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GCSE: USA 1919-1941

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  1. Was the Great depression well under way before the collapse of the stock market in October 1929?

    However, some have argued that the initial prosperity was not shared equally among American citizens. Infact a study conducted by the Brookings Institute, revealed that in 1929, the top 0.1% of Americans had a combined income, equal to that of the bottom 42%, this same 0.1% in the same year controlled 34% of all savings and it astonishingly exposed 80% of the citizens had no savings at all. This theory was agreed with by George Soule who believed, "in the twenties the rich were getting richer...and the poor also were getting richer, but at a much slower rate" 3.

    • Word count: 1552
  2. How successful was the First New Deal in tackling the economic and social problems of the USA?

    The influential journalist Walter Lippmann even wrote, "The danger we have to fear is not that Congress will give FDR too much power but...deny him the power he needs".3 Congress rapidly produced many Federal agencies, which soon became recognised as alphabet agencies, which were originally set up to help resolve the disastrous circumstances that the Govt and citizens faced. FDR used his Brain Trusters for their expertise, and informed his advisors to "take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another.

    • Word count: 1919
  3. Explain why Roosevelt introduced the new deal

    By Tuesday the 29th of October the U.S stock market had collapsed completely, 16 million shares had been traded and now hardly anyone wanted to buy shares and most of them were sold at very low prices. This crash soon evolved, causing serious mass unemployment. The crash had made people panicky, made them uncertain about their future. So many decided to save any money they had instead of buying everything which they once did. Because no one was buying anything, the factories were making more goods than they could sell, so factory owners cut out production and laid off workers.

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  4. ''The boom of the 1920's did not benefit all Americans''. Explain how far you agree with this statement.

    It was a new and very comfortable life style. There were new consumer goods being produced all the time, and people who couldn't normally afford them were able to buy them on credit and pay off the price over a period of time, paying a little bit back each month. Large business owners found tax cuts saving some of them over $400,000. The government thought that buy cutting tax prices there would be more profit in the companies, meaning that the profit would pass down the company and all would benefit.

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  5. History Coursework on Prohibition Source A is aptly named "Slaves of the saloon". It shows a man handing over what we guess is

    The Anti-Saloon League and the WCTU (Women's Christian Temperance Union) were united in their fight for prohibition along with a vast number of Christian-Americans who believed that the liqueur was deadly and broke up families (as shown in Source A). Many large-scale industries were keen for prohibition to be passed, and quickly. Their logic was that their workers would work better without alcohol. By 1913 (five years before prohibition of the USA commenced) nine states had passed stateside prohibition. In thirty-one other states 'local option laws' were working - meaning that effectively over 50% of the USA was dry at this point in time.

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  6. Explain the main features of the New Deal Roosevelt had promised the American people a New Deal

    These agencies also created work for the unemployed. They were known as the Alphabet Agencies. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration was aimed to help the urgent needs of the poor. Over $500 million of government money was spent to prevent hunger, provide education and amenities. Another agency was the Civilian Conservation Corps which dealt to tackle the problem of unemployment. This scheme provided over 2.5 million young men with jobs. The money earned would go to the men's families which began to bring life back to the nation's trade and business.

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  7. When FDR became president twelve million people were unemployed. Eight years later, eight million people were still unemployed. Does this mean the New Deal failed?

    Whether he kept to his word and achieved his goal is what is to be discussed. One of Roosevelt's main aims was to restore American's confidence in their banking system and economy. With the Emergency Banking Act, Roosevelt closed all the banks for four days, for investigation and bank investment in the stock market and then only reopened the trustworthy ones. After this, bank failures, which had previously been ata bout 2250, were almost zero. This scheme was succesful as the confidence was regained, because as soon as the banks were reopened, $1 billion was redeposited in them.

    • Word count: 1713
  8. Why did Roosevelt introduce the New Deal

    Families lost their homes or were forced to split up when parents lost their jobs. Soon unemployed people looked for handouts of food and became a major feature of city life. Millions of destitute people wandered the streets looking for food, work or somewhere to stay, and then shantytowns were built for the homeless. By 1932 money to help the poor was running out. In June Philadelphia had to cut off relief funds to 50,000 families. The situation seemed hopeless for America.

