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Ap Eng 11 - 1940 to 1960 Research Paper of American History

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Edgar Lozano

Mrs. Malone

AP English 11

6-14-11

1940 to 1960 Research Paper of American History

According to some historians, the period of 1940 to 1960 was most influential and significant to America. Within the time period of 1940 to 1960, various well known terms are picked out of the hat such as segregation, Jackie Robinson, atomic bomb, Franklin Roosevelt, microwave, social security, the Great Depression, Rosa Parks, Polio, civil rights and most importantly, change. This time period was significant to America as this time period is when America "matured" the most. During this era, it emerged as the world superpower due to the atomic bomb demonstrating the power and technological advances of the United States.

The United States has had many great presidents, but none stand out like Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). He was raised by a very wealthy family and was educated by personal tutors until the age of 14 (Kelley). FDR was admitted into Harvard University and Columbia Law School; he was a very intelligent man. Roosevelt started his political career in 1910 as a New York State Senator and in 1928 to 1930 as New York State's Governor. When 1932 arrives, Franklin Delano Roosevelt becomes the 32nd President of the United States and the Great Depression is left for him to solve; Franklin D. Roosevelt's ideas and policies towards the Great Depression is what got him re-elected for four terms. "President Roosevelt felt it was crucial to invest in the people and to in state government programs in order to boost the economy. He added that the economy had to be built from bottom up and not from top down" (Kelly). Roosevelt spent 12 years in office and had an enormous impact on America. He instated social relief programs and make-work programs of all kinds just to get people to work; he knew if he wanted to rebuild the American economy he would have to give people jobs. With President Roosevelt, a concept of minimum wage was established, child labor was abolished, there was insurance for the unemployed, healthcare for all classes of society and work unions were allowed to be established (Harrington). He also passed various legislation acts such as the Civilian Conservation Corps which hired more than three million men to work on various projects; the Tennessee Valley Authority which used the Tennessee River to provide electricity for the depressed area; the National Industrial Recovery Act which created the Public Works Administration to provide aid to cities for construction and the National Recovery Administration to help businesses; the Securities and Exchange Commission which corrected abuses which led to the stock market crash; the Works Progress Administration which hired many people for a variety of projects including in the arts; and the Social Security Act which created the Social Security System (Kelly). FDR was quite involved in WW2, but he did not live to see it end.

President Roosevelt is "...considered one of the greatest presidents in American history" according to Shirley Griffith from http://www.voanews.com as he dedicated his time and compassion to help deliver a positive and productive America. His aggressive and unprecedented New Deal programs left a lasting mark as the federal government grew stronger and became deeply involved. Roosevelt helped the United States become safer, wealthier, and more responsive to the elderly, women and its poor with Social Security and other government programs. FDR's terms as president were marked by his bold moves to fight two of the largest threats to America and the World: The Great Depression and World War II. The "era" of Franklin Delano Roosevelt is one of the most significant time period that changed America's culture, government and future.

Throughout the time period of 1940 to 1960, there are many significant inventions that changed society but the two that stand out are the microwave oven and the atomic bomb. The microwave oven is a "cooking device that cooks and reheats food much faster than a conventional oven" (Gallawa). The microwave oven was invented in 1946 by Dr. Percy Spencer and was actually a byproduct of another technology. Dr Spencer was testing a new vacuum tube called a magnetron and he noticed that a candy bar in his pocket had melted which caught his attention. He then conducts an experiment placing some popcorn kernels near the tube, as time goes by the popcorn starts to pop and sputter. After this experiment, he designs a metal box with an opening into which he fed the microwave power; the microwave oven was now invented

(Gallawa). This invention has helped society as it made everyday life that much easier; even people who do not know how to cook can put a meal on the table.

The atomic bomb on the other hand, had a great significance throughout the time period of 1940 to 1960 and even today. The atomic bomb is an explosive device in which large amounts of energy are released through nuclear reactions and is much more powerful than any regular bomb such a C-4 or TNT ("Atomic Bomb"). This nuclear weapon was successfully built in 1945 "by the United States with major assistance of physicists, mathematicians and engineers from the U.S., Britain, Canada and Germany" (Bellis). The people that played crucial roles in getting the weapon designed and built include: Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, Leo Szilard, Felix Block, David Bohm, Niels Bohr, Enrico Fermi, James Franck, Otto Frisch, Klaus Fuchs, Rudolf Peierls, Emilio Segre, Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner. The idea of the atomic bomb was established through advances in science such as splitting an atom, nuclear reactions by the fission of an atom but it was Leo Szilard who realized its potential as a weapon and took his findings to Britain and the United States. This nuclear weapon changed society when it ended World War II; it caused fear among the people and changed war forever. The atomic bomb was a demonstration of the power and technological advances of the United States.

During the time period of 1940 to 1960, many people contributed to the fight of civil rights for blacks. A person that went beyond that is Jackie Robinson, the first African American athlete in the Major Leagues and the first person to letter in four sports

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