• Created by: Lucyplatt
  • Created on: 05-07-20 15:08

Woodrow Wilson

President in 1912- won with less than 50% of the popular vote because the Republicans split into the Progressives and the Republicans. 

Democrat from New Jersey.

Signed some progressive reforms- Keating-Owen Child Labour Act, Clayton Antitrust Act. 

Controversial views on race- supported segregation.

Wilson's domestic policies included the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 which provides the framework that still regulates US banks and money supply. 

Wilson sought to maintain American neutrality after the outbreak of WWI and was re-elected in 196 with the slogan 'He Kept Us Out of War'.

January 1918- Wilson's Fourteen Points, which he believed should form the basis of European peace settlements. He attended Versailles but was disappointed with the results. 

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  • Troops deployed: 4.3m
  • Killed: 126,000
  • Wounded: 264,000
  • Financial cost: £22.6B

The US declared war on Germany on April 6 1917. Before entering, they had remained neutral though had supplied to Britain, France and the other allied powers. 

Reasons for entrance:

May 7 1915- Germany sunk the British ocean liner The Lusitania resulting in the deaths of nearly 1,200 people, including 128 Americans. The incident strained diplomatic relations between Washington and Berlin, turned public opinion off Germany. 

Zimmerman Telegram- 1917, Britain intercepted a message from German foreign minister Arthur Zimmerman to the German minister to Mexico, Heinrich von Eckhart. It proposed an alliance between Germany and Mexico if America joined the allies. Germany would then help Mexico regain land, specifically Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. America was outraged. 

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Isolationism + 1920s

Why were people isolationism??

  • Isolationism: New world vs old world
  • Money: Tax burden
  • American soldiers: WWI deaths
  • German immigrants: European links caused hatred
  • Empires: opposition to British Empire

Dislike of Treaty of Versailles: Wilson insisted that all the signatories to the Treaty should join the League of Nations. Wanted America to have no part in Treaty.

Cost: Signing a blank cheque- power by isolationism.

Disliked the old Empires: Anti British/French, opposed colonies and Empires.

  • Consequences: American foreign affairs (economic boom- greater prosperity), took a back seat (Americans bought American goods)  isolated trade, tariffs imposed on American goods (high tariffs prevent imports)
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Roaring 20s

Consumer goods:

  • Cars: 1919- 9 million, 1929- 26 million
  • Telephones: 1919- 10 million, 1929- 20 million
  • Radios: 1919-60,000, 1929- 10 million

Why did America boom?? Republican policies, confidence, industrial strength (iron, oil, coal) and sale of war goods. 

Who didn't benefit??

  • Ethnic minorities- Their culture was dying due to white efforts to destroy tradition. Native Americans lived on reservations- low crops and bad land. 
  • Farmers- Increased tax, cotton/wool in low demand. Prohibition caused barley/grape trade to decrease. Europe did not buy US produce. New technology rivalled them. 
  • Old industries- Leather/textiles had competition from new industries. Coal miners were poorly paid, had extra competition (oil and electricity)
  • Black people- Left with unwanted jobs, poor/limited education. Limited job opportunities. 
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  • Strong temperance movement in the 19th century, alcohol was blamed for the ills in society
  • Drinkers- unpatriotic cowards, linked to communism (Bolshevism)
  • 18th amendment- prohibited the buying and selling of alcohol, Jan 16, 1919
  • Assault went down by 53%, wife beating decreased 55.3% and vagrancy by 52.8%

Prohibition- dificult to enforce (high alcohol demand). Alcohol came from overseas, brought in by 'bootleggers' and produced illegally- moonshine. Illegal saloons called speakeasies began selling alcohol. 


Most came from immigrant backgrounds- often poorer. Vicious rivalry to control the illegal liquor trade, prostitution, gambling and protection rackets. 

Al Capone:

  • Had a network of corrupt officials- police, local government workers, judges, lawyers etc
  • 1925- crime czar of Chicago, 1927- $100 million. Eventually sent to Alcatraz. 
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The Wall Street Crash


  • Prices of shares in new industries rose rapidly. 
  • Ordinary Americans began buying and selling shares. 
  • People brought shares, they went up in price and were then sold. 

September 1929:

Investors fearing that stock prices were too high begun to sell their shares and keep a profit. 

