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The Great Depression and the New Deal, 1929


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Title: The Great Depression and the New Deal, 1929

Chapter 25
  • The Great Depression and the New Deal, 19291939

  • The Great Depression was the worst peacetime
    disaster in American history and dominated the
    political, social, and cultural developments of
    the 1930s.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution,
the United States had experienced recessions or
panics at least every twenty years, but none as
severe as the Great Depression of the 1930s
After 1927, consumer spending declined, and
housing construction slowed. In 1928,
manufacturers cut back on production and began to
lay off workers, and by the summer of 1929 the
economy was clearly in recession. The stock
market crash of 1929 was an indication of
serious, underlying problems in the United States
  • The Crash made the cracks in America's
    superficial prosperity more obvious. And, since
    the causes of the economic crises were complex,
    the solution to the economic problems facing the
    United States would be complicated as well.
  • The stock market had become the symbol of the
    nations prosperity, yet only about 10 percent of
    the nations households owned stock.

  • In 1928 and 1929, stock prices rose an average of
    40 percent market activity, such as margin
    buying, was essentially unregulated.
  • On Black Thursday, October 24, and Black
    Tuesday, October 29, 1929, overextended
    investors began to sell their portfolios waves
    of panic selling ensued.
  • Commercial banks and speculators had invested in
    stocks the impact of the Great Crash was felt
    across the nation as banks failed and many
    middle-class Americans lost their life savings.

Causes of the Depression
  • The crash of 1929 destroyed the faith of those
    who viewed the stock market as the crowning
    symbol of American prosperity, precipitating a
    crisis of confidence that prolonged the
    depression. So we naturally ask ourselves that
    one important question
  • 1. What were the origins and consequences of the
    Great Depression?

  • As we just noted - the stock market crash of
    October 1929 cannot alone account for the length
    and severity of the slump.

What then were the causes of the Great
  • The Great Crash of October 1929 wiped out the
    savings of thousands of Americans and destroyed
    consumers optimism. Many investors had bought
    stock on margin while the prices were inflated
    and lost money when they were forced to sell at
    prices below what they had paid.

  • Structural weaknesses in the economy, especially
    in agriculture and sick industries such as
    coal, textiles, shipping, and railroads, made the
    economy vulnerable to a crisis in the financial
    markets. These had suffered setbacks in the

  • The unequal distribution of wealth made it
    impossible to sustain the expansive economic
    growth of the late 1920s.
  • In the 1920s the share of national income going
    to upper- and middle-income families had
    increased, so that in 1929 the lowest 40 percent
    of the population received only 12.5 percent of
    the national income.
  • Once the depression began, not enough people
    could afford to spend the money necessary in
    order to revive the economy, a phenomenon known
    as under-consumption.

  • Once the depression began, Americas unequal
    income distribution left the majority of people
    unable to spend the amount of money needed to
    revive the economy.
  • The Great Depression became self-perpetuating.
    The more the economy contracted, the more people
    expected the depression to last the longer they
    expected it to last, the more afraid they became
    to spend or invest their money.

  • In 1931, the Federal Reserve System significantly
    increased the discount rate, squeezing the money
    supply, forcing prices down, and depriving
    businesses of funds for investment.
  • Americans kept their dollars stashed away rather
    than deposited, further tightening the money

  • Domestic factors far outweighed international
    causes of Americas protracted decline, yet the
    economic problems of the rest of the world
    affected the United States and vice versa.
  • By the late 1920s, European economies were
    staggering under the weight of huge debts and
    trade imbalances with the United States by 1931,
    most European economies had collapsed.

  • When U.S. companies cut back production, they
    also cut their purchases of raw materials and
    supplies abroad.
  • When American financiers sharply reduced their
    foreign investment and consumers bought fewer
    European goods, debt repayment became even more
    difficult, straining the gold standard.

