Boom, Bust & Recovery 1917-1954

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          Democracies in change: Britain 


The United States in the Twentieth Century



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              Democracies in change: Britain


The United States in the Twentieth Century



A range of resources linked to this page can be found on my TES shop.


The Exam


20% of final mark


Written examination, lasting 1 hour 30 minutes

Students will answer 2 questions: one from section A, one from section B

Sections A comprises one compulsory question for the option studied, based on two sources. It assesses source analysis skills (AO2)

Section B comprises a choice of essays that assess understanding of the period in depth (AO1)


Exemplar - Paper 2 Section B Essays and Feedback from Edexcel


The Specification


In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, steam power and new technology had made Britain the workshop of the world: electrical power and the assembly line did the same for American industry in the early twentieth century. An age of mass production was ushered in, most typically seen in Detroit, where Henry Ford’s automobiles were the force driving industrial production. A devastated Europe had to redevelop its industrial base, but the USA filled the gap and dominated world trade in the 1920s.


This economic boom was built on shaky foundations, especially in the banking system, and the collapse of several banks, along with the Wall Street Crash of 1929, led America into a major depression. Despite Roosevelt’s best efforts through his New Deal, features of the depression lasted throughout the 1930s and were only effectively ended with America’s entry into the Second World War in 1941.


The USA’s mainland was not affected by the war, and, just as in the 1920s, the post-war years saw sustained economic growth. A massive highway construction programme led to the growth of the suburbs and the Levittown projects, and to a consumer society centred on the automobile, television and the shopping mall.


After the civil war of 1861–65 the rights of black Americans were enshrined in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, but these were hedged round with so many qualifications, that America developed into a bitterly segregated society. The 1920s saw the racist Ku Klux Klan at the height of its influence and power, and discrimination against all minorities was a feature of this whole period. Black Americans were excluded from the benefits of the boom, though their economic position improved somewhat under the New Deal. In the decade after 1945 there was slow but discernible change for black Americans, thanks to the legal work of the NAACP and the political contribution made by President Truman. By 1955, the growing numbers of civil rights groups were well prepared to campaign for equal status for all Americans, whatever their colour.


Cultural change is a theme which runs through this whole option. The 1920s saw an astonishing explosion of black culture, the Harlem Renaissance, which included notable writers, poets and intellectuals. The music scene was transformed by artists such as Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Bessie Smith, the ‘Empress of the Blues’. The New Deal’s Works Progress Administration encouraged the work of many writers and musicians. The cinema grew in popularity, especially during the war and through the popularity of Disney cartoons. Perhaps the most dramatic changes of all came after 1945, with the growth of national television networks and, from the early 1950s, with the creation of a separate teenage culture inspired by rock’n’roll.


Students will be expected to undertake extensive wider reading outside of the classroom. The Edexcel text is the approved core reading material for this course but additional texts may appeal to the preferred learning style of individual students. I have inspection copies of all the recommended books. Extension reading materials are to be found at the bottom of this page.


Additionally this site contains links to video resources which have organised to link to specific booklets. Students wishing to succeed will be expected to use these in their studies.


Comprehensive audio Mp3 files are also available for students covering the core lectures of this course as well as resources available from I Tunes University giving students access to materials from some of the worlds leading academic institutions


Avaliable from my TES Shop


Suitable for either an overview or revision purposes:


A more basic overview/revision based upon James West Davidsons book: A Little History of the United States 


'A Little History of America' James West Davidson - Chapter 31 - The Masses - Supporting Worksheet 

'A Little History of America' James West Davidson - Chapter 32 - The New Deal - Supporting Worksheet 

'A Little History of America' James West Davidson - Chapter 31 - Superpower - Supporting Worksheet 


A more developed and rigourous overview/revision based upon David Reynolds book: Empire of Liberty


'Empire of LIberty' David Reynolds - Chapter 11 - War and Peace - Supporting Worksheet

'Empire of LIberty' David Reynolds - Chapter 12 - From Boom to Bomb- Supporting Worksheet

'Empire of Liberty' David Reynolds - Chapter 13 - Red or Dead - Supporting Worksheet


              Buy Here

  A Little History of the United States  

            James West Davidson

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                      Empire of Liberty

                      David Reynolds




Booklet One - An Introduction and Overview




Lesson - Welcome: A Course Introduction, Expectations and Landmark Assessment (see below)


Activity - 'The Years of Expansion' - Reading Article. Students to read the article provided and compleet the worksheet studying the America that emerged towars the end of the Nineteenth Century and gathered pace at the start of the Twentieth Century. The USA experienced its own Industrial Revolution and subsequent rapid urbanisation, sucking in unregulated numbers of immigrants that rapidly changed the dynamic and cultural make up of the USA. This would be the context for the cultural Rebellion and subsequent Reaction of the WASP elite as America teetered on the brink of entry to WWI and a role on the international stage she had thus ignored in two hundred years of self-imposed isolation.


