The Making of Modern America

The Great Depression that happened towards the end of the 1920s and 1930 is still the most extensive and the most serious recession in contemporary history (Temin, 2015). Continuing for almost ten years and touching almost all the world’s nations, it was manifested by sharp decreases in the manufacturing production and price, banking panics, high unemployment, and steep increases in homelessness and poverty rates. The Great Depression was the worst in America, where from 1929 to 1933, manufacturing declined by almost 47%, (GDP) the gross domestic product decreased by 30%, and joblessness was over 20% (Temin, 2015). Bank ineffectiveness led to the Great Depression. During the 1930s, more than nine thousand banks were unsuccessful. Banks did not insure deposits, and thus when they failed, customers lost their money. The remaining banks, not being sure of the economic condition, and fearing their endurance, stopped giving new loans. That worsened the situation resulting in diminishing expenditure.

In the 1920s, the stock market in the United States went through significant growth. As stocks’ prices increased exponentially, it became lucrative to invest in them. People earning average incomes also invested more of their disposable income, and some sold their homes to purchase stocks (Temin, 2015). Before the end of that decade, millions of shares were being accepted on very high margins. Meaning their buying price was funded by loans to be refunded with the profits that were to be generated for an ever-rising share value. When the prices began their unprecedented decline during October 1929, many of over extensive shareholders panicked and liquidated their holdings in a rush, worsening the decrease and causing more panic (Temin, 2015). The stock prices decreased by 33% from September to November (Temin, 2015). The outcome was deep psychological distress and a lack of confidence in the economy among businesses and consumers.

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After the stock market failed and there were fears of further fiscal miseries, people from every class halted buying goods. That resulted in a decrease in the number of items generated and, therefore, a decline in the labor force. As individuals lost employment, they could not afford to pay for things they had acquired through hire purchase terms, and the goods were reclaimed. More stock began to accumulate. The unemployment rate rose to over 25% (Temin, 2015), meaning people spent less to assist in improving the economic situation.

Three ways that the new Deal sought to address the problems of the Great Depression

The New Deal focused on a government-controlled market to attaining a balance between the contradictory economic interests. The primary objective of the government was to ease the distress of the great number of unemployed workers. Agencies like the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) were formed for the distribution of emergency and relief government aid and to offer short-term employment in the construction industry and youth jobs in the state forests (Temin, 2015). The New Deal aimed at stimulating the suffering of agricultural communities and businesses. To restore industrial action, the National Recovery Administration was given the power to shape the industrial policies used in managing trade activities, collective bargaining, wages, hours, and child labor.

This Deal also regulated the country’s financial hierarchy to prevent a recurrence of the stock market break down of 1929 and the huge bank crashes (Temin, 2015). The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) approved government insurance for deposits in the Federal Reserve System member banks, and the government established the Security and Exchange Commission to protect investors from fraudulent stock-market activities.

Explain how the end of World War II contributed to the rise of Cold War tensions by doing the following:

The effect of the arms race on the rise of Cold War tensions

The Cold War arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union is an example of an arm’s race in the 20th century (Thies, 2013). The United States’ use of a nuclear bomb ended World War II, which resulted in a determined and soon effective effort by the Soviet Union to obtain such arms, and an enduring nuclear arms race between the two superpowers. The arms race led to an increase in Cold War tensions as the two countries competed to use nuclear weapons.

How differing ideologies led to increased Cold War tensions.

The Cold War is known for the ideological conflict that happened during the time. It was a ‘face-off” or a rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States following World War II. At the time, the Soviet Union was a communist state founded on the collectivist philosophy, whereas the United States was a contemporary liberal that was mainly founded on individualism values (Thies, 2013). That implies that while the Soviet Union was placed in the extreme-left economic spectrum, the United States was placed in the far-right economic spectrum side. The variation in principles was a significant basis of the clash between the two states since at the time, the Soviet Union strived to increase communism to other states, whereas the United States endeavored to prevent that using its containment plan. Therefore, the Cold War was seen as the ideological clash between the left side and the right side of the fiscal band.


The effect of Cold War tensions on American culture and domestic policies

Cultural wars between the two superpowers had a great influence on the lives of most Americans. As a propaganda tool, national security agencies promoted the making of anti-communist cinemas and advised Hollywood that movie scripts should be distorted to eliminate mentioning of less-than-commendable features of American account (Thies, 2013). That resulted in movies that sparked loyalty and increased mistrust of the communist movement in the United States. The political wars between the two superpowers were not restricted to Europe. America adopted a strategy known as “containment,” through which it dedicated itself to avoiding any more extension of soviet authority (Thies, 2013). The political policy of containment led to American military interference across the globe. The Cold War resulted in the election of anti-communist Presidents in the United States like Nixon, Reagan, and Kennedy.

Two changes that came about as a result of the civil rights movement

In America, slaves were freed due to the Civil War. However, they were offered basic civil rights via the American Constitution’s Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments (Thies, 2013). Struggles to secure the federal safety of such rights persisted in the subsequent century. Through peaceful remonstration, the Civil rights movement in the 1960s changed the segregation model by race in public amenities in the South (Thies, 2013). It attained the most critical development in the legislation of equal-rights for the Black Americans from the time of Reconstruction.


Temin, P. (2015). Great Depression. Banking Crises, 144-153

Thies, C. G. (2013). The Roles of Bipolarity: A Role Theoretic Understanding of the Effects of Ideas and Material Factors on the Cold War. International Studies Perspectives, 14, 3, 269-288.