Course materials

Study questions for 9 May: Group 4

Anne Pylvänäinen, Tiina Kukkonen, Vesa Höijer, Kaisu Saarela , Tuulikki Rentola-Seppälä

What is the New Deal, and why did it come about?
The 1920s was a hegemonic time in the world political history of the United States of America. The country had reached its world-wide military and economic dominance as the result of the First World War. In contrast, the climate of the American domestic policy was simultaneously deteriorating.
In October 29, 1929 the stock market crashed and paper fortune vanished. This led not only to trade collapse and acute bank crisis, but most importantly, to mass unemployment in 1931, and economic recession with poverty, protests and the end of open immigration. By the year 1933 of the American workforce 25 percent had lost their jobs.
“New Deal” was an expression coined by the American politician Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was a domestic program of the administration of president  Roosevelt between 1933 and 1939, which took action to bring about immediate economic relief as well as reforms in industry, agriculture, finance, waterpower, labour, and housing, vastly increasing the scope of the federal government’s activities. The term was taken from Roosevelt’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination for the presidency on July 2, 1932. Reacting to the ineffectiveness of the administration of president Herbert Hoover in meeting the ravages of the Great Depression, American voters the following November overwhelmingly voted in favour of the Democratic Party´s promise of a “new deal” for the “forgotten man.” Opposed to the traditional American political philosophy of laissez faire (policy of minimum governmental interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society), the New Deal generally embraced the concept of a government-regulated economy aimed at achieving a balance between conflicting economic interests. Thus, this “New Deal”  was a political programme or a reform package, or “a social or administrative revolution,” as Jenkins (2017: 168) preferred to call it.
Much of the New Deal legislation was enacted within the first three months of Roosevelt’s presidency,  in “the hundred days”. The new administration’s first objective was to ease the suffering of the nation’s huge number of unemployed workers. Government agencies were established to give emergency and short-term governmental aid and to provide temporary jobs, employment on construction projects, and youth work in the national forests. Before 1935 the New Deal focused on revitalizing the country’s stricken business and agriculture. The farm program was attempted to raise prices by controlling the production of staple crops through cash subsidies to farmers. The New Deal also tried to regulate the nation’s finances in order to avoid a repetition of the stock market crash and the massive bank failures that followed.
Considering this recovery program, the “New Deal” of President Roosevelt more closely, it covered establishment of several regulatory and supervisory agencies. As the result of these founded offices the national government expanded hugely between the years 1933-1939 and the new meritocratic social class was created in the country. According to Jenkins (2017: 167) such agencies as the National Recovery Administration ((NRA) to boost industry and control deflation); the Civilian Conservation Corps ((CCC) to employ unemployed youth to work with reforestation, trail maintenance, national parks and wilderness areas); the Tennessee Valley Authority ((TVA) to build dams and hydroelectric power plants for generating electricity); the Agriculture Adjustment Administration ((AAA) to pay farmers to cut production of basic commodities targeting at raising farm prices); the Public Works Administration ((PWA) to hire workers on infrastructure projects); the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Farm Credit Administration; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation((FDIC) to guarantee small deposits); the Federal Emergency Relief Administration ((FERA) distributed half a billion dollars to state and local agencies); and the Home Owners Loan Corporation, were established in 1933.
These offices and agents known by their various alphabetical acronyms were taken primarily to insure deposits and tighten bank regulations as well as to combat and reduce very high unemployment rates of that time in the USA. In 1934 the Securities and Exchange Commission ((SEC) was set to regulate the stock market); the Federal Communications Commission, while the Works Progress Administration ((WPA) assisted in creation of public jobs); the National Youth Administration ((NYA) was aimed at part-time job-creation for millions students, and youngsters); the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) allowed for workers their organising and collective bargaining); the Social Security Board ((SEB) granted benefits of old-aged, widows and unemployed, as well as disability insurances) were founded and in 1935 the Rural Electrification Administration ((REA) to electrify most of the farms). In 1937 as a part of the New Deal, the Farm Security Administration and the United States Housing Authority were created. The Federal Housing Administration insured private home-improvement loans to middle-income families and was a home-building agency as well. In 1938 the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation was inaugurated.
Perhaps the most far-reaching programs of the entire New Deal were the social security measures enacted in 1935 and 1939, providing old-age and widows’ benefits, unemplomet composition, and disability insurance.  Due to the National Labour Act of 1935 workers received the European type of rights to organise themselves to labour unions and negotiate better wages and working conditions. Maximum work hours and minimum wages were also set in certain industries in 1938.
The New Deal programmes did not erase the unemployment totally, but they managed to improve people´s life conditions and the situation in the society in general.
To summarise, the “New Deal” was a milestone in the USA’s history. Then, the role of government strengthened, federal administration reinforced through establishment of large-scale operations and government participation in economic activities and welfare of the American citizens. The financial regulations and public works had a strong influence on the country’s infrastructure.
Despite resistance from business and other segments of the commity to “socialistic” tendencies of the New Deal, many of its reforms gradually achieved national acceptance, and both major U.S. parties came to accept most New Deal reforms as a permanent part of the American life.
New Deal / Encyclopedia Britannica
Boyer, P. S. (2012) American History: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jenkins, P. (2017). A History of the United States. 5th ed. London: Macmillan International Higher Education and Red Globe Press. New Deal.

How did the United States contribute to the Second World War? Why did 
the country join the war relatively late?
In the late 1930´s the public opinion and overall attitude among the Americans continued to be negative in regard to interfering to any other countries´ conflicts. Namely, the Americans thought that joining the WWI had been a serious mistake. The USA also practised policy of isolation and disarmament and it was not prepared for war. Moreover, the Neutrality Act restricted the US to sell arms to opposing parties. This Act was later amended so that the conflicting parties could buy weapons on a “cash and carry” basis, which was helpful to France and Britain allied against Germany during the WWII. 
Gradually, the Americans ‘attitude started to change, when Britain was left alone to fight against the Nazi Germany in 1940. Americans felt sympathy towards the Battle of Britain, but was still slow to give aid. Later the United States gave Britain old destroyers in exchange for long leases on naval and air bases in the Western Hemisphere. The trade enabled the United States to gain supremacy in the Caribbean areas. Also, the US naval vessels began to protect the British passenger- and good transportation ships from the Germany´s U-boats by conveying them on their voyages on the seas. Iceland was later occupied by the USA in protection from the Germany. 
The US domestic debate about the ethnics of politics, foreign policy, the usage of power and propaganda in achieving political goals that had hindered the USA to give help to the allies in Europe, turned to opposite in 1941. Namely, in Asia, the Japanese started to invade China and South-East Asia, which the Americans did not approve. The Japanese sank an American ship in the Pacific in 1937 and consequently the Americans prohibited the trade with the Japanese including the oil trade. The Japanese did not have enough oil and other essential products, and they attacked the American naval base in Pearl Harbour in December 1941, which ended with the Americans’ declaration of the war to the Japanese. The Japanese troops were victorious in the beginning, but were hit back by the Americans in some hard battles in the Asian islands. In 1944 the Philippines was freed by the Americans and in 1945 the USA won two crucial battles on the Japanese islands: Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The war between the USA and Japan ended in August 1945, when the USA dropped two atomic bombs in Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with devastating consequences. 
The US forces accompanied the British troops (Grand Alliance) against the Germans in the Northern Africa, where the crucial battle of El Alamein was taken place in 1942. After the victorious battle the Allied continued the battles against Germany in Sicily and Italy and eventually defeated the German troops. 
Russia was fighting with Germany in the Eastern Europe. At first Germany was winning and heading into the Russian soil, but was beaten back by the Russians eventually; the Leningrad and Stalingrad battles were the key points to turn the war successful for the Russians, and the German troops started to withdraw themselves from the Russian territory the Russian troops on their heels. 
On the 6th of June in 1944, the D-Day, the American, Canadian and British troops landed on Normandy and gradually moved ahead in France, Belgium, Germany and other European countries occupied by Germany. 
In Germany, the Allied continued their actions by bombarding German cities, among others Berlin and the historical town of Dresden. Berlin was liberated, when the Russians attacked the city from the East and the Allied approached it from the West. Consequently, Germany surrendered on the 7th of May 1945. Before that day, President Roosevelt had passed away and his vice President Harry Truman had taken his presidency. 
All in all, the Second World War killed and wounded hundreds of thousands of Americans. The WWII had many social, cultural and economic impacts in the American life, for example, the mobilization of work force and post-war economic boom ended the depression and led to full employment. What is more, internationally the USA becoming the world’s economic and military superpower contributed strongly to the launch of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945 together with 49 other delegate countries, which signed the charter for founding of this world-wide organisation. Also notable is that although relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had been strained in the years before World War II, the U.S.-Soviet alliance of 1941–1945 was marked by a great degree of cooperation and was essential to securing the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Encyclopaedia Britannica online: Retrieved on 24.4.2020. 
Boyer, P. S. (2012) American History: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jenkins, Philip. (2017). A history of the United States. London: Red Globe Press.
Office of the Historian: U.S.-Soviet Alliance, 1941–1945: 
World War II in Colour. 2009. Netflix historical documentary series. 

Our answer to the 3rd question:   

The United States under the Reagan administration:
1.  Reagan’s life before his presidency 

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born  in February 11, 1911 and died in June 5, 2004. He studied economics and sociology. He acted in school plays, won in a screen test in 1937, and became a movie actor. Since then he played in 53 films and was well-known by his oral skills. No wonder that as the President he was titled as “the Great Communicator”. In 1966 Reagan became nominated California Governor and again in 1970. 
2.  Reagan as a president: general information

Ronald Wilson Reagan’s era as the US President took two periods, precisely from 1980 till 1989. This 40th US president was elected as the oldest man ever at the age of 73 years with the biggest number of electoral votes than any presidential candidate. Reagan’s presidential career was blowy and challenging, for instance, in 1981 there was an assassination attempt on him. Then, to be precise, on March 30, 1981, John W. Hinckley, Jr. shot at Reagan in Washington, D.C.
3.  Reagan’s domestic politics 
Reagan was a conservative right-hand Republican and under his political program called the Reagan Revolution or the reaganism, he wanted to revitalize the American people and diminish government´s influence on them through […] “the great, confident roar of American progress and growth and optimism” [...]. 