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    As result of these surplus goods the farmers had to drop food prices to sell it and this meant income was getting lower and lower. The other reason connected to the farmers overproducing was the fact that World War 1 had ended which meant they had to stop selling their produce to European countries as the soldiers had gone back home and would be producing their own goods, because during the First World War the European countries bought produce from America as their men were out in the front.

    • Word count: 1334
  10. The New Deal was not a complete success.' Explain how far you agree with this statement.

    The role of the WPA, this act was kind of a success as well but more of a failure. It did find workers, but only some who were needed on construction projects, but this was only a short-term measure. These acts did help employment but most of them were short-term measures or emergency acts. So they weren't that of a success in solving the unemployment problem. One of the other aims of the New Deal was to rebuild the Economy; I am going to assess the successes and failures of this aim.

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  11. The yellow wallpaper

    She is in a room where "the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls." (170) The protective bars on the windows are symbolic of the protectiveness of her husband, John, and his well-meaning but ultimately unhelpful suggestions. The narrator is a prisoner in her place of rest, and her husband is but the jailer, watching over her when he sees fit and leaving her in the house with his sister, who serves as a sort of nanny for his restless wife in the stuffy nursery.

    • Word count: 1391
  12. Why was Prohibition such a controversial issue during the 1920's

    Prohibition originated in rural and small town America, a crusade against intoxicating liquor inspired by the poverty, misery, immorality and violence that it was perceived to produce. At the forefront of the campaign for a total ban on alcohol was the Anti-Saloon League, whose membership consisted of white, middle class, church going Americans (especially from the South and Mid-West) who were especially critical of the behaviour and morality in big, crime ridden cities such as New York and Chicago. Prohibition was also favoured by many women's groups, such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union, who identified alcohol as a means by which men oppressed them.

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  13. Do these sources support the view that the failure of Prohibition was inevitable?

    Therefore if prohibition was introduced earlier and while the war was still going on, it could have succeeded because there would have been a need to preserve grain during the war. Source A also talks about the "influence of the anti-saloon league" and so shows that there was public support and the anti-saloon league influenced the decision to introduce Prohibition, however again by the time the war was over, the public support would be less than it was during the war because there was no longer need to preserve grain for food.

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    Also most people's lives were improved because they had more freedom to travel to more places than they could have before. Other consumers such as telephone and electricity industries boomed by 1930, two-thirds of all American households had electricity and half had telephones. As more and more of America's homes received electricity, new appliances followed like refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and toasters. The development of the electricity companies stimulated the growth of new industries making electrical products. Then they had to build lots of shops and offices for all of this which help the construction industry which meant more people were being employed and earning a decent wage which meant there would be an increasing demand for goods.

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  15. How far was

    During the economic boom of the 1920s, investing in the stock market was very attractive. This is because the economy was doing very well at this time and due to this there were more share buyers than sellers which caused share prices to rise. Most Americans believed that investing in the stock market was a quick and easy way to get rich. It would produce much more money than the interest in normal banks and anybody could buy shares, so it seemed like the obvious choice to do so. They would buy shares, watch their value rise, and sell them later at a higher price.

    • Word count: 1328
  16. How far was Roosevelt responsible for his own election victory in 1932?

    The Wall Street Crash had been caused by a loss of confidence in the value of the Stock Market, represented by shares held by Banks, Insurance Companies and Pension Fund institutions, and rich and middle-class people who had bought during the boom times after the First World War. This led to panic selling, and shares lost all their value; Individuals and Companies went bankrupt, Banks and Insurance Companies tried unsuccessfully to recover their loans, and they too became bankrupt and even those who had managed to keep some money had no confidence to make loans.

    • Word count: 1381
  17. Why did Roosevelt win the 1932 election?

    In the summer of 1929 sales started to slow. In June 1929 the official figures for industrial output showed a fall for the first time in four years. Speculators on the American stock exchange became nervous about the value of their shares and started to sell them. Throughout September and October even more people started to sell shares. Many investors had borrowed money to buy their shares and could not afford to be stuck with shares worth less than the value of their loan. Soon other investors sold their shares and within days panic set in.

    • Word count: 1435
  18. Why was there a boom in the 1920's?

