The Usa 1917 1933

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Overview of the AS-Level Unit 1 on USA - Boom and Bust. Good as an introduction and catalyst for forward research and reading.

Text of The Usa 1917 1933

  • 1. The USA 1917-1933

2. Aim: what were the main features of the USA in 1917 ? 3. Why was the USA so dominant? The USA is roughly the same size as Australia but with ten times the population. 4. Safe from invasion ! Pacific ocean Canada. Small population. Friendly. Mexico. Very poor country. Atlantic ocean 5. Booming economy

  • The USA had become the leading industrial economy by 1917. This was due to:
  • Vast natural resources virtually self-sufficient.
  • Vast numbers of immigrants some 13,000,000 between 1900-1913.
  • Technological innovation pioneering mass production techniques.

6. 7. Poor immigrants arriving from Naples and Ireland . 8. Ellis Island, then and now. 9. Henry Fords assembly line technique for mass-producing cars. 10. Rural poverty. Poor white and black sharecroppers were amongst the poorest in the USA. 11. USA and World War One

  • The USA entered the war reluctantly in April 1917 following numerous German submarine attacks on US shipping and the interception of the Zimmerman telegram.

12. Isolationism

  • The USA after World War One was isolationist they wanted to have little contact or alliances with other countries.

13. Why was the USA isolationist ?

  • Tradition.
  • Dislike of the old world (Europe).
  • Dangerous ideas
  • US soldiers in the First World War

14. Tradition

  • Isolationism had always been part of Americas policy towards the rest of the world. The USA had only joined the war when forced to.

15. Dislike of the old world

  • Most Americans had moved from Europe to start new lives. They wanted to leave Europe behind.

16. Dangerous ideas

  • Europe was full of ideas that Americans feared such as communism. They wanted to be cut off from such ideas.

17. US Soldiers

  • USA lost 112,432 men in WW1
  • They wanted to avoid any future wars !


  • Fearing communists, anarchist, and socialists, America turned against these common people.
  • Raids were executed by the Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer who hunted down the radicals and reds in response to fears of a growing socialist populace in the US.

The Red Scare 19.

  • On April 15, 1920, two men robbed and murdered a paymaster and his guard as they transferred $15,776 from the Slater and Morrill Shoe factory.
  • Three weeks later, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were accused and arrested for this crime, despite the little evidence against them.
  • They were convicted, but their appeals lasted 6 years afterward.
  • Both men were executed for their "crimes."

Sacco-Vanzetti Case 20.

  • Warren G. Harding was elected to the Presidency in the 1920s in which he urged a"return to normalcy."(Policies of the Guilded Age)
  • Generally conservative, especially regarding taxes, tariffs, immigration restriction, labor rights, and business regulation.(laissez-faire)
  • Harding's administration was marked by corruption and scandal. (Teapot Dome Scandal)
  • Died of a stroke in office in August 1923.

Warren G. Harding 21.

  • Republicans wanted to keep a prosperous homemarket for American business, so the tariff was raised in 1922.
  • When European nations retaliated and raised the tariffs, all trade was hurt.

Tariffs Underwood Tariff of 1913 Fordney-McCumber Tariff 27% 38.5 % 22.

  • After W.W.I, farmers prosperity made a downfall in selling large amount of agricultural goods overseas because Europe was now at peace and they could grow their own.
  • They began to overproduce causing prices to fall
  • The tractor helped to produce even more agricultural goods and put farmers into debt.

Farming Troubles 23.

  • After his death, Calvin Coolidge soon took the place of Harding, but did little as vice president.
  • When he assumed the presidency after Harding's death, he acted quickly to repair the damage of the Harding administrations scandals and to secure the 1924 presidential nomination.
  • He was easily elected over Democrat John W. Davis and Progressive Robert M. La Follette.
  • Near the end of his second term, Coolidge decided not to run for president again and retired from politics.
  • His policies included federal tax cuts and high tariffs, but he lost favor during the Great Depression.

