
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Describe how the USA dealt with immigration issues
In 1921, the Emergency Quota Act worked out how many people from each country were in the US, then allowed only 3% of that number in from that country as new immigrants. Also, the 1924 Immigration Act reduced this to 2%, set a limit of 150,000 per yr
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Describe how the USA dealt with immigration issues (2)
Finally, government employed literacy tests as part of immigration process in 1917
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Describe Consumerism during the US economic boom
New ways of selling fuelled a massive consumer boom in the US - especially for new industries making consumer goods
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Describe Mass Production
Invented by Henry Ford. It divided up the production process, so each worker took only step in the production process, using standard parts. This is called the assembly line.
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How big was the difference in production time for the Ford Model T?
12 hours to 1 hour 33 minutes
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Describe the consumer boom cycle
First, more workers were employed, so more wages were spent, which led to more goods bought, which led to more goods made, which brings us back to more workers employed
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Describe the term 'buying shares on the margin'
People became so confident in the stock market that they took loans from banks, and used it to buy shares. Once the price of the shares had raised, they sold the shares, and repaid the loan, ending up with a profit.
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What were the consequences of people 'buying shares on the margin'?
People no longer ashamed to be in debt, Thriving businesses meant that laissez-faire government must be best, Americans wanted to keep economic success for themselves (isolationism), millions invested their money in shares
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Describe the problems with older industries during the 20's
Things like coal mining, shipbuilding and railways did not have consumer products and couldn't use mass production. In terms of coal, people switched to electricity so less coal was needed. People bought cars so rail travel became less popular
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Describe the problems with farming during the 20's
Farming experienced boom during war and immediately after it. However, US farmers then took out loans to expand production - bigger farms, more machinery. European farming recovered so demand for US food declined.
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Describe the problems with farming during the 20's (2)
Other countries like Russia/Canada increased their exports. Prohibition in USA - reduced demand for barley and grapes, and there was a decline in demand for cotton as new materials developed like nylon. Overproduction meant farm prices fell
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Describe the issues with inequality during the 20's
Poverty, small number of people rich and a lot of poor. Gov did little to improve things as they still believed in laissez-faire. Farming problems led to rural poverty, farming wages declined. Wages lower in south as most big industries in north.
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Describe the issues with inequality during the 20's
black people often had the lowest pay. Despite this, skilled workers and women saw wages increase a lot.
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Why did the 'Roaring Twenties' occur?
People had more money to spend and more leisure time
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Causes and features of the Roaring Twenties (1)
Sense of relief as US had survived WWII, an epidemic, and a brief recession between 1920-21 - now relieved it was over. Less respect for authority, prohibition meant that many americans broke law to drink alcohol.
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Causes and features of the Roaring Twenties (2)
More money, most people could afford luxuries, US on top, after a long time of trailing Britain, US was finally most rich and powerful nation in world. Women, had more freedom and fewer restrictions.
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Causes and features of the Roaring Twenties (3)
Music, black jazz created craze across nation, more conservative americans hated it. Glamour/excitement, Hollywood movies, featured dream of celeb lifestyle.
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Why were women working more?
Taken men's jobs when men were away at war, and they kept jobs when they got back. Women got paid more, housework became less time-consuming. Businesses targeted women for more products
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Describe a 'Flapper'
A name given to women in the 20's that did not depend on men for support. They work silk stockings and short dresses. They wore clothes that revealed more skin. They cut their hair into 'bobs', wore make-up, smoked, drank. Created Black Bottom dance
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When did Prohibition start?
January 1920 - by the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Ended in December 1933
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Why did the US start Prohibition?
Many influential church groups said alcohol made people behave badly. Prohibition supposed to reduce crime, however it increased organised crime and saw millions of americans break the law
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What were the impacts of Prohibition?
Gangsters found selling alcohol profitable, so numbers increased. Corruption increased, courts and police easily bribed. Speakeasies established, health risks of alcohol increased as 'moonshine' could be poisonous.
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How did gangs take control?
Gangs occupied whole areas and forced businesses to pay 'protection money'.
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Describe the St Valentine's Day Massacre
Powerful rival gangs fought each other for control of parts of cities. One example was on 14 February 1929, the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, when Al Capone’s gang killed seven member of the rival Bugs Moran gang in Chicago. No one was arrested.
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How much money did Al Capone make?
He made $105 million from organised crime in 1927 - $60 million of it came from speakeasies.
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Describe racism in the northern states