29th October 1929: Bust

Most people who could afford consumer products had purchased all they wanted and demand began to fail. The Republican Laissez-faire attitude believed the economy would correct itself. 

Stock exchange closed. 

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The Great Depression

Immediate aftermath: economy appeared to revive. 


  • Banks had problems selling stocks and shares and began calling in loans to investors.
  • Collapse of 600 banks. 
  • Demand falling, companies laid off workers and the newly unemployed further decreased the job market. 

April 1931: 6 times more black Americans were unemployed than white. 13 major citiies found that 52% of black Americans were unemployed compared to 31% of white Americans. 

September 1932: nearly 1/3 of the population were 'without any income'. 1.2 million were living in shanty towns on the edge of major cities, named 'Hoovervilles' after President Hoover. 

Many boarded 'freight' trains in search of employment. American citizens recieved little or no help from local/state government and even less from federal government in Washington. 1932: 100 cities could do nothing to help the poor. 

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Herbert Hoover- 'rugged individualism'. Believed people were weakened when they recieved government support- 'sapped self reliance'.

1921- Republicans controlled both houses of Congress. Failed to act during the Depression- Americans changed allegiance to Democrats. 

1932- FDR offered the 'New Deal' and promised active government involvement in nation. 

1933- 6/50 states won by Hoover. Roosevelt asked for special powers to deal with the economic situation. 

Roosevelt's New Deal:

  • Insisted that the government was responsible for the welfare of its citizens.
  • Created jobs in all kinds of government sectors. 
  • 1st New Deal- relief, recovery and reform: alphabet agencies.
  • Fireside chats- personable. Had the media on his side. 
  • Works Progress Administration, Farm Security Administration, Social Security Admin etc. 
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US economy: WWII

By 1945, the US produced 45% of the world's arms, built 2/3 of all the world's ships and half of goods. 

Following the depression, recovery was slow. 1938-39: US suffered the 'Roosevelt Recession'. Economic decline was worse than in 1929 as industrial production fell by a third and national income by a tenth. 17% of workforce were unemployed by start of WWII. 

The US benefitted from the war. US businesses broke into markets previously dominated by European manufactures. American firms recieved overseas orders for 10,800 planes and 13,000 aircraft engines.

By 1944, unemployment was down to 670,000- 1.2%. Business profits increased from $6bn to $10.5bn. 

The General Maximum Price Regulation order of 1942 froze all prices and some goods were rationed (sugar, coffee, meat, petrol etc,)

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Post war affluence

  • Consumer goods: There was a huge demand for goods people had to do without during the war. This demand made it easier in markets- production increased which in turn helped keep unemployment low and wages rising. 
  • Government control: The government came down hard on strikes for higher wages as prices rose. When coal miners went on strike, Truman took control of mines- army.
  • Baby boom: Growing demand for child centred goods and foodstuffs. 1947- nappy sales were $32 millon compared to $50 million in 1957.
  • Government spending: Federal spending rose steadily. After the war, the government provided support for all those leaving military service. This included a leaving payment, unemployment pay for a year, healthcare, education etc.

1949 National Housing Act- Introduced slum clearance and building homes. 

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Impact + changing attitudes: WWII


  • Encouraged activism.
  • Feb 1942, black newspaper 'Pittsburgh Courier' introduced the 'Double V' campaign which aimed for victory in war and against discrimination at home. 
  • NAACP membership rose from 50,000 to 450,000
  • US army leaders advised FDR not to integrate armed forces. However... 1941 Fair Employment Practice Committee + GI Bill aided black economic opportunities. 

African Americans: Many did not demand civil rights, fearing they appeared unpatriotic during war/violence. Jim Crow reigned in the the South but the war increased black activism. Roughly 2 million black Americans moved to cities like LA, Detroit, to work in well paid industries and urban life increased voting. 

Women; More entered paid work- 36% of work force in 1945. 1930s- 80%+ women opposed married women working compared to 1942 where 80%+ favoured their work instead. Women were paid 20% less in Air Force. Attitudes were slow to change- men viewed women as temporary workers. New environments- voluntary work (4 million in Red Cross)

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Northern Migration 1917-32

By 1917, 80% of black Ameicans lived in the South. Black and white people had separate sections of buses and restaurants. Many white people were racist in the South- Jim Crow. 