  • The reduced flow of American capital to world
    markets after the Great Crash and the trade war
    initiated by the Hawley-Smoot Tariff of 1930 led
    to a decline in world trade that made the
    depression worse.
  • In response to the Hawley-Smoot Tariff of 1930,
    foreign governments imposed their own trade
    restrictions, further intensifying the worldwide

  • From 1929 to 1933, the U.S. gross national
    product fell by almost half, private investment
    plummeted 88 percent, and unemployment rose to a
    staggering 24.9 percent those who had jobs faced
    wage cuts or layoffs.

Summary- Causes of the Great Depression
  • Stock Market Speculation
  • Buying on margin common
  • Stock prices spiraled out of control
  • Mistakes by the Federal Reserve
  • Tight money policy in 1930 and 1931
  • Worsened situation and prevented recovery
  • Ill-advised tariff

Causes of the Great Depression (cont)
  • Hawley-Smoot Tariff (1930)
  • Increased duties and fostered retaliation by
    other countries
  • Seriously curtailed exports, and international
    trade in general
  • Maldistribution of wealth
  • Fostered by Republican tax policies
  • Slowed consumption and prevented consumer-driven

Income Distribution Before the Great Depression
(No Transcript)
Hoover the Fall of the Self-Made Man
  • Hoovers program
  • First turned to associational principles
  • Turned to more vigorous action when that didnt
  • Moratorium on foreign loan payments
  • Glass-Steagall Act of 1932
  • Reconstruction Finance Corporation (1932)
  • Home Loan Bank Board (1932)
  • Could not accept radical solutions, such as
    deficit spending
  • Reluctant to provide direct aid to individuals
  • Bonus Army, 1932
  • World War I veterans sought early payment of
    promised bonus
  • Hoover authorized force to eject them from
  • Shocked the nation
  • Contributed to Hoovers defeat in 1932

What were the most dramatic episodes of protest
during the Hoover years, and what do they tell us
about the depression?
  • A strike of coal miners in Harlan County,
    Kentucky, featured police violence and resulted
    in the crushing of the union.
  • A demonstration at Fords River Rouge plant in
    1932 resulted in three deaths and fifty serious

  • In 1932, a group of Midwestern farmers formed the
    Farm Holiday Association and dumped food on the
    roads rather than to see it reach the market at
    prices below production costs.
  • A group of unemployed World War I veterans
    calling themselves the Bonus Army marched on
    Washington and remained encamped in the city
    after Congress failed to pass a relief bill for
    them. They were violently evicted by federal

  • Frustration and despair reached many corners of
    American society during the depression. For the
    most part the voices of protest were silenced by
    the authorities.
  • The Communist Party organized and participated in
    some of the protests but remained a small
    organization with only 12,000 members.

How do we describe Evaluate President Hoovers
response to the Great Depression?
  • Herbert Hoover had the misfortune of being
    president in the worst years of the depression.
    He eventually took a number of aggressive and
    creative steps to combat the crisis, including
    deficit spending on public works and government
    home loans.
  • Ultimately, however, he accepted conventional
    wisdom and encouraged Congress to pass higher
    taxes, which made the depression worse. He also
    refused to consider direct federal relief for the

  • As the depression persisted, more and more people
    blamed Hoover.
  • His reputation as a cold, heartless leader was
    confirmed for many when he ordered the eviction
    from Washington of the Bonus Army, a group of
    unemployed veterans of World War I lobbying for
    immediate bonus payments.
  • In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Hoover at
    the depth of the depression.

How did Herbert Hoover try to combat the
  • Hoover did not embrace a laissez-faire approach
    he called on business leaders to hold the line on
  • He cut taxes and increased public works spending
    (policies in line with what would later be called
    Keynesian remedies for a depression).
  • He imposed a moratorium on foreign-debt payments
    in order to stimulate world trade.

