Course Overview

Course Overview

America: Inequality and Opportunity, 1920-1973

The following is taken from the Exam Board Specification - this tells you everything you need to know for the exam.

If you want the TL;DR scroll down.

‘This period study focuses on the development of the USA during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of opportunity and inequality – when some Americans lived the ‘American Dream’ whilst others grappled with the nightmare of poverty, discrimination and prejudice.

Students will study the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of these two developments and the role ideas played in bringing about change. They will also look at the role of key individuals and groups in shaping change and the impact the developments had on them.

Part one: American people and the ‘Boom’

  1. The ‘Boom’: benefits, advertising and the consumer society; hire purchase; mass production, including Ford and the motor industry; inequalities of wealth; Republican government policies; stock market boom.
  2. Social and cultural developments: entertainment, including cinema and jazz; the position of women in society, including flappers.
  3. Divided society: organised crime, prohibition and their impact on society; the causes of racial tension, the experiences of immigrants and the impact of immigration; the Ku Klux Klan; the Red Scare and the significance of the Sacco and Vanzetti case.

Part two: Bust – Americans’ experiences of the Depression and New Deal

  1. American society during the Depression: unemployment; farmers; businessmen; Hoover’s responses and unpopularity; Roosevelt’s election as president.
  2. The effectiveness of the New Deal on different groups in society:successes and limitations including opposition towards the New Deal from Supreme Court, Republicans and Radical politicians; Roosevelt’s contribution as president; popular culture.
  3. The impact of the Second World War: America’s economic recovery; Lend Lease; exports; social developments, including experiences of African-Americans and women.

Part three: Post-war America

  1. Post-war American society and economy: consumerism and the causes of prosperity; the American Dream; McCarthyism; popular culture, including Rock and Roll and television.
  2. Racial tension and developments in the Civil Rights campaigns in the 1950s and 1960s: Segregation laws; Martin Luther King and peaceful protests; Malcolm X and the Black Power Movement; Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968.
  3. America and the ‘Great Society’: the social policies of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson relating to poverty, education and health; the development and impact of feminist movements in the 1960s and early 1970s, including the fight for equal pay; the National Organisation for Women, Roe v Wade (1973), the Supreme Court ruling on equal rights (1972) and opposition to Equal Rights Amendment.’

In Summary: The Content

This exam is all about people, and how their lives changed. In particular, it is asking about the following socio-economic groups:

  1. Women
  2. African Americans
  3. Immigrants
  4. Native Americans
  5. Industrial Workers (factories mainly)
  6. Farmers
  7. Rich people