FC: The Great Depression By Emily Rowlands and Josie Vermillion
1: Table of Contents Election of 1932: Pg 3 Unemployment: Pg. 4 Labor Movement: Pg. 5 The Dust Bowl: Pg. 6 Mexican Americans: Pg. 7 New Deal: Pgs. 8-9 The Agricultural New Deal: Pgs. 10-11 Social Security Act: Pg.12 Women: Pg. 13 Stock Market Crash: Pgs. 14-15
3: Election of 1932 Republic Herbert Hoover was in office at the beginning of the Great Depression. Many blamed him for the depression. He believed that not much action should be taken. The veterans of World War I came to DC to get money they were promised from the government; the only catch was that they weren't supposed to get it for about forty years. Hoover denied them the money, but they refused to leave. He eventually used force in the form of tear gas, to make them leave. This was the straw that broke the camels back as the public was shocked and angered from this display. Roosevelt was the Democratic candidate and won by a landslide against Hoover. He acknowledged that there was a problem and had ideas of how to fix it, which was more than Hoover had ever done.
4: Unemployment | Millions of people lost their jobs due to the Great Depression. Companies did not have the money to pay them. Camps shot up all over the country for homeless people, nicknamed Hoovervilles to mock Herbert Hoover. People went to soup kitchens and would wait in line for hours just to get a bowl of soup and piece of bread. Roosevelt focused many of his New Deals on unemployment since it was such a large problem.
5: Labor Movement Roosevelt was under the impression that people should work for money and many Americans preferred the idea of a paycheck compared to handouts. One handout that was started during this time was Social Security, designed to give the elderly money so that they could support themselves once they were too old to work. Labor Unions came back and their violence increased as they did. They participated in many strikes. The Wagner Act, also knows as the National Labor Relations Act, came about as well. This act outlawed anti-labor practices.
6: The Dust Bowl The Dust Bowl was an excessive drought that directly effected Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. It indirectly effected the rest of the country. The places with drought could not grow food without any water. Dust storms, times when dust would literally gather and spread everywhere made it nearly impossible to live there. The crops couldn't grow and the farmers were quickly becoming broke since they did not have the money to keep their farms growing, especially since they were already in the Depression. Everyone was effected by the drought. There were shortages of food since the farmers could not grow any, which caused prices to rise even more than they already were.
7: Mexican Americans Mexicans and Mexican Americans made up a large part of the population during the Great Depression, too large for most people. Hundreds of thousands of Mexican immigrants were shipped out of the US and sent back to Mexico. The thinking behind this was that if they were gone, then there would be more jobs and more money for the other Americans that were suffering from the Depression. Both Los Angeles and Texas lost a third of their Mexican population. This all happened at the beginning of the depression, when Hoover was President. When FDR became president, he had some New Deal programs put in place to aid the Mexican immigrants that were left. Camps were established for farming immigrants in California and both the CCC and WPA hired unemployed Mexican Americans.
8: The New Deal The new deal was a series of reforms, proposed by FDR, to help the nation shake off the depression and it was also intended to aid in the recovery of the national economy. At first the reforms had little impact on the countries situation because Roosevelt believed that American citizens could not handle drastic change, but with the events caused by the budget army, Roosevelt swiftly took action by creating his “alphabet soup” of programs to create jobs that were meant to combat the staggering amount of unemployed citizens of the time. This sudden earnestness seen in Roosevelt’s policies became what was eventually called the second new deal. Programs such as the CCC, AAA, TVA, and many more were proposed during two expanses of time known as the “first hundred days” and “the second hundred days.”During these two periods of time Roosevelt held congressional meetings where every single one of his recovery programs were accepted. Some of them included the CCC which was an environmental service project giving three million young men jobs in building roads, forestry labor, and flood control.
9: Another was the agricultural adjustment act, which was formed to decrease crop surpluses by “subsidizing farmers who cut back on production.” The TVA was a program that created dams and power plants in the Tennessee Valley so that they could provide electricity to the entirety of the Appalachian region. All of these greatly aided in the unemployment crisis, but this was not all the New Deal program created. Social Security and unemployment insurance came into existence along with other government assistance programs geared towards helping those financially incapable of supporting themselves.