Calvin Coolidge 24.

  • Effect of WWI on technology.
  • Scientific management: "Taylorism"
  • Rapid increase in worker productivity
  • Psychology of consumption
  • Relations between the federal government and big business

Main Sources of Economic Boom 25.

  • The 1920s saw the growth of the culture of consumerism--many Americans began to work fewer hours, earn higher salaries, invest in the stock market, and buy everything from washing machines to Model T Fords.

The Growth of Consumerism 26.

  • Annual automobile production rose from 2 million during the 1920s to 5.5 million in 1929.
  • By the late 1920s, there was one automobile for every five Americans.
  • Mass Production & Assembly Lines were improved and became very self-evident.

Automobile Industry 27.

  • Cost -- The price of automobiles declined steadily until the mid-1920s so that many well-paid working families could now afford to purchase a car.
  • Credit -- In 1925, Americans made 75% of all automobile purchases on the installment plan.Possess today and pay tomorrow.

Rising Popularity of Cars 28. Motion Pictures

  • Motion picture production became one of the ten largest industries in the United States during the 1920s.
  • In 1922, theaters sold 40 million tickets a week.
  • By 1929, that number had grown to 100 million a week.


  • The first commercial radio station went on the air in the 1920s in Pittsburgh.
  • By 1922, 3 million American households had radios.

The Dawning of Radios 30. Young ladies cut their hair and became flappers.They danced the Charleston with bobbed hair and short skirts.They even went to the Speakeasies and drank illegal alcohol. Times SureDo Change 31.

  • These writers, looking for freedom of thought and action, changed the face of modern writing. Realistic and rebellious, they wrote what they wanted and fought censorship for profanity and sexuality. They incorporated Freudian ideas into their characters and styles.
  • Some Include:
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald -The Great Gatsby
    • Ernest Hemingway -The Sun Also Rises&A Farewell to Arms
    • Sinclair Lewis Main Street
    • William Faulkner -The Sound and the Fury

The Lost Generation 32.

  • Jazz originated in New Orleans and was brought to northern cities with migrating Black-Americans who moved north to get jobs during W.W.I.
  • Gave birth to Jazz:
    • Handy Morton
    • Joseph King Oliver
  • Was later picked up by Louis Armstrong & then by white impresarios.

The Jazz Age 33.

  • The largest black community in the world that was inspired in literature, painting, and music took place in Harlem of New York City.
  • This showed the pride in black culture and also showed whites that New Negro or Black American was a full citizen and a social equal to whites.

Harlem Renaissance 34. Leaders of Harlem

  • Writers:
    • Langston Hughes or The Poet Laureate of Harlem
    • Claude Mc Cay
  • Musicians & Singers:
    • Bessie Smith or Empress of the Blues
    • Louis Armstrong


  • The 18 thAmendment was implemented by the Volstead Act in 1919.
  • Popular in the Midwest & South
  • Unpopular in Eastern Cities
  • Cause an increase in crime (fought over Bootleg Trade)

Prohibition Bootlegging 36.

  • In 1924, Congress shut down the longperiod of unrestricted immigration toAmerica.(Immigration Act of 1924)
  • National-origins quotas set at 2%
  • It froze Americans existing racial composition

Nativism 37.

  • Revival of KKK which was anti-Catholic, anti-Black, anti-Jewish, anti-pacifist, anti-communist, anti-bootlegger
  • Conservative Reaction against the forces of diversity and modernism that were changing American culture.
  • Manifestation of the intolerance and prejudice plaguing some Americans of the1920s

Ku Klux Klan 38.

  • Old-time religion
  • literary reading of theBible as scripture
  • Teaching of Darwinismevolution prohibited inpublic schools
  • Monkey Trial JohnT. Scopes, a biology teacher, was convicted and fined for $100.00 of teaching evolution to his st