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America in the 1920's.

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History Project : America Isolationism: The USA is large country with a complex governmental structure. After President Woodrow WIlson returned to the USA after is efforts at Versailles (post World War I), he found that most Americans no longer wanted anything to do with the rest of the world. Since gaining independance from Britain in 1783, the American people had tried to avoid foreign entanglements and concentrated on building up the strength of their nation. There were two main reasons for this :- * Over one hundred thousand American had been killed during the war. This left many families without a "bread-winner" and consequently without money. * The war itself had badly disrupted trade with other countries. In 1920, half the people in America had been born outside the USA. They were mostly Eurpoean settlers who had left their homes and come to America to start a new life. For many, Europe was associated with poverty and harsh governments. Also, since the communist uprising in Russia had just been completed and communist ideals were beginning to infiltrate into Western Europe, they wanted to avoid any contact with Europe as many Americans deeply opposed comunism. ...read more.


From 1921 the American people began to become intorlerant of the large numbers of immigrants entering the country. The number of immigrants allowed into the USA was gradually cut until, by 1929, only 150,000 entry visas per year were granted - less than half the amount of 1921. There was also a quota system which made it easier for people from northern and western Europe to enter and discriminated against those wishing to come from southern and eastern Europe. As most immigrants from the prefered places had already been in America for several generations, they became know as WASPs (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants) and had always held power. They feared losing this power to Jews and Roman Catholics. Racism: The racist attiudes of the WASPs was also directed against people who were already living in the USA and were said to have "slipped through the controls". A group called the Ku Klux Klan gained strength in the 1920s. Most of its members were poor whites afraid of blacks and immigrants workers, who were willing to work for low wages. ...read more.


Mass production and Consumer Boom: The 1920s were a boom time in the American economy. Their huge reserves of natural materials like coal, oil, and gold made them one of the richest countries and business took advantage of this and expanded enourmously. Industrial goods such as metals, chemicals and machine-tools were produced on a large scale. The most noticeable rise in consumables was in radios, telephones, watches, vacuum cleaners and hundreds of other luxury items that most people could now afford. Radio now meant that advertisements could be transmitted dircelty into peoples homes. The best example of a consumer industry would be the car industry. In Detroit, Henry Ford set up a fully automated factory. Each worker did only one small job on the assembly line, and by 1925 Ford produced on car every ten seconds. Because of the mass production of items, prices plumeted and people rushed to buy these new goods and services. With plenty of money about, and plenty of new things to spend it on, many Americand enjoyed the carefree, live-for-the-moment atmosphere of the twenties. Women experienced new freedom and the music of the black bands in speakeasies gave its name to this peroid: the Jazz age. ...read more.

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