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The Great Depression

APUSH . The Great Depression. Top 10. Black Tuesday Global Depression Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929 Election of 1932 Scottsboro Case American Communist Party Franklin Delano Roosevelt Herbert Hoover’s presidency Japanese American Citizen League Dust Bowl. The Great Crash.

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The Great Depression

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  1. APUSH The Great Depression

  2. Top 10 • Black Tuesday • Global Depression • Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929 • Election of 1932 • Scottsboro Case • American Communist Party • Franklin Delano Roosevelt • Herbert Hoover’s presidency • Japanese American Citizen League • Dust Bowl

  3. The Great Crash • February 1928 – October 1929 • economic boom • stock prices rose dramatically • credit easily available • Buying on margin • October 29, 1929 • “Black Tuesday” • stock market crashed

  4. Causes of the Great Depression • In the capitalist system recessions are cyclical • The Great Depression was a severe recession • It was such a large crash because: • lack of diversification (many overinvested in automobiles and construction) • Mal-distribution of wealth • consumers receiving too little money to spend to keep pace with growing markets and supplies • rising unemployment due to natural cycle and from technology

  5. Causes of the Great Depression • Credit structures and indebtedness of farmers threatened banks • Banks also threatened by risky investments and loans in stock markets • US foreign exports declined because • some European nations’ productivity was increasing • others facing financial difficulties • International debt structure after WWI in which nations sought new loans to pay off existing Allied loans • Central nation reparations weakened the US economy after 1929 • left countries without resources to repay loans • began to default

  6. Progress of Depression • Stock market crash triggered chain of events that further weakened economy over next 3 years • Banking system collapsed and billions of dollars in deposits lost • money supply contraction exacerbated by 1931 Federal Reserve interest raises • GDP, capital investment, gross farm product all down at least 25% by 193 • In 1932 national unemployment had risen to 25% (much more in some cities)

  7. Unemployment and Relief • Americans were taught to believe that the individual is responsible for his/her own fate • poverty sign of own failure • The small relief system of the 1920s was incapable of dealing with new demands • The government was hesitant to increase support • decreasing tax revenues • welfare stigma. • Bread lines found in cities

  8. Unemployment and Relief • In rural areas income declined 60% • 1/3 of farmers lost land • Massive drought extended through the “Dust Bowl” • starting in 1930 lasting for a decade • farm prices so low that many farmers left homes to seek employment (“Okies”) • Nationwide problems • Malnutrition • Homelessness • growth of shantytowns • massive migrations of people across the country seeking jobs and better living conditions 

  9. African-Americans and the Depression • Most southernblacks were farmers • collapse of cotton and staple crop prices led them to leave land • menial jobs they had held in cities began to be given to whites • Mass migration of jobless southern blacks to Northern urban centers • Segregation and black disenfranchisement remained, but famous Scottsboro case in which group of 7 blacks falsely accused of rape resulted in national attention b/c of NAACP support • NAACP began working to increase black participation in unions and organized labor

  10. Mexican-Americans and the Depression • Large Mexican immigrant (Chicano) population • centered mostly in Southwest • worked mainly menial jobs or as unskilled laborers in urban areas • When the Depression hit many whites forced them from their jobs • Relief to Mexicans severely limited • many rounded up to be sent back to Mexico • discrimination of Hispanics swept the region

  11. Asian-Americans and the Depression • Depression strengthened pattern of economic marginalization of Asian American populations • centered mainly on the West coast • frequently lost jobs to whites desperate for employment • Some Japanese sought to form clubs to advance political agendas: • Japanese American Democratic Club worked for laws against discrimination • Japanese American Citizens League sought to make immigrants more assimilated

  12. Women and the Great Depression • People believed that because jobs were so scarce, whatever was available should go to men • this belief strengthened the notion of women’s main role staying in the home • feelings that no woman with an employed husband should hold a job • Single and married women both continued to work during Depression • needed the money • result of nonprofessional nature of “pink-collar” jobs as more secure than those in heavy industry • male stigma about taking “pink collar” jobs • Support for Reform Era ideas of women becoming economically and professionally independent began to wane • Depression saw death of National Woman’s Party

  13. Depression Families • Middle- and working-class families who experienced a rising standard of living in the 1920s, now uncertain because of unemployment or income reductions • Retreat from consumerism • women made clothes in home • home businesses established • banding together of extended family units

