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In what ways did World War one impact American society?

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Introduction

In what ways did World War one impact American society? The impacts of world war one on American society were wide and far reaching, affecting all groups in society. The massive anomaly in industrial output was the "trigger" cause for this massive change but many slower events were also causes - for example mass immigration before and during the war, the increasing demands for power from women and the "problem" of the huge numbers of ex slaves looking for work. A key impact is the political shift to the right after the war. This encouraged large industrialists like Henry Ford to start up their companies, kick starting the economy but resulting in some of the social changes outlined below. The right wing politicians believed in a "laissez-faire" approach to most things, and consequently did little to protect the vulnerable members of society such as poorly paid workers, women and immigrants. During the Republican Ascendancy 1921-29, there were three presidents. A classic president from this period was "silent Cal", Calvin Coolidge (1924-28), who believed that there was no reason for him to intervene except to veto suggestions from men in congress more active than him. No president during this period intervened to defend the rights of the workers or any other vulnerable members of society despite the fact that they all mentioned it in nearly all state of the union address. ...read more.

Middle

Immigrants were completely unprotected by the government and miscarriages of justices were probably common. The case that is commonly highlighted is that of Sacco and Vanzetti. It is widely accepted now that Sacco was guilty and Vanzetti was not. However, the more important issue is that they clearly did not have a fair trial. The judge was biased and they were executed despite international protest. Immigrants were regularly employed to do the jobs that no one else wanted to do, which in industries such as mining were regularly very dangerous. There was little government protection for most working Americans and for the "alien" workers there was none. The reemergence and support by senior officials of the Klu Klux Klan showed the extent of the rising intolerance and extent of the institutionalized racism. In one day of racial violence in Chicago in 1919 28 people died. The popular press applauded deportations of immigrants who lad done little wrong, for example the deportation of 249 suspected radicals on the Soviet Arc. By scapegoat immigrants, Palmer and Hoover (the two officials in charge of the drive) illuminated the distance many Americans had traveled from the new freedom days of 1912 to the sour, fearful and pessimistic mood of the Red Scare. This all shows how the influx of immigrants simply made existing tensions more noticeable, and was a major social change after the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the United States entered the war, agricultural prices boomed and farmers did very well due to the zero competition for supplying the whole of Europe as well as America. Encouraged by the government, farmers during the war bought millions of acres and turned them over to food production. The golden area ended abruptly when the deflationary Federal Reserve policies, competition from South America and lessening European demand caused a recession. Many farmers could not sell their goods for more than the cost of production. Nearly one million farmers lost their farms in 1920 and 21. Farmers were resented and presented as backward "hicks" in magazines and films that were targeted at city audiences. Eventually, by creating the farm (or progressive) block the farming states were able to modify the federal policies and farming slowly improved through the twenties. This was a large change to a large portion of society, many of whom either became bankrupt or came very close to it. In conclusion it can be seen that World War one had many effects on American society but the main areas of the population that were affected were Women, Immigrants and Working men. For women, the long term effects were positive, although they chose not to use their new found power. For Immigrants and working men, the long term effects were damaging and they found themselves in a harder position after the war. The dominance of the Republican Party shows that the working men were outnumbered and that there was little middle class sympathy for their plight. However, for all Americans the results were extensive. ...read more.

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