History - In Search of the American Dream: 1917-1996

By Arafat1
  • First World War

    The USA entered the First World War against Germany
  • President Wilson

    President Wilson announced his fourteen points. A progressive democrat- re elected president in 1916. In 1917, Wilson- took US into the WW1.
  • End of World War 1 and Wilson last years.

    The end of the war did not leave the US impoverished and in turmoil as it did much of Europe. Yet it seems to have resulted in a mood of disillusionment(mood of disappointment). 1920- Wilsonian zeal, whether for domestic reform or a new world order, was out of fashion. Incapacitated by a stroke- Sep 1919, Wilson proposed no further reform measures during his last two years in office.
  • Volstead Act (Prohibition introduced)

    Prohibition of the manufacture and the sale of alcoholic beverages.
    Enacted in 1919 to provide enforcement for the 18th Amendment.
  • USA rejected the league of nations

    Did not join the league of nations, motivated by Republican concerns that the League would commit the US to an expensive organisation that would reduce the US ability to defend its own interests.
  • Red Scare

    1917 Russian Revolution aroused fears of Communism- associated with the colour red, hence the 'Red Scare'. Americans- alarmed at the emergence of an American Communist movement. Wave of industrial unrest in 1919- interpreted as revolutionary. Fear of revolution increased when homemade bombs were posted to politicians and industrialists. An anarchist bomb- killed 38 people on Wall Street.
  • The 1920 election

    Republican bosses chose Warren Harding, a conservative as their presidential candidate. Harding triumphed through his bland speech, where he declared that "America's present need is not heroic but healing, not nostrums but normalcy". 'normalcy' was apparently what Americans wanted. Harding triumphed, winning 60% of the popular vote.
  • Reaction to the Red Scare

    A wave of Repression followed.
    Congress expelled socialist members.
    32 states passed laws making membership of syndicalist organisations a crime.
    Around 9,000 people were arrested and held without trial: over 500 aliens were deported.
  • Republican Dominance, 1921-29

    Republican Party dominated American politics throughout the 1920s. They believed that Govt Intervention in the economy should be kept to a minimum as they are sympathetic to big business.
    Harding- 'We want less government in business and more business in Government'.
  • Warren Harding

    He appointed a number of able men to key posts- e.g Herbert Hoover, who became secretary of commerce, but he gave other posts to some of his 'Ohio gang'. There was extensive corruption within his administration in 1923 e.g interior secretary Albert Fall was imprisoned for misappropriating funds or accepting bribes. Harding died in 1923.
  • Calvin Coolidge

    VP Coolidge now became President. Honest and Incorruptible(like Harding).
    "He became a symbol of traditional values threatened by the forces of change" to most Americans.
    He had a laissez-faire philosophy. 'The business of America is business, he said. 1924 election- he won 15 million votes; John Davis, his democratic opponent won 8 million. The USA remained prosperous and Coolidge remained popular, although he did and said very little.
  • Babe Ruth

    Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in one year
  • The 1928 election

    Republicans selected Herbert Hoover when Coolidge refused to stand in 1928. Hoover won 58% of the popular vote. The Republicans also won large majorities in Congress.
  • Hoover, Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression

    Hoover soon faced serious economic problems. October 1929- the value of stocks and shares plummeted, hence the Wall Street Crash helped bring about the Great Depression. December 1932- 12 million Americans were unemployed and many blamed hoover. He was seen as doing too little to improve the economic situation or to help those in need. In reality, he intervened in the economy more energetically than any of his predecessors- nearly doubled federal works expenditure in 3 years.
  • The 1932 election

    Hoover was re-nominated as Republican presidential candidate. Democrats chose NY Governor FDR. July 1932- Roosevelt pledged himself to a NEW DEAL for the American people, although he did not define exactly what he intended to do. Nov 1932- he obtained 22.8million popular and 472 Electoral College votes to Hoover's 15.8million popular and 59 EC votes. Democrats- won large majorities in both Houses of Congress
  • Hoover Acts

    Depression seemed to be under control in early 1931, but as things deteriorated in 1931-32, Hoover was prepared to take Direct Govt Action. 1932- Set up the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to lend money to ailing banks, railroads and insurance companies. Glass-Steagall Banking Act and the Relief Construction Acts (other measures). He also nearly doubled federal public works expenditure in three years.
  • Roosevelt's first term, 1933-36

    Inaugurated President in March 1933, Roosevelt remained President for the rest of his life, winning a total of 4 Presidential elections.
  • Roosevelt's Character

    Roosevelt lost the use of his legs in 1921 after he had been stricken with polio. He refused to let his disability end his career, remaining cheerful and optimistic. The complexities of his character baffled historians and contemporaries. He projected extraordinary charm and warmth, but he could also be evasive and devious. Historian Ted Morgan described him as "PART LION, PART FOX".
  • Roosevelt and the New Deal

    He gave Americans hope in his inaugural address that he would improve the economic situation. Roosevelt supported a host of measures to get Americans back to work after taking advice from his former cabinet and his "BRAIN TRUST"(his unofficial advisers- lawyers, journalists etc.). Strengths- receptiveness to new ideas and also able to 'sell' these ideas to Congress and the public. By no means were all his new deals measures successful, but some were and slowly the US economy improved.
  • The Hundred Days

  • Social Security Act

  • Neutrality Act

  • Roosevelt re-elected President

    Roosevelt was re-nominated on a platform promising more reform in 1936. Rep Candidate Alfred wanted to reduce public spending and balance the budget. Roosevelt seemed to go out of his way to stir up class hatreds during the campaign and his strategy worked. He won nearly 61% of the popular vote and carried every state except two. Democrats- dominated both houses of Congress.
  • Supreme Court ‘packing fight’

  • Start of Second World War

  • Roosevelt re-elected president for a third term: a record

  • USA gave Lend- Lease aid to the Allies

  • Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

  • The USA entered the Second World War

  • Roosevelt re-elected for a record fourth term

  • Death of Roosevelt

  • Truman became president

  • Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

  • End of Second World War

  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine highlighted the need to contain communism
  • Marshall Aid

    Marshall Aid promised to Europe
  • Truman elected President

  • McCarthy/ McCarthyism

    Senator McCarthy declared there were Communists in the State Department.
  • Start of Korean War

  • Eisenhower elected President

  • End of Korean War

  • Army McCarthy hearings

  • Brown v Board of Education, Topeka decision

  • Montgomery bus boycott

  • Eisenhower re elected

  • Civil Rights Act

  • Little Rock, Arkansas crisis

  • Sit-in movement began in Greensboro

  • Kennedy elected President

  • Freedom rides

  • The Feminine Mystique published

  • Civil Rights March on Washington

  • Kennedy assassinated

  • Johnson became president

  • Start of summer riots in black ghettos

  • Civil Rights Act

  • Johnson elected President

  • Assassination of Malcolm X

  • Johnson launched his Great Society programme

  • Medicare and Medicaid introduced

  • Voting Rights Act

  • National Organisation of Women established

  • Black Panthers established

  • Assassination of Martin Luther King

  • Serious riots in the black ghettos

  • Nixon elected President

  • Woodstock Festival for Music and Peace

  • Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon

  • Nixon re elected

  • Vietnam Peace agreement

  • Arab oil embargo

  • The Watergate Affair

  • Nixon resigned

  • Ford became President

  • South Vietnam fell to Communists

  • Carter elected President

  • Iran took 60 Americans hostage

  • Reagan became President

  • Reagan tax cuts

  • Reagan re elected President

  • Tax reform act

  • Iran-Contra affair

  • Bush elected President