Lesson - The Century - Americas Time: Seeds of Change* - Video - Please complete the worksheet provided - How did the 20th century change the ways Americans live? This program examines the early 1900s – when William McKinley was President, a loaf of bread cost only a few cents, horsepower really meant horsepower, flying to the moon was the stuff of dreams, and the average life span was only 45 years – while looking ahead to the decades of changes yet to come.


Lesson - The American People - Students will study the nature and demographics of the American Melting Pot as well as the changing patterns of unchecked immigration, initially from WASP Northern Europe to the influx from Southern and Eastern Europe prior to WWI. Students will be introduced to the concepts of REACTION and REBELLION to analyse the response to change in the USA and diviisons and fault lines running the American society.


Video - 'The Great American Melting Pot'


Lesson  - The US Constitution / Political System  How did the USA cull the best elements of existing constitutions to create its own constitution that has endured for almost two hundred and fifty years. Students will study the role and responsibilties of each of the three branches of government and how 'checks and balances' ensure that no one branch exercises too much power or influence. In studying the role of the President students will have the context for how FDR redefined the office after he came to power in 1932 and how the Supreme Courts role interpretaion of the Constitution was moulded by the Republican Ascendancy of the 1920's and how this conservative stance would be challenged by FDR in the 1930's.


Video - 'I'm just a Bill'

Video - Electing a President in Plain English


LessonThe USA and WW1 - Students will work through the first of their Key Lectures and then complete  a lesson based actvity studying the causes of American intervention in World War One and the subsequent consequences.


Activity - The American People and the War - Reading Article

Extended Lecture:The Great Courses - The History of the United States, 2nd Edition - 63 - World War 1 - The Road to Intervention


Lesson - World War One - class based activity to support and consoldiate earlier learning on the causes and consequences of US entry into WWI


Actvity - The Century: America Time - Shellshock* - Video - Please complete the worksheet provided - The psychological damage inflicted by the stupifying bombardments of World War I was called shell shock, a term that aptly described the feeling of the post-war world. This program illustrates America’s reluctant emergence as a world power and analyses the impact of the wholesale sense of loss – of life, of husbands and fathers, and of sacred ideals such as honor, patriotism, and glory – that sprang from "the war to end all wars."


Lesson - Knowledge Test and Essay Practice - How will my extended writing style need to change to adapt to the A Level markscheme?


Landmark Assessment


Students will be directed to the core resources*


Students will need to research, plan and present a 40 minute essay:


Q. 'How accurate is it to place economics as the priority for American entrance into WW1?'


The introduction will require: Context, Argument and Plan

The submitted piece will  be colour coded for PEA(EA)

Hierachy of factors and links between features will be expected


Students will be permitted to bring one side of A4 notes into the Landmark Assessment

The Cover sheet is to be completed and stapled to their submission


Required Reading prior to the start of Booklet 2


Activity - The New Era America in the 1920's - Reading Article and Worksheet

Activity - A Little History of the United States: - Chapter 31 - The Masses - Reading Article and Worksheet


Both reading articles are included in Booklet 1 for completion and signing off


Additional Essays


Essay 1 -  (AS Sec B) – America was a ‘melting pot’ of nationalities, how accurate is this description of the USA from the start of the 20th century? 

Essay 2 - (AS Sec B) – To what extent was the First World War the key factor in Americas return to isolationist methods.




Booklet Two (Pt1)- Boom and Crash, 1920–29 - Politics of Prosperity


The topic covers social, economic and cultural changes during the 1920s. Students need to understand the extent of economic prosperity during the 1920s and the impact this had on both social and cultural change. In studying technological change, they should consider the automobile and its significance.


Detailed knowledge of the features of the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance is not required, but students need to understand the extent to which they affected the culture of the 1920s.


