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AQA GCSE History Unit 2 - USA in the 1920s Revision
Transcript of AQA GCSE History Unit 2 - USA in the 1920s Revision
Reasons for the Economic Boom
Impact of the First World War
1922 - Fordney McCumber Tariff
Laissez Faire attitude
1920s - 1920s Society:
The Roaring 20s
Morals and Social Change
Life for Women
Before the 1920s women were expected to be housewives and were seen as of lower importance to their husbands. They usually wore long traditional dresses that did not go any higher than their ankles.
After the war women became more respected in society as a result of their contribution to the war effort.
The number of working women increased by 25 per cent.
In 1920, all women were given the right to vote.
Sex outside of marriage was far more common and women were far more educated on contraceptive methods.
Women that took advantage of the changes in society were called flappers, they smoked in public and were often seen dancing in jazz arenas. Many more women were promiscuous and wore make up in an attempt to improve their sex appeal.
Women wore clothing more convenient for activity and stopped wearing long skirts and corsets.
Divorce was made easier and the number of divorces doubled.
However, most women were still housewives and were not as liberated as their male counterparts.
Who did not benefit from the boom?
People who worked in old industries.
Ford’s role in the boom.
Henry Ford was known for developing the assembly line in order to speed up motor production, these production methods meant lower costs for each car, and therefore lower prices, this meant that Ford’s cars were accessible to ordinary people.
A Model T Ford cost less than $300 in the mid-1920s, in order to make sure production was ‘flow’ and not batch production which involves higher costs, he produced only one car in one colour. He is famous for saying ‘You can have any colour, as long as it's black’.
The US produced over 58,000 cars a year.
Some Americans believed the policy of isolationism wasn’t enough, they wanted to end the open door policy that had brought millions to the USA in the Nineteenth century.
Attitudes to immigrants had changed vastly, there was less land available by 1900 and less jobs due to the mechanisation of industry, responsible for the reduced demand for workers.
Anti-immigration feeling had increased during the war, especially against German residents.
By 1917 immigrants had to prove they could read a 40 word paragraph in English to enter the country.
Immigrant ghettos were appearing in the Northern cities in America, as people from the South moved to the North in search of work.
1864 & 1915-25 - The KKK
1920-35 - Prohibition
By 1929, more than 26 million cars were registered in the USA.
During the 1920s, about $1 billion a year was spent on roads.
The automobile industry also caused other industries such as steel, rubber, leather and paint to grow.
Fords mass production techniques were used in many other industries, making products more accessible to ordinary people.
Ghettos were often dangerous places riddled with drunkenness, prostitution and violent crime. Americans blamed foreigners for these Ghettos, which led to intolerance and tension with foreigners.
Policy of Isolationism
Republican President, Warren Harding, was elected with 61% of the vote. The greatest majority to that date.
His campaign was focused on retuning to ‘normalcy’ and said that ‘we seek no part in directing the destines of the world’.
The USA had captured many European markets whilst the other countries focused on war.
October 1929 - Wall Street Crash
Relations with most European countries were not good. Many countries resented the fact that the US had taken so long to come to their aid during war, due to their
Many saw America as immoral for being a war profiteer.
Big investors lost heavily. The Vanderbilt family lost $40 Million.
Smaller investors had often borrowed money from banks with their homes as security. Banks could now re-possess their homes and evict those living there.
Many investors committed suicide.
Over 100,000 companies went bankrupt.
Unemployment rose to 12 Million by 1932.
Temporary shelters were built in the park nicknamed hoovervilles.
Many banks went bankrupt.
The KKK started in the Southern states at the end of the American Civil War.
The group terrorised black people who had recently been freed from slavery.
The 1915 Revival
The 1915 revival was helped by a film called The Birth of the Nation. It was set after the civil war in the South of America, it involved KKK members saving white families from black gangs’ intent on looting and raping white women.
By 1920 the Klan had over 100,000 members. By 1925 it claimed a membership of around five million.
The Klan believed the best towns consisted of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs). They were fighting for ‘native white protestant cities’.
They were anti-communist, anti-Jew, anti-Catholic and against all foreigners. They claimed they were on a moral crusade to protect American values.
The Klan in the South focused primarily on black people. The group represented the fears and prejudices of many Americans.
The group had some powerful members including the Governor of Alabama and a Senator from Texas were Klan members.
The 1925 Decline
The ‘Grand Dragon’ in Indiana, D.C Stephenson was put on trial for raping and mutilating a female assistant. She was covered in vicious bite marks.
The case attracted a lot of publicity especially as the woman, Madge Oberholzer committed suicide, blaming Stephenson in a sworn statement from her death bed,
Stephenson was sent to prison and sentenced to life imprisonment, despite apparently stating ‘I am the law”.
On discovering that he was not let off for the crime due to his influence he leaked lists of public officials who were or had been on the Klan payroll.
The Cycle of the KKK
Prohibition, what is it, why was it introduced and why did it fail?
What was prohibition?
Between January 1920 and December 1935, it was against the law to make, sell or transport alcohol. This was called ‘prohibition’ and was written into the American Constitution by the 18th Amendment.
Why was Prohibition introduced?
National mood - when America entered the war in 1917 the national mood also turned against drinking alcohol. The Anti-Saloon League argued that drinking alcohol was damaging American society.
Practical - a ban on alcohol would boost supplies of important grains such as barley.
Religious - the consumption of alcohol went against God's will.
Prohibition created an enormous public demand for illegal alcohol.
Gang leaders such as Al Capone and Bugs Moran battled for control of Chicago's illegal drinking dens known as speakeasies.
Capone claimed that he was only a businessman, but between 1927 and 1930 more than 500 gangland murders took place.
During the St Valentine's Day massacre in 1929, Capone's men killed seven members of his rival Moran's gang.
Capone was imprisoned for income-tax evasion and died from syphilis in 1947.
It has been estimated that during Prohibition, $2,000 million worth of business was transferred from the brewing industry and bars to bootleggers and gangsters.
Why did prohibition fail?
There weren't enough Prohibition agents to enforce the law - only 1,500 in 1920.
The size of America's boundaries made it hard for these agents to control smuggling by bootleggers.
The low salary paid to the agents made it easy to bribe them.
Many Americans never gave their support to Prohibition and were willing to drink in speakeasies - bars that claimed to sell soft drinks, but served alcohol behind the scenes.
Gangsters such as Al Capone made money from organised crime.
Protection rackets, organised crime and gangland murders were more common during Prohibition than when alcohol could be bought legally.
Panic selling of shares in October 1929. When some experts began to sell their shares in large volumes many smaller firms believed that something must be wrong, confidence decreased and many people began to follow suit.
Overproduction in American Industry, more was being made than could be consumed. There was too much supply for the demand.
No market for US goods in other countries due to the tariffs on imported goods that America introduced.
Wealth of 1920s not evenly distributed, a very large number of poor Americans. Almost 50% of American Families were living on an income of less than $2000 a year, which means people have no disposable income and could only afford the bare necessities.
Shares became detached form their actual value, people were investing in a company in the hope that the share price would rise rather than the strength of a business.
Share Price Plummeted
On 24th October, 13 million shares were sold on the Wall Street Stock Exchange.
The prices of shares plummeted.
By the 29th October, investors sold their shares for whatever they could get. Radio decreased from 505 cents to 28 cents.