 In his domestic policies, Reagan with his administration became famous for tax cuts and free-market ideology. He with his officials wanted to stimulate
economy, reduce business regulation, decline organised labour, and cut funding for social security programs in order to increase revenues and domestic
spending. Reagan engineered a massive 25 percent tax cut over three years for individual and corporate income taxes. 
Although the low-income people’s economic situation ameliorated a bit during the Reagan era because of the tax cuts, on the other hand Reagan’s cuts in education, low-income housing and the program of health insurance did not improve the poor Americans’ life.  In addition, the amount of unemployment augmented as a result of the recession of 1982 and the bad economic situation became even worse because Reagan’s cuts were not enough to improve the American economy. For instance, companies went under, and the national debt increased. Besides, people striked and Reagan fired the strikers which did not improve the situation. 
Nevertheless, by 1983, the American economy begin to ameliorate and the country “entered a period of prosperity that would extend through the rest of Reagan’s presidency” apart from the two last years of it. Reagan had for example increased the taxation in order to improve the American economic situation.  As a result of the successful economic measures taken by Reagan’s administration,  the  inflation decreased,  the stock market boomed and the employment rates increased, and consequently Reagan was re-elected the US President in 1984. 
On the other hand, it seems that Reagan’s administration did not always take successful measures in order to ameliorate the American economy, since “critics maintain that his policies led to budget deficits and a more significant national debt” because of the increasing American military expenses; “some also held that his economic programs favoured the rich”.  In 1987-1988 the economic crisis started, when the stock market collapsed in
October 1987. It followed that most savings and loans were vanished between the years 1988-1991. Then, in the summer of 1990 employment figures deteriorated.
When it comes to Reagan’s role in modernising the American army, Reagan managed to gain increased military funding and consequently, Reagan’s massive military programme was the largest and most expensive in peacetime history of the USA.  Reagan wanted to modernise the American forces and that is why  he made many investments on weaponry probably because of the fear of the communism and the Soviet Union. Reagan even got
involved in illegal arm trade with Iran in order to free the American hostages in  Lebanon and to support the anti-Communists, the Contras, in Nicaragua (see the chapters 5.1, 5.2 & 5.3.). 
4.  Reagan as a reformator
Reagan during his tenure in office was reformist. Firstly,, he appointed the first woman, Sandra Day O’Connor, to one of three new justices of the Supreme Court. Secondly, during his administration innovations in computing blossomed because he supported primarily "private sector initiatives". The information age in the American soil began with world-wide known computing firms such as IBM, Apple and Microsoft. Thirdly, the fight against illegal drugs was essential to president Reagan, but particularly to First Lady Nancy Reagan. She led the campaign against drug abuse among the American youth. 
5.  Reagan’s international politics
5.1.  Fight against the terrorism

Reagan was against terrorism and consequently, he got involved in several conflicts with the Arabic countries in order to fight against the terrorist acts and
movements, among others he tried to find a solution in order to solve the problem concerning the Iranian hostage crisis.  

In fact, the Iranian hostage crisis began on November 4, 1979, when Iranian students penetrated the American embassy in Tehran, where its staff was held as hostage. In April 1980 President Carter decided to carry out a military rescue operation, which failed essentially. Instead, Reagan’s campaign tied a secret deal with the Iranians to release the 52 American hostages, who were held in Iran for 444 days captivity to prevent the Carter administration from unveiling this so-called “October surprise”, taking place before the election day in October 1980. 

In addition, Reagan fought against the terrorism in Lebanon and Libya. The military actions against Lebanon started when the US marine battalion was sent to Lebanon in 1983 because of a truck bomb in Beirut. It was a terrorist act against Americans committed by suicide bombers who killed 241 American soldiers. The air attack of Libya took place in 1981 and the  American bombings restarted in 1986 after Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub. 

5.2.         Relations between the Soviet Union and the United States 

Reagan  saw the Soviet Union as the “evil empire” together with other pro-Soviet governments. According to him, the Soviet Union and the communism was the reason for all the problems in the world and consequently,  the Americans had to battle against them. The so called Cold War continued and it was at its worst during the Reagan era.  

Consequently, in 1983 Reagan launched the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), labelled as “Star Wars" program according to the popular science-fiction movie. The US Congress funded this research project and the SDI was a plan to develop space-based weapons to protect the United States from attacks by Soviet nuclear missiles. In fact, Reagan’s governance increased military costs highly and facilitated utmost the military competition between the Soviet Union and the United States. The relations between the USA and the Soviet Union became even  more strained in September 1983 after the shot down of a Korean airliner by the Soviets over strategically sensitive territory on Sakhalin Island. All 269 people on board, of them 61 Americans were slaughtered. 
On the other hand, Reagan forged a diplomatic relationship with the reform-minded Mikhail Gorbachev during his second presidency and in 1987 the leaders of the USA and the Soviet Union signed an intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty in order to eliminate their missiles from Europe. That same year, Reagan spoke at Germany’s Berlin Wall, a symbol of communism, and challenged Gorbachev to tear it down. Twenty-nine months later, the people of Berlin dismantled the wall.
Reagan’s  second term  was thus more successful in terms of  "the American foreign affairs which is  exemplified by state visits made by Reagan and
Gorbachev in 1988 which culminated the countries’ warming relationships". In addition, Reagan’s administration began the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks
(START) to reduce the strategic nuclear arsenals by 50%, large multiple warhead missiles as well. 

In brief, president Reagan was regarded as the vital person who contributed to the end of the Cold War, although on the other hand, he increased the US defence spending a considerable amount of money on its development during his two presidential terms. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1989 and the high military costs of the military competition with the US has been one reason for the collapse. 
5.3. Battle against other communist countries than the Soviet Union

Reagan’s international politics was anti-communist as already mentioned in the chapter 5.2.,  and that is why he fought against some Asian, Central American and African countries with communist regime, among others against Angola, Mozambique, Cambodia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Afghanistan. The communist expansions needed to be prevented and that is why  Reagan’s administration battled against Nicaraguan leftist, Sandinista government, too and got involved in the warfare with Grenada. In fact, on October 21, 1983, the Caribbean nation of Grenada was invaded by the USA, to prohibit Cuba’s growing influence in the area. Relations with the communist China were challenged during Reagan’s administration but they were gradually improved with an exchange of state visits of 1984. 
Boyer, P. S. (2012) American History: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
General knowledge of economic studies
History TV.
Jenkins, P. (2017). A History of the United States. 5th ed. London: Macmillan International Higher Education and Red Globe Press.
Ronald Reagan. April 15, 2020.
Ronald Reagan. President of United States. April 15, 2020.
The Iran-Contra Affair. April 15, 2020.
The late 20th century. The Ronald Reagan administration. April 15, 2020. 


Study questions for 9 May: Group 3

Group: Leena Teinilä, Minna Suikkari, Noora Lahtinen ja Camilla Anttila 

- What is the New Deal, and why did it come about?

After the stock market crash in 1929, the United States sank into depression. Bank crisis became acute in 1931 and trade collapsed. This caused deflation. Unemployment rate rose and in 1933 nearly 13 million people were unemployed. Wages and salaries declined significantly. Production in agriculture and industries declined. The constant population growth rate decreased.
The President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration in cooperation with congress created a program between 1933 and 1939 to provide relief to the economic situation. That meant reforms in industry, agriculture, finance, waterpower, labour and housing. This New Deal consists of the First Hundred Days and Second New Deal. First, president Roosevelt declares a bank holiday and thus tries to prevent bank failures. Then he continues by signing the Beer-wine Revenue Act in order to legalize the sale of beer and wine.

Among the most important acts are Civilian Conservation Corps and Civil Works Administration which were against unemployment and provided public works for many Americans. Federal Housing Administration was created to regulate mortgages and housing conditions. The Federal Security Agency dealt with health, education and social security. Home Owners’ Loan Corporation in 1933 was meant to assist with the refinancing the homes. National Industry Recovery Act was an attempt to regulate industry and to raise prices. The Public Work Administration provided public work projects. Social Security Act was targeted for senior citizens and the disabled. The Tennessee Valley Authority Act enabled the federal government to build dams and produce cheap electricity. Works Progress Administration provided job opportunities in state or local projects.
The New Deal brought back faith in democracy. It also redefined the role of the government in the welfare of the United States and its citizens.

To some extent, the New Deal helped the gross national product of the United States to rise. People became better off in material terms, too. Unemployment rate was still high despite the New Deal. Finally, the beginning of the Second World War and the need of weapon production lowered unemployment and increased the gross national product.
As a result of the New Deal, the modern labour movement was born. Some of the Acts are still in operation for example the national old-age pension system of the Social Security Act, unemployment insurance, minimum wages and federal agricultural subsidies.
Jenkins, Philip, The history of the United States. Facts on File 2010 Kelly, Martin, Thoughtco.,2020

- How did the United States contribute to the Second World War? Why did the country join the war relatively late?

The United States was not very active in the beginning of the war. Since the the First World War cost them a lot and antiwar sentiment in the United States was strong. But, the expansionism of Germany and Japan raced the fears of possible war in the Europe anyway.  E.g. The war was opposed among American communists, because the consequence of the Nazi-Soviet pact and also among the ethnic groups, that may have general sympathy for home countries or historical reasons for opposing the western allies.

The President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882- 1945) himself was the opponent of fascism and he probably had one of the clearest vision and strategy how to confront and defeat the dictatorship. He was aware that the public wanted The U.S. to stay out of the war, but at the same time he wanted to do everything he could to prevent a German victory.
The events in Europe had a direct impact in American attitudes. Relying on the public’s sympathy for Britain and France, Roosevelt persuaded Congress to revise the Neutrality Acts
(1935) which prohibited loans and arms sales to belligerent nations, in order to allow Britain and France to purchase arms on a “cash and carry” basis—that is, on the condition that they pay immediately in cash and transport the arms themselves.

By mid 1940 all the allied powers had been defeated except the embattled and impoverished Britain. The U.S. gave the British 50 destroyers in exchange for long leases on naval bases in the western hemisphere. This way The U.S. achieved the naval supremacy in the Caribbean. The US commitment increased over the following months in the naval cooperation with Britain.
In addition to that the U.S. had frozen Japanese assets in the U.S. by July 1941. Historians have said that Roosevelt hesitated to ask for a formal declaration, because most of the American public still supported neutrality. He believed that he could obtain a public consensus in favor of war only if the country were attacked by a foreign power.
On December 7 ,1941 Japanese forces attacked the main US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaiji, causing immense damage specially to the battleships. The United States declared war immediately. Right after that German declared war on the U.S.

After all the important Pacific battles American forces had secured the general supremacy at sea and in the air, which allowed e.g. the reconquest of the Philippines.
In spite of all that focus in the Pacific, US commanders had made the early decision that Germany remained the chief military enemy, and the major military thrust would be in Europe.
It is said that Roosevelt manipulated events in the Pacific in order to provoke a Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor and that way force the United States to enter the war on the side of Britain.

Before the end of the war, the allied commanders were worried about Japanese revenge against the large numbers of Americans and Allied prisoners in the event of invasion. In addition to that, Japanese had proposed unrealistic terms in order to prepare negotiated peace. After all this U.S. administration was encouraged to use new atomic bomb. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 forced Japan to surrender. Earlier in the Europe, June 6th 1944 the allied land at Normandy and opened second front in Europe. The Red Army came from the east and claimed all the territory under its control for the soviet sphere. The allied armies converged on Berlin. Hitler committed suicide on April 30th 1945. The war in Europe ended on May 8, 75 years ago. 