Students need to be aware of the links between growing prosperity in the 1920s and the development of popular culture such as spectator sports, radio and the cinema.


The economic boom of the 1920s: mass production; technological advances and their impact on leisure; the automobile; hire purchase; laissez faire; farmers, black Americans and limits to the boom.


Causes of the crash of 1929: the Wall Street Crash; overproduction; land speculation; the bull market; weaknesses of the banking system.


Changes in society; immigration and the ‘Red Scare’; the Ku Klux Klan; prohibition and organised crime; the changing role of women.


Cultural change in the 1920s: the Jazz Age; the Harlem Renaissance; growing popularity of baseball; radio and the cinema; American literature 




Lesson- The Politics of Prosperity - Key Lecture

Video - ABC - The Century Americas Time 1920 1929 - Ep3 - Boom To Bust


Extended Lecture:The Great Courses - The History of the United States, 2nd Edition - 64 - The 1920's


Lesson - The Century - America Time: Boom to Bust - Video -The 1920s ushered in an era of great social change, general prosperity, Prohibition and what historians refer to as "modernity." This episode examines these great cultural changes and their affects on the nation. The 1920s, in stark contrast to the Victorian era, "roared," as bathtub gin flowed and more and more Americans moved to urban areas. But the decade also saw limited prosperity for many, especially farmers, and the unrest and discord between the values of small town America and the rapid pace of science and technology. The optimism of the decade would end in the most severe economic depression in American history. Episode 3 presents some of the major events that shaped the decade including The Scopes Monkey Trial, Prohibition, the rise of leisure pastimes, and the impact of inventions such as the automobile, radio, movies and electricity.


Lesson - Henry Ford - The Boom of the 1920's is the consequence of multiple interacting facotors over both the Long and Short term. Ford played a significant role in the evolution of mass production and technological innovation,but how important is he compared with other competing factors like WWI, Republican policies, taxes and tarrifs. Students will study Ford to ascertain their own understanding of the hierachy of factors. As an extention, students may start to consider if the short term cause of the boom were alo the long term causes of the crash.


'Any colour, so longs as its black'

Henry Ford


Extended Lecture:The Great Courses - The History of the United States, 2nd Edition - 61 - Mass Production


Lesson  - What were the reasons for US prosperity - Balloon Debate? - Can students opinions survive the test of competitive debate?


Lesson  - The Republican Ascendancy  / Presidential Biographies - Reading activity and biography work on the Party and Presdeints whoose policies shaped the decade beween Wilson and FDR's administrations


Lesson  - Did Everyone Benefit from the Boom? - We have alreday ascertained that the America of the 1920's was far more complex than a propserous, WASP, urban boom. Undoubtly, the US experienced great prosperity during the decade, but how evenly was it distributed? Who gained? Who missed out?


Essay - The US Economic boom of the 1920s was primarily due to the introduction of mass production. ‘How accurate is this view? 


Lesson - Were there signs of the Boom slowing down? - In our infrmation rich society today, we are bombarded with data allowing us the tantalising belief that somehow one can predict the future from present trends. In the recently globalised world of the 1920's and led by a laissez-faire administartion, the US had neither precedent to fall back on, nor anyhting other than the stock market  to act as. a barometer on the economic helath of the nation. This will prove disturbingly useless in 1929. With hindsight, what signs were apparent that the US economy was not as healthy as many hubristic Americans believed?


Essay - How widespread was prosperity in the 1920’s?

Essay - How far were their signs that the US economy was faltering in the second half of the 1920’s?


Booklet Two (Pt2)- Boom and Crash, 1920–29 - Politics of Frustration


Lesson- The Politics of Frustration - Key Lecture


Students will then listen to the Lecture by Prof. Jennifer Burns UCLA Berkley as she introduces the concept of REACTION and REBELLION as a means of identifying the conflicting forces acting on the USA's fault lines, using many of the individual topic lessons identified below as examples. We will use this notion of the WASP REACTION to the forces of REBELLION to establish an overview of the period and understand the motivation of the establishment to challenge the forces of change.


Boom and Bust - UC Berkley - The Roaring Twenties and The Scopes Monkey Trial - Supporting Worksheet for the Jennifer Burns Lecture



To conclude students will listen to Cole Porter's 'Anything Goes' to analyse the lyrics and understand the examples of change illustrated in the song set against the context of their prior learning.