  • He later raised taxes to lower interest rates and
    balance the budget, but that hurt the economy.
  • He encouraged the creation of the Reconstruction
    Finance Corporation, which lent money to banks
    and large companies in the hope that their
    increased production would trickle down to the
    rest of the economy.
  • Most significantly, Hoover refused to sanction
    direct federal relief for the needy, claiming
    that this would create a permanent class of
    dependent citizens, something he believed would
    be worse than the continued deprivations of the

Presidential Election, 1932
  • As the 1932 election approached, the nation
    overall was not in a revolutionary mood
    Americans initially blamed themselves rather than
    the system for their hardships.
  • The Republicans nominated Hoover once again for
    president, and the Democrats nominated Governor
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt of New York.
  • In 1921, Roosevelt had suffered an attack of
    polio that left both his legs paralyzed, yet he
    emerged from the illness a stronger, more
    resilient man.

  • Roosevelt won the election, yet in his campaign,
    he hinted only vaguely at new approaches to
    alleviate the depression. People voted as much
    against Hoover as for Roosevelt.

The Democratic Roosevelt
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)
  • Governor of New York (19291933)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Democratic Party divided during 1920s
  • Agrarians favored government regulation of both
    the economy and peoples lives
  • Urban ethnics opposed government intervention in
    peoples lives but were divided about the
    efficacy of intervention in the economy
  • FDR gravitation toward new reform movement of
  • Government should regulate capitalism
  • Government should not tell people how to behave

New Deal
  • The New Deal came to stand for a complex set of
    responses to the nation's economic collapse. The
    New Deal was meant to relieve suffering yet
    conserve the nation's political and economic
    institutions. Through unprecedented intervention
    by the national government, Roosevelt's programs
    put people to work, instilling hope and restoring
    the nation's confidence.

First New Deal, 19331935
  • Saving the banks
  • Bank holiday and Emergency Banking Act
  • Glass-Steagall Act (1933)
  • Created Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Securities Act (1933) and Exchange Act (1934)
  • Saving the people
  • Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA)
  • Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
  • Civil Works Administration (CWA)
  • Homeowners Loan Corporation (HLC)

Bank Failures, 19291933
First New Deal (cont)
  • Repairing the Economy Agriculture
  • Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA)
  • Goal was curtailing farm production by paying
    farmers not to produce
  • Tenant Farmers and sharecroppers left out
  • Soil Conservation Service (SCS)
  • Deal with problem of Dust Bowl
  • Supreme Court declared AAA unconstitutional in
  • Administration replied with Soil Conservation and
    Domestic Allotment Act
  • Took land out of cultivation for conservation
    rather than economic reasons

First New Deal (cont)
  • Repairing the Economy Industry
  • National Recovery administration (NRA)
  • Goal was to limit production through persuasion
    and association
  • Industry-drafted codes for prices, wages and
  • Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 1935

First New Deal (cont)
  • Public Works Administration (PWA)
  • Built bridges, roads, dams, hospitals, schools,
  • Helped to spur development in Arizona,
    California, Washington
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
  • Government itself would promote economic
  • Control flooding, generate electricity, develop
    industry, improve transportation
  • The New Deal and Western development
  • Dam construction central

Tennessee Valley Authority
Federal Water Projects in California Built or
Funded by the New Deal
Political Mobilization, Political Unrest,
  • Populist critics of the New Deal
  • Huey Long (spread the wealth among all our
  • Father Charles Coughlin and National Union for
    Social Justice
  • Francis Townsend and elderly pensions
  • Labor and the New Deal
  • NIRA supposedly supported collective bargaining
  • Employers refusal to follow codes spurred
    strikes and violence
  • Midterm elections of 1934

Political Mobilization, Political Unrest,
19341935 (cont)
  • Huge victories for Democrats
  • Many radicals sent to Congress
  • Would help to shape post-1935 New Deal
  • Rise of radical third parties and political
  • Minnesota Farmer-Labor (MFL) Party
  • End poverty in California (EPIC)
  • Growth of Communist Party of America

Second New Deal 19351937
  • Philosophical underpinnings
  • Reliance on economic theory of underconsumptionism
  • Route to recovery was boosting consumer
    expenditures, not restricting output
  • Supporting unions to push wages up
  • Social welfare put money in peoples pockets
  • Public works projects to create new jobs
  • Government borrowing from private sources would
    fund new measures and lead to end of Depression