    At the begging of the line, a skeleton car went in at the end of the line was a new car. The most famous car was the T-model. More than 15 million were produced between 1908 and 1925 and in1927 they came off the production line at a rate of one every ten seconds. By the end of the 1920s the motor industry was America's biggest industry. As well as employing hundreds of thousands of workers directly it also kept workers in other industries in employment.

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  19. Why was Franklin Roosevelt such a successful President? What role did Eleanor Roosevelt play? How did she redefine the role of 'First Lady'?

    He took up office at a time when America was complacent over it's economic future, and did not regard economic policy as of major importance in the elections. He did have a humanitarian side, having been President of the American Citizens' Relief Committee in London during the war (Peter Clements, Access to History). However, he lacked the imagination and flexibility to cope with the demands placed upon him by the Great Depression. Roosevelt, however, was created differently. Always photographed in possession of a warm smile, he gave the impression he was happy and confident of a successful future.

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  20. Explain the main features of the economic boom in the 1920's

    Workers would do the same job by the materials being bought to them by a moving conniver belt, instead of the employees moving around and carrying out different jobs. With the 'Moving Assembly Line' Henry Ford could now produce about 9000 cars a day. By the car industry now booming due to Henry Fords genius thinking, Ford then created jobs for other industries like steel, glass, rubber and oil. The rubber, steel and glass were need by Ford to build the cars.

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  21. Discuss how the Great Depression affected national morale, individual morale, and family life.

    This sense of mortal desperation is apparent in much of the evidence- "A man over forty might as well go out and shoot himself" (McElvaine, page 172), "If no-one will help than (sic) I will take my life away (McElvaine, page 174). Even those who retained their will to live found that life became a demoralising battle- "I just vegetated" is the description given by Ward James in the study by Studs Terkel (1978). Although some were resilient enough to retain enough self esteem to believe they deserved a future, as seen in the song, 'Brother can you spare a dime?'

    • Word count: 1354
  22. GCSE Coursework: America Between the Wars

    In source B the text explains how Roosevelt 'has no greater power' whereas source C implies that Roosevelt's power has led to a 'dictatorial government'. Source B then goes on to describe how Roosevelt has 'introduced unemployment assistance' and cut down on unemployment while source C contradicts this saying that there was still '11million unemployed'. What message do you think the photographer is trying to give? 3. This photograph is quite ironic because of the poster in the background showing a family of white Americans having a good time with the caption 'there's no way like the American way' and the black Americans are queuing in poverty with the complete opposite of feelings then the poster.

    • Word count: 1443
  23. Did Roosevelt's upbringing, background and character make it easy for him to understand the concerns and fears of ordinary Americans?

    This meant that he didn't mix with other children and was isolated from them. Moreover, Franklin turned into a more thoughtful person and had time, as a child, to learn from his parents and other adults that he was surrounded by. Then sadly at the age nine, Franklin saw the horrifying effects of his father's illness, Polio. For Franklin this put a lot of pressure on him, being a young child it broke his heart to see his father in this much pain. While this tragic event was happening, Franklin, being a distant figure, never revealed himself and showed no emotion.

    • Word count: 1559
  24. Why Did The Policies Of President Hoover Fail To Combat The Great Depression Effectively?

    Indeed, Hoover knew that the government was urgently required to take action but the action he was willing to take was not nearly enough to deal with the depth of the Depression, as shown through eight different areas of the Depression federal government policies were made on. These were agriculture, tariffs, repudiation of war debts, voluntarism, unemployment relief, Federal Home Loan Bank Act, Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) and war veterans and the 'Bonus Army'. The legislation passed in all of these areas was a failure, which lost Hoover all credibility.

    • Word count: 1197

    Aims of the New Deal: Roosevelt took positive action by establishing the Federal Government Alphabet Agencies. Unlike Hoover, Roosevelt thought that the Federal Government had a responsibility to help. The Alphabet Agencies were designed to: *End the depression by increasing demand and raising confidence. This was primarily to be done by creating new jobs and protecting old ones. *Relieve suffering (e.g. help the unemployed). *Reform (i.e. create a fairer society) THE NEW DEAL Roosevelt said that people 'wanted action, and action now'. In the first 100 days of his presidency Roosevelt took more action to end the depression than Hoover had ever done.

    • Word count: 1156

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