'Times have changed 
And we've often rewound the clock 
Since the Puritans got a shock 
When they landed on Plymouth Rock. 
If today 
Any shock they should try to stem 
'Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock, 
Plymouth Rock would land on them.'


Music and Lyrics


Lesson  - Immigration - Upon becoming President, how did Harding amend the 'Open Door' of immigration to bring about 'normalcy'. How did this impact upon the trends of immigration dominated by North-Western WASP Europeans in the fist half of the Nineteenth Century to Eastern European and Aisian immigration by the second half.


At the end of the lesson, students need to make a judgement about how tolerant/intolerant the USA was


Extended Lecture:The Great Courses - The History of the United States, 2nd Edition - 57 - New Immigration


Lesson  - The Red Scare and Sacco & Vanzetti - How did their case reflect the 'Reaction & Rebellion' of the post-WWI years in the USA. Were they on trial and found guilty because of the un-American political beliefs or their non-WASPish ethnicity?


Could students pass the UK Citizenship Test? Is it harder than the raised entrance qualifications brought in by the Republicans in the 1920's?


Video - The Red Scare


At the end of the lesson, students need to make a judgement about how tolerant/intolerant the USA was, revisiting their earlier, post-immigration lesson, and review their position, substantiating it with more evidence


Lesson  - KKK - how did an organsiation founded on white supremacy flourish in a period of economic growth and prosperity. If 'Revolutionaries thrive on evil times' how did the KKK rsie to become a dominant force in the 1920's when the USA was booming. Students will study the role of the KKK with the context of 'Reaction and Rebellion' set against the gross inequality of the 1920's boom, futher illustrating the diversity of views and toleration within the USA at any given time during the 1920's.


See - The KKK and the Rise of Extremism - KS3 lesson


At the end of the lesson, students need to make a judgement about how tolerant/intolerant the USA was, revisiting their earlier, post-immigration lesson, and review their position, substantiating it with more evidence. Students must now consider balancing their evidence from both sides and avoiding over-generalisations. Could the USA be both tolerant and intolerant simultaneously?


Lesson - Prohibition - The 'Noble Experiment' as it was known was the ultmate expression of the REACTION to the forces of change apparent in US society in the 1920's. The imposistion of the views of the conservative WASP's by means of consitutional amendment brought about a major law that turned most Americans into minor lawbreakers.


‘Mother’s in the kitchen
Washing out the jugs;
Sister’s in the pantry
Bottling the suds;
Father’s in the cellar
Mixing up the hops;
Johnny’s on the front porch
Watching for the cops.’


At the end of the lesson, students need to make a judgement about how tolerant/intolerant the USA was, revisiting their earlier, post-immigration lesson, and review their position, substantiating it with more evidence. Students must now consider balancing their evidence from both sides and avoiding over-generalisations. Could the USA be both tolerant and intolerant simultaneously?


Lesson - Gangsters


Essay - How much do agree that without Prohibition Al Capone would not have been so successful?


Lesson - Women


'The New Woman of the 1920s boldly asserted her right to dance, drink, smoke, and date—to work her own property, to live free of the strictures that governed her mother’s generation .... She flouted Victorian-era conventions and scandalized her parents. In many ways, she controlled her own destiny.' 
Joshua Zeitz, Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern


Extended Lecture:The Great Courses - The History of the United States, 2nd Edition - 77 - The Womens Movement


Essay - The 1920’s saw a radical change in the role and status of women.’ How far do you agree with this statement?

Essay - Was there a revolution in the lives of American women in the 1920's?


Lesson - Black Americans - Following the emancipation of 1863, many Black Americans chose to leave the rural poverty of the southern sates and migrarted northwarsd to wards the more urban and indutrialsied north-west of the USA. Welcomed during WWI pragmatically, they found themselevs an early victim, like women, and other ethnic minorities of the economic dislocation at the end of WWI. The rsurgent KKK made it unlikely that many would move south again, so many stayed. In Harlem, a district of Manhatten in New York, a small but vibrant Black community emerged in the more tolertant, urban atmosphere of the time and gave its name to the Harlem Renaissance.


Essay - To what extent did the position of Black Americans improve in the 1920's?


Lesson - The Harlem Renaissance - How significant was the flowering of Black culture in Harlem during the 1920's and how far does it challenge the notion of the USA being an intoleratnt country?


