What motivated Congress and the President to implement (and renew) the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s?   

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Nye Committee, officially known as the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry, was a United States Senate committee chaired by U.S. Senator Gerald Nye.

In February of 1936, the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry, headed by Senator Gerald Nye, reported the results of their investigations into America's motive for World War I. The committee concluded that the United States entered the war to protect the interests of banks and munitions manufacturers. This conclusion drew the immediate ire of the disillusioned American public that was told it was fighting the war "to save democracy."  A majority of Americans favored a foreign policy that isolated the United States from the politics of Europe.

The Neutrality Acts were a series of laws at the federal level that were designed to achieve this isolation from foreign conflict. The legislation outlined specific actions that would be unlawful.  This included lending money to foreign governments for the purpose of making war. The first Neutrality Act made it unlawful to sell weapons to countries at war and munitions dealers needed to secure export permits to do business internationally. The second Neutrality Act prevented Americans from traveling on ships that belonged to belligerent nations and prohibited belligerent ships from entering American waters.

These acts were done to prevent the United States from becoming embroiled in the tensions of Europe and Asia. It is important to note that President Roosevelt opposed these laws, but Congressional and public opinion was overwhelmingly for neutrality.

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were a number of Neutrality Acts, you could discuss the specifics of each one in two different paragraphs.

Also, you could possibly discuss Franklin D.Roosevelt's opposition and ways that he was able to circumvent the acts throughout the 1930's.  

jackbooker1995 | Student

Thank you for your answer! It was very helpful :)

They are good suggestions, I think that I am going to do a paragraph on the Nye hearings about how the bankers were found out for making profits and then have another paragraph about the isolationist stance in America as that motivated them to stay out of foreign affairs. Do you have any other suggestions for a third and fourth paragraph? 


Thank you! :)