10: The Agricultural New Deal American Farmers were probably the hardest hit during the Depression. The price of farmed goods plummeted because of a decrease in demand and the tariffs on imported goods overseas. This proved to be a huge setback for farmers who were one fifth of the population at the time. Their biggest problem was that they were producing too much causing already low prices to dip even lower. Unfortunately nature was also against them. A huge drought hit in the dust bowl and the top soil literally blew off leaving none of the essential nutrients needed to produce healthy crops. This was caused by the overuse of the soil during WWI where there had been an increased demand for wheat and other crops. Because they repeatedly planted crops without giving the soil time to regain any of the nutrients lost in the growing process the soil essentially turned to dust, hence the term dust bowl.
11: Regardless Roosevelt’s New Deal did the best it could to aid farmers. Programs Like the TVA and AAA were formed. The TVA provided electricity to rural areas that had never had the luxury. The SCS helped fight erosion while the AAA paid farmers to plow under crops to decrease the amount of production, but many were angered that they were destroying food while millions of people across the nation went hungry. Although the AAA and others were not extremely successful in the immediacy of the depression, some of the policies that appeared during the time have lasted through the years. These include: a system of farm price supports, subsidies and surplus purchases.
12: Social Security Act In 1935 the Social Security Act was passed. This act was created in order to financially aid the elderly, handicapped, and dependent children of America. Social Security was financed by the federal government and state governments who gave workers 65 years or older stipends based on previous earnings while also giving small relief payments to the elderly, the blind, and other handicapped individuals. It also introduced the first system of unemployment insurance in the U.S. Both employers and employees gave their share of money to help with these programs. Unfortunately many saw this as a socialist programs started by FDR as a ploy to gain more power because of its many fallbacks, one of which was its failure to include all U.S. citizens, minorities included. None the less, this program was so successful that it has carried over to today and stands as a permanent fixture in our government.
13: Women The New Deal had very little effect on Women during the depression. Although were very present in several movements, no significant progress was made in the feminist movement. Women were forced to get jobs to bring in a greater family income, but save for a few cases married women were expected to vacate their place in the job market to make room for men who needed the jobs. In addition many women workers were denied the benefits of social security, though it did provide for single mothers and dependent children, but this reliance on government benefits labeled them as overly dependent.
14: The Stock Market Crash of '29 In the prosperous era of the 1920’s change was beginning to appear in many forms, with this change came a stock market boom, never seen before in America. First noticed in 1925 when more and more people began investing in the stock market, the value of the American stock market continued to swell with wealth when it finally hit an all time high in 1928. The stock market became a poor man’s treasure trove, where achieving financial success was not seen as merely a dream. Instead people truly believed that the stock market could provide them riches beyond their wildest imaginings, unfortunately this belief was one of many causes for the stock markets downfall. Because confidence in stock markets was so high people began investing and spending money with reckless abandon, one of the riskier moves people of this age made was “buying on margin.” Buying on Margin was a way for those who could not afford to invest in a stock to do so. Stock brokers would loan a percentage of the amount one would normally shoulder by themselves, while the buyer paid the remaining amount.
15: This was extremely risky because if the price of the stock dipped below the loan amount the stock broker could make a “margin call.” When a margin call is issued the buyer must immediately pay off the money loaned to the stock broker, which is almost impossible seeing as if they had the money they would have simply bought the stock without bothering to buy on margin. Along with the loss of economic confidence these factors ultimately caused the stock market to crash in Late October of 1929. With the stock market at an all time high people began selling their stocks with the mindset that the stock prices would not increase any more. For fear that they would lose money; people began selling stocks by the masses. Millions of dollars were lost, banks all around the nation were left with nothing to give to the panicked citizens demanding their money back. Reports of suicide were seen all over. The Stock market crash of ’29 was a turning point for the nation, leading into a time of hardship later known as the great depression.