  • Major measures of the Second New Deal
  • Social Security Act
  • National Labor Relations Act
  • Rural Electrification Administration
  • Emergency Relief Appropriation Act
  • Works Progress Administration

Second New Deal (cont)
  • FDR re-elected by landslide
  • Strong anti-corporate rhetoric during campaign
  • Gave Democrats reputation as party of reform and
    of common American
  • Gap between FDRs Rhetoric and reality
  • Not as radical in practice as his words would
    have suggested
  • Receiving significant support from some

  • At the beginning of his administration, Roosevelt
    convened Congress in a special session and
    launched the New Deal with an avalanche of bills.
    Historians refer to this period as the "Hundred
    Days." Roosevelt introduced a new notion of the
    presidency whereby the president, not Congress,
    was the legislative leader. Most of the bills he
    proposed set up new government agencies, called
    the "alphabet soup" agencies because of their
    array of acronyms.

  • AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Act)--Designed to
    help American farmers by stabilizing prices and
    limiting overproduction, the AAA initiated the
    first direct subsidies to farmers who did not
    plant crops. The United States Supreme Court
    later declared the AAA unconstitutional and an
    unnecessary invasion of private property rights.

  • CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps)--A public works
    project, operated under the control of the army,
    which was designed to promote environmental
    conservation while getting young, unemployed men
    off city street corners. Recruits planted trees,
    built wildlife shelters, stocked rivers and lakes
    with fish, and cleared beaches and campgrounds.
    The CCC housed the young men in tents and
    barracks, gave them three square meals a day, and
    paid them a small stipend. The army's experience
    in managing and training large numbers of
    civilians would prove invaluable in WWII.
    Wisconsin was a beneficiary of the CCC one of
    the organizations many local projects was trail
    construction at Devil's Lake State Park.

Civilian Conservation Corps Workers
  • TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority)--One of the most
    ambitious and controversial New Deal projects,
    the TVA proposed building dams and power plants
    along the Tennessee River to bring electric power
    to rural areas in seven states. Although the TVA
    provided many Americans with electricity for the
    first time and provided jobs to thousands of
    unemployed construction workers, the program
    outraged many private power companies.

NIRA (National Industrial Recovery Act)--
  • The NIRA established the NRA (National Recovery
    Administration) to stimulate production and
    competition by having American industries set up
    a series of codes designed to regulate prices,
    industrial output, and general trade practices.
    The federal government, in turn, would agree to
    enforce these codes. In return for their
    cooperation, federal officials promised to
    suspend anti-trust legislation. Section 7A of the
    NIRA recognized the rights of labor to organize
    and to have collective bargaining with
    management. The NIRA was the most controversial
    piece of legislation to come out of the Hundred
    Days and many of its opponents charged it with
    being un-American, socialist, even communist,
    even though it did not violate the sanctity of
    private property or alter the American wage

  • The National Industrial Recovery Act launched the
    National Recovery Administration (NRA), which
    established a system of industrial
    self-government to handle the problems of
    overproduction, cutthroat competition, and price
  • The NRAs codes established prices and production
    quotas, as well as minimum wages and maximum
    hours, outlawed child labor, and gave workers
    union rights.
  • Trade associations, controlled by large
    companies, tended to dominate the NRAs code
    drafting process, thus solidifying the power of
    large businesses at the expense of smaller ones.

The Federal Emergency Relief Administration
  • (FERA), set up in May 1933 under the direction of
    Harry Hopkins offered federal money to the states
    for relief programs and was designed to keep
    people from starving until other recovery
    measures took hold. Over the programs two-year
    existence, FERA spent 1 billion.
  • Whenever possible New Deal administrators
    promoted work relief over cash subsidies, and
    they consistently favored jobs that would not
    compete directly with the private sector.

