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The United States Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and rejected membership in the nascent League of Nations.
Virtually none enjoyed such common urban amenities as electricity and indoor plumbing.
Other maladies began to appear, faintly at first, but with mounting urgency as the Depression began to unfold.
Each embraced a pair of episodes with lastingly transformative impacts.
From 1776 to 1789 the Revolutionary War and the adoption of the Constitution brought national independence and established the basic political framework within which the nation would be governed ever after.
Across the long arc of American history, three moments in particular have disproportionately determined the course of the Republic’s development.
Each respectively distilled the experience and defined the historical legacy of a century.
The lingering distortions in trade, capital flows, and exchange rates occasioned by the punitive Treaty of Versailles, as the economist John Maynard Keynes observed at the time, managed to perpetuate in peacetime the economic disruptions that had wrought so much hardship in wartime.
What was more, memories of the war’s bitter fighting and vengeful conclusion rendered the postwar international atmosphere toxic.
But even after due allowance has been made for the effects of the American stock market’s "Great Crash" in 1929 and for the policies of the United States Federal Reserve System, there can be little doubt that the deepest roots of the crisis lay in the several chronic infirmities that World War I had inflicted on the international political and economic order.
The war exacted a cruel economic and human toll from the core societies of the advanced industrialized world, including conspicuously Britain, France, and Germany.