Jenkins, Philip, The history of the United States. Facts on File 2010 Kelly, Martin, Thoughtco.,2020

- What was the country like under the Reagan administration?

Reagan administration started in 1981 after Reagan campaigned against president Jimmy Carter. Reagan gained major popularity within the conservative and evangelical Americans and managed to win 44 states in the electoral vote. His campaign included strong pro-states rights beliefs and traditional family values that tapped into the previously inactive evangelical Christian voter base. Reagan also snared the American working class to his side by promises of the American dream coming true to anyone.

Once in office, Reagan made tax marginal tax cuts, deregulated industries such as air travel and banking, cut funding from Medicaid and tried to cut funding from social security program. He also tried to defund environmental protection and the study of human caused climate change. He also made it harder to be eligible for unemployment benefits. Meanwhile he increased spending on military, which then escalated the ongoing cold war

On his second term Reagan did manage to negotiate with the Soviet leaders and signed the INF treaty in 1987 that saw the abolishment of all short- and midrange missiles of both countries and put a halt to the nuclear arms race.

Reagan was unsuccessful enact his agenda on social policies such as banning abortion and integrated busing (that saw to white and black kids going to school in a same bus), and mandating a school prayer. However, he did nominate conservative justices to the supreme court, one of them being USA’s first ever woman justice Sandra Day O’Connor, which saw to conservative influence in future policy making.

Other notable things from Reagan’s administration is the war on drug that’s effects are still seen today. It was a militant effort to reduce drug use within the US. It led to increased conviction rates within minorities, especially blacks.

Reagan was also vocal about not supporting the LGBT community and his response, or the lack of, to the AIDS crisis infuriated the gay community. The AIDS crisis led to the deaths of over 40 thousand Americans and heavily stigmatized the gay community. It is still to this day one of the darkest moments in LGBT history.

Study questions for 9 May: Group 2

The Cultural History of the English-Speaking World
Study Questions for 9 May 2020
Laura Aalto-Setälä, Annika Huuskonen, Päivi Hyyryläinen, Heini Kilpi, Marjo Lehtinen and Outi Vesalainen
During this session we’ll concentrate on the United States in the 20th century.
- What is the New Deal, and why did it come about?

The New Deal was preceded by an economic crash, which happened in 1929. Banks were failing around the world, trade collapsed and the world entered an era of deflation. The national unemployment rate rose rapidly in 1930s, which caused hunger demonstrations and violent protests in major cities. The political atmosphere was tense and there were fears that a dictatorship might emerge from the growing chaos.  (Jenkins 2017, 164-166.)

In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt was elected as the president of United States. He began to take political and economic actions to improve the chaotic financial situation. The congress made enormous reforms during the “hundred days”, which is also called the New Deal. The first step was to rescue the financial system, which brought an Emergency Banking Relief Act and a Home Owners Loan Corporation to provide a longer-term security due to “bank holiday”. Another massive task was to deal the problem with unemployment and poverty. There were established countless of regulatory and supervisory agencies to provide employment. For example, there were a Federal Emergency Relief Act and a National Industrial Recovery Act to get people back to work. Huge investments were put in buildings, roads, bridges and infrastructure.  (Jenkins 2017, 167-168.)

The New Deal can be seen both, as a reform package and as a social and administrative revolution. The reforms made ran contrary to received role of government in American national life, especially in areas such as the power of the federal government and the sharing of responsibilities between Washington and the states. The New Deal laboured the national insurance programme known as Social Security and gave American workers the legal rights to organise and bargain collectively. In addition, the economic effects of the financial reforms were twofold. On the other hand, people got possession of material goods such as cars and telephones. GNP per capita rose from $615 in 1933 to $954 by 1940. On the contrary, the federal debt almost doubled from 1933 to 1939. (Jenkins 2017, 168-170.) 

The years between 1920 and 1945 changed America due the 1930s New Deal and actions. US changed from a provincial society with minimal foreign affairs to a great power with its new domestic affairs. These years shaped America towards a modern and global state. (Boyer 2012, 90.)

Boyer: American History
Jenkins: The history of the United States 

- How did the United States contribute to the Second World War? Why did the country join the war relatively late?

September 1939 was the beginning of a war between only three major European powers: Britain, France and Germany. They were followed in June 1940 by Italy, in June 1941 by Russia, and in December 1941 by Japan and the USA – though the conflict as a whole had actually began in July 1937 with war between China and Japan. 

The outbreak of full-scale conflict between Japan and China in July 1937 had little to do with the USA and its people. Neither did Germany’s pre-war actions in the 1930s. Even Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939, and the declaration of war by Britain and France seemed to have little relevance to the USA. President Franklin D Roosevelt made a speech in Chicago in October 1937, when he called for the quarantine of aggressive and warlike countries, and he also publicly condemned the nature of the Nazi government in Germany. The Americans did not want America to become entangled with foreign countries and wars overseas. The slow recovery from the Great Depression, with continuing high unemployment and farm problems, seemed to demand a concentration of effort on recovery at home rather than adventures abroad.

Hitler’s armed forces unexpectedly won quick victories, knocking France out of the war. The Third Reich took control of western and central Europe; Mussolini’s Italy opened a new front against Britain in the Mediterranean. All this threatened, perhaps in a few months, to defeat the surviving Ally. Now it seemed that unless help was provided America might have to deal on its own with a German-dominated Europe. France, the Netherlands and Britain had colonies in the southeast Asia. Military resources had to be concentrated in Europe and the Mediterranean and the colonies were left without proper protection. In late September 1940 Japan sent troops into the northern French Indochina. In the second half of 1940 the US became a support for Britain, and it grew greatly in importance as a factor in world affairs. In September 1940 Germany and neutral Japan, along with Italy, signed the Tripartite Pact.

Anti-war sentiment in the United States was quite overwhelming, with a widespread sense that US involvement in the First World War had been disastrous and costly, all to benefit ungrateful allies who had largely reneged on their immense debts. Between 1939 and 1941 Roosevelt had to pursue a careful strategy, repeatedly denying that he sought foreign entanglement, while providing the British and French with as much aid and support as could be given without creating a public scandal (Jenkins 2007: 209-210). 

Roosevelt moved cautiously; there would be a Presidential election in November 1940, and as he was running for an unprecedented third term it could be an uphill fight. He pledged to keep the US out of direct involvement in the war. In September 1940 Roosevelt had provided 50 obsolete American destroyers to Britain. In the winter of 1940–41 he declared that America would be an “Arsenal of Democracy”, and he succeeded by March 1941 in putting through Congress Lend-Lease legislation, providing arms to Britain without direct payment. In August Roosevelt and Churchill staged a spectacular summit aboard warships off Newfoundland; they issued the Atlantic charter, a joint declaration opposing acts of international aggression and openly condemning Hitler and Nazism. From September the president ordered that the US Navy began escorting British convoys.To deter Japan from occupying more Asian territory or entering the war on Germany’s side, Washington made use of powerful economic sanctions. In July 1941 the Japanese moved military forces into southern Indochina, and in response Washington froze Japanese assets and, along with the British and Dutch, cut off oil exports to Japan. Negotiations in Washington with Japanese diplomats continued, but in the end civilian and military leaders in Tokyo decided to seize direct control of British and Dutch resources in southeast Asia, especially the oil. Japan decided to mount pre-emptive attacks, against both the Philippines and the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.

The neutral USA entered World War II when a Japanese fleet launched a big surprise air raid against its Pacific naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu Hawaii on 7 December 1941. After the U.S. declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S.

By the end of the war, more than 12 million American soldiers had joined or were drafted into the military. The end of the war would send the U.S. into a Cold War due to concessions made to the Russians in exchange for their aid in defeating the Japanese. Communist Russia and the United States would be at odds with each other until the downfall of the USSR in 1989.

America and WW2: when, how and why did the US get involved, and why they didn’t enter sooner? (2019) History Extra. The official website for BBC History Magazine. Retrieved from: 3.5.2020

Jenkins, Philip. A History of the United States. Palgrave MacMillan 2007.

Kelly, M. (2019) America and World War II. ThoughtCo. Retrieved from: 3.5.2020

- What was the country like under the Reagan administration? 

The 1980s in the US was a decade of greater hostility to government intervention, labour organising and social welfare; it showed more sympathy for the concerns of the religious Right and commitment to the defence and aerospace industries. Southern voters found the conservative New Right and its expression in the Republican Party and Ronald Reagan. New politics was based on “God and Country, Flag and Family”. Reagan was elected twice as a president of the USA, in 1980 and 1984.

In the Reagan era, the country moved into the information age with firms like IBM, Apple and Microsoft. The stock market boomed and the employment figures seemed good. The truth was though, because many of these jobs were low-paid service positions and often lacking the permanence, that the official unemployment rate rose to almost 10 per cent in 1982-1983. 

Country’s foreign policy during the Reagan era was mainly focused on problems caused by the Soviet Union and its puppets all over the world. The USA assisted militant anti-communist forces around the world; for example in Angola, Cambodia and Afghanistan. Because of this development, the US Defence Department budget rose from $136 billion in 1980 to $244 billion in 1985. At the same time, from 1980 to 1985, the total public debt doubled and in 1987 USA recorded expenditures in excess of $1 trillion.

Money was also being spent on a new generation of nuclear missiles and weapons. On top of that, Reagan announced the start of a programme of space-based missile defence which caused panic among the Soviet leaders. The programme was referred to as “Star Wars” since the technological development of the missiles seemed so incredible. Over the course of 10 years, the government spent up to $30 billion on developing the concept. Confrontations took place also closer to home in countries like El Salvador and Guatemala. The Reagan government helped to support military establishments in many Central American and Caribbean countries. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost in those wars.

The Reagan administration wanted to challenge Communism also in the Middle East. This intervention with fundamentalist Islamic forces, which started originally as a sideshow in the larger east-west struggle, would develop into something much more serious in the later years.

In November 1986 a scandal called the Iran-Contra Affair came to light which originated from the Reagan administration illegally having being sold weapons to Iran to release some American hostages in Lebanon. Some of that money was diverted to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, which were breaking the fundamental human rights in their country. Despite of this scandal, Reagan managed to end his term on schedule avoiding the political meltdown. 

It is hard to assess the legacy the Reagan administration left. On the one hand, they took full credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union, on the other, the world won’t ever know, what would have happened if the US had maintained a more passive role in the relations with the Communist world. What the Reagan era did though was to reduce the nervousness of the Americans about overseas commitments and military interventions. The effect, which has made the USA the military superpower it still is today.

