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Published by Dafydd Humphreys

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Published by: Dafydd Humphreys on May 11, 2008
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 Year 12 revision material – Boom and Bust
Unit 1 Exam – option 7B
worth 20% of overall A-Level and 40% of AS
social and economic history of USA
no politics apart from where it directly affects people’s lives
nothing about international politics
officially the split in terms of what you get marks for is 13% onsource interpretation and 7% on own knowledge
therefore…you must be very clear about what each questiondemands of you – a) JUST SOURCES b) OWN KNOWLEDGE ANDSOURCESDefine the following:-
Sedition ActFlapperJohn TorrioTin LizzieLaissez-faireMoonshine‘melting-pot’Quota Act19
AmendmentBonus MarchersFederal spendingShare dividendsHire-purchaseHoovervillesTemperance18
AmendmentACLUWASPsPalmer RaidsNormalcyKramerNickelodeon
Key subject knowledge and understanding
(from Edexcel syllabus):
Boom: the impact of the First World War, Henry Ford and massproduction, consumerism
Candidates should have knowledge and understanding of the reasons for the apparent prosperity of the boomyears in the USA. They should know about the impact Henry Ford had on the automobile industry and on theUSA economy in general, about new business methods consequent upon the growth of huge corporations andabout mass consumerism and easy credit. It is expected that candidates will know how government policieshelped create and perpetuate this boom, in particular the Emergency Tariff Act of 1921 and the Fordney-McCumber Act of 1922, tax reductions and Coolidge’s general policy of .laissez-faire.. Questions will not be seton the USA’s involvement in peacemaking and peacekeeping in 1919.20, on the Treaty of Versailles and thestruggle for Senate ratification during this period, or on US foreign policy in the 1920s and early 1930s.
Prohibition and organised crime
Candidates should understand the reasons why Prohibition was introduced into the USA, and know, in particular,about the Anti-Saloon League, anti-German feeling and support given by business tycoons like John D.Rockefeller. They should know about the work of John F Kramer, the first Prohibition Commissioner and aboutthe difficulties he and his agents faced. The encouragement prohibition gave to mass law-breaking viaspeakeasies, moonshine and bootlegging should be understood, as should the links to gangs, gangsters andorganised crime. Knowledge of the activities of John Torrio and Al Capone in Chicago, the St Valentine’s DayMassacre, corruption within the forces of law and order and the apparent inability of the authorities to control or contain the situation, is expected. Candidates should also know about the positive attributes of Prohibition.
Political and social tensions: the Ku Klux Klan, immigration policy,the Red Scare
encompasses not only conflicts arising primarily out of thereactions of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant US citizens to social change - includingthe Scopes trial and the Sacco and Vanzetti case - but also racial tensions and thewomen’s suffrage issue
Political and social tensions (the Ku Klux Klan, immigration policy, the Red Scare) relates to conflicts arising outof the reactions of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant US citizens to social change, to the women’s suffrage issue andto racial tensions. Candidates should know and understand the reasons for the Red Scare and how it developed inthe USA via, for example, the Palmer Raids. They should understand why Congress passed the EmergencyImmigration Law in 1921 and the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act in 1924, and to the tensions these laws bothreduced and exacerbated. They should understand how the Sacco and Vanzetti case reflected racial tensions.Knowledge of the ways in which the Ku Klux Klan reflected widespread racism in the USA is expected, as is thereasons for the Klan.s collapse as a mass organisation in the late 1920s. They should understand how the Scopestrial reflected the tensions between rural, small town USA and the big cities.
Bust: the economic and social causes, and the social and politicalconsequences to 1933, of the Wall Street Crash.
Bust . the economic and social causes, and the social and political consequences to 1933, of theWall Street Crash: candidates should understand that the seeds of the Crash lay in the instabilityof the boom years of the early and mid-twenties, in particular in the uneven distribution of income, rural poverty and stock market speculation. Candidates should know about theimmediate causes of the Crash and about why the Crash should have led to the Depression. Theyshould know about the policies of Hoover and the effect his policies had on relieving the worst effects of theDepression.
USA – what you need to know (according to the exam board)
impact Henry Ford had on the automobile industry and on the USA economy in general1903 – founded Ford Motor Company. 1913 – used assembly line (seen in slaughterhouses),cheaper, more efficient (car took 1.5 hours not 12.5 hours to make). Prices dropped. 8 mill UScars in 1920, 23 million in 1930. Techniques copied by other companies and industries. Reduced
working day, increased wage, no unions. Car industry=13% US production (1930) and boosted lotsof other industries too.new business methods consequent upon the growth of huge corporations; mass consumerism andeasy creditFor consumers , hire purchase meant they only needed to find initial deposit, the rest could bepaid in instalments (fine if regular income). Radios (60,000 in 1920, 10 mill by 1929) both anexample of consumerism and a means to more (through advertising). Shares bought on the margin(cover small % of cost in cash, rest through loans, to be repaid when sell on loans (obviously formore money!) Banks doing well (getting repayment of war loans from Allies) and keen to lend.how government policies helped create and perpetuate this boom, especially:-Emergency Tariff Act of 1921 - temporary, on agricultural products, until F-Mc ActFordney-McCumber Act of 1922 – raised import duties on farm products, chemicals, textiles etc.Tariff Commission set up to recommend changes to these tariffs, up or down, by up to 50%. Shiftto protectionismtax reductions – eg 1925 Revenue Act, maximum surtax cut from 40% to 20%, gift tax abolished,estate tax halvedCoolidge’s general policy of laissez-faire – believed in ‘minimal government’, claimed ‘the businessof America is business’. If big business had freedom, within a wall of economic protection,prosperity would follow.reasons why Prohibition was introduced into the USA, in particular:-the Anti-Saloon League – campaigning organisation (nb also Women’s Christian Temperance Union –effects of alcohol on marriages and children) for ban on alcohol. Members mostly WASPs [
don’t use this acronym in the exam but it’s useful shorthand 
], church-goers from rural/small town setting –worried about behaviour and morality in big crime-ridden cities like New York and Chicagoanti-German feeling – after-effects of WW1, many US brewers were of German originsupport given by business tycoons like John D. Rockefeller – both personal and financial support,not from moral reasons, but because workers would do better if minds free from alchoholwork of John F Kramer, the first Prohibition Commissioner and the difficulties he and his agentsfacedhad to enforce, under the Volstead Act, the 18
Amendment, which banned liquor (drink with0.5%+ alcohol). 1,500 agents appointed, 3,000 by 1930. Badly paid, open to bribery, sometimeswithout scientific/industrial expertise neededencouragement prohibition gave to mass law-breaking via:-speakeasies – illegal barsmoonshine – homemade alcohol, from corn. 200% proof corn whiskey produced+sold tobootleggers. Moonshine could cause paralysis, blindness, even deathbootlegging – illegal traffic of alcohol in the USA. Often organised offshore, from outside thethree-mile from the coast limitArrests from drunkenness trebled and deaths from alcoholism rose by 600%links to gangs, gangsters and organised crime, ie:-activities of John Torrio and Al Capone in Chicago:- Capone was Torrio’s successor. Leaders ofIrish-American gang, with Mafia links, in Chicago. Torrio organised city into gang territories (soless conflict between gangs), bought mayor [Bill Thompson]’s protection, rigged elections of hisnominees. Lucrative business in bootlegging+speakeasies – made $30 million, retired to Italy in

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