Civil Works Administration (CWA)
  • Established in November, 1933, the Civil Works
    Administration (CWA) put 2.6 million men and
    women to work at its peak, it employed 4 million
    in public works jobs. The CWA lapsed the next
    spring after spending all its funds.
  • Many of these early emergency measures were
    deliberately inflationary and meant to trigger
    price increases thought necessary to stimulate

Why the NIRA failed
  • Whether radical or conservative, the NIRA
    ultimately failed for three reasons
  • The NRA assumed businesses would police
    themselves. The codes, established in the
    interest of protecting workers and consumers,
    were ultimately drawn up by the largest
    companies. This hurt small businesses.
  • Corporations rarely respected the rights of labor
    to organize. Because of the number and complexity
    of the codes, the federal government never
    enforced labor's right to collective bargaining.
  • The NRA attacked recovery from the wrong
    direction. It tried to stabilize prices by
    lowering production, rather than redistributing
    money to American consumers and encouraging them
    to purchase goods.
  • Within two years, the Supreme Court declared the
    NIRA unconstitutional.

"The Broker State"
  • During his first two years in office, FDR
    promoted a new vision of the executive branch he
    viewed himself as an "honest broker" who would
    negotiate among competing interests. The
    president would mediate conflicts while balancing
    the interests of one group against another. His
    older cousin TR had held a similar idea of the
    presidency, but FDR expanded this concept of the
    broker state. However, the idea of the broker
    state has two inherent flaws

  • Presidents tend to get weaker the longer they are
    in office, because they have to make tough
    choices that alienate particular interest groups.
  • The strongest interest groups can pressure even
    the most forceful broker. This was true in FDR's
    administration, when the NIRA and AAA favored big
    business and big agriculture

  • The New Deal accelerated the expansion of the
    federal bureaucracy, and power was increasingly
    centered in the nations capital, not in the
    states. During the 1930s the federal government,
    then, operated as a broker state, mediating
    between contending groups seeking power and
    benefits. After FDRs reelection in 1936, the New
    Deal began to falter. An abortive attempt to
    alter the structure of the Supreme Court undercut
    FDRs popularity, and his premature reductions in
    federal spending led to the Roosevelt recession
    of 1937 to 1938.

  • Roosevelts attempt to purge the Democratic
    Party of some of his most conservative opponents
    only widened the liberal-conservative rift as the
    1938 election approached. Fresh out of ideas and
    with the nation still in a depression, FDRs
    basic conservatism became more apparent.
    Tinkering with the system had not led to economic
    recovery something more drastic would be

Second New Deal (cont)
  • FDRs Advisors
  • Idealistic, dedicated, confident
  • Not all were men of wealth and privilege
  • Important women in administration worked mostly
    behind the scenes
  • Frances Perkins
  • Little commitment in administration for womens
  • Focused instead on protective legislation

  • Organized labor
  • Congress of Industrial Organization (CIO)
  • Labors Non-Partisan League (LNPL)
  • UAW sit-down strike against GM, 1936
  • Gained public stature as well as members

Labor Union Membership 19331945
Americas Minorities and the New Deal
  • Easter and Southern European ethnics
  • Formidable force within Democratic Party
  • Received New Deal aid through programs targeted
    at urban areas

  • African Americans
  • Marian Anderson
  • New Deal did more to reinforce patterns of racial
    discrimination than to advance the cause of
    racial equality
  • Administration took symbolic steps in support of
    civil rights but did not make the issue a

Americas Minorities and the New Deal (cont)
  • Mexican Americans
  • Deportation campaign continued from Hoover
  • Not really included in most New Deal programs
  • Native Americans
  • John Collier at the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Commitment to cultural pluralism
  • Indian Reorganization Act (1934)
  • Revoked allotment practices
  • Redistributed land to tribes and otherwise
    fostered community authority

African Americans in the Depression
  • African Americans, who had always known
    discrimination and limited opportunities, viewed
    the depression differently from most whites.
  • Despite the black migration to the cities of the
    North, most African Americans still lived in the
    South and earned less than a quarter of the
    annual average wages of a factory worker.