Source: Jenkins: The history of the United States p.216-219, 221

Study questions for 9 May: Group 1

The Cultural History of the English-Speaking World

Sini Hölttä
Anne Nyström
Titta Pentikäinen
Liisa Pylvänäinen
Virpi Vainio

  1. What is the New Deal, and why did it come about?
The New Deal was a series of projects, financial reforms and regulations that were introduced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.  
The presidential election took place in 1932 in the middle of the Great Depression that had followed the stock market crash of 29 October 1929.  
The situation in the United States was very difficult: The Gross national product had fallen from $101 billion to $68 billion between 1929 and 1933 (Jenkins, 208). The unemployment rate had been between 2 and 6 per cent in the 1920s but it rose to 9 per cent in 1930 and reached almost 24 per cent by 1932. This means that nearly 13 million people were unemployed. Some cities suffered more than others: for example in Toledo, Ohio the unemployment rate reached 80 per cent and in Lowell, Massachusetts nearly 90 per cent in 1933 (  The Communist influence was growing and hunger demonstrations and protests were becoming common. Not only the economical situation, but at the same time also weather conditions caused problems for farming (Jenkins 2012, 202-203). 
Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration started a new project to solve the problems. This included several different programmes that were developed and put to use between 1933 and 1938.  
The first step was to rescue the financial system and the first act was a four-day bank holiday, which closed the banks to end the panic that was going on. An Emergency Banking Relief Act and Home Owners Loan Corporation were developed for a longer-term security. 
During the year 1934 a Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation was brought to finance farm loans and A Securities Exchange Act (SEC) was developed to regulate the financial markets. For example a Federal Emergency Relief Act and a National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) were developed to get people back to work. Public investments in infrastructure like buildings, roads and bridges were overseen by the Public Works Administration while The Civilian Conservation Corps employed young people to build for example roads and plant trees. There was the National Youth Administration to provide job training and part-time work for young people and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to provide jobs by building federally funded dams to generate cheap electrical power. (Jenkins 2012, 204-205.) 
The New Deal had a  big impact in Roosevelt's first term, the gross national product rose back to $104billion by 1937. Especially it affected agriculture, enhancing the position of large farms (Jenkins 2012, 208-209).  It also made it possible for American workers to organize (The National Labor Relations Act 1935) and bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions (Jenkins 2012, 206; and created the Social Security Act in 1935 which for example guaranteed pensions and set up a system of unemployment insurance ( 

Jenkins, Philip. 2012. A history of the United States.

  • 2. How did the United States contribute to the Second World War? Why did the country join the war relatively late?

Japan and the United States had had disagreements for decades. Japan had declared war on China and the USA responded to this aggression with a battery of economic sanctions and trade embargoes. During months of negotiations between Japan and the United States, neither side would give in and war seemed inevitable.

Two years after World War II had started, Japan surprisingly attacked Pearl Harbour on December 7th 1941 after planning the attack for months. The next day president Roosevelt declared war against Japan and three days later Japan's allies Italy and Germany declared war on the United States.

The United States and its Allies invaded Sicily in July 1943 and forced Italy to surrender in September. From 1943 to August 1945, the Allies hopped from island to island across the Central Pacific and also battled the Japanese in China, Burma, and India. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allies landed in Northern France. Germany surrendered in May 1945 and Japan on August 14, 1945 after the United States dropped the first atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt, warning him that the Nazis might be able to build an atomic bomb. To ensure that the United States developed a bomb before Nazi Germany did, the federal government started the secret $2 billion Manhattan Project. On July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico desert near Alamogordo, the Manhattan Project's scientists exploded the first atomic bomb.
It was during the Potsdam negotiations that President Harry Truman learned that American scientists had tested the first atomic bomb. On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress, released an atomic bomb over Hiroshima and three days later over Nagasaki. Truman´s defenders say that this was a quick way to end the war without  the necessity of a costly invasion and the probable loss of tens of thousands of American lives.

World War II  ended the Depression and brought millions of married women into the workforce. During the war, African Americans, women, and Mexican Americans founded new opportunities in industry. It initiated wide changes in the lives of the nation's minority groups and dramatically expanded the government's presence in American life. It led the federal government to create a War Production Board to oversee conversion to a wartime economy and the Office of Price Administration to set prices on many items and to supervise a rationing system.


  • 3. What was the country like under the Reagan administration? 

Ronald Reagan became the 40th President of the United States serving from 1981 to 1989. Reagan took office on January 20, 1981. Only 69 days later he was shot by a would-be assassin, but quickly recovered and returned to duty. His grace and wit during the dangerous incident caused his popularity to soar. Under his administration he dealt skillfully with Congress and obtained legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment, and strengthen national defense. 
He embarked upon a course of cutting taxes and Government expenditures, refusing to deviate from it when the strengthening of defense forces led to a large deficit.

In foreign policy he increased defense spending 35 percent, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union. He negotiated a treaty that would eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles but also declared war against international terrorism after an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub.

In 1986 Reagan obtained an overhaul of the income tax code, which eliminated many deductions and exempted millions of people with low incomes. At the end of his administration, the United States was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression.

At the end of his two terms in office, Ronald Reagan viewed with satisfaction the achievements of his innovative program known as the Reagan Revolution, which aimed to reinvigorate the American people and reduce their reliance upon the Government.


Study questions for 4th April: Group 4

 Group: Vesa Höjer, Tiina Kukkonen, Anne Pylvänäinen, Tuulikki Rentola-Seppälä, Kaisu Saarela

1. What kind of political changes were brought about by World War I in the
United Kingdom (and in the British Empire more generally)?
Post-war Britain did not seem like a country that had just experienced a great military triumph. Various political, economic and social problems ensured that the return to peacetime conditions was not easy. After the war Britain was more democratic. Previously under-represented groups such as women and, in particular, the working class became better organised and more powerful during the war. The strict class hierarchy of Edwardian Britain disappeared for good in the immediate post-war years.
In June 1918 the right to vote was given for the first time to all men over the age of 21 and to women over the age of 30. It resulted to millions of new voters in Britain causing to vast changes in British party politics after 1918. The Liberal Party went into steep electoral decline during the 1920s and never recovered. Its status as Britain's 'second' party of government was taken by the Labour Party, a development confirmed when the first-ever Labour government took office in January 1924. Amid these radical changes, the success of the Conservative Party, which dominated government during the inter-war years, constituted the major remaining link to the pre-war British politics.
After the First World War, Britain was in debts to the USA and the economy was in chaos: there were strikes among the workers, unemployment rate was high, and the wartime industries such as coal, ship-building and steel decreased. In addition to this, the working women were forced to give up their jobs to the returning soldiers. In 1922 inflation was warded off by introducing cuts in public spending. Despite of all, living standards and productivity levels in inter-war Britain generally improved.
In 1918 the British Empire started to see its end. Ruling the British Empire became increasingly difficult to do in the post-war world. Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa had taken significant part to the British Empire's war efforts, therefore they wanted to represent themselves in the Paris peace conference in 1919. After the First World War these countries were gradually progressing towards their full autonomy within the British Commonwealth. Also, India had contributed to the Empire´s war efforts. Due to this, Britain promised greater self-government to India, but the main ruling power was still by the Indian Viceroy and the India Office in London. Anyway, the British position in India began to weaken slowly. In the Middle East, Britain acquired two valuable territories: Palestine and oil-rich Iraq. It also established a protectorate in Persia and occupied Afghanistan, but these acquisitions were short-lived. The situation in Africa and in the Caribbean did not change much after the war. The Paris Peace Conference concentrated on dividing the territories of Germany's African empire among the victorious Allies, who showed little interest in extending the principles of self-determination to black Africans.
The National Archives: Britain after the war, The British Empire after the war
2. Who are the “Windrush generation”, and what kind of impact did they have on British culture?

The Windrush generation name refers to the first group of dark-skinned immigrants from the then British colony Jamaica, who arrived to Britain in 1948 on a ship called the Empire Windrush, hence the name. Among the approximately 500 people were families, single men and women and even minorities. They came to Britain by the request of the British government to fulfil the lack of workforce as a consequence of the II World War casualties and devastation in Britain. The political situation in many British colonies and former colonies were unstable and as these people usually also had poor living conditions in the colonies, they also sought better life in Britain. For many, Britain offered an exciting new world of freedom and adventure.
The immigrants got jobs in poorly paid, manual sectors of the economy, including transport and the health service. They were bus drivers, postmen, waiters, shop assistants, cleaners and alike. They settled down mainly in their own communities, where they could practise their own religions, customs and recreational habits, but there were already small Caribbean immigrant communities in Britain due to a free access for immigrants within the British Empire before the year 1962. 

On the other hand, the “Windrush generation” as a term stands for the Windrush Foundation established in 1996 by Sam B. King and Arthur Torrington to celebrate the milestone of the arrival of the first immigrants to Britain. Yearly, on the 22nd June the Windrush Day is being celebrated with exhibitions, church services and cultural events, but also as an iconic new way of being British and as the founding date of multicultural Britain.

Interestingly, the vessel MV Empire Windrush was recreated in the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Between 1948 and the enforcement of the 1971 Immigration Act in 1973 more immigrants arrived to Britain. It is estimated that there are now about half of million people living in Britain who have roots in the Caribbean Islands; Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago as well as in India and Pakistan and other Commonwealth countries.

First the Windrush generation faced both positive feelings and curiosity among the white British citizens, for example, they were regarded as national treasures – as Christian, God-fearing, hardworking immigrants - making a huge contribution to British community and life. They came to rebuild Britain and work in its factories and in its essential services. On the other hand, they confronted hostility and pure racism. Some were afraid of that the immigrants would accept lower wages and ruin worker´s level of wages. As immigration increased, race became a source of social conflict. Competition for jobs and accommodation, racism and discrimination grew in Britain. Kids of the non-white people were bullied and further, the skin colour became an obstacle for several adults to find a proper house or a decent job.

In 1965, 1968 and 1976 Race Relations Acts including the principles of non-discrimination came into force accordingly. They didn´t remove the racism from the British society and the immigration continued causing social and political restlessness and instability in forms of riots.  Attitudes became hostile and in 1958 local black communities were attacked during riots in Nottingham and in London’s Notting Hill, mostly among a working-class people (e.g., later known as skinheads or soccer fans). The British Nationality Act of 1948 enabled free movement of citizens of the British colonies to Britain. However, beginning with the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962, restrictions were added with each of a series of subsequent immigration acts. Therefore, in 1965 Harold Wilson as the PM with his government with the 1965 Race Relations Act officially denied discrimination and racial incitement. However, the laws of 1968 and 1976 indicated that much more would have been done, although these acts emphasized non-discrimination. However, many of these people have remained homeless, jobless, or stuck in Jamaica because of facing “bad immigrant” stereotypes of criminality and illegality targeted at black and brown Commonwealth citizens.

During the generations immigrants have more or less integrated themselves to the British society with impact on culture. They have established their own businesses such as shops, restaurants and other services. The younger generations have gone to school and got educated and employment even among higher level jobs. The first black mayor in Britain was Sam Beaver King, the Mayor of Southwark in London. 