1917-32: Wave of migration from South to North and East. By 1920, almost 40% of black Americans in the North lived in Chicago, Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit. Mostly industrial towns- drawn there for work. Factory owners advertised in Southern papers for workers, offering housing, free transport and good wages. 


  • Cities where black migrants settled conincided with voting districts. It became clear that the black vote could keep an official in power. 
  • Segregation made it more likely that blacks could try for political positions as the black campaigning organisation was very likely to sweep the whole black vote. 
  • White politicians had a hold in evenly distributed areas. 
  • Church = stronghold.
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Civil Rights

Non-violent protests- picketing, boycotting and sit ins. 

National Urban League and the NAACP. 

NAACP- 9000 in 1917 then 90,000 in 1919 and 600,000 in 1946. Their aim was to gain legal rights. E,G. 1896 Plessy VS Ferguson. 

Marches- 1917 Silent Protest Parade. 

Sit ins- Chicago 1942, St Louis 1949, Baltimore 1952.

Separatists said African Americans were never going to have true equality with whites so they should stop fighting for it. 

Marcus Garvey 1920s- said African Americans should go back to Africa like white people told them too. 

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The Greensboro Four:

Ezell Blair Jr, David Richmond, Franklin McCain and Joseph McNeil. Students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College. 

February 1 1960:

The Four staged a sit in at Woolworth's. Sat at the lunch counter in downtown Greensboro, where the official policy was to refuse service to anyone but whites, they refused to leave until they were served.. The Greensboro Four enlisted the help of Ralph Jones, a local white businessman to put their plan into action. 

February 5: 

Some 300 students had joined the protest. Heavy TV coverage sparked the movement to college towns across the country. By March, the movement had spread to 55 cities in 13 states. The reponse- dining facilities across the South integrated by Summer and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was set up. Greensboro was a turning point within the civil rights campaign.

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Achievements + Limits of the Civil Rights campaign


  • More pressure from federal government to enforce equality.
  • Black Americans upper and middle classes had developed to a significant extent. 
  • Professional black American men moved from an average of 16 in 1940 to 31 in 1980.
  • More black politicians.
  • Since 1961- series of presidential executive orders to introduce 'affirmative actions'.


  • 'Minorty quota' way of thinking that created its own limits e.g 'we've got enough minority employees' within workspaces. 
  • Radicialisation of some areas made some less sympathetic to the cause. 
  • The poor were getting poorer, more were falling into the poverty line than in 1959. 
  • Hardly any black Americans were able to reach the 'American Dream' on an equal level with white Americans.
  • Unequal in the social sphere. 
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Montgomery Bus Boycott

A civil rights protest during which African Americans refused to ride city buses in Montgomery, Alabama to protest segregated seating. Led by Martin Luther King. 

Took place from December 6 1955 to December 20 1956. 

Rosa Parks:

  • In 1955, African Americans were required in Montgomery law to sit at the back of buses and to yield their seats to white Americans if the front half of the bus was already full up. 
  • On December 1 1955, Rosa Parks, seated in the front of the 'coloured section' was asked to give up her seat to a white man- Parks refused. 
  • She was arrested and fined $10 plus $4 in court fees. Upon her arrest, Parks called E.D Nixon, a prominent black leader, who bailed her out of jail and determined she would be a plaintiff in the legal challenge of the segregation ordinance. 

Approximately 40,000 African Americans boycotted the buses. 

Montgomery buses integrated on December 21 1956. 

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Little Rock Nine

The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine black students who enrolled at formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in September 1957. 

Their attendance at the school was a test of the Brown V Board of Education Supreme Court case of 1954 which declared that segregation in schools was unconstitutional. 

On September 4th, when the students enrolled, Governor Orval Faubus called the Arkansas National Guard to block the black students entrance into the high school. Later that month, president Dwight Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine into school. 

It drew national attention to the civil rights movement. 

The Little Rock Nine- Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Patillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas and Carlotta Walls. 

Federal judge Ronald Davies ordered the Guard removed on September 20 and the Little Rock police took over. The police escorted the students in, through an mob of 1,000 protestors. 

