The USA in and after World War I and the years of Great Depression.
. The main three periods which are distinguished in the history of the English language: Old English, Middle English, Modern English.
Whenever we have to deal with a long stretch of time in the history of the country, or of a culture, we naturally tend to divide this stretch of time into some periods. This division must not be arbitrary: it must be based on a set of features agreed in advance and serving to distinguish one period from the other. With reference to the history of English language which covers roughly 1300 years, different features might be taken as aground for such division. The English scholar Henry Sweet (1845-1912), the author of a number of works on the English language and on its history, proposed the following division of the history of English language according to the state of unstressed ending.
The first period –Old English – the period of full endings. This means that any vowel may be found in an unstressed ending. For example, the word singan means ‘sing’, we have at the end vowel a or the word sunu means ‘son’ we have at the end vowel u.
The second period - Middle English is the period of leveled endings.
Old English singan - singen Middle English, sunu - sune Middle English.
The third period is Modern English period, the period of lost endings. This means that ending is lost altogether, we have sing and son.
This division is based on a feature both phonetic (weakening and loss of unstressed vowel sounds) and morphological (weakening and loss of grammatical morphemes).
Now we must define the chronological limits of each period. These are approximately the following: the Old English period begins about 700A.D. (the time to which the earliest writing in English belongs) and lasts till about 1100 A.D.
The Middle English period lasts in the period between 1100 and till 1500 (including the 15th century transitional period).
The Modern English period begins about 1500 and lasts till our own times. Within Modern English period it is customary to distinguish between Early Modern English (approximately 1500-1660), and Late Modern English (approximately from 1660 till our times). These dates are very close to important events in the social and political life of the country: 1100 follows close upon 1066, the year of Norman Conquest at the Battle of Hastings, when the Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror, defeated King Harold and became the king of England. The Norman Invasion of England in 1066 brought French into England. This led to the unusual situation, in which the common people spoke one language (English), and the aristocrats spoke another (Norman French).The two languages gradually began to mix into what we now call Middle English and the year 1500 is close to 1485, the year when the war of Roses came to an end, which marked the decay of feudalism and the rise of capitalism in England. The end of the 15th century is also the time when the English nation arises. The Early Modern English Period coincided with the Renaissance, the time of discoveries and learning, the time of introduction of printing. The loss of most inflectional endings in the 15th c. was the main feature of the Modern English.
According to the famous author of the textbook “A History of the English Language” T.A.Rastorguyeva, the history of the English language is subdivided into seven periods differing in \linguistic situation and the nature of linguistic changes.
Early OE (also: Pre-written OE)
450 - 700
OE (also: Written OE)
700 - 1066
1066 - 1350
ME (also: Classical ME)
1350 - 1475
1476 - 1660
EARLY NEW ENGLISH
Normalisation Period (also: Age of Correctness, Neo-Classical period)
1660 - 1800
NEW ENGLISH (also: MODERN ENGLISH)
Late NE, or Mod E (including Present-day English)
1800 - …
The USA in and after World War I and the years of Great Depression.
In the period between 1800 and 1900 the US changed from a small farming nation to a big industrial country. During these years the US was not very involved in the affairs of other countries. Towards the end of the 19th century, however, this situation was changing. Between 1900 and 1945 the US faced many problems at home and overseas. The country went through a period of economic growth. Then it suffered through hard times. The nation took part in two world wars. By 1945 the US had become the strongest and richest country in the world.
World War I. In summer of 1914 the First World War broke out in Europe. The war expanded to Europe’s colonies in Africa and Asia.
The first shots. Europe had been at peace for many years, but it was not easy peace. Nations quarreled with each other over colonies and trade. For several years the countries of Europe had been divided into two alliances. An alliance is a group of nations that agree to help each other, especially in times of trouble. The first of the European alliances united Great Britain, France, Russia and other small countries. This alliance was called the Allis. The second alliance was called the Central Powers, and the main and most powerful countries in it were Germany and Austria-Hungary. These two alliances opposed each other.
By 1914 both sides were heavily armed. A war could begin any day. One of the main trouble spots was Serbia, a small country in south-eastern Europe. In June 1914 Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was shot and killed while visiting Serbia. The Serbs asked Russia for help and got it. Because of alliance system, almost all of Europe was at war within a week.
The US goes to war. President Woodrow Wilson said that the US shouldn’t get involved in the war. Wilson hoped that the US would be able to stay neutral. However, it was difficult, because the war was fought on the seas as well as on land. In May 1915 a German submarine sank the British liner Lusitania near the coast of Ireland. The liner was carrying passengers and arms from the US to Great Britain. More than, 1000 people were killed, including 128 Americans.
