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DEPH STUDY USA (11 - 141)

· How far did the USA economy boom in the 10�s?

1. On what factors was the economic boom based?

. Why did some industries prosper while others did not?

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. Why did agriculture did not share the boom?

4. Did all the Americans benefit from the boom?

Some of the reasons by which the economic boom started were because of the USA’s industrial strength, the impact of the First World War, the Republican policies, the new industries and the new methods and the state of mind. Some industries prosper much more than others. One example was the moto-car industry, which boomed around the 10�s. It all started with Henry Ford, who set up the first moving production line in the world, in a giant shed in Detroit. By the end of the 10�s, the motor industry was America’s biggest industry. But the boom of the car industry not only benefited itself, as dozens of other industries, which were required to build the cars, such as glass, leather, rubber, steel, and petrol industries, among others grew all the same.

But the moto-car industry was not the only one to grow. By the 10�s skyscrapers were built in New York. There was more new building going on the USA than ever before. Also, like many cars were produced and sold, many more roads had to be constructed. These new roads gave rise to a new truck industry. In 118 only a few homes had electricity, but by 1 almost all urban homes had it. There were virtually no civilian airlines in 118, but by the year 10 the new aircraft companies flew over 16,00 flights a year. In the 10�s a new substitute for the silk, which had once been a luxury item reserved for the rich, had been invented rayon. Also, during the 10�s movies became a multi-billion dollar business and it was estimated that a hundred million cinema tickets were sold per week.

As I have already mentioned, almost all the industries of America boomed and grew starting on the 10�s onwards. The number of cars in 11 triplicate by 1; the number of radios multiplied its number by 16 in a period of years; the number of telephones doubled between 115 and 10; and in 11, there was one fridge for every one, while by 1 there were 167. But, in spite the growth of all these companies and big industries, there was still one that not only did not share the boom, but was hit by it. Farm income dropped from $ billion in 11 to $1 billion in 18. This lost was due to four main causes

· The First World War had so bankrupted Europe that few Europeans could afford buy American farm produce any longer. Besides, the tariff barriers put up by the Republicans to protect American industries made Europe poorer sill so it could not afford American produce.

· Farmers were also struggling against competition from the highly efficient Canadian wheat producers. All of this came at a time when the population of the USA was decreasing, and there were fewer mouths to feed.

· Overproduction also created a huge problem in farming. From 100 to 10, while farming was doing well, more and more land was being farmed. The result was that by 10 it was producing surpluses of wheat, which nobody wanted.

· Farmers were not just a small part of the USA population. Almost half of it lived in the rural areas, mostly working on farms or in business, which sold goods to farmers. In 10, six million rural Americans were forced of the land. Many of these unskilled workers migrated into cities, where there was a little demand for their job.

That’s why I can tell that not all the Americans benefit from he boom. None farmer did benefit from it, but at least they could move to the cities and try to find any work, although they knew it was little for them they could do there. The ones that seemed to have no chance at all were the America’s Black population. They were particularly badly hit. They had always done the least skilled jobs in the rural areas. As they lost their jobs on the farms, three quarters of a million of them joined the ranks of the unemployed. The majority of farming families remained very poor in the 10�s. While the rest of the country got electricity, they did not. While others bought new goods, they went without. The boom benefited a very big part of the industries and American people, but not other part. Not only the farmers were not benefited, but their income dropped $ billion in a period of years.

· How far did the USA society changed in the 10�s?

1. What were the roaring 0�s?

. How far was the intolerance in USA’s society?

. Why was the prohibition introduced and then later repealed?

4. How far did the role of women changed in 10�s?

The roaring 0�s was the name given to the 10�s. The name suggests a time of riotous fun, loud music and wild enjoyment when everyone (supposedly) was having a good time. But this was not the way everybody thought. The poor farmers who were set off their land in the 10�s and had to go to move to the cities did not see this decade as a glorious one. For those who joined the boom, this was a time of liberation and rebellion against traditional values. For those who did not get any advantage of the boom, it was a time of anxiety and worry.