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Martin Luther King

  • Montgomery Bus Boycott: King chosen as the protest's leader and official spokesman. 
  • Southern Christian Leadership Conference: Founded after Montgomery, MLK as president they were committed to achieving full equality for African Americans- peaceful. 
  • Letter from Birmingham Jail: After the Birmingham campaign of 1963, King was arrested for involvement. On April 12, King penned the civil rights manifesto known as the 'Letter from Birmingham Jail', an eloquent defence of civil disobedience addressed to white clergymen who criticised his tactics. 
  • March on Washington 1963: King worked with a number of civil rights and religious groups to organise the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a peaceful political rally designed to shed light on injustices faced by African Americans. Held on August 28 and attended by some 200,000 to 300,000 participants, the event is widely regarded as a watershed moment for civil rights. 
  • 'I Have A Dream': Speech at March on Washington. A spirited call for peace and equality. 
  • Assassination: April 4 1968, King was shot while standing on his motel balcony in Memphis where he had travelled to support a sanitation worker's strike. James Earl Ray pleaded guilty.
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Malcolm X

Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little, Muslim name el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. Born May 19 1925- died February 21 1965.

  • He was arrested in 194 for burglary and converted to Islam in prison. 
  • Malcolm X's ideas were often at odds with that of Martin Luther King. King advocated for non-violent methods such as civil disobedience and boycotting while Malcolm preferred armed self-defence and repudiated the message of integration as servile. 
  • However, Malcolm X's philosophy evolved. He pressed the Nation of Islam to involve itself more in civil rights. He also renounced his previous separatist views. 
  • Malcolm X was one of the most prominent figures within the black nationalism movement. Many of the ideas he articulated, such as race pride and self defence became ideological mainstays of the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s. 
  • Malcolm X was assassinated on Feb 21 1965 at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York by members of the Nation of Islam, the group to which he once belonged. 
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Civil Rights laws

Civil Rights Act 1957:

  • Response to Montgomery Bus Boycott and Little Rock. A national civil rights commission was convened and the Federal Justice Department would support African Americans in court. The Act showed that they would not allow Southern states to do completely as they wished. 

Civil Rights Act 1964:

  • The Act changed... Discrimination on the basis of race in any or all public places was banned. It was now unlawful for businesses to discriminate on race, religion, national origin or sex. 

Voting Rights Act 1965:

  •  Literary tests and other obstacles previously preventing black Americans from voting/registering to vote were now banned. The US Attorney General could send federal examiners to register African Americans in areas where it was deemed to not be done properly. 
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Presidents VS Civil Rights

Bad Allies:

  • LBJ- Southern president. JFK- Catholic. Both relied on demographics from the South to earn votes, typically the most racist areas. 
  • President's impact could never directly affect the outcome. E.G. JFK appointed African Americans to high level positions to avoid doing the work directly himself and appeared to be making a difference alongside. 
  • Eisenhower- reluctant to use federal power to intervene and sympathised with the white southerners disrupted by the end of Jim Crow. 

Good Allies:

  • Acts- Voting Rights 1965, Civil Rights 1964, 1968. 
  • LBJ + JFK- adovated civil rights and people who supported/voted for them could continue to do so- correlation. 70%+ African Americans voted JFK. 
  • Eisenhower was committed to ending discrimination where possible- military in particular. 
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Native Americans

  • Background: Thousands of settlers moved west to find good farmland on which to raise families. 
  • European colonists and explorers brought measles, small pox, cholera, yellow fever and other dieases to America. This dramatically diminished the Native American population. 
  • The arrogant attitude of whites led to the Indian Wars, Indian Removal Act 1830 and Wounded Knee, South Dakota Relocation programmes and the Trail of Tears March. 

The Indian Citizen Act 1924 offered them citizenship. 

The American Indian Movement + Alcatraz Island- Natives offered to buy it from the government for $24, the price European settlers brought New York for in the 1600s. 

Wounded Knee 1963- Some American Indian Movement activists occupied the trading post at Wounded Knee, claiming it on behalf of Native Americans to be run free of US government control. Resulted in a siege of 71 days and 2 deaths. 

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Gay Rights Movement

Reformist goals: Decriminalisation of homosexual acts, equal treatment and equal rights under the law, disemination of accurate 'unbiased' information about gay people. 