Many Americans were angry with Germany and talked of war. President Wilson warned the Germans that the US would go to war if the Germans continued to sink passenger ships. The Germans promised to stop. But in 1917 the Germans broke their promise to President Wilson. The Germans wanted to stop American ships from bringing goods to Britain. So, German submarines sank some American ships. Wilson considered it an open act of war against the American people. In April 1917 Congress declared war on the Central Powers. The US moved into action. First an army had to be organized and trained. Congress passed a law that required all men between ages of 18 and 45 to register for the army. By November 1917 almost 3 million Americans were in the armed forces. Over 2 million Americans soldiers were sent to Europe, mainly to France. The Americans were welcomed by the Allies who had lost many soldiers in three years of war.
In July 1918 the Allies stopped a major German advance into France. The Allies were helped by American troops led by General John J. Pershing. It was the turning point of the war. The German army began treating (âåñòè ïåðåãîâàðû).
The peace that failed. Austria-Hungary finally surrendered on Nov.3, 1918. On Nov.11 Germany surrendered.
After the war President Wilson went to France to take part in writing the peace treaty. Wilson hoped to make a peace that would prevent war forever. His idea was “a peace without victory”. This meant that no country would be a winner and no country would be a loser. Wilson believed that “only a peace between equals” could last.
Wilson’s peace plan was called the Fourteen Points. The fourteenth point was the main part of his plan. It called for the establishment of an organization called the League of Nations. Wilson wanted all countries to be members of the League. He hoped that member countries would bring their complaints (æàëîáà, íåäîâîëüñòâî) to the League and settle them without going to war.
The other Allies did not agree with Wilson’s idea of peace without victory. They wanted to see Germany’s army destroyed. They wanted Germany to pay for the damages of the war. In the end there was a compromise. Wilson agreed that Germany should pay for the damages of war. The Allies agreed to accept his plan for the League of Nations. Many Americans did not like Wilson’s plan for the League of Nations. They said that the US should not interfere in the affairs of the other countries. They wanted the US to be neutral. The Senate rejected (îòêëîíèë) President Wilson’s plan. The League of Nations was established without the US. When war broke out again in Europe in 1939, the League of Nations was unable to stop it.
After World War I. Changes for women. Throughout the 1800’s there had been slow progress in women’s rights. By 1860 a NY law permitted married women to buy and sell property and spend the wages they earned. After the Civil War women hoped that they would be given equal rights with men. But they were disappointed. The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution gave the vote to black men but not to women. In 1868 Elizabeth Stanton and Susan Anthony started a movement to get a suffrage (right to vote) for women. The women who joined this movement were called suffragists. The suffragists worked hard for many years to bring attention to their cause. They held meetings and marches. They protested in front of the White House. Their protests brought national attention to the cause of women’s suffrage. World War I changed people’s thinking about women’s suffrage. Many men saw the contributions made by women during the war. Others realized that in the war fought for democracy, democracy should begin at home. President Wilson finally supported the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution which gave women the right to vote. In 1920 women all over the country voted for the first time in a presidential election.
Changes for blacks. Black soldiers returned from Europe with high hopes. They had fought bravely in the war and won many honors. They hoped that they would have equal rights with the white population. Instead, when they returned home, they found that conditions had not improved. Many blacks who had moved to northern cities found that they were treated no better than they had been in the south. Almost everywhere they went, blacks faced discrimination. In summer of 1919 riots broke out in many American cities. White crowds attacked blacks, and blacks fought back. After a riot in Chicago more than 30 people were dead and hundreds wounded. There were riots in Washington, too. The situation was made worse by the Ku Klux Klan. The former Ku Klux Klan had died out after Reconstruction. A new Klan was organized in 1915. It attracted people who did not like black Americans, Catholics, Jews and foreigners. In the mid-1920’s the Klan had between 4 and 5 million members.
A return to normalcy. In 1920 Warren G. Harding was the Republican candidate for President. Harding said that he would help the nation “to return to normalcy”. By normalcy Harding meant that Americans would live as they had lived before the war. Many Americans did not want to take part in the affairs of other nations. They wanted to forget about problems and responsibilities. Many people liked Harding’s promise of a return to normalcy. Warren G. Harding was elected in 1920.
The Roaring Twenties. The decade of 1920-1930, called the Roaring Twenties, got its name because of the great excitement caused by good changes in the life of many Americans, and “roaring” good times. Some people called it the time of the wonderful nonsense. Years later, the 1920’s were remembered most of all as the time when many Americans had fun.
A nation on wheels. The automobiles first became popular in the US during the 1920’s. The car had been invented nearly 30 years earlier. But the first cars were expensive. Then, in 1908, Henry Ford produced a practical car called the Model T. other people called Ford’s car the Tin Lizzie. It shook, rattled and sputtered, but it worked. Some people said that the Tin Lizzie looked like a black box on wheels. Between 1908 and 1927 more than 15 million Model T’s were sold.