Lesson - Inherit the Wind - A study of REACTION and REBELLION  through the fictionalsied account of the Scopes Monkey Trial


'All motion is relative. Perhaps it is you who have moved away-by standing still'


Essay - ‘The tensions in the 1920’s were fundamentally between rural and urban life.’ How far do you agree with this statement?


Lesson  - The growing popularity of baseball; radio and the cinema


Lesson   - Literature & The Arts


Extended Lecture:The Great Courses - The History of the United States, 2nd Edition - 75 - The Rise of Mass Media


Lesson  - The 1920’s Boom: The Winners and Losers


Required Reading- For which students must produce revision notes in their own preferred format








Booklet Three - Boom and Crash, 1920–29 - Politics of Frustration




Lesson - The Wall Street Crash - Key Lecture


Extended Lecture:The Great Courses - The History of the United States, 2nd Edition - 65 - The Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression


Lesson - The Wall Street Crash - Documentary based learning activity


Lesson - The Economic effects of the Great Depression


Lesson - The Social effects of the Great Depression


Lesson - Hoover and the Great Depression - What was Hoover's response to the calamity of the Great Crash. Initially, ideologically bound, Hoover was inclined to do little and await for the market correction to right itself. As the Depression deepens Hoover will become far more proactive, though often tempered by his lack of a mandate for intervention, and move further to the centre ground of politics. All the well his adversaries, notably FDR, are watching his actions and determining how things could be done differently. 


Hoover's principal actions would be:


- Hoover’s beliefs
- Hawley-Smoot Tariff
- Reconstruction Finance Cooperation (RFC)
- Public works
- Public’s Reaction (including Bonus Army)
- Election of 1932


Lesson - The First New Deal - Key Lecture


'Relief, Recovery and Reform'


Extended Lecture:The Great Courses - The History of the United States, 2nd Edition - 66 - The New Deal


Lesson - FDR and the First New Deal - Students will study how FDR would upscale the size of intervention in the US economy and initate a revolution in US politics by turning the Executive branch into the principle engine of legislation to tackle the issues arising from the Great Depression. The policies arising from his 'Brains Trust' will have mixed results, but FDR will effectivly serve as the front man for the policies


Lesson - Opposition to the First New Deal


Lesson - The Second New Deal - Key Lecture


Lesson - The Second New Deal - Re-elected was an increased majority and a manadte to take his policies further, FDR determined that his Second New Deal would be more ambitious. Yet, the ambition would be matched by the scale of the challenge and increased resistance to his plans by both his enemies and the Supreme Court.



Lesson - Opposition to the Second New Deal


'Too much power for a good man to want; too much power for a bad man to have'


Lesson - The New Deal and the Arts - What were the reasosn behind FDR's decision to extend the New Deal to the arts. Was it an act of alturism, popularity or pragmatism.


Required Reading - For which students must produce revision notes in their own preferred format


Lesson - WWII - Key Lecture


Lesson - The Century - America Time: Home Front - Video - When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, America was a country steeped in isolationist policies and ill prepared for war. Within a matter of weeks, the country made an amazing turnover from a peacetime nation suffering the final throes of a depression to the most efficient and productive “arsenal for democracy” that the world had ever seen. This was accomplished by the unity and sheer willpower of the American people, who backed the war effort almost unanimously. This episode examines the American homefront during World War II, how it came together in a unified effort, and the ways in which the war changed the lives of those left behind, especially the women whose contributions to the war effort helped to win the war. 


Lesson - The Economic effects of the New Deal- In this lesson students will need to arrive at a concluding judgement as to the overall success of the New Deal. This will done byanalysising a series of pieces of evidence and then drawing an initial conclusion as to the New Deals success. This can then be tested against the New Deals aims at different junctures of he New Deal coinciding with its aims of Relief, Recovey and Reform. The questionof the New Deals success therefore, is a dynamic one. 

‘the worst fraud ever perpetrated on the American people’
Essay - 'The impact of the New Deal was dissapointing'. How far do you agree with this statement?

Lesson - Women and the New Deal - Having had their role change during the duration of WWI would the same happen again during WWII? Were women accepted as equals out of pragmatic need or genuine acceptance?


Video - Women during WWII


Essay - World War II had a lasting impact on the role of women in the USA. Do you agree?