Achievements: Media visibility, first employment discrimination cases won, right to publish gay and lesbian magazines, organisation impulse, constraints on police harassment. 

  • June 1969: The Stonewall Riots- symbol of new militancy. 
  • Early 70s: Gay Liberation Front. Radical gay activism. 
  • Challenges in 70s: Religious fundamentalism and new conservatism.
  • The Briggs Initiative: Proposition 6 (1978)- John Briggs. Called for LGBT teachers and allies to be immediately dismissed from California's public schools.
  • Harvey Milk: San Francisco's first openly gay district supervisor, proposition 6 was defeated. 
  • AIDS: Since 1981, roughly 636,000 people have died from AIDS. 
  • Religious right: Didn't feel sympathy (Reagan and Bush)
  • Don't ask don't tell: Official US military policy on gay people. Clinton. 
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Changing political environment

US were unhappy over US participation in WWI. Harding (Republican) promised a return to 'normalcy' 

End of war- 1921, there had been a short, sharp economic depression with over 5 million unemployed and various social problems. 

  • 1913-21: Woodrow Wilson, Democrat
  • 1921-23: Warren G. Harding, Republican
  • 1923-29: Calvin Coolidge, Republican
  • 1929-33: Hebert Hoover, Republican


US should be supportive of other nations but never again become entangled in their problems. Introducing tariffs that favoured US businesses, not joining the League of Nations. 

1921: Emergency Quota Act, restricted immigration to 357,000 a year. 150,000 in 1924. 

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The 1st Red Scare

1905-1917 Russian Revolutions: Encouraged worldwide revolution- 1917 USSR formation. This disturbed the capitalists in the US. 

During WWI, workers had not gone on strike. 

The Communist Party of America was founded alongside the Communist Labour Party. 

Anarchists disturbed pamphlets in many cities. In 1919 there was more than 3,600 strikes. 

6th February- general strike of 60,000 in Seattle. 

Rumours of a Communist revolution in America- people began to accuse one another in what was called 'Red Hunting' 

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Cold War pt.1

Greece + Turkey:

  • America were giving aid to Greece and Turkey- risky move.
  • 1946- Greece and Czechoslovakia were only Eastern countries not Communist. 
  • Civil war in Greece- government supported by British.
  • February 1947- British could no longer afford to help so Truman paid. 
  • Truman thought Greece was in danger from Communist soviets. 
  • Congress votes to give aid to Turkey too- economic, military, humanitarian aid.

Truman Doctrine:

  • Isolationism in 30s. 
  • 12 Mar 1947- 'duty to interfere', containment policy to stop USSR growing, not destroy.

Marshall Plan:

  • June 1947- George Marshall- Europe, said every country was poor, danger of Communism.
  • Suggested $17 billion of aid should be given help their ecconomy and stop Communism. 
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Cold War pt.2


  • US was world power. Increasing nuclear weapons to stand against USSR. 
  • 1947 National Security Act reorganised US military forces under new defence department.
  • CIA and National Security Council report to White House not Congress.

Hawks + Doves:

  • Military force affected the domestic economy. 
  • It cost money to run but create jobs and was a major customer for many businesses. 
  • The existence of the army, arms race and Cold War created a Democrat/Republican divide and Hawks/Doves divide (federal reserve board of governors)
  • Hawks- advocates law inflation. 
  • Doves- emphasises other issues over inflation.
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Korea + Vietnam

Korea:                                                                                  Vietnam:

  • Lack of media coverage         Both fought by UN            Intensive media coverage                  
  • Ended in ceasefire                 Defence budget worry      Official ending
  • Divided country                      Rising inflation                  One whole country- solely Communist


Media reported shocking stories such as the spraying of Agent Orange on villages and the massacre at Mai Lai. 

Walter Cronkite- broadcast a scathing criticism of the war and increased public reaction against the war. 

Vietnam Veterans Against the War. 

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Vietnam: Impact on presidency

Start of war- only a small percentage opposed the war. Those who initially opposed the war were: 

  • Left wingers who wanted a Communist victory
  • Pacificists who opposed all war
  • Liberals who believed that the best way of stopping the spread of Communism was by encouraging democracy. 

4 presidents involved in the Vietnam War. 