Henry Ford’s great achievement was making a car that many people could afford. In 1908 the Model T cost more than 800 dollars. In those days that was not cheap. But Ford used the assembly line (ñáîðî÷íûé êîíâåéåð) to cut costs. He put an assembly line in his factory in 1913. By 1916 the price of a model T was below 400 dollars. It was the cheapest car on the road. By 1925 one Model T came off the assembly line every 10 seconds. The price was only 260 dollars. Henry Ford had lot of new ideas. In 1914 he announced that he would pay all his workers at least five dollars a day. Until then some of his workers earned one dollar and some earned 2.50 dollars a day. If workers had more money, said Ford, they would spend that money on cars and other goods, and then business would be good for everybody. The automobile changed the way of life of many Americans.
An age of heroes. The 1920’s was a time for heroes, especially in sports. The whole country knew the names of champions in baseball, football and other sport games. Gertrude Ederle became the first woman who swam from Great Britain to France across the English Channel. One of the greatest heroes of the time was an aeroplane pilot named Charles A. Lindbergh. In 1927 Lindbergh flew his small plane from NY to Paris. He was the first person in history to fly across the Atlantic Ocean alone.
Getting rich. During the 1920’s many people made money by buying shares (àêöèè), or stocks (ôîíäû), in different companies. The place where shares, or stocks are bought and sold, is called the stock market. The price of a company’s stock depends on business conditions. If many buyers want to buy stock in a company, the price of the stock will rise. If many stock owners want to sell their stock, the price will go down. In the 1920’s stock prices seemed to go in only one direction: up. There were stories of shoeshine boys and office workers who made fortunes in the stock market in one day. People were making more money than ever before. Companies used advertising to encourage people to buy their products. Advertising became important to business during the 1920’s. Another way of encouraging people to buy more goods was called installment buying (â ðàññðî÷êó). When people bought a thing on the installment plan, they had to pay only a small part of the total price for the thing. Each month they paid installments until they had paid the whole price of the thing they had bought. People were earning a lot of money, and the system of installment buying seemed a good idea. But some experts warned that too many Americans owed too much money. If people suddenly lost their jobs, they would not be able to pay their debts. Then business would suffer. But few people listened to these warnings. Business was expanding. People kept buying on the installment plan.
Shops were offering a wide range of new products for Americans to spend their money on. New appliances, such as washing machines, refrigerators and vacuum cleaners, made housework much easier.
Depression years. The fulfilled, trouble-free days of the 1920’s came to a sudden end. In the 1930’s the US and the world faced one of the worst times in history.
The depression. Not everyone was getting rich during the Roaring Twenties. Those years were difficult ones for farmers. New farming methods had improved harvest. But the huge harvests meant lower prices because people did not need, and could not use, all the food that was for sale. Many farmers lost money on their corps. In addition, many Americans spent more money than they really had. They had bought many things, including stocks, in the installment plan.
In October 1929 the big trouble began. Stock market prices had been at a record high level. Thousands of stocks were for a sale at a high price. Because the prices were so high, there were no buyers for them. So the prices fell. Then people began to worry. Low prices meant trouble for those who had paid high prices for their stocks. They were afraid that they would lose their money. Now everybody wanted to sell before prices went even lower. But there were no buyers.
Tuesday, October 29, 1929, was called Black Tuesday. Stock prices dropped more and more, and billions of dollars were lost on that one day. The stock market had crashed.
The stock market crash was terrible for business. People had less money to spend on goods. This meant that businesses were selling less. So there was no demand to make new goods. Therefore, factories were closed down, people lost their jobs. As unemployment spread, there were even fewer people who could buy goods.
The US was in a depression – a time when the economy does not grow and many people are out of work. By 1932 one-quarter of all the workers in the country could not find jobs. Many people had to work part-time.
The new deal. In 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President. Roosevelt had promised the American people a “hew deal” (íîâûé êóðñ). Roosevelt said that under the New Deal government would be responsible for helping people during the hard times. Right after he was elected, Roosevelt began working on the problems of the depression.
Roosevelt brought new people into the government: college professors, business people, economists and labor experts – the best minds which he could find. Soon newspapers were calling Roosevelt’s people Brain Trust (Ìîçãîâûé òðåñò). Roosevelt told his Brain Trust that quick action was needed. The important thing was to try something. As soon as Roosevelt was inaugurated, the Brain Trust was ready. In the first 100 days of Roosevelt’s term of office, many new laws were passed. The New Deal laws had two goals. The first was to give some relief for the suffering which the depression had brought to the people. The second was to help farmers and businesses. The New Deal helped people by giving them work. The government organized building new roads, schools, hospitals, bridges, tunnels and dams. Under the New Deal, some young men were sent to camps in rural areas. There they worked at preserving the nation’s land, forests and water. The government paid actors and musicians to put on shows. The government also set up a system of payments to help people who were too old to work and people who were out of work.
The New Deal helped business people and farmers. The government asked businesses to set low prices for goods and not to produce more goods than could be sold. The government paid farmers to plant less: as a result of it, food prices could rise. The government also helped farmers to keep their lands by lending them money. In the Tennessee River Valley the government constructed dams, which gave the farmers protection from floods, richer soil farming and cheap electricity.
The new deal helped millions of Americans. It gave people hope when they needed it.