  14. Depression Values • Pre-Depression acceptance of affluence and consumerism remained unchanged as people worked even harder to achieve ideals • Longstanding belief that individual controlled own fate and success through hard work (“success ethic”) largely survived the Depression • many unemployed simply blamed themselves • remained passive because they felt ashamed • Masses responded to messages that they themselves could restore their own wealth and success • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

  15. Artists and Intellectuals in the Great Depression • Just as urban poverty had received attention during the Reform Era, during the 1930s many shocked at “discovery” of rural poverty • photography of Farm Security Administration photographers highlighted impact of hostile environment on people

  16. Artists and Intellectuals in the Great Depression • Many writers began to highlight social injustices • Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road(1932) of rural poverty • Richard Wright’s Native Son of urban ghettos • John Steinbeck’s novels of migrant workers • John Dos Passso’s USA trilogy attacked capitalism

  17. Radio • Almost every family had radio and listening was often a communal activity • Most radio programming was entertaining and escapist in nature • comedies or adventures • soap operas • live programming of performances also developed • Radio allowed access to major public events in news, sports, politics • Drew nation together because of widespread availability of same cultural and informational programming • gathered family together in the home

  18. The Movies • Early 1930s movie attendance dropped because of economic hardship, but by mid-1930s attendance began to rise again • Most movies were censored heavily and studio system kept projects largely uncontroversial • Some films did manage to explore social and political questions • Most films remained escapist in order to keep attention of audience away from troubles • Walt Disney (Mickey Mouse, Snow White) • Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)

  19. Popular Literature and Journalism • Literature was more reflective of growing radicalism and discontentedness than radio and movies, although escapist and romantic works were still widely popular • Works challenged American popular values: • John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy (1930-1936) attacked American materialism • Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts(1933) of a woman overwhelmed by the life stories of others

  20. The Popular Front and the Left • Rise of Popular Front coalition lead by American Communist Party • supported Franklin Roosevelt and New Deal • mobilized intellectuals toward social criticism • Targeted the intellectual detachment of 1920s • In the late 1930s literature became more optimistic of society • Mobilized some men into the Lincoln Brigade to fight in Spanish Civil War against the fascists • The Communist Party • organized the unemployed and unions • supported racial justice • The party was under control of Soviet Union • when Stalin signed 1939 Nonaggression Pact with Hitler, the Party abandoned the Popular Front • returned to criticizing liberals

  21. The Popular Front and the Left • The Socialist Party of America under Norman Thomas attempted to argue that the crisis was a failure of capitalist system • tried to win support for party by targeting rural poor • supported Southern Tenant Farmers Union • never gained much strength • Antiradicalism was a strong force in 1930s • hostility existed toward Communist Party • at the same time Left widely respected amongst workers and intellectuals • Famous accounts of social conditions of the era: • James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941) • John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath(1939)

  22. The Hoover Program • Hoover responded to the Depression by trying to restore confidence in economy • tried to gather businesses into voluntary program of cooperation to aid recovery • by 1931 voluntarism had collapsed because of the worsening economy • Hoover tried using government spending to boost the economy • spending wasn’t enough in face of huge economic problems • sought to raise taxes 1932 to balance budget • Offered Agricultural Marketing Act • to help farmers with low crop prices • raised foreign agricultural tariffs in Hawley-Smoot Tariff of 1930 • neither helped

  23. The Hoover Program • Democrats gained the majority in the House and increased in the Senate in 1930 elections by promising government economic assistance • Hoover’s unpopularity grew • shantytowns called “Hoovervilles” • In 1932 Congress created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) to give loans to • imperiled banks • Railroads • Businesses • RFC failed to improve the economy because • it lent largely to big institutions • didn’t sponsor enough relief and public works

  24. Popular Protest • By 1932 dissent beginning to come to a head: • Farmers’ Holiday Association attempted farmer’s product strike • veterans in “Bonus Army” marched on Washington to protest withholding of bonuses • Hoover called on Army units under General Douglas MacArthur to clear Bonus Army out of city • Popular image of Hoover as unsympathetic and unable to act effectively

  25. The Election of 1932 • Republicans re-nominated Hover as candidate • Democrats nominated NY Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt • Roosevelt avoided religion and prohibition, focused on economic grievances of nation • Roosevelt won large majority of popular vote and even more overwhelmingly in electoral college • Democrat majorities elected to House and Senate signified mandate for change

  26. The “Interregnum” • The period between election and inauguration was one of increasing economic problems • expanding banking crisis • more depositors seeking to withdraw money in a panic • more banks declared bankruptcy • Roosevelt refused to make public commitments asked of him by Hoover to maintain economic orthodoxy or not institute broad economic reforms

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