Usa 1914-1920

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U nited States of America 1 919 - 1941
Woodrow Wilson
pres 1913-21
Warren Harding
pres 1921-23
Calvin Coolidge pres
Herbert Hoover pres
FDR pres 1933-45


1. Politics in the 1920s
• Republican party dominated national politics during the
• 1920- Warren Harding>16 million to 9 million votes>admin plagued by scandal veterans bureau Chief Forbes was
imprisoned for squandering $200 million, Teapot Dome
Scandal>secretary of the interior fall>involved in corrupt
leasing of oil reserves
• 1924-Calvin Coolidge, Silent Cal or Pres. Do nothing- ultra laissez fair> sought to keep govt out of things ‘the business of America is business’
• 1928- Herbert Hoover
1. A. Republican Economic policy
• Republicans conservative business policies>help big business in the areas of tax, tariffs or assistance in building
• Treasury secretary Mellon reduced taxes for rich and big businesses
• Fordney-Mccumber Tariffs (1922)>tariffs highest in history • Always sided with business rather then unions
1. B. Long term causes of the Great Depression (GD)
Business prosperity 1920s
• Unparallel prosperity
• Car industry set tone> mass production, assembly line
>prices down, car ownership universal >car sales helped
related industries e.g. road construction, paint
manufacturing and scrap metals>boomed
• Mass production> refrigerators, stoves, irons> advertising made many think they needed such products
• People took advantage of credit facilities
• Per capita income rose by a quarter b/t 1921 and 1929
• Building boom
Speculation boom

• Prosperity allowed people to invest savings in stock
market>stock prices continually rose
• Buy more stocks with credit>people confident stock prices could only go up
• As more people entered the market, the boom become self
Rural Problems
• Farming remained depressed after recession 1920-21
• Prices of primary products fell continuously, 75% b/t 1920 and 1932>farm incomes dropped dramatically $15 billion to
$5 billion
Negative aspects of US economy 1920s
• Pres. Hoover (1929) “I have no fears for the future of our country. It is bright with hope” >typified lack of economic understanding
• Mass production> market became saturated led to sacking
and cuts in production
• Saturation made worst by the lack of purchasing powerunemployment never got below 2 million, wealth in the hands of a few, south much poorer then west coast
• Many industries never recovered from 1920-21
recessions>shipbuilding, farming, textiles
• US exports and world trade declining>due to high tariffs, war dept repayments and German reparations.
1. C. The Great Crash 1929
• Jan 1929, more than $1 billion of new securities were floated on the stock market>appetite for stocks unLTD
• Stockbrokers increased bank borrowing $3.5 billion to $8.5 billion
• Fortunes made>stocks rose>more money borrowed to buy
• Oct 1929 stocks fell 40% in an mth.
• Many (incl Hoover) thought stock just having downturn and would spring back up>this did not happen
• People who borrowed to buy shares>not able to repay huge bank loans> this in turn put pressure on banks
• Millions of people lost savings
• Bankruptcies escalated within 3 yrs more than 5000 banks closed
• 1932 unemployment 15 million
• Feeling on utter helplessness
• Depression worldwide>world reliance on US loans and trade 2. The Great Depression (GD) & the impact
2. A. On groups of people
• Immediate effect of GD>unemployment
• Despite success of New Deal 1938 still 8 million unemployed

• Unemployment>downward pressure on wages> employers
could pick and chose workers>always someone out there to
work for anything
• Many men travelled to look for work
• Family breaks ups increased
• Savings disappeared >families on street>could not pay rent or mortgage>shanty towns “Hoovervilles”
• Health levels...
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