Lesson - Ethnic Minorities - With FDR being a populist, would minorities benefit directly, indirectly, or not at all from both the New Deal and WWII? If benefits are to be found were they just pragmatic. Students will study the impact on:


- Native Americans

- Balck Americans

- Hispanic Americans

- Japanesse Americans


Lesson - Social and Cultural Changes - The impact on Hollywood - How did the impact of WWII affect:


- Radio

- Hollywood

- Music


Video - Der Fuhrer's face

Video - Swing the Mood

Video - We'll meet again


Lesson - The Economy during WWII



Video - Crash Course - World War II Part 2 - The Homefront: Crash Course History 36


Lesson - The Century - Americas Time: The Home Front - Video The shock of Pearl Harbor awoke America from its dream of isolationism. As troops went overseas and industry ramped up to supply the urgent need for war materials, a new wave of Southern blacks migrated north and west to fill the workforce – along with millions of women, who exchanged housework for war work. This program discusses the effects of World War II on the home front, spotlighting the war’s impact as a catalyst for economic, demographic, and social change.


Lesson - New Deal v. WWII Economy


Lesson - From the New Deal to Fair Deal - Key Lecture


Reading - A Little History of the United States - Chapter 34 - Superpower



Lesson - How did the American Economy Transform after WWII?



- Economic post-war prosperity

- The GI Bill of Rights

- Increasing mobility

- Growth of the car industry

- Growth of the suburbs (including Levittowns)

- Consumer Boom


Lesson - Causes of the Boom


- The birth rate

- Car ownership

- GNP per capita income

- The 1950's home

- Levittowns


Reading - The New Americans


Essay - How far do you agree that the economic boom of the 1950's was the cause of Federal Government spending?


Lesson - The Century - Americas Time: The Best Years - Video Demobilization after World War II meant difficult changes as the U.S., geared up for war, resumed a peacetime existence. This program describes America’s new status as a superpower, as the nation shouldered the responsibility for rebuilding Europe and Japan – and for containing Soviet ambitions. The challenge faced by veterans and spouses to become reacquainted after years of separation and hardship is highlighted.


Lesson - The Coils of the Cold War - Key Lecture


Lesson -The Cold War


Reading - McCarthy and the Communist Witch Trials


Lesson - McCarthyism - Despites the USA's position as the only nuclear superpower, her position under Truman from 1945 was percieved by his critics as being reactionary. The deterioration of relations between the USA and USSR was compounded by Stalin's hostile moves over Berlin and then the fall of China and loss of the nuclear monpoly. The trail of Hiss and America's default fear of Communism was fertile soli for McCarthy and the Republicans  to exploit.


'While I cannot take time off to name all the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party, and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.' 


Reading - Truman and Eisenhower


Lesson - Culture - How did the onset of increased prosperity and the pressures of the Cold War encoutage the citizens of the USA to conform and develop the nuclear family.


Lesson - Teenage Culture - Grwoing up as the baby boomers of the 1940's the teenagers appeared as a distinct and wealthy demographic in the 1950's. Materially advantaged and spared the hardship of war and poverty they had both time and money on their hands


Video - Rock around the Clock

Video - Heart Break Hotel


Essay - To what extent was a new and distinctive teenage culture evidence in the behaviour of young Americans in the years to 1955?


Lesson - Native Americans and Hispanics


Lesson - The Century - Americas Time: Happy Days - Video The post-war baby boom, suburban living, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis epitomizes the contentment of the Eisenhower years. But these were also years marked by rabid McCarthyism, violent civil rights demonstrations, and a frightening escalation in the Cold War. This program probes the tension between these crosscurrents in American History.


Lesson - Black American -1945-50 - With a resurgent Republican dominated Congress the domestic reforms of Truman's were blocked consistently.His publically avowed pro-Civil Rights stance ran contrary to the strongly held beliefs of Southern Democrats within his own party and they vocifeorusly blocked any real movement on civil rights reforms.



Video - Civil Rights - Brown v. The Board of Education

Video - Crash Course - Civil Rights

Video - Forrest Gump - Little Rock Nine


Essay - How far did conditions for Black Americans improve between 1945 & 1955?


Booklet  Four - Boom and Crash, 1920–29 - The Crash






Essay 11 - AS (B) - How far was President Hoover responsible for the Crash and Depression?

Essay 12 - AS (B) - ‘President `Hoover did little to combat the depression’. How far do you agree?


Booklet Five - Depression and New Deal, 1929 – 40


The topic covers the years from the beginning of the depression to the end of Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1940. Students need to understand the effects of the depression on different people, including those who benefited from it.