The USA society was very intolerant, though sometimes intolerance has a bit “hidden”. In theory, individual groups lost their ethnic identity and blended together with other groups to become just “Americans”. In America’s big cities the more established immigrant groups competed for the best jobs and the best available housing. These groups tended to look down on the more recent eastern European and Italian immigrants. These in turn had nothing but contempt for Blacks and Mexicans, who were firmly at the bottom of the scale. Intolerance in the USA towards the black people was so that the whites set up an organization called the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) which used violence to intimidate black people. The Klan became a powerful political force in the 10�s. Faced by such intimidation, discrimination and poverty, many blacks left the rural south and moved to Chicago and New York principally, where they had a better chance to get good jobs and good education.

In the nineteenth century, in rural areas of America there was a very strong “temperance” movement. Members of temperance movements agreed not to drink alcohol and also campaigned to get others to give up alcohol. Most of these members saw what damage alcohol did to family life. They wanted to stop that damage. There were two main movements the Anti-Saloon League and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Both movements objective was to convince and persuade the government to make a law were they prohibited alcohol. Soon after many important people backed and supported the banning of alcohol. In 11 the prohibition of alcohol became law. This prohibition did not last as long as it was thought. Prohibition was abolished in 1 because it seemed that all it had achieved was to make America more lawless, the police more corrupt, and to make gangsters rich. Besides, prohibition never had support in the urban states. Maryland, for example, never introduced. The government appointed thousands of federal agents to destroy liquor supplies and to arrest anyone breaking the law. But no US citizen paid attention to this. Some people set up their own stills to make home-made whisky, and others went to illegal bars. Prohibition of alcohol during those years was a complete failure.

Another thing that changer greatly in the 10�s was the role of the woman. Before 114, middle-class woman in America had to wear very restrictive clothes and behave politely. They were expected not to wear make-up and their relationships with men were strictly controlled. They had to have a chaperone with them then they went out with a boyfriend. They were expected not to take part in sport or to smoke or drink in public. In most states, they could not vote. Most women were expected to be housewives, and very few paid jobs were open to them. All these changed in this decade. All the expectations women had to fulfill kind of disappeared. In the 10�s, hey got the vote in all states. They wore more daring clothes, smoked and drunk with men, in public. And they went out with men, in cars, without a chaperone. They kissed in public. In urban areas more women took on jobs. Women were less likely to stay unhappy marriages. To sum up, all that was seen rare or impolite of the women behavior before the 10�s, it was seen as something almost completely normal and usual during the roaring 0�s.

To conclude, many things have changed concerning to the US society. Some of them have changed for good, like the role of the woman; others have changed for bad, like the creation of the KKK and the contempt towards the Blacks and the immigrants in general (specially the Mexicans); and others have changed but brought back to normal after a few years, like the prohibition of alcohol.

· What were the causes and consequences of the Wall Street Crash?

1. How far was speculation responsible?

. What impact did the Crash caused on the economy?

. What were the social consequences of the Wall Street Crash?

4. Why did Roosevelt win the elections in 1?

One very important cause, which led to the Wall Street stock market to collapse, was speculation. There were many new investors, as anyone could buy shares, watch their value rise, and then sell the shares later at a higher price. Many Americans decided to join the stock market. Many of these investors were speculators, who didn’t intend to keep their shares for long. They borrow money to buy some shares, then sell them again as soon as the price has risen. But not only individuals speculated. Banks themselves got involved in speculation. American banks lent $ billion for speculating in 1. But in 18, demand for shares was at an all-time high, and prices were rising at an unheard-of rate. To summarize, I can say that the Wall Street stock market crashed because at the beginning, people were confident that prices were carrying on upwards, so there were more buyers than sellers. But, later on, people started thinking that prices might stop rising, so all of a sudden there were more sellers than buyers. After that, the whole structure came down. This is exactly what happened in 1.

