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Unformatted text preview: Revision Session The USA 1919-41 After the end of WWI the USA had become the world’s greatest industrial, economic and military power. However it did feel that it had done its job, and moved towards the idea that the affairs of Europe were Europe’s problem, and the USA made a vow not to get involved in Europe anymore. This concept was called isolationism. President Wilson was very enthusiastic about the affairs of Europe, but unfortunately he was old and ill and no longer had the support of the US congress (parliament) to carry through his 14 points for world peace. This was confirmed later when the Republican controlled congress rejected the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and with that Wilson’s fourteen points and his plans for US involvement in the League of Nations. American economic policy was closely geared to isolationism. The Fordney-McCumber tariff was placed on foreign imports which in basic terms made them more expensive than American goods, hence protecting the American economy. This was good in times of boom, but in times of depression it was beneficial to open important foreign trade connections to bring the economy back out of depression. The flow of immigrants also was to be restricted. The 1921 Immigration Quota acted greatly in favour of white northern Europeans and less generous to darker southern Europeans and non whites. The quota allowed only 3% of the total amount of people living in the country already to enter with the exception of blacks. The quota was later reduced to 2%. Immigrants were also highly distrusted due partly to the Red Scare of the 1920s, and in legal terms were treated rather unfairly such as in the Sacco and Vanzetti case. The USA in the 1920s was a time of boom (economic prosperity). This was mainly down to 5 factors. Mass production made expensive items such as motorcars, radios, and fridges much cheaper and this made it easier for ordinary Americans to buy these items. This gave people more jobs, wages and prosperity. Mass production made very complex jobs such as building motorcars much easier and efficient, because the people who assemble the cars were only responsible for a very small part of the process; therefore they were less skilled and therefore were paid less wages. This saving was passed on to the consumer. It also made the worker more efficient because they were doing the same job again and again. The pioneer of mass production was Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company of Detroit. From 1911 to 1920 the cost of a Ford Model T dropped from $1200 to $295. The second factor was that (the cycle of) prosperity created demand for consumer goods, which in turn increased production, which in turn increased employment, which gave people more money to spend, which then leads back to the beginning with an increased demand for consumer goods. The third factor was the lack of government interference. The US government followed a policy of low taxes, and a laissez-faire (leave alone) attitude towards US industry. The fourth (leave alone) attitude towards US industry....
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2012 for the course STA 2021 taught by Professor Xu during the Spring '11 term at FIU.
- Spring '11
- The Grapes of Wrath