With the immigrants multiculturalism came to Britain to stay producing novelists like Caryl Phillips (The Final Passage, 1985), David Dabydeen (The Intended 1991), Zadie Smith (White Teeth, 2001), Monica Ali (Brick Lane, 2004). These novels describe the lives of ordinary men and women arriving to the new homeland and their search for identity in the turbulence of various heritages, ways of lives, beliefs as they grow up in Britain. Furthermore, two of the most famous Caribbean writers are V.S. Naipaul and Derek Walcott. Naipaul has written a novel A House for Mr Biswas (1961) set in Trinidad in the 1950s and 1960s, and Walcott novels such as Sea Grapes (1976) and Midsummer (1983). He was rewarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. (Christopher 2002, 51.)

Along with the immigrants came also the varieties of music. In the late 1960s black dance music “ska” from Jamaica and the USA was made popular by artists such as Prince Buster and Judge Dread. Whereas, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and others continued creating reggae music.  In fact, Marley born in Jamaica became the first international star from a developing country. His songs and music were influenced by his Rastafarian beliefs, dealt with lives of the poor and underprivileged as well as became the most distinctive and admired in modern pop. Paradoxically, ska and reggae also were very famous among a violent subculture known as “skinheads” known for their soccer hooliganism, racism and violence against blacks and Asians, as well as other minority groups. (Christopher 2002, 39, 141.)

During the late 1960s British fans began to admire black American soul music. They began to meet in the clubs of towns in the north of England to collect and dance this type of music in special all-night sessions using acrobatic dancing in stylish baggy clothing. Between the years 1979 and 1982, mixed-race bands (e.g., the Selecter, the Specials, the Beat and UB40) were established. They made, for instance, an anti-Thatcher manifesto by supporting the Rock Against Racism movement. This left-wing populism embraced black and white musicians and subcultures and helped different forms of black music to become established in Britain. (Christopher 2002, 142, 148.) After the fusion of different Caribbean and British music styles, new music genres saw the light of day. Ska and Soca became later popular in clubs of London and Brixton. Some British musician started to use Caribbean calypso and other Caribbean beats and rhythms in their music.  Little by little, new music genres emerged, for example hip hop, ragga, jungle and dancehall and drum and bass.

During the summer months, all types of music festivals are held in Britain. One of these famous feasts is held in London is the Notting Hill Carnival, Britain’s biggest street annual party. It is organised held the Caribbean community, presenting exotic types of dance music, from Caribbean steel bands to reggae and rap. (Christopher 2002, 54, 131.)

During the 1980s, black musical styles were incorporated into poetry. The British Rastafarian poet Benjamin Zephaniah performed his “rap” verses in forms of rapid, spoken monologues. When punks and Rastafarians protested about high unemployment, homelessness and the National Front, his poems could be heard at demonstrations. A related type of performance poetry is “dub”, a verse-form with the distinctive rhythms of reggae but without the music. Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jamaican born poet, who came to Britain in 1963, has written several volumes of “dub” poetry. His dark and violent poems were often linked to urban areas. (Christopher 2002, 54, 131.) Worth of notice is that some of the Caribbean writers prefer to write in Creole, like the Caribbean poet and actor Anthony Joseph. 

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the only plays dealing with racial oppression presented by visiting actors and playwrights from the United States and South Africa. But new black playwrights gradually become blossoming, such as Michael Abbensetts. His Alterations (1978) presented an authentic West Indian view of black experience in Britain. The themes of Caryl Phillips, Derek Walcott and Winsome Pinnock reflected their experience of cultural change and racial identity. Many were adapted into successful television plays or screenplays for the cinema. Still in 1998 there were only two London theatres which regularly staged black plays. Critics believed this was not because black perspectives were being ignored, but because cultural differences were becoming increasingly unclear; more black actors were appearing in classical productions and musicals, in roles traditionally played by white actors, and works by black writers were becoming more “mainstream”, addressing themes other than race and marginalisation. (Christopher 2002, 68, 75.)

During the 1970s and early 1980s the only films dealing with the experiences of ethnic minorities were made by relatively unknown film-makers with small budgets. A renaissance in black film-making was between 1985 and 1991 thanks to grants to improve conditions followed by the race riots in the 1970s and early 1980s. As a result, several black film co-operatives appeared, (i.e., Sankofa, Black Audio and Ceddo). Isaac Julien made several films (viz. Territories (1984), Remembrance (1986) and Looking for Langston (1989)) expressing the anger and frustration felt by many black Britons. Handsworth Songs of John Akomfrah (1986) dealt with the experience of black Britons in racial conflict in Britain, filmed in Handsworth, Birmingham, during the riots of 1985. But black film-makers were few and their themes gradually became incorporated into the commercial mainstream, as Playing Away (Horace Ove, 1986), which observed humorously hypocrisy and prejudice in an English rural community, when a cricket team from Brixton visits a small country village for a friendly game as part of the village’s “Third World Week” celebrations. (Christopher 2002, 96-97.)

In television, non-whites were increasingly represented in a number of specially written soap operas and sitcoms, such as Empire Road (BBC, 1978–1979) written by West Indian playwright Michael Abbensetts for a black cast. Mind Your Language (ITV, 1977–1979) was set in a language school and presented students with national stereotypes. Love Thy Neighbour (ITV, 1972–1976) told about a white, racially prejudiced proletarian couple and their West Indian neighbours. During the 1980s the attempts to write for a black cast continued. In 1983 Abbensetts wrote No Problem (C4 and LWT, 1983–1985) with Mustapha Matura, a West Indian writer. (Christopher 2002, 120-121.)
Al Jazeera News. 18.4.2018. The UK´s Windrush generation: What´s the scandal about?
BBC. 2020. How the Windrush Generation transformed British arts and culture?
BBC News. 18.4.2018. Windrush generation: Who are they and why are they facing problems?
Burns, W. E. (2010). A Brief History of Great Britain.  New York: Checkmark Books.
Christopher, D. (2002). British Culture: An Introduction. London: Routledge.
The Windrush scandal and the Jamaica deportation flight: what you need to know. February 11, 2020. .  
Wardle, H. & Obermuller, L. 2018. The Windrush generation. Anthropology Today. Wiley. 34 (4). 
Webber, F. 2018. The embedding of state hostility. A background paper on the Windrush Scandal Additional research by Anya Edmond-Pettitt. Institute of Race Relations. Briefing Paper No. 11. 
3. Why was Margaret Thatcher such a controversial figure in British politics? 

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013), officially known as Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven, born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England came from a class of small business people and graduated from the University of Oxford in Chemistry. During her Oxford years she began her political career in student politics and later, won her Conservative seat in the House of Commons in 1959. Margaret Thatcher was regarded as a contestable person. As a secretary of state for education and science between the years 1970 and 1974, she eliminated a program that provided free milk to schoolchildren. Thus, her opponents in the Labour Party named her “Thatcher the milk snatcher.” Thatcher also created more comprehensive schools than any other education minister in history to offer rigorous academic education available to working-class children. After the leader of the Conservatives, Edward Heath lost two successive elections in 1974, Thatcher was elected leader of the Conservatives in February 1975 and thus, her 15-year-long dominance began. 

Margaret Thatcher was Europe’s first woman prime minister and the only British prime minister in the 20th century to win three consecutive terms and, at the time of her resignation, Britain´s longest continuously serving prime minister since 1827. She accelerated the evolution of the British economy from statism to liberalism and became, by personality as much as achievement, the most renowned British political leader since Winston Churchill.

She was a controversial figure in British politics. She had strong conservative values, manners and decisions that may have aroused controversial attitudes. She also belonged to the strongly divided class-society. She was a role model for many conservative small entrepreneurs, but her manners and values may have felt distant, for example, for working class men. Not all representatives of older wealthy conservatives were for Thatcher. She was also against gay-lesbian sexual identities. Even if she was a woman, feminists thought that she was against feminism and she did not support women´s rights. As a conclusion, quite many groups of British people regarded her as a controversial figure.

Thatcher favoured strongly libertarian, utmost right hand economic policy. According to the libertarians, every person and enterprise has freedom to make own decisions without government´s limitations. Market mechanism is supposed to lead to the equilibrium of prices and quantities. The state or occupational unions must not give social support, for example, to workers and strikes are not allowed, Thatcher stated. According to the liberal economics, too high wages are the reason for unemployment, and when society hardly gives social support for workers, the wages will gradually settle downwards to reach the equilibrium wage level, where unemployment vanishes. This follows the ideas of Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations. However, British society’s social structures and organs have developed more during Margaret Thatcher’s regime compared to the Adam Smith’s time of the eighteenth-century. The organs and legislation limit the free markets, but libertarian economists think that they should limit markets as less as possible.

In practice, it followed that state-owned enterprises were privatized, public housing was sold to tenants, expenditures on social services such as health care, and education and housing were reduced. Further, due to her policy limitations on the printing of money in accord with the economic doctrine of monetarism were made, and also, actions of trade unions were legally restricted. To regard Thatcherite ethical values, she stressed traditional values, known as “Victorian values” such as traditional family values, self-reliance, moral absolutism, strong nationalism, and hard working. Her anti-communist foreign policy prioritised very close relationship with the United States, especially with President Ronald Regan since his Presidency of 1981. In addition, she played a key role in warming up the relations between the West and the Soviet Union in co-operation with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet General Secretary in the late 1980s.

Thatcher led Britain into the Falkland War, when Argentina at first occupied the Falkland Islands. Even if Britain won the war, the war also aroused criticism because of the casualties, and because of Britain spent money in the war and sent troops in a distant place.

She also became to know as the “Iron Lady”after the coal miners’ strike in 1984 and 1985, when the government saw mining becoming unprofitable and wanted to close mines. This caused the miners walked out. Finally, the miners backed down, and gradually over the next years more mines were closed in England and Wales. Also the strongest and most radical union, the National Union of Miners, was finished.

Thatcher was personally tested by the Irish nationalist terrorism. The IRA killed one of her advisors, Airey Neave, and bombed Thatcher, her husband and many conservative leaders in one of Brighton’s hotels on October 12, 1984, during their annual Party Conference. Thatcher’s with many of their fellows injured, even five died. Thereafter, Thatcher took more active and conciliatory role in formalizing cooperation against terrorism with Ireland, by supporting the Dublin government in Northern Irish affairs more, which made Thatcher’s role more significant from viewpoints of the United States. 

Rising unemployment and social tensions during her first term made her deeply unpopular. By the end of Thatcher’s second term, few aspects of British life had escaped the most sweeping transformation of Britain since the post-war reforms of the Labour Party. She encountered considerable criticism both at home and abroad for her opposition to international sanctions against the apartheid regime of South Africa.  

