Edexcel Paper 1 – USA c.1916-1996

Paper 1, Option 1F: In search of the American Dream: the USA, c.1916-1996


AL Edexcel USA & S Africa Route_F_topic_booklet

AL Paper 1 & 2 SOWS Route_F_USA & S Africa

Overview: This option comprises a study in breadth, in which students will learn about the dramatic political, economic and social transformation of the USA in the twentieth century, an era that saw the USA challenged by the consequences of political, economic and social inequalities at home and of its involvement in international conflict. The focus of study is on developments and changes over a broad timescale and so the content is presented as themes spanning a significant duration: 1917-80. This option also contains a study in depth of historical interpretations on a broad question, which is contextualised by, and runs on from, the themes: what impact the Reagan presidency had on the USA in the years 1981–96.

Themes Content

  • A changing presidency: the rise and decline of Republicanism to 1933; the influence of Roosevelt; changing styles of presidential leadership, 1945–72; a decline in confidence, 1968–80. · Influences on the political landscape: from rugged individualism to New Deal ideas in the 1920s and 30s; the Red Scares and anti-communism, 1917–80; liberalism, counter-culture and the conservative reaction, c1960–80. 1 The changing political environment, 1917–80 · The impact of war on domestic politics: the reasons for a return to ‘normalcy’ and a commitment to isolationism, 1917–41; US emergence as a Cold War superpower from 1941; the impact of involvement in Korea and Vietnam. · Black American civil rights, c1917–55: life in the South and the impact of northern migration, 1917–32; the impact of the New Deal, the Second World War and the Truman presidency; from legal challenge to direct action, 1917–55. · Black American civil rights, c1955–80: changing patterns and approaches, 1955–68, including southern-based campaigning, the emergence of Black Power and King’s northern strategy; the impact of civil rights legislation: achievements and limits to success, 1955–80. 2 The quest for civil rights, 1917–80 · The search for minority rights, 1960–80: the reasons for, and nature of, Native American and hispanic American campaigns; the emergence of the gay rights movement; achievements, and limits to success, of minority campaigns.

Themes Content

  • The changing position of women, 1917–80: impact of the Roaring Twenties, Great Depression and New Deal on women; impact of the Second World War and suburban life, 1941–60; emergence of the women’s liberation movement, its achievements and limits to advancement, 1961–80. · The impact of immigration, 1917–80: the nature of, and response to, immigration in the 1920s; the impact on urban life, 1919–41; the impact of the Second World War, government policy and its consequences, 1941–80. 3 Society and culture in change, 1917–80 · The influence of popular culture and news media: the social impact of cinema, popular music and radio, 1917–45; the social impact of television from the 1950s; the influence of broadcast news, 1920–80. · The economic environment: boom, bust and recovery, 1917– 41; the impact of the Second World War, post-war affluence and growth, 1941–69; the challenges of the 1970s. · Changing living standards: fluctuations in the standard of living, 1917–41; the impact of the Second World War and the growth of a consumer society, 1941–60; the impact of antipoverty policies and economic divisions, 1961–80. 4 The changing quality of life, 1917–80 · Leisure and travel: the reasons for, and the impact of, increased leisure time, 1917–80; the growth of spectator sports; the development, and influence, of a car-owning culture and improved air travel. Historical interpretations

Content · The effect of Reagan’s economic policies. · The extent to which ‘big government’ was reduced. · The nature and extent of social change. What impact did the Reagan presidency (1981–89) have on the USA in the years 1981–96? · The extent to which the presidency and US politics were revitalised.