  • Throughout the 1920s, southern agriculture
    suffered from falling prices and overproduction,
    so the depression made an already desperate
    situation worse.
  • The Southern Tenant Farmers Union, which some
    black farmers joined, could do little to reform
    an agricultural system based on deep economic and
    racial inequalities

  • The hasty trials and the harsh sentences in the
    1931 Scottsboro, Alabama, rape case along with an
    increase in lynching in the early 1930s gave
    black Americans a strong incentive to head for
    the North and the Midwest.
  • Harlem, one of their main destinations, was
    already strained by the enormous influx of
    African Americans in the 1920s and, in 1935, was
    the setting of the only major race riot of the
    decade, when anger exploded over the lack of
    jobs, a slowdown in relief services, and economic
    exploitation of blacks.

  • Partly in response to the riot but mainly in
    return for growing black allegiance to the
    Democratic Party, the New Deal channeled
    significant amounts of relief money toward blacks
    outside the South.
  • The NAACP continued to challenge the status quo
    of race relations, though calls for racial
    justice went largely unheeded during the

Dust Bowl Migrations
  • The years 1930 to 1941 witnessed the worst
    drought in Americas history, but low rainfall
    alone did not cause the dust bowl.

What were the stages of the 1930s dust bowl
  • A severe drought on the Great Plains, after years
    of ill-advised farming techniques, - To maximize
    profit, farmers stripped the land of its natural
    vegetation, destroying the ecological balance of
    the plains when the rains dried up, there was
    nothing to hold the soil. This created severe
    wind erosion and ultimately a series of dust
    storms. In May 1934 the storms reached the Upper
    Midwest and even the East, where they blackened
    the skies

(No Transcript)
  • The dust bowl was one of the reasons for the
    great migration of Okies from the region. (The
    other was the eviction of farm workers from the
    land due to the growth of large-scale
  • Okie descendants came to make up a large
    proportion of Californias population, especially
    in the San Joaquin Valley.

  • John Steinbecks Grapes of Wrath immortalized the
    Okies, ruined by the ecological disaster and
    unable to compete with large-scale corporate
    farms, who headed west in response to promises of
    good jobs in California.
  • A few Okies were professionals, business
    proprietors, or white-collar workers, and the
    drive west was fairly easy along Route 66.

(No Transcript)
  • California agriculture was large-scale,
    intensive, and diversified, and its massive
    irrigation system laid the groundwork for serious
    future environmental problems.
  • Key California crops had staggered harvest times
    and required a great deal of transient labor a
    steady supply of cheap migrant labor made this
    type of farming feasible.
  • At first, migrants met hostility from old time
    Californians, but they stayed and filled
    important roles in Californias expanding economy.

Mexican American Communities
  • With fear of competition from foreign workers at
    a peak, many Mexican Americans left California
    and returned to Mexico.
  • A federal deportation policyfostered by
    racismwas partly responsible for the exodus, but
    many more Mexicans left voluntarily when work ran
    out and local relief agencies refused to assist

  • Forced repatriation slowed after 1932, but
    deportation of Mexican Americans was still a
    constant threat and a reminder of their fragile
    status in the United States.
  • Discrimination and exploitation were omnipresent
    in the Mexican community César Chávez, a Mexican
    American, became one of the twentieth centurys
    most influential labor organizers.

  • Many Mexican Americans worked as miners or held
    industrial jobs where they established a vibrant
    tradition of labor activism. For example, Bert
    Corona launched his career as a labor organizer
    with the International Longshoremens and
    Warehousemens Union in Los Angeles.
  • Young single women preferred the higher paying
    cannery work to domestic service, needlework, and
    farm labor Mexican American women played a
    leading role in the formation of the United
    Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied
    Workers of America union.

  • Joining labor unions and becoming more involved
    in American politics were important steps in the
    creation of a distinctive Mexican American ethnic

Asian Americans Face the Depression
  • Men and women of Asian descent constituted a
    minority that concentrated primarily in the
    western states.
  • Despite being educated, Asians found relatively
    few professional jobs open to them, as white
    firms refused to hire them.