Many southern black Americans moved north for jobs, there was no segregation but plenty of discrimination. Black people usually had low-paid jobs or were unemployed, black people lived in poor areas and white and black people didn't really mix
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Describe racism in the southern states
The 'Jim Crow' laws enforced segregation: separate schools and facilities for blacks and whites. Worse facilities, worse jobs, and worse pay for blacks. Black people would vote by law, but were often stopped by force. The KKK wanted a WASP america.
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How did people attempt to get equal rights for blacks?
In 1909, the NAACP was formed, trying to create equal rights for black people
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Describe the KKK
Set up by a group of soldiers from the South in 1866. It's aim was to stop black's gaining any real freedom. In 1915, William Simmons re-formed it, a group of Christian fundamentalists. They wanted America to be a WASP nation
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Describe the Sacco and Vanzetti case
Italian immigrants, who were falsely accused of murder & robbery in April 1920, carrying guns when arrested. Vanzetti had committed same crime in past. Judge wanted them to be guilty. There was protest about intolerance, they were executed in 1927
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Describe the Scopes Monkey Trial
Many religious groups rejected the theory of evolution. A politician called William Jennings Bryan campaigned to ban the teaching of evolution which was successful as in 1925, Tennessee passed a law that banned the teaching of anything that...
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..contradicted the Bible. However, the Biology teacher John Scopes deliberately taught evolution to test the law. The trial had huge media interest, with 1,000 people in court on 1st day. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100
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What were the problems in the US economy before the Wall Street Crash?
Overconfidence- belief boom would never stop, big businesses kept wages low, mechanisation replacing workers, inequality -some rich most not, not enough credit control, to many people buying on margin, no real control on business, unemployment rising
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...Tariffs abroad reducing US exports, Overproduction in farming and business
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When did the Wall Street Crash occur?
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Describe the Wall Street Crash (1)
In September 1929, investors looked at US problems and started selling. People expected share prices to rise again but they didn't. On 24 October, panic selling of shares meant shares were offloaded at any price.
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Describe the Wall Street Crash (2)
The next day, a group of bankers bought $250 mil worth of shares to slow panic, which worked. However, the next day the bankers that bought the shares tried to sell them too.
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What were the impacts of the Wall Street Crash (1)
5000 banks went bankrupt and people lost their money, Banks needed money so they called in loans, businesses had to pay back loans and couldn't get credit, European countries relied on US loans so export market collapsed
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What were the impacts of the Wall Street Crash (2)
Businesses had to shut down and fire workers, which meant large job loses, People lost savings and couldn't afford mortgages or hire purchase repayments, so they lost their homes and possessions
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In what way was Hoover criticised?
When people lost their homes and jobs, they would often put up a shack somewhere to live in. These shantytowns were nicknames 'Hoovervilles', because people thought that Hoover had not done enough to help.
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What occurred in protest of Hoover?
Thousands of WWI veterans were campaigning for early payment of a bonus for fighting the war. In May 1932, 15,000 'Bonus Marchers', marched to Washington DC in protest and set up a Hooverville. Troops drove them away in July.
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How did Hoover then take action?
He set up the Federal Farm Board, he cut taxes, he set up the Smoot-Hawley tariff, the POUR, the NCC, the RFC, and the Federal Home Loan Bank Act
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Describe the Federal Farm Board
Set up in 1929, it involved Hoover buying all surplus grain and cotton to help push farm prices up. However, he spent $500 mil by 1932 and it was then disbanded. Poor people thought this only helped the rich farmers
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Describe the effect of cutting taxes
In 1930, Hoover cut taxes with the idea that people would have more money to spend. However, this led to the gov running out of money. in 1932, The Revenue Act put taxes up again
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Describe POUR
Set up in 1931, it encouraged volunteers to help people and businesses. However, the volunteers were not enough to combat the mass unemployment and poverty
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Describe the NCC
Set up in 1931, it suggested that private banks loan money to help restore less secure businesses and banks. However, very little was ever lent
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Describe the RFC
Set up in 1932, a Government controlled version of the NCC that made sure that loans were actually paid. However, many thought that this only helped the rich
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Describe the Federal Home Loan Bank Act
In 1932, the Gov loaned money to people so they could keep homes or buy new homes. However, it was too late to have any effect
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What happened to Hoover after this?
In 1932, he lost the election as people though he hadn't done enough to help
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Describe the 'Dust Bowl'
Due to the land being farmed so intensively on the Great Plains, when a drought came in 1931, the soil dried out and the wind blew it away. This created a Dust Bowl in central America. Farmers had to give up their farms.
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Why was life in the Depression difficult?
Dust Bowl farmers and their families travelled to California to look for work, In the cities thousands work unemployed, volunteer charities could not cope with the number, and people scavenged for food on garbage heaps e.t.c
