American Isolationism

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During the 1920’s, the economy of America was thriving. The First World War had created new jobs and industries; members of society, such as women, were becoming more profound in society and their roles were becoming redefined. The United States was emerging as the industrial giant of the world. To protect the American consumers from imported goods from Europe and encourage American products, the government of the United States imposed high tariffs. Essentially, the United States no longer desire to maintain ties with Europe. The tariffs imposed by the American government were instrumental in the efforts made by the United States to stay out of European affairs. The concept of “Manifest Destiny” drove the United States into connections with Canada, Mexico, and South America rather than with Europe. The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 as well as the Open Door Policy of 1899 displayed the interest that the Unites States had in these areas and laid the foundation for early isolation from Europe. Into the 1920’s, the United States returned to these ideas after a brief window into a European conflict-namely, the First World War. As the years progress, one can see how isolationism affected the United States economically, socially, and politically. Economically, isolationism was only useful for a short time. Essentially, the isolationist policies of the United States are partially responsible for the decline in the economy. One of the isolationist policies that hurt America’s economy was the country’s stance on international trade. During 1922, the American government introduced the Fordney-McCumber Act. This act raised American customs duties and made imports more expensive than goods made in the United States. For a time, this tariff was rather beneficial; the government made a profit off of the tariff and Americans were more inclined to buy goods made in the United States. When the citizens had bought all that they could buy, there was a decrease in demand. Suddenly, the industries had an excess of goods and no one to sell it to. At this point, the Fordney-McCumber Act began to cripple the economy of America. Other nations introduced high tariffs to boost their revenue and to spite the United States. Sadly for the United States, these high tariffs and low demand were instrumental in the depression that America experienced. When the stock market crashed on October 29th, 1929 or “Black Tuesday”, the united states, along with other nations were in economic turmoil and the widespread prosperity of the 1920s ended abruptly. The depression threatened people's jobs, savings, and even their homes and farms. During the heart of the depression, over one-quarter of the American population was out of work. For many Americans, these were extremely hard times. When Roosevelt was voted into office, he introduced the New Deal. While this plan tried to help the united states out of it’s isolationist rut, the second world war was the final solution. Mobilizing the economy for world war finally cured the depression. Millions of men and women joined the armed forces, and even larger numbers went to work in well-paying defence jobs. During the twenties, the poor economic situation together with isolation created social issues in the country. As the 1920’s progressed, wages increased and people were more able to purchase consumer goods. Towards the end of the decade, this boom ended and the United States entered into the Great Depression. The problems of the Great Depression affected virtually every group of Americans. African Americans in particular were hit hard. By 1932, approximately half of black Americans were out of work. In some Northern cities, whites called for blacks to be fired from any jobs as long as there were whites out of work. This period in American history was one of much racism and discrimination. Discrimination occurred in New Deal housing and employment projects, and President Roosevelt, for political reasons, did not back all of the...
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