The Draft:

  • Conscription for the war increased the level of protest, especially young men.
  • To keep the support of the middle class, students were not called up. At this news, students protested against what they considered to be an attack on people's rights to decide to fight or not. 

66 million dollars a day- increased income tax to cope. 

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Watergate Scandal

June 1972 break in to the Democratic National Committee headquarters which led to an investigation that revealed multiple abuses of power by the Nixon administration. 

1972 election- US embroiled in the Vietnam War and the country was deeply divided. Forceful campaign seemed essential- illegal espionage. The Republicans won a landslide victory in the presidential election, with Nixon carrying 49 states and 47,168,710 popular vote. 

Abuse of presidential power- Nixon and his aides hatched a plan to instruct the CIA to impede the FBI's investigation of crime.

Tapes of Nixon- Supreme Court ordered them to be given in. The House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Nixon for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, criminal cover up and violations of the constitution. 

Nixon resigned in disgrace on August 8. Gerald Ford later pardoned Nixon for any crimes. 

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60s + 70s: Economics

Economic situation:

  • Money in circulation is increasing. 
  • Price index remained the same until 1966 when it increased. 
  • Average wage- $4800 to $7000.
  • Unemployment decreased since 1939- 4.5 mil vs 10 mil.
  • Percent of workforce unemployed went from 7% to 3%.
  • Government spending increased throughout 60s- $100 bilion.

Stagflation: When business stops expanding and stagnates while inflation continues.

By 1950s, other countries had overtaken the USA in technological advances. By 1953, the USA's share of the world's export of manufactured goods was 29%... In 1963, it was 17%. 

Meanwhile, business taxes were rising. Costs of raw materials rose with inflation so businesses had less to invest in improving technology. 

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60s + 70s: Problems + actions

Two fuel crises in the 1970s. They brought fuel shortages, long queues for fuel, a speed limit of 55mph and fuel rationing. 

In the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the OPEC supported Palestine. They put up prices by 70% and then embargoed oil exports to the Israel supporters. By January 1974, world oil prices were four times higher than before. 

Government actions:

  • Couldn't cope with the economic problems of the 1970s. 
  • Three economic crises caused by rising food and fuel prices. 
  • Federal spending was very high, driven up by linking social security payments and some pensions to the Consumer Price Index in 1972 and 1974. 
  • End of Vietnam saved money that would've been spent on the war but returning men added to the unemployed.
  • Linking wages, pensions and benefits to inflation helped those people it affecte but put the government in deper debt. In 1979, the money supply was contained. 
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Changing living standards

  • Post World War II: Economic growth and cultural stability. 
  • Cars produced heavily, major corporations grew bigger, affordable mortgages led to a boost in housing. Baby boom- consumers rising. 
  • GI Bill- benefits for veterans, 1944 FDR. Included tuition payments, unemployment compensation and low cost mortgages + Employment Act 1946.
  • 1950s: GNP $300 mil 1950. Increased employment. Farmers (families) went into bankruptcy. 
  • 4-5 million were unemployed. 
  • 1960s: Technology improvements. 
  • Increasing life expectancy.
  • Average wage was $4000, 5 day working week and holidays. 
  • Government spending increased from $90 bil to $100 bil.
  • Stagflation- 1953 US share of the world's export of manufactured goods was 29%. 1963 it was 17%. 
  • Costs of raw materials rose with inflation. 
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  • Jan 1961: Kennedy's executive order, food available to people in all areas of chronic unemployment- greater quantity. 
  • June 1961 Housing Act: More funding for urban renewal, low income housing & low interest loans for housing. 
  • August 1964 Economic Opportunity Act: Office of Economic Opportunity. $947.7 mil to fund projects in poverty areas.
  • Food Stamp Act: Exchange stamps for food. 15 mil 1974. 
  • July 1965 Medicare Act: Small contribution from people's social security payments and gives them free care in old age. 
  • October 1966 Child Nutrition Act: Funds schools that cannot provide lunches. 

Economic inequality: 1949- richest 1% own 20.8% of US wealth. 1956- richest 1% own 26%. 

Wages: 1968 production worker owned $6.370 per anum.

Race: Average income: White $5,835, black $3,230. 27% of all black workers in 1970 were middle class. 4% of US suburbs were black. 1966- 12% of white Americans living below poverty line. 