The spread of the depression, 1929–32: growth of unemployment; collapse of GDP; effects on workers,

families, farmers and ethnic minorities; ‘gangsterism’.


Hoover’s response to the depression, 1929–33: the Smoot-Hawley Tariff; homelessness and the Hoovervilles; theReconstruction Finance Corporation; Emergency Relief andConstruction Act 1932.


Roosevelt and the First New Deal, 1933–35: emergency relief; public works; the alphabet agencies; help for farmers; reforming the financial system; opposition to Roosevelt’s policies, including Huey Long and the Supreme Court.


The Second New Deal, 1935–38: the Wagner Act 1935; the Social Security Act 1935; the Revenue Act 1935; opposition to the Second New Deal.







Essay 12 - AS (B) - How accurate is it to say that the fist New Deal (1922-35) was a great success?





Required Reading - For which students must produce revision notes in their own preferred format 



Essays / Questions


Section A - AS Questions

Section B - AS Questions


(AS Sec B) –‘America had saturated its markets at the end of the 1920’s which caused the depression’ How accurate is this quote?

(AS Sec B) How accurate is it to say that the banking system in America exacerbated the Depression?


Section A - A2 Questions

Section B - A2 Questions





Required Reading - For which students must produce revision notes in their own preferred format


Edexcel GCE History The United States 1917-54: Unit 3 - The Years of Prosperity 1919-29




Booklet / Topic Three - Impact of the New Deal and the Second World War on the USA to 1945


The topic covers the years from the beginning of the depression to the end of Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1940. Students need to understand the effects of the depression on different people, including those who benefited from it.


The New Deal and the economy: the impact of New Deal policies on unemployment and national infrastructure;women and the New Deal, including the role of Eleanor Roosevelt; the state of the US economy in 1940.


The impact of the New Deal and the war on ethnic minorities:New Deal policies and black Americans; the Indian Reorganisation Act 1934; change for hispanic Americans; the contribution of ethnic minorities to the war effort; the race riots of 1943; the Double V campaign.


Social and cultural changes: WPA support for writers and musicians; changes in the role of women, including impact of the Fair Employment Practices Commission on the status of women and black Americans; wartime domestic propaganda;the power of Hollywood, including war films and the rise of Disney; the growing power of radio; popular music.


The war and the economy, 1941–45: the collapse of unemployment; women and the war effort; the contribution of young people; growing power of trade unions; migration to urban and industrial centres; the growth of new industries.
















Booklet / Topic Four - The transformation of the USA, 1945–55


The topic covers the effects of the New Deal and of the Second World War on US society. Students should understand the extent to which both the New Deal and US involvement in the war helped to revive the economy.


Students should understand the links between the changing economic status of women and young people and cultural changes which took place during the war.


Economic transformation: changing employment opportunities; government policies to encourage growth; the provision of mortgages for veterans; growing mobility,including cars and highway construction; the growth of the suburbs; Levittown projects; the new consumer society.


The end of post-war euphoria: HUAC, McCarthyism and their impact; anti-communism and the Cold War context; the reality of the nuclear age, including Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.


Cultural change: Hollywood and the Cold War; the growing power of television, including popular entertainment and sitcoms, the stereotyping of women and ethnic minorities;the origins of a teenage culture, including rock’n’roll.


The changing status of minorities: Truman’s desegregation of the armed forces; extent of integration in professional sports and popular entertainment; the growth of the NAACP; the Brown case 1954; the extent of change by 1955. 




Activity - The Century - Americas Time: The Best Years 

Activity - New Deal to Fair Deal - Key Lecture

Activity - The Coils of the Cold War - Key Lecture

Activity - McCarthyism, The Second Red Scare and HUAC

Activity - HUAC, Hollywood, Television and the Cold war

Activity - Teenagers

Activity - Black Americans and Education

Activity - The Century - Americas Time: Happy Days 



Essays/ Questions


Section A - AS Questions

Section B - AS Questions

Section A - A2 Questions

Section B - A2 Questions


Required Reading - For which students must produce revision notes in their own preferred format


Edexcel GCE History The United States 1917-54: Unit 5 Controversy - The coming of the  Slump and Depression - 1929 -33

Edexcel GCE History The United States 1917-54: Unit 5 Controversy - the New Deal and its Impact



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© Andrew Withey