USA: 1919 1941 Revision Notes - Sample Essay
These figures were initially considered glamorous, being in a high social position and often donating their own money to help the needy (soup kitchens). This however ended with the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, an organised shooting in broad daylight Racism & Intolerance: ‘The Red Scare’, where people became worried that communism was beginning to take over the USA, leading to deportations of immigrants suspected of having links. Anarchy was also widespread, including the Sacco and Vanzetti case, which led to their execution on flimsy evidence and their rights not granted in court.
WWI: Fought in Europe and many believed that the US should isolate itself from Europe’s issues ‘Immigrant Quality’: New immigrants were often perceived to be low skilled, with little education, and many lived in ghettos that were associated with violence and drinking Leads to 1917 literacy test act, 1921 immigration quota (3%), 1924 National Origins Act (3% -> 2%), 1929 immigration act (limited to 150,000, with no Asians) Employment: Advancement in technology meant less workers were required, and many former immigrants now looked down upon the ‘lower quality’ immigrants, mainly from eastern Europe.
The KKK/WASPS: the ‘ideal citizen’: Jim Crow laws promoting segregation, as well as the enforcement of white supremacy. Lynchings and violent acts carried out against the black community The Monkey Trial: Difference in beliefs, with the Bible Belt states opposing teaching of evolution. Showed the difference of beliefs between urban and rural states The Wall Street Crash: The major financial trading centre crashed in 1929 Uneven wealth: Profits not passed onto workers, leading to lower demand compared to production Overproduction: More supply than demand for goods, leading to businesses laying off staff.
Banks invested depositors’ money in the stock market, which was unstable Banks provided expensive loans for investors to buy shares, no security US tariff policy meant that excess goods were not ideal for European consumers Panic selling led to rapid decline in value of shares: Heavy selling, fluctuating prices, 6 million shares traded Black Thursday, 13 million shares traded Black Tuesday, all shares lose value, suicides reported Leads to large scale unemployment, as well as poverty from the onset of the Depression.
Hoover responded by cutting taxes, increasing import duties, set up relief agencies to co-ordinate relief efforts, stopped cutting of wages, investment into infrastructure ‘Hoovervilles’, homes built out of scrap materials set up by those who were unemployed and lost their homes, becoming hobos One Hooverville was integrated Bonus marchers demanded a bill to support payment of bonuses for WWI, set up Bonus City which was cleared with force, clear divide between government and the public Black Americans were the first to be sacked, with 50% unemployment rate by 1933, also had the largest wage cuts.
Increase in suicide rate across the USA, birth rates decrease as marriages fall and less people become willing to take on this extra commitment Natural disasters including a drought led to the ‘Dust Bowl’, where the soil was exhausted and turned into dust, which blew away in heavy wind (dust storms). People from these areas were forced to move west to find work, and were quickly faced with derogatory terms The Depression did not hit everyone; most wealthy people still remained wealthy during the Depression, using the cheap land and housing prices to gain a profit.
The New Deal, FDR’s election: * FDR elected to US president in 1932, with the promise of relief, recovery and reform Introduction of the Alphabet Agencies in the ‘Hundred Days’ FCA: Farm Credit Administration, helping farmers with mortgages AAA: Agricultural Adjustment Act, changing produce prices by destroying produce CCC: Civilian Conservation Corps, employment given for conservation projects CWA: Civil Works Administration, employment to maintain infrastructure (roads/schools etc. ) FERA: Federal Emergency Relief Act, funds of $500 million given to help the unemployed.
HOLC: Home Owner’s Loan Act/Corporation, low interest loans to assist people in paying their mortgages NRA: National Recovery Administration, set fair prices, wages & working conditions, its symbol was the blue eagle (set up by the NIRA) TVA: Tennessee Valley Authority, helping improve one of the poorest areas of the US by building dams and planting trees to prevent soil erosion, as well as setting up power stations, providing thousands of jobs in the process EBA: Emergency Banking Act, aimed at restoring confidence in the banking system by preventing banks from investing savings into the stock market.
RFC: Reconstruction Finance Corporation, money given to businesses to invest in growth Second New Deal & Opposition: Focus on social welfare and responsibilities of the state on the elderly, unemployed and sick WPA: Works Progress Administration, similar to PWA but even more jobs created such as dramas and photography Wagner Act, right for workers to join trade unions, and gave power for the government to act against unfair employment practices Fair Labour Act, minimum wage and maximum working hours standard brought in, child labour no longer permitted.
Social Security Act, pensions for the elderly and unemployment benefits However many opposed the New Deals, including Republicans who thought that the government should not interfere too much into people’s daily lives, and that it was making people too dependent on the government Businesses were angry that trade unions were allowed in the workplace, calling it unfair interference New Deal was seen as ‘socialist’ and therefore ‘un-American’, and taxing the rich would discourage capitalism The Supreme Court was mainly consisted of Republican judges who were able to delay these policies.
Huey Long had a policy of ‘Share our wealth’, taxing the rich to give $5000 to the poor per year, allowing them to spend on US goods/services. He planned to stand against FDR in the presidential elections but was assassinated Dr Townsend wanted to provide $200 per month for the elderly, who would have to spend it all in order to provide a boost to the economy Charles Coughlin denounced the New Deal as not doing enough and being ‘anti-God’, broadcasting his opinions to over 40 million listeners.
The New Deals were successful in bringing about lower unemployment rates, as well as providing money for the needy. However, it failed to allow the USA to reach employment rates pre-depression, and another depression hit in 1937. It took WWII in the end for the US economy to return to normal, with the Lend-Lease Act allowing the US to trade military equipment to other countries. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1919-1941 section.