America before 1919

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Understanding America

  1. What was the American Revolution?
  2. Why is the Civil War so significant in American history?
  3. What is the American Constitution?
  4. What are the three parts of American government?
  5. What is the ‘Bill of Rights’?
  6. How are amendments to the Constitution made?

Before WWI: Was the USA the Land of Opportunity?
Read SHP, pp. 2-15

WWI – the impact on Europe: TIDE

  • Trade disrupted
  • Infrastructure and communications destroyed
  • Debt due to borrowing from America (UK owed $4.2 billion; France $3.4 billion)
  • Economies in ruins (e.g. hyperinflation in Germany in 1923).

WWI – the impact on America: NEW LEAF

  • New trading links previously dominated by Europe (e.g. cotton in Japan);
  • Expansion of farms and industries to cope with demand during war;
  • Wages were high – Americans had the highest average income in the world
  • Laissez-faire – letting businesses control their own affairs – led to job losses, discontent and strikes after the war but would eventually help produce a boom during the 1920s: Coolidge prosperity: ‘the business of America is business’;
  • Export market to Europe boosted – America supplied 30% of the world’s wheat; 75% of its corn and 55% of its cotton; and 70% of its petrol by 1920; it made more steel than all of Europe put together.
  • America had no war damage;
  • Factories and farms introduced mass production methods and were at full production before the war ended and they demanded tariffs when the demand for US food fell after the war.

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