After her third electoral victory in 1987, she adopted a steadily more hostile attitude toward European integration. Her traditionally pro-European party became divided, and a string of senior ministers left the Cabinet over the issue. Spurred by public disapproval of the poll tax and Thatcher’s increasingly strident tone, Conservative members of Parliament moved against her in November 1990. On November 22 she announced her resignation as Conservative Party leader and prime minister.
Burns William E. (2010) A brief history of Great Britain. Checkmark Books.
Christopher, D. (2002). British Culture: An Introduction. London: Routledge.
Keynes John Maynard (1936). The general theory of employment, interest and money. DOI 10.2307/2980590
Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister of United Kingdom at
Smith Adam, Wight, Jonathan B (2007). An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Harriman House. Ebsco Ebo

Study questions for 4th April: Group 3

Group: Leena Teinilä, Minna Suikkari, Noora Lahtinen ja Camilla Anttila 
1. What kind of political changes were brought about by World War 1 in the United Kingdom (and in the British Empire more generally?) 
After the World War 1 the Royal house was renamed to Windsor because of a cultural reaction against German influence. Generally speaking, democracy became now the leading ideology in Britain. The status of the British gentry started to decline. Casualties in World War 1 were massive and this changed the structure of the society and the social structure of the army. 
In 1918 women, above the age of 30, got the right to vote and run for Parliament. The Fourth Reform Act in 1918 gave the right to vote for all men over age 21 if they were able to prove six months’ residence. 
The church disestablishment act led to an independent Church of Wales. Britain had to grand self-government to most of Ireland. The Northern Ireland remained under Britain’s control. 
Britain as well as its colonies joined the League of Nations which was an international diplomatic group. The purpose of it was to prevent conflicts between nations. The foundation of the League was important for the future development of international relations. 
The Empire starts to weaken. A rising nationalist movement in India led to violent acts. Other parts of the Empire were also unwilling to follow Britain unquestionably. 
After the World War 1 Britain developed to a fully democratic nation. 
The economy took a hit post-war and unemployment reached its peak in 1921 since records begun. Many British workers attended strikes 1919 and women were pushed away from work to accommodate soldiers returning from the war. USA started to emerge as the new strongest economy in the world. 
Burns, William E.: A brief history of Great Britain 
2. Who were the “Windrush generation” and what kind of impact did they have on British Culture? 
Windrush generation is a name for people, who arrived in Britain from Caribbean countries between years 1948 and 1971. In 1948 a ship called MV Empire Windrush arrived in Essex and brought workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands. After the second World war there was a labour shortage and new workers were needed to rebuild Britain and they were invited by the British government. In 1948 all Commonwealth citizens were British citizens. 
Many of these passengers were children and some of them were travelling without travel documents or passports of their own. That’s why there is no 
exact number of those belonging to Windrush generation. There are approximately 500 000 people who arrived from the Commonwealth countries before 1971 and now live in Britain. This number includes people belonging to the Windrush generation. 
The Immigration Act in 1971 gave Commonwealth citizens the right to remain in Britain. These immigrants had no arrival documents or there was no record of those who stayed in Britain. Later, because of tighter immigration rules, these people have had difficulties to prove that they are in Britain legally. 
According to William Burns, the arrival of Windrush immigrant has been seen as a beginning of multicultural Britain. 
In general, this question of immigration caused turbulence in political and social lives. Immigrants as a new labour raised fear among workers and different skin colour evoked hostility. The assimilation to British society was difficult for the newcomers. Political groups took advantage of this racist and anti-immigrant atmosphere. Finally, in 1965 the Race Relations Act was created to forbid discrimination and racial incitement. 

Burns, William: A brief history of Great Britain, 2009 Who are the windrush generation? 
Windrush generation - who are they and why are they facing problems. 
3. Why was Margaret Thatcher such a controversial figure in British politics? 
Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) was the first female prime minister (1979-1990) in Britain. She was also a first woman to lead a major British political party. She was a member of the Conservative party. She won three consecutive terms and she was the most famous political leader since Winston Churchill. 
The major issue in her first term was economic. Her acts concerning regulation and subsidies in businesses caused an increase in unemployment rates. More than three million people were unemployed in 1986. Privatization of state owned industries and public services such as radio and television, gas and electricity, water, the state airline, aerospace and British Steel was one of Thatcher’s main goals. All these factors made her unpopular. However, the Falkland Islands War and the division in the rival Labour party guaranteed her victory in the election and the second term. 
One of the aims of Thatcher’s policy was to reduce the power of unions for example by restrictions of organizing strikes and hiring workers. One notable battle, occurred between coal miners and the Conservative government, was a strike that lasted the whole year and ended without any concessions for the miners. 
Thatcher wanted to support the national competitiveness. In her opinion, the high taxes which were necessary for the welfare and the high wages, demanded by the British unions, prevented to achieve that. 
Thatcherism influenced not only in economics but also in moral and philosophical thinking. Thatcher supported tradition values such as self-reliance, hard work and traditional family. Despite of her gender, she didn’t advance women’s cause in Britain. 
In foreign policy Thatcher cherished strong relationship with United States. One on her foreign policy achievements was the warming of relations between the West and the Soviet Union. During Thatcher’s first term as a prime minister was the Falklands War in 1982. The Irish nationalist terrorism and IRA were characteristic for Thatcher’s era and she was injured in a terrorist bombing at a Conservative Party conference. Thatcher didn’t support European Union and its aims completely and her pro-European party divided because of her negative opinions. 
Thatcher had the strongest support in the southern England, excluding London. Northern England, Wales and Scotland weren’t successful areas for the Conservative party. Margaret Thatcher was widely disliked during her last years in politics and even the Conservative party saw her as a threat for their success. Finally, the poll tax in 1989 caused public disapproval and made her position difficult and her party moved against her. In 1990 she decided to end her political career. 
Burns, William: A brief history of Great Britain, 2009 
Young, Hugo: Margaret Thatcher , Prime minister of United Kingdom 

Study questions for 4th April: Group 2 Laura Aalto-Setälä, Annika Huuskonen, Päivi Hyyryläinen, Heini Kilpi, Marjo Lehtinen and Outi Vesalainen

Laura Aalto-Setälä, Annika Huuskonen, Päivi Hyyryläinen, Heini Kilpi, Marjo Lehtinen and Outi Vesalainen
What kind of political changes were brought about by World War I in the United Kingdom (and in the British Empire more generally)?
The prestige Victorian Britain reached great world power under Queen Victoria (r. 1837-1901) as result of the “Scramble for Africa” and maintained political stability in the second half of the 19th century. Victorian Britain was not gained or reigned in a peaceful spirit. It faced continuous wars on the colonial frontiers but in this period only one war, The Crimean War,  was fought against a European power, Russia, in 1853-1856. In the 20th century the empire had major difficulties with anti-imperial nationalism in the empire and Ireland, competing economies and World War I. (Burns 2010, pp. 154-155.) There were both internal and external challenges in the early 20th century British governing (Burns 2010, p. 176).
Britain was, as every major world power,  involved in the Great War of 1914-1918, now known as World War I. The war had profound effects on every European country. To Britain, the most disastrous composition was the colonial and naval rivalry together with Germany’s growing power. The four years of war were bloody. Britain, allied with France, was forced to change its small colonial army to a Continental power mass army. The war needed mass productions of equipment and supplies. The gentry’s ruling force declined as did the social order headed by the aristocrats. (Burns 2010, p. 177-179.) Even though Britain was victorious at World War I , the optimism of 19th century British civilisation ended with it (Burns, p. 181). For the first time,  the postwar Britain came to be a fully democratic country. This included  the suffrage to women above the age of 30 and the opportunity to run for Parliament in 1918. The suffrage were broadened to all men over age 21 capable of proving six months´ residence. Women were granted suffrage on the same basis as men in 1928. (Burns 2010, p. 181)

Burns, William E. A Brief History of Great Britain. Facts on File 2010.
Who are the “Windrush generation”, and what kind of impact did they have on British culture?

The 1948 arrival of the Empire Windrush, a ship bringing hundreds of dark-skinned immigrants from Jamaica, is often treated as a founding date for multicultural Britain, although there were already small Caribbean immigrant communities.Under the auspices of the British Nationality Act of 1948, Commonwealth citizens were granted British citizenship, entry, and rights to settle into Britain. The majority of the Empire Windrush passengers were men from Jamaica. Entire families from Trinidad, Barbados and other Caribbean islanders of various class and professional backgrounds also took the opportunity to immigrate to Britain for economic opportunities. Caribbeans were also recruited to work in the Lyons Tea Houses, British Rails, and the National Health Service sectors. Ships such as the Georgic, Orbita, and Pacifico del Reino in the late 1940s and early 1950s also transported Caribbeans to Britain.

 There were no restrictions on immigration within the empire until 1962, so migration was one solution to the poverty and political turmoil facing British colonies. The new immigrants attracted hostility, both on purely racial grounds and on the fear that they would be a source of cheap labor, undercutting workers’ wages. Signs such, ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs,’ ‘Keep Britain White’ and ‘Blacks go back home’ reflected racial hostility and suggested that the black presence was not welcomed in post-war Britain. That racial friction culminated in the 1958 Nottingham and Notting Hill riots. 
Sir Oswald Mosely, (1896–1980), the prewar leader of the British Union of Fascists, made an abortive attempt at a political comeback by exploiting racial resentment, running for Parliament from North Kensington in 1959 for the anti-immigrant British Movement; however, he received only 8 percent of the vote. More successful was the Conservative Peter Griffiths (b. 1928), who won a parliamentary seat on an openly racist platform in 1964. The National Front, an amalgamation of British racist and neo-Nazi groups, was founded in 1967.

Under Harold Wilson, the British government started to establish agencies and laws to combat racism and integrate the immigrant communities into British life. The 1965 Race Relations Act forbade discrimination and racial incitement and set up a Race Relations Board; it was the first in a succession of acts bearing that name. Subsequent Race Relations Acts would become law in 1968 and 1976. The effect of these acts was limited, but they did establish the principle of nondiscrimination.
Immigrants formed their own communities, with businesses, pubs, restaurants, and places of worship. Relations between the native Britons and the new immigrant communities were often distant, even when not hostile. Relations between immigrant communities and the virtually all-white police force were a particularly sore spot in many cities. Racially motivated street violence, often carried out by skinheads or football (soccer) fans, was also on the rise. The 2011 British Census indicates that an estimated two million black British people resided in the United Kingdom, with the vast majority descended from the post-World War II immigrants. The Windrush Generation and their children’s social, political, economic, and cultural contributions continue to shape and transform modern Britain and British-Caribbean global communities.

Burns, William E. A Brief History of Great Britain. Facts on File 2010. p.225
Hunter, V. (2019, June 09) The Windrush Generation (1948- ). Retrieved from  2.4.2020
Why was Margaret Thatcher such a controversial figure in British politics?
Margaret Thatcher (1925 - 2013) held the office of prime minister in the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and represented the new right-wing politics of the Conservative Party. Not only was she the first female to be elected to rule a European country, but she was also the longest ever serving Prime Minister with 11 years in power.  In that time she made a large number of significant changes to Great Britain such as legal restrictions on the coal miners and trade unions, economic deregulation, privatizing state-owned companies and selling off council houses. Thatcher is also well-known for her skepticism towards Europe and particularly the European common market, The Falklands War and good foreign relations with two Cold War superpowers and their leaders: Ronald Reagan and Mihail Gorbatšov. All three of them assisted the end of the cold war by their political actions. The term “Thatcherism” came to refer not just to these policies but also to certain aspects of her ethical outlook and personal style, including the uncompromising approach to achieving political goals.

The political actions of Thatcher’s government divided British Labour and Conservative Party supporters, geographically North and South, culturally England and Scotland and Northern Ireland.  The most important reasons for these divisions were monetarism, The Falkland War and Miners strike in 1984-1985. Monetarism formed the basis of Thatcher’s economic policies. This involved trying to target the money supply to reduce inflation. It involved: higher interest rates and higher taxes and spending cuts. These policies were successful in reducing inflation, but, combined with a strong pound they led to a deep fall in output. As a result, unemployment rose to three million and remained high throughout the 1980s.  In a difficult political situation, the Thatcher government gained much-needed support by success in the Falkland War in 1982. In April the Argentine Junta invaded the islands and forced Thatcher to act in the firmest way. She sent a British military Task Force to retake the islands and by June 1982 the Falklands were back under British control.  On the other hand, the Falkland War also caused polarization in nationalistic views. One of the most bitter industrial disputes was the miners' strike (1984-85). The strike was one of the most violent and long lasting in British history. Thatcher called Labour and miners ' enemies within’ (a statement that strongly refers to Argentinian enemies abroad) and closed down unprofitable mines. In October 1984 the Irish Republican Army (IRA) tried to murder Thatcher by bombing her hotel in Brighton. She survived unhurt but some of her colleagues were killed or injured.

To sum up, Thatcher was an incredibly controversial figure. Even in death from 2013, she still split the country down the middle into staunch supporters and those who despise her. There were the anti-Thatcher hate campaigns as some people had ‘Thatcher's Death Party’ in the Streets and a protest song called ‘Ding Dong the witch is dead’ went to number 2 in the pop charts. It is very difficult to make an objective assessment of her political legacy, as she is still so divisive and the debate rages on as to whether she was good or bad for the UK. Some commentators have been saying that she saved the economy of Great Britain just before it was too late and others that she destroyed the fabric of society and that she was harsh in her politics. It is undeniable though that she is considered as one of the symbols of Great Britain. Her political decisions that have friends and enemies alike.

Burns, William. E: A Brief History of Great Britain. Facts on File 2010

Study questions for 4th April: Group 1

Sini Hölttä
Anne Nyström
Titta Pentikäinen
Liisa Pylvänäinen
Virpi Vainio

  1. What kind of political changes were brought about by World War I in the United Kingdom (and in the British Empire more generally)?

After World War I there was a series of changes that made Britain a fully democratic country. In 1918 women got the right to vote and run for Parliament which was seen as a kind of reward for women for their effort during the war. Still women were only allowed to vote at the age of 30 as all men got the right already at the age of 21. 
The relations between Britain and Ireland were problematic after World War I. In 1916 an Irish Republic had been proclaimed but the British authorities had suppressed it quickly. In 1922 Britain had to grant self-government to most of the Catholic South Ireland while the Protestant North Ireland remained part of the UK. 
The British Empire had grown during the war since Britain had taken territories from mostly Germans. Even though the official goal was an ultimate independence for the colonies, the practical situation hadn’t really changed. Britain also joined the League of Nations and was the most important nation in  it together with France.
India was the most important of Britain’s colonies and there was a rising nationalist movement which led to a massacre of 300 unarmed Indians by British troops. 
The situation of the British Empire also led to the fall of the Liberal-led government of Lloyd George as his imperial policy actions made the Conservatives leave the coalition. 

(Burns, William. E. 2020. A Brief History of Great Britain. Facts on File)

2.Who are the “Windrush generation”, and what kind of impact did they have on British culture?

People who arrived to the UK from Caribbean countries 1948-1971 are called the Windrush generation. Some had heard that after World War II there were a lot of jobs to do in the UK, some came because of curiosity. The name Windrush generation comes from the ship that brought these workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands to the UK. There were 492 passengers in that first ship. 
The welcome for these people was not only nice and friendly. BBC tells: “Many of them experienced racism and discrimination and often found it hard to get proper home to live in and to make friends with British people. It wasn't always easy for the new arrivals to get jobs. Some companies said they didn't want black people to work for them. Later many of their children were bullied at school because of the colour of their skins. Some of them suffered racial attacks and in later years there were riots in cities across Britain.”
Many of the Windrush generation were children when they arrived to the UK. They came on their parents' passports and never applied for official documents. Because of this, it’s later been difficult for them to prove that they are legally in the UK. The immigration law changed in 2012 and after that these people were scared about their status in the society. Some were even sent to immigration detention centres and faced deportation. However, in 2018 the Government apologised the Windrush generation and helped people to return to the UK if they’d been removed or detained.
Windrush generation brought with them parts of the cultures they’d been living in. Their cultures were really diverse already with all the influences from Latin America, Africa and Asia. The UK became more Caribbean. To mention a few, they impacted food, dance, art, writing and music (f.ex. dub, jungle and grime) culture in the UK. 

3.Why was Margaret Thatcher such a controversial figure in British politics? 

Margaret Thatcher was the first woman prime minister and the first woman leader of the Conservative Party. As a movement, Thatcherism was willing to break with the postwar social compact using an aggressive, confrontational attitude towards unions, hostility to state ownership and plans to make substantial cuts in the welfare state. Thatcher´s statement: “There is no society, only individuals”, was seen as an attack on the intellectual basis of the welfare state. Thatcher tried to make British society more “American”-competitive, meritocratic an self-interested, and her policy was challenging the old elite.
Thatcher´s traditionalism had the paradoxical result that Britain's first woman prime minister did little or nothing to advance either feminist causes or women within the Conservative Party or the government. She was seen as an enemy for the feminists and politically active gays and lesbians. Thatcher loved confrontation and for example the goal miner´s strike in 1984 and 1985 was a great challenge to Thatcherism. Also The Northern Ireland and Irish terrorism challenged Thatcher in 1980s.
On the other hand, she was strongly anticommunist in foreign policy and had a good relationship with U.S and the president Ronald Reagan. She also played a very important role in the warming of Soviet-Western relations in the late 1980s and could do business with the Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. 
Thatcher faced opposition not only from the left and marginal groups but also from the churches of England and Scotland as well as other Christian denominations. To many Britons, Thatcher´s individualism and radical capitalism often seemed soulless as well as heartless.

(Burns, William. E. 2010. A Brief History of Great Britain. Facts on File)

Study questions: Group 3

Liisa Pylvänäinen
Anne Nyström

- The Empire: What was the ‘Scramble for Africa’ and what did it mean for the United Kingdom in particular? 

The Scramble for Africa was the process from 1800 to 1900 by which all of Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia, was divided among European colonial powers. The U.K came out with more teritory than any other power, including Nigeria, most of East Africa and domination over Egypt. 
Victorian Britain was constantly engaged in wars on the colonial frontiers.

Source: A Brief History of Great Britain

- The United States: What were the causes of the Civil War? What were its consequences? 

The election of a Republican president opposed to the expansion of slavery into the western territories led seven states in the lower South to secede from the Union and to establish the Confederate States of America. After Lincoln notified South Carolina’s governor that he intended to resupply Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, the Confederacy fired on the installation, leading the President to declare that an insurrection existed in the South. 

1. During the war Congress adopted policies that altered American society. The Homestead Act offered free public land to western settlers. Huge land grants supported construction of a transcontinental railroad. The government raised the tariff, imposed new taxes, enacted the first income tax, and established a system of federally-chartered banks.     
2. The Union lost about 360,000 troops during the Civil War and the Confederacy about 260,000. This is almost as many soldiers as have died in all other American wars combined.     
3. The 13th Amendment, ratified in December 1865, ended slavery in the United States.

- The United Kingdom: What was the Great Reform Bill of 1832 and how did it change the lives of ordinary British people? 

In 1832, Parliament passed a law changing the British electoral system. It was known as the Great Reform Act. 
This was a response to many years of people criticising the electoral system as unfair. For example, there were constituencies with only a handful of voters that elected two MPs to Parliament. In these rotten boroughs, with few voters and no secret ballot, it was easy for candidates to buy votes. Yet towns like Manchester that had grown during the previous 80 years had no MPs to represent them. 
In 1831, the House of Commons passed a Reform Bill, but the House of Lords, dominated by Tories, defeated it. There followed riots and serious disturbances in London, Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Yeovil, Sherborne, Exeter and Bristol.  
The riots in Bristol were some of the worst seen in England in the 19th century. They began when Sir Charles Weatherall, who was opposed to the Reform Bill, came to open the Assize Court. Public buildings and houses were set on fire, there was more than £300,000 of damage and twelve people died. Of 102 people arrested and tried, 31 were sentenced to death. Lieutenant-Colonel Brereton, the commander of the army in Bristol, was court-martialed.
There was a fear in government that unless there was some reform there might be a revolution instead. They looked to the July 1830 revolution in France, which overthrew King Charles X and replaced him with the more moderate King Louis-Philippe who agreed to a constitutional monarchy. 
In Britain, King William IV lost popularity for standing in the way of reform. Eventually he agreed to create new Whig peers, and when the House of Lords heard this, they agreed to pass the Reform Act. Rotten boroughs were removed and the new towns given the right to elect MPs, although constituencies were still of uneven size. However, only men who owned property worth at least £10 could vote, which cut out most of the working classes, and only men who could afford to pay to stand for election could be MPs. This reform did not go far enough to silence all protest.

Study questions: Group 2

Noora Lahtinen
Camilla Anttilla
Titta Pentikainen 
Sini Hölttä 
Virpi Vainio

- The Empire: What was the ‘Scramble for Africa’ and what did it mean for the United Kingdom in particular? 

  • The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914. By 1914, only Ethiopia and Liberia were independent of European control. United Kingdom occupied more new territories than any other European country in Africa: both in West Africa as well as in East Africa from the north to the south. Territories in the east were important for the UK to secure the network to India. 
  • Cape-Cairo railway was important in securing mineral and agricultural resources. Control of the Nile had strategic and commercial importance
  • As a result: Britain occupied or annexed Egypt, the Sudan, British East Africa (Kenya and Uganda), British Somaliland, Southern and Northern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe and Zambia), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Orange Free State and the Transvaal (South Africa), Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, British Gold Coast (Ghana) and Nyasaland (Malawi) --> more than 30% of Africa's population.

- The United States: What were the causes of the Civil War? What were its consequences? 

The Civil War (1861-1865) was a war between the northern and the southern states of America. 

    • The northern and the southern states had become rather different for example in their economical systems. 
    • One major difference was the attitude towards slavery. Northern states were against it whereas for the southern states it was an important part of their economy.  

    • enormous loss of human life (up to 750,000 died)
    • hundreds of thousands were maimed
    • material destruction such as industrial plant and railways
    • state finances were in chaos
    • political consequences
    • In the long run the Civil War was also beneficial for industry as the wartime production strengthened the potential on industrial expansion
    • afterwards the country was more like a unity than the sum of its parts

- The United Kingdom: What was the Great Reform Bill of 1832 and how did it change the lives of ordinary British people? 

The Great Reform bill changed the voting system in both England and Wales

  • The electoral college system had been criticised as unfair by many for years.
  • there were constituencies with only a handful of voters that elected two MPs to Parliament. There were few voters and no secret ballot, so it was easy for candidates to buy votes. Yet towns like Manchester that had grown during the previous 80 years had no MPs to represent them. As a response to this, the Parliament passed a law changing the British electoral system in 1832. This was known as the Great Reform Act.  
  • The passage of the Great Reform Bill of 1832 was difficult. The Whigs, led by Prime Minister Earl Grey in an uneasy alliance with the radicals, got it through the House of Commons.
  • Rejection of the bill was followed by riots. The Reform Bill did not lead to democracy, but it increased the electorate and provided a more uniform set of qualifications based on property for the franchise.  Scotland´s electorate shot up 14-fold, a stark contrast to that of England and Wales, which went up only about a third.  
  • in the final form it increased the electorate from around 366,000 to 650,000 (about 18% of the total adult-male population in England and Wales)
  • working class felt betrayed by this because there weren't any differences to their lives

Study questions: Group 1

Laura Aalto-Setälä, Annika Huuskonen, Päivi Hyyryläinen, Heini Kilpi, Marjo Lehtinen and Outi Vesalainen
The Cultural History of the English-Speaking World
Study Questions for 21 March 2020
During this session we’ll concentrate on the 19th century.
- The Empire: What was the ‘Scramble for Africa’ and what did it mean for the United Kingdom in particular?
Scramble for Africa was a process from 1880 to 1900 by which almost all of Africa was divided among European colonial powers. Britain conquered Nigeria, most of East Africa and Egypt, and had the vastest colony in Africa compared to other powers. (Burns 2010, 154-155)

The main reasons for African colonization were economic, political and religious. At that time, there was an economic depression in Europe, and powerful countries, such as Great Britain, were losing money. Africa's natural resources, such as rubber, palm oil, gold, copper and diamonds, made Africa a vital resource for the European economy. Britain's interest in Egypt and South Africa was due to wanting to maintain its lines of communication with India. Once these two areas were secure, imperialist adventurers encouraged further territory with the intention of establishing a Cape-to Cairo railway. Britain was constantly engaged in wars on the colonial frontiers. One of the empire´s important roles was to provide a vehicle for British identity. The glory of the empire was presented as something that all Britons could be proud of. On the other hand, imperialism promoted racism, as the native inhabitants were presented as comic figures, in need of British guidance. (Burns 2010, 158; David 2011; VC3 Productions 2019)

A Scottish missionary, David Livingstone (1813-1873), was one of the greatest European explorers of Africa and his actions also contributed to the “Scramble for Africa”. He was convinced of his mission to reach new people in the interior of Africa, introducing them to Christianity as well as freeing them from slavery. (

- The United States: What were the causes of the Civil War? What were its consequences?

The Civil War, also called War Between the States, began in 1861. The war was declared after 11 Southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America.

According to Philip Jenkins, the use of the word “cause” is misleading. Instead, Jenkins thinks that the real question should be why some states seceded and why should departure of some states be seen as an act of treason of war. Jenkins emphasizes slavery as a catalyst to the actions since it was a way of life in Southern regions and abomination in the Northern States. But one has to consider that there were also decades of simmering tensions between northern and southern states not just over slavery, but also over states’ rights and westward expansion. These issues were also combined. In addition, the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 caused seven southern states to secede and form the Confederate States of America, four more states soon joined them.

First of all, there were economical differences. In the mid-19th century, while the United States was experiencing an era of tremendous growth, a fundamental economic difference existed between the country’s northern and southern regions. In the North, manufacturing and industry was well established, and agriculture was mostly limited to small-scale farms, while the South’s economy was based on a system of large-scale farming that depended on the labor of black slaves to grow certain crops, especially cotton and tobacco. Growing abolitionist sentiment in the North after the 1830s and northern opposition to slavery’s extension into the new western territories led many southerners to fear that the existence of slavery in America, and thus the backbone of their economy, was in danger.
Secondly, legislation in the U.S. Congress divided the States. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed, which essentially opened all new territories to slavery. Pro- and anti-slavery forces struggled violently in “Bleeding Kansas”. The Republican Party was founded to the opposition to the act, and it formed a new political entity based on the principle of opposing slavery’s extension into the western territories. Another legislation was the Dred Scott case (1857) which confirmed the legality of slavery in the territories. It led to the abolitionist John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry in 1859 which convinced more and more southerners that northern states were willing to destruct their economy by abandoning slavery. 

Finally, Abraham Lincoln’s election as a President of the United States in November 1860 was the final straw, and within three months seven southern states (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas) had seceded from the United States.

The biggest consequence of the Civil War was the enormous loss of human life. In the recent surveys, it has been estimated that the death toll (battle casualties and deaths from illness) would be at least 750 000. That means that the American losses in this war were much bigger than in the two world wars combined. Especially in the southern part of the country the material losses were enormous. Cities like Atlanta and Richmond were devastated. The destruction of industrial plant and railways had very strong negative effects and state finances were in chaos.

The north had also suffered in the Civil War but as a winning part it achieved some long-term benefits.The veto rights of the southern congressional strength were no longer possible. In 1862 Congress passed the Homestead Act and a Pacific Railroad Act which were crucial to western expansion. New universities were established especially to promote the social improvement of the working classes. The areas in the north-east and mid-west benefited from the industrial expansion which was mostly enhanced by the profitability of wartime production and military contracting. The situation allowed the Republican Party to secure its dominant position over the next 50 years, mainly due to their role as the representatives of patriotism and national unity. While the industrial expansion was strong in the coming decades, the war accentuated the regional differences in the United States.

Many consequences of the Civil War remained permanent. Interesting is that before the war the United States have or do something (plural form) whereas after the war the United States has or does something (singular form). The country was now a unity and, according to Philip Jenkins, that’s what the war was about.


Jenkins Philip: A History of the United States. Palgrave MacMillian 2007

- The United Kingdom: What was the Great Reform Bill of 1832 and how did it change the lives of ordinary British people?
The development of the steam locomotive railroad caused major changes in the British environment and the way of life; people started to travel more. Innovations in newspaper printing, better roads and faster coaches ensured faster and wider circulation of free thinking. 
The power retained by hereditary landowners in the British government of the early nineteenth century. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland continued to be ruled by an hereditary monarchy in tandem with a House of Lords comprised of individuals who were either elevated by the king or inherited the rank from their fathers. Then as now, the only elected Members of Parliament served the House of Commons.
The electoral quirks and an evolving system of patronage ensured a ruling-class monopoly on parliamentary elections in the 1820s. The electoral system hinged on geography and past practice rather than systematic procedures or population surveys. Elites could count upon elections in “rotten” boroughs or “pocket” boroughs where a few electors voted in open ballots as their patrons wished. In districts with larger numbers of electors, meanwhile, votes could be openly purchased and voters openly punished. Electoral seats were given to young men as a gifts, and non-aristocratic M.P.’s were rare enough to attract notice. By the late 1820’s, British government was becoming less reactionary. In 1828, a Tory government under the duke of Wellington repealed the Test and Corporation Acts, which had been in force since 1673. This opened many positions in national and local government to Protestant Dissenters. In 1829, Parliament enacted Catholic emancipation, the Roman Catholic Relief Act, which allowed Catholics to serve in Parliament. This act was accomplished because of government fears of civil war in Ireland.
Reformers wanted specifically the reworking of Britain’s archaic parliamentary election system to more accurately represent the British people. By 1830 events within and far beyond the halls of government conspired to make parliamentary reform not only possible but urgent. There were riots with an echo of the revolutionary events of that year in France.
The death of George IV in 1830 dissolved Parliament and the new king William IV was neither closely allied with ultra-Tory landowners nor opposed to working with the Whigs. The Whigs won the election on a reform platform. The reform was enacted only after mass protests and several interventions by the king. When altered Third Reform Bill was defeated once more in the Lords, Lord Grey asked the king to threaten the Lords with the wholesale creation of new peers. When the king refused, The Whig leaders resigned from Parliament in protest, and the country erupted in tumult, with a run on the Bank of England, non-payment of taxes, and calls for abolition of the monarchy and nobility. Finally, the king agreed to threaten to pack the House of Lords with enough supporters to ensure the bill’s passage, and the Lords reluctantly enacted the measure. The Act to Amend the Representation of the People in England and Wales of 1832 reshaped the political landscape of Great Britain.
More detailed, in 1832, Parliament passed a law changing the British electoral system. It was known as the Great Reform Act. This was a response to many years of people criticising the electoral system as unfair. For example, there were constituencies with only a handful of voters that elected two MPs to Parliament. In these rotten boroughs, with few voters and no secret ballot, it was easy for candidates to buy votes. Yet towns like Manchester that had grown during the previous 80 years had no MPs to represent them.
As a result of the Reform Act 1832 56 boroughs in England and Wales were disenfranchised and it reduced another 31 to only one MP. It created 67 new constituencies and it broadened the franchise’s property qualification in the counties, to include small landowners, tenant farmers and shopkeepers. It also created a uniform franchise in the boroughs, giving the vote to all householders who paid a yearly rental of £10 or more and some lodgers. It was also the formal exclusion of women from voting in Parliamentary elections, as a voter was defined in the Act as a male person. The Reform Bill did not bring Britain democracy, but it increased the electorate and provided a more uniform set of qualifications based on property for the franchise.

Berman, C. V. 2013 “On the Reform Act of 1832.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Web. 18.3.2020
Burns, William E. 2010. A Brief History of Great Britain. Facts on File.
David, S. 17.2.2011. Slavery and the Scramble for Africa. BBC history.
BBC History, David Livingstone. 20.3.2020
VC3 Productions. 26.10.2019. A Brief History of The Scramble For Africa.
The Reform Act 1832 18.3.2020
The National Archives 20.3.2020 käyttää vain välttämättömiä evästeitä istunnon ylläpitämiseen ja anonyymiin tekniseen tilastointiin. ei koskaan käytä evästeitä markkinointiin tai kerää yksilöityjä tilastoja. Lisää tietoa evästeistä