There were, of course, many kinds of consequences that arose from the Wall Street Crash. Of course, many people lost lots of money, but the rich were the ones who lost most. Many others borrowed money in order to buy shares which now were worthless. They were unable to pay back their loans to the banks and insurance companies, so they were bankrupted. But, the most important thing damaged or destroyed was the one thing which was crucial to the prosperity of the 10�s confidence. As banks failed, people stopped trusting them and many withdrew their savings. Americans now kept their money instead of buying goods or shares. Business cut production further and laid off more workers. They reduced the wages of those who still worked for them. By 1, America was in the grip of the most important economic depression the world had ever seen. By 1 there were 14 million unemployed, and 5,000 banks had gone bankrupt. Farm prices the same as America’s international trade had been drastically reduced.

At this time, no one saved from the depression. In this way this Crash is very different from the Boom of the 10�s. In the Boom, not all the Americans benefited from it (the farmers did not), but during the Crash, all the Americans were destroyed, from the richest to the poorest. But, as usual, the ones that had to scrape a meal from the leftovers of more fortunate people were the farmers. Huge numbers of them weren’t able to pay their mortgages. When sheriffs came to seize their property, bands of farmers with pitch forks and holding hangman’s nooses persuaded the sheriffs to retreat. To make matters wore for farmers, overfarming and drought in the central southern states turned millions of acres into a dust bowl and had driven farmers off their land. In the towns the story was not much better. At night the parks were full of homeless and unemployed. They queued for a cheap meal. America was suffering a period of malnutrition and starvation.

Roosevelt had won the elections in 1 mainly because Hoover, who was the actual President from the USA, the one who, six months before the Wall Street stock market collapsed, said “We in America are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before”, was also regarded as a “do nothing” President. He tried to encourage the US export trade although without much success. Even more damaging to Hoover’s reputation, was how little he tried to help those who were suffering because of the Depression. He believed that social security was not the responsibility of the Government. Hoover appeared to be heartless and indifferent to the suffering of the American people. There could not be a greater contrast to Hoover than his opponent, the Democrat candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who believed strongly in “active government” trying to improve the lives of ordinary people; had plans to spend public money on getting people back to work. As Governor of New York he had already started doing this on his own state. He was not afraid to ask on advice on important issues from a wide range of experts such as factory, union leaders or economists. That’s why in 1 he won the elections and became President of the USA.

· How successful was the New Deal?

1. What was the New Deal as introduced in 1?

. How far did the character of the New Deal changed after 1?

. Why did the New Deal encounter opposition?

4. Why did unemployment persist despite the New Deal?

5. Did the fact that the New Deal did not solve unemployment meant it was a failure?

The New Deal as introduced in 1 by President Roosevelt was formed by 4 principal measures, which were supposed to help the USA get out of the depression. Those measures were to get Americans back to work, to protect their savings and their property, to provide relief for the sick, old and unemployed, and to get American industry and agriculture back on their feet.

During the first hundred days of Roosevelt’s presidency, most of the things he had promised or wanted to achieve were done successfully. He first acted on the lost of confidence the Americans had towards banks, that is why he had ordered to close every bank, and to remain closed until government officials had checked them over. Four days later, the 5,000 banks closed in 1 re-opened and Roosevelt encouraged people to put their money back into banks, and many people do so. In the Hundred Days Roosevelt sent fifteen proposals to Congress and all of them were adopted. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration set about meeting the urgent needs for the poor. The Civilian Conservation Corps was aimed at unemployed young men in particular. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration tried to take a long-term view of the problems facing the farmers. And the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) set up two important organizations The Public Works Administration which used government money to build schools, roads, dams, bridges and airports; and the National Recovery Administration which improved working conditions in industry and outlawed child labor. But not all related to the New Deal is a success. It was also meeting opposition and criticism. On the one hand, conservative forces in the Supreme Court ruled that the NIRA was unconstitutional. On the other hand, radicals were complaining that despite these measures the poor were still suffering.

Roosevelt’s New Deal was also bound to attract opposition as his Republican opponents particularly objected about the immense cost of the New Deal, which had to be paid for by the American taxpayer. Many rich Americans were not happy about paying for the New Deal through increased taxes.

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