You are on page 1of 4

History; USA

Life changes the 1920’s
The radio market increased, resulting in more music being played and more radio advertising,
this resulted in a boom in sales.
People wanted to move to towns and urban areas due to the growth of work opportunities,
industry and entertainment facilities such as cinemas and theatres. This caused a demand for
public transport and therefore road construction.
However, the wall street crash occurred in October 1929, also known as black Tuesday. This
meant that the banks lost all the money therefore trading worldwide decreased significantly.
The Republicans ruled America with a strong ‘laissez faire’ attitude; they’d do whatever, even
violence to employees provided it helped the business.
Tariffs also helped Americas economy as it ensured that Americans would want to purchase
American products, which were cheaper than European, Asian and African products, which had
to be imported.
Widespread/black treatment and intolerance
A series of laws were introduced to prevent so many immigrants who would not be as useful
arriving in America.
1917, the immigration law: a literacy test of reading a passage in English to ensure that they
would be capable in America to understand everything and communicate.
1921, the immigration quota act: limits of only 357000 immigrants per year allowed into America
and no more than 3% of the people from each country who had been living in the USA in 1910
were allowed to live in the USA.
1924, the Johnson/Reid act: 150000 immigrants per year allowed into America, no more than
2% of the people from each country who had been living in the USA in 1890 were allowed to live
in the USA and no Asians.
This caused Western and Northern Europeans to have a larger amount of immigrants as the
1917 law meant that poorer people who couldn’t afford education found it hard to migrate there.
Sacco and Vanzetti were two Italians who were blamed for a crime that they did not commit.
They, like many others, were blamed because of where they came from. They were victimised
because of their political beliefs and they were Italian.
The ku klux klan was a racist, violent and very big gang in America. Even judges and policemen
were sometimes part of this group, hence why they often got away with their crimes. They
wanted America to be purely WASPs (white anglo saxon protestants).
Roaring twenties
People were a lot more modern in the roaring twenties. Although the movie industry began
before WW1, it became more popular in the 1920’s, audiences doubled during the decade - 95
million people per week came in 1929. The young were particularly fond of the cinema and
became obsessed with celebrities as they wanted to live in the same way. Elders thought this
was a bad example so the Hays code was introduced in 1930, restricting nudity and long kisses.
Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino were particularly hated for this inappropriate behaviour.
Women gained independence and spare time as modern, new technology like running water
and coal fire were invented. This lead to them wanting jobs, which they got easily as women
were cheaper to hire, so were especially popular for office work and radio speakers. They were
expected to work, raise children and keep a nice home
Flappers were the names for women who did not act in a lady like manner. Inspired by the
movies, they smoked, drank alcohol, flirted and wore short dresses with a lot of makeup. They
often also had short hair to symbolise liberation. Movies made women confident, they were now
more likely to make the move than men were and went out to parties.
Black music like jazz and soul made the 1920’s known as the jazz age. Clubs and balls were
popular, as were fast dances like the Charleston. The car allowed a new freedom, to see friends
and go on holidays and work, go to clubs and have sexual freedom. Jazz came from the blues
and ragtime. The cotton club in New York provided performer viewing opportunities, Armstrong
and Ellington played there.
40% of homes had radios so people could hear the matches instead of watching them (1930),
record sales fell because of the radio. However, people had more leisure time and the car
allowed them to visit games more often, Babe Ruth set a record for hitting 60 in a season in
baseball which was especially popular. Bobby Jones was a golfer famous for being a good sport
and honestly confessing to a penalty.
Prohibition was the ban of alcohol, this was enforced by the Volstead act, a law declaring that
you could not transport or trade alcohol. Some were very much in favour of prohibition, such as
the Anti Saloon League, a group consisting mostly of women who pressured politics to support
prohibition with the excuse that alcohol corrupted mental state and wrecked relationships.
Others rebelled and hated the law, using speakeasies which were illegal alcohol selling bars.
Some even ‘moonshined’ which was producing homemade alcohol in bathtubs. This could be
dangerous as moonshining frequently caused noises and bangs from the distilleries.
Bootlegging was smuggling alcohol over the seas - usually from Canada or the West Indies - it
was hard to control bootlegging as coasts were very big. There were only 4000 agents, not
enough to stop all the gangsters and organised crime. Hoover was the only president who
supported prohibition and on December 5th, Roosevelt immediately stopped the law.
US Economy boom 1920
WW1 effects of America
Food and raw materials from Europes beg for help
Countries in debt to America
Good reputation for helping in the war
More jobs open since 100,000 men died - not too many dead though as they entered later
Treaty of Versailles meant more peace world wide
Now joined with oversea markets
This all caused great power
Americans rebelled as they thought their part in the war was unnecessary and the league of
nations could cost a lot
They’d angered the other side and had dragged themselves into their problems
The war caused racist feelings which were not helped by America’s variety of nationalities
The car industry
Mass production was introduced, this enabled cars to be sold cheaply and quickly. The
assembly line sped up the production even more as lots of cars were built in stages.
There were consequences to the car boom, positives:
People in rural areas were now able to use urban facilities for entertainment, like the cinema
People were more independent and less dependent of public transport
They were able to go on holiday and work anywhere
This caused the growth of suburbs
Petrol, glass, rubber, oil, road construction, hotels and restaurants were of a demand
Half a million were employed thanks car industries
Cars were adapting to suit situations, like harder wheels for farmland
There were also negatives:
More road accidents
Decrease in the public transport market
Ford were a popular car company as they kept reducing prices and gaining profit as they could
produce more cars in a working day due to mass production.
Groups and industries that did not benefit
Farming: overproduction from WW1, tariffs prevented selling crops abroad, prices and wages
fell, loans were taken out in hope of recovery and couldn’t be paid back, causing them to sell up.
New Immigrants: face discrimination, are less educated so got whatever they could - mostly
construction which took a boom, wages rose by only 4% by 1920, supplied with hard labour,
their work became mechanised so unemployment rate stayed low.
Black people: laboured in the South, low paid servants, discrimination (car industry had only a
limited number of blacks), less educated and skilled so badly paid jobs, competition to get jobs,
poor land and housing, one million lost farming jobs as they were mostly farmers.
Industrial workers: Overproduction of raw materials like coal when electricity, gas and oil
increased, cotton and wool overproduction as rayon became more popular. Some mines shut
down, others had long hours, low wages, few employees, non-union mines charged less for
coal, safety dropped so much that there was a four month strike in 1922.
Economic boom reason
The cycle of prosperity; more money available to spend, increased demand for consumer
goods, increased production, increased employment. This happened during the boom.
The USA’s wealth was due to WW1 and natural resources from fertile land and raw materials
like coal, iron ore and oil. Government policies meant that republicans were business focused,
tariffs were cut on imported goods, taxes cut on income and bosses could use violence and
break strikes.
Weak unions meant that the government refused to employ union members, there was no
safety at work and no unions in the car industry. New technology included electricity,
refrigerators and radios. This caused mass markets and production, car parts were cheaper and
cars were of a demand, as were new films. Plastics developed and factories increased. Sales
boomed due to mail order which made it easier to buy goods, increased advertising and
catalogues, goods sold all over the country, prices didn’t rise, value raised by 25% and
employers worked for low wages in long hours. There was a new confidence due to these good
times; financial independence, more city, trying new ideas and achieving dreams, investing in
companies and using new sophisticated techniques.