Work, Exchange, and Technology

Kate Little, Kimi Kreifels, Gabbi Mercogliano


Work, Exchange, and Technology   1914-Present

This theme focuses on the development of American economies based on agriculture, commerce, and manufacturing. Student should examine ways that different economic and labor systems, technological innovations, and government policies have shaped American society. Students should explore the lives of working people and the relationships among social classes, racial and ethnic groups, and men and women, including the availability of land and labor, national and international economic developments, and the role of government support and regulation.


1930- Hawley-Smoot Tariff

                The Hawley-Smoot Tariff came as a response to the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent depression; it was the highest protective tariff in peacetime history and put in place intense economic criteria for international trade. This worsened the depression and helped shape American economy and society until WWII because it forced Americans into increasing isolationism which wasn’t healthy for the economy.


1933- New Deal

                Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s plan of attack on the depression, it set in place many relief, recovery and reform programs. This changed the American society from one of chaos to on of hope with implementations of programs to boost the economy such as the CCC, the WPA, and FDIC.


1940s- Women and Minorities in the Workplace

                Due to the majority of men (who had previously dominated the workplace) being away at war, factories, corporations, and retailers relied heavily on women and racial minorities as employees. This made for a more economically equal society since women didn’t have to depend solely on their husbands as much, and racial minorities were able to get jobs that paid a little better.


1941- Rosie the Riveter

                Propaganda that was used to get women into the workplace. The Rosie the Riveter poster was one of the most well-known, but the whole campaign sought to empower women and convince them that their service was needed by their country and also that they were strong, and capable enough to take up “men’s work” which went against centuries of social stigmas to change the demographics of the workforce.


1941-1947- Bracero Program

                A wartime agreement between the U.S. and Mexico to import cheap laborers to make up for the deficit of workers while most men were at war. This led to more minorities and the workplace, but it also perpetuated and allowed for anti-immigration laws because the U.S. had enough minorities and cheap labor and they didn’t need any more.


1945- The Manhattan Project

                A secretive wartime project to develop nuclear weapons as a means to the end of WWII. This changed the American economy because then and since then more and more money has been spent on developing, testing and using weapons. It also affected American society and economy as a whole because the technology spread from America to communist China and the USSR leading to the Cold War which caused a lot of social anxiety and economic suffering.


1945- GI Bill

                Education and job security for veterans, servicemen/women and their children, this came as a response to the anxiety of the men returning from war that they would have as much trouble finding work and providing for themselves and their families as in the pre-war depression era. This changed society as military work, in the following years, became more economically stable, and a more rewarding career.


1949- Fair Deal Program

                Harry S. Truman’s program of domestic policy to reform the American economy. While most of it accomplished very little the Fair Deal did help to raise the minimum wage of workers and provide for a more stable economic society in the poorer sects of society.


1960- OPEC

                The Oil Producing and Exporting Countries organization was created to coordinate policies of oil exporting to ensure steady income for the exporters and reliable oil for everyone to whom they would export their oil. The creation of this organization marked a heavy dependence of the U.S. economy and society of Middle Eastern oil and that caused problems when the Middle East became increasingly tumultuous and unreliable.


1993­- NAFTA

                The North American Free Trade Agreement was created to create a trade bloc of all of North American which regulated trades and prevents unfair tariffs. This made North American trade more stable and the countries of Canada, American and Mexico more economically linked.