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What was the impact of the Depression in the countryside?
Bank foreclosures meant families lost their farms, overproduction meant prices for farm products fell, Dust Bowl meant farmland was ruined, families left rural areas to find work
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What was the impact of the Depression in cities?
Factories and businesses closed, bank foreclosures meant people lost their homes, rural families came looking for work in towns and cities, there was unemployment and homelessness in the cities
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Describe the background to President Roosevelt's 'New Deal'
Roosevelt was elected in 1932, and unlike Hoover, spent billions trying to get the US out of Depression. His aims were to provide relief for those in need, rebuild confidence in banks and shares, and get people working again.
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How did Roosevelt attempt to rebuild confidence?
He felt confidence would be rebuilt more quickly is people understood what the government was doing. On 12th March, he began a series of radio broadcasts called 'fireside chats' which explained what the gov was doing to help
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What was the Hundred Days?
A period in 1933 when the USA passed many emergency laws
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What were the Alphabet Agencies?
Agencies set up to tackle particular problems. The Emergency Banking Act, The CCC, The AAA, The FERA, The TVA, and the National Industrial Relief Act
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Describe the Emergency Banking Act
Set up in March 1933, it only allowed 'safe' banks to operate. The result was that 5000 banks reopened and people were happy to save money with them
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Describe the CCC
Set up in March 1933, This created employment for unemployed young men. This was hugely popular and employed many young men
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Describe the AAA
Set up in May 1933, This paid farmers not to produce certain crops, which helped over-production, however, helped rich farmers more than poor farmers
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Describe the FERA
Set up in May 1933, This set up the CWA, which organised public projects such as road building to get the unemployed working. This resulted in work for 20 mil people and helped rebuild confidence
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Describe the TVA
Set up in May 1933, This reengineered the poor farming region affected by the dust bowl by modernising farming and providing power from dams. This meant relocating thousands of families however it hugely improved farming and created jobs
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Describe the National Industrial Relief Act
Set up in June 1933, set up the NRA to reform industry, which led to improved working conditions. This made production more expensive but the public supported it and by the time it finished industrial production was higher
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Why did people think that Roosevelt had not done enough?
They thought that the gov should nationalise banks and businesses, should pay pensions and unemployment benefit. Louisiana Senator Huey Long believed in this, however has supported Roosevelt in 1932, which made his criticism to the New Deal look bad
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Huey Long set up the 'Share our Wealth' campaign in which personal fortunes of more than $3 mil would be redistributed to ordinary citizens. Also, a Canadian Priest called Father Coughlin broadcast popular sermons promising to nationalise banks
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Why did people than that Roosevelt had not done enough?
People thought that federal gov was too powerful, that Alphabet agencies unconstitutional, and government involvement leading to communism.
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Describe the issues being Roosevelt and the Supreme Court
In 1935, The Supreme Court said that some New Deal acts (like the NRA and AAA) were unconstitutional and against the law. Also, the Supreme Court was mostly anti-Roosevelt, as it consisted largely of Republicans
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Describe the Supreme Courts first act against an alphabet agency
'The sick chicken case'. In 1934, Schechter Poultry Co. was prosecuted for breaking NRA, selling diseased poultry. They went to Supreme Court, saying NRA unconstitutional and as they only sold chickens in one state, it was a state issue, not a fed.
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What was the result of the 'sick chicken case'?
On 27 May 1935, the Schechter's won
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What were the Act's created in the Second New Deal?
The Social Security Act, the Wagner Act, the WPA, and the Resettlement Act
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Describe the Social Security Act
Set up in 1935, gave old age pensions and unemployment benefit
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Describe the Wagner Act
Set up in 1935, replaced NRA. Employees were allowed to join a trade union
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Describe the WPA
Set up in 1935, funded more work programmes
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Describe the Resettlement Act
Set up in 1935, built housing for the homeless in towns and countryside
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What were the Achievements of the New Deal?
People started to trust banks with their savings again, it rebuilt confidence, projects to create work also built great infrastructure e.g. schools, rapid unemployment rise halted, America productivity increase and amount of consumer goods increased
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What were the problems with the New Deal?
Unemployment stayed high, Jobs created were only temporary, saw black and immigrant workers forced out in favour of white Americans, it was expensive
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Describe how America became an isolationist country


The US didn't want to be involved in anymore European Wars, so they refused to join the League of Nations. America wanted isolationism, so they created tariffs to contribute to this

Card 3


What were the Tariffs and when?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Describe the term 'laissez-faire'


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How many immigrated to USA from 1900-1920?


Preview of the front of card 5
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