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  • Movie industry- Hollywood- employment boom.
  • Books- $117 million sales in 1929- $74 million in 1939.
  • Sports- large stadiums, 1920s- baseball, football, horse racing and hockey. 
  • 1917 Yankees attendance- 330,000. 1920- 1,290,000.


  • 1950s and 60s- more money to spend on leisure. 
  • More office workers- 35 million.
  • 1/6 of income on leisure.
  • Baby boom- family leisure. Disneyland 1955. 
  • Computers- originally expensive and slow. 
  • Home computers- middle class families and better off people had them only. 
  • 1954-1987- average of 283 new bookstores opened every year, sales rose by average of 11.3%.
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Cars + planes


  • Mobility- 1958, 56,000 motels, $850 mil. Faster and cheaper. Travelling salesmen.
  • Roads-  1980-3,860,000 miles of road, 12.1% had no car.
  • Industrial effects- Factories expanded + employed more workers, wages went up, price down.
  • Shopping- Malls- wide range of services. 1960- 80 30,000 malls were built.
  • Entertainment- Drive ins, by 1954 3,800 drive ins. Best in warmer climates.
  • Tourism- Easier trips to big cities. Hotels, motels, restaurants. 


  • 1918- Mercury Air Services- one of the 1st companies to offer chartered flights.
  • 1920- 1st international flight. 1925 Contract Air Mail Act- national air male routes created.
  • 1926 Commerce Air Act- air traffic rules. 1929- 1st passenger airline guide.
  • 1933- 1st presiential areoplane assigned to FDR.
  • 1935- 1st in flight movie with sound.
  • 1938 Civil Aeronauts Act- CAB to regulate airline pricing and routes.
  • 1940- 1st pressurised passenger compartment plane. 
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1980- 489 electoral college VS Carter's 49. Carter considered weak, unlikeable and boring. 

Move away from 'liberal' policies, less state interventions. Tax cuts, personal income tax 75% to 25%. 

Initial success with Congress- not sustained. Advised against some legislation- daily prayer. 

Iran-Contra- US were secretly arranging arms sales to Iran in return for Iranian assistance in securing the release of American's held hostage in Lebanon. 

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  • Cutting the federal deficit- Budget bill + a proposal for cuts on domestic spending. 22% of GNP to 19% (81-86)
  • Deregulation- Removing federal control, in industry, state and local government. 
  • Planned control of the money supply- To keep inflation down while expanding the economy.
  • Personal and business tax reductions- Accompanied by the Economic Recovery Act 1981.
  • Mar 1981- President's Economic Policy Advisory Board.
  • 16 Jun 1981 Executive Order- president's commission on housing.
  • Aug 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act- cuts income tax by 23% over 3 years.
  • Aug 1981 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation- tax cuts, take $35 bil out federal spending.
  • Sep 1982 Tax equity and financial responsibility act- makes changes to budget, tighten tax.
  • Apr 1986 Conslidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation- revises budget to save gov money.
  • 1986 Tax Reform Act- revises tax codes, reduce tax brackets- close evasion loopholes and ease poorer families. 
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'Big Government'

'New Federalism' -  would produce less government interference in state and local affairs, business and daily lives. 


  • Smaller companies began to struggle, businesses set their own standards of regulation and cut services to maximise profit. 
  • Dollar weakened- balance of world trade shifted, imports of goods rose. 
  • Textiles- 300,000 lost jobs. 
  • 'Worlds bankers' became borrowers. 

Supply- side theory:

An economy wasn't driven by consumer demand and that restraint on production should be removed. The better off in society would benefit economically and their extra wealth would 'trickle down' to the poor. 

Benefitted upper class- 1.3 mil Americans became millionaires in 1988 increasing from 574,000 in 1980. Also cut taxes- less to poor. 

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Reagan + Foreign affairs

First term marked by a large buildup of US weapons and troops, as well as an escalation of the Cold War, with Reagan marking the USSR an 'evil empire'

Reagan Doctrine- America provided aid to anticommunist movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

1983 Strategic Defence Initative- a plan to develop space-based weapons to protect America from atacks by Soviet missiles. 

Reagan + Thatcher:

  • Extra special relationship.
  • Reagan supported Britain in the Falklands War, Thatcher supported the US bombing of Libya.
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