  • Asian Americans had carved out a modest success
    by the time of the depression, but a California
    law prohibited Japanese immigrants from owning
    land. Using devices including putting land titles
    in the names of their citizen children, most
    Japanese farmers held on to their land, and the
    amount of acreage owned actually increased.
  • Chinese Americans clustered in ethnic enterprises
    in the citys Chinatown although Chinatowns
    businesses suffered during the depression, they
    bounced back more quickly.

  • In hard times the Chinese turned inward to the
    community, getting assistance from traditional
    Chinese social organizations and kin networks.
  • Filipinos were not affected by the ban on Asian
    immigration passed in 1924 because the
    Philippines was a U.S. territory.
  • In 1936, Filipinos and Mexican workers came
    together in a Field Workers Union chartered by
    the American Federation of Labor.

  • The Tydings-McDuffie Act declared the Philippines
    an independent nation, classified all Filipinos
    in the United States as aliens, and restricted
    immigration as aliens, Filipinos were not
    eligible for citizenship or most assistance

The New Deal Abroad
  • Followed international course after initial
    flirtation with nationalism
  • Established diplomatic relations with Soviet
  • Good Neighbor policy with Latin America
  • Reciprocal Trade Agreement
  • Overreaching goal was to stimulate international
    trade and boost U.S. exports

Stalemate, 19371940
  • New Deal losing momentum by 1937 and 1938
  • Court-packing fiasco
  • Motivated by political purposes
  • Protect National Labor Relations Act and Social
  • Generated firestorm of public opposition
  • Fueled critics organizing the 1938 midterm
  • Rendered unnecessary, in any event, by subsequent
  • Recession, 19371938
  • Economic improvements in late 1937 caused
    spending cut backs
  • Economy slid back into depressed conditions
  • Led to setbacks for Democrats in 1938 elections

Federal Expenditures and Surpluses / Deficits
  • The depression led to hardship for many
    Americans. Thousands had no jobs thousands more
    experienced downward mobility. Commercial banks
    had invested heavily in stocks and, as banks
    failed, many middle-class Americans lost their
    life savings.

  • Race, ethnicity, age, class, and gender all
    influenced how Americans experienced the
  • Blacks, Mexican Americans, and others already on
    the economic margins saw their opportunities
    shrink further and hard times weighed heavily on
    the nations senior citizens of all races, many
    of whom faced destitution.
  • People who believed in the ethic of upward
    mobility through hard work suddenly found
    themselves floundering in a society that didnt
    reward them for their efforts.

  • The damage to individual lives cannot be measured
    solely in dollars the detrimental impact of not
    being able to provide for ones family was great.
  • After exhausting their savings and credit, many
    families faced the humiliation of going on
  • Hardships left an invisible scar, and for the
    majority of Americans, the crux of the Great
    Depression was the fear of losing control over
    their lives.

What was the invisible scar of the Great
  • Many Americans suffered silently in the 1930s
  • living on less income and accepting lower-paying,
    more menial jobs.
  • The loss of identity that resulted from
    unemployment, moving to poorer neighborhoods, or
    accepting charity was also psychologically
    damaging for both breadwinners and their spouses.

  • Sociologists who studied family life during the
    1930s found that the depression usually
    intensified existing behavior. On the whole, far
    more families stayed together during the
    depression than broke apart.

  • Men and women experienced the Great Depression
    differently. Men considered themselves failures
    if they were no longer breadwinners, while
    womens sense of importance increased as they
    struggled to keep their families afloat.

Family lives on public relief funds (1936)
  • The depression left a legacy of fear for many
    Americans that they might someday lose control of
    their lives again.
  • The depression limited the success of young men
    who entered their twenties during the depression.
    Robbed of time and opportunity to build careers,
    they were described as runners, delayed at the

  • During the depression
  • the marriage rate dropped
  • the popularity of birth control increased,
    resulting in a declining birth rate.
  • In United States v. One Package of Japanese
    Pessaries (1936), a federal court struck down all
    federal restrictions on the dissemination of
    contraceptive information.
  • Abortion remained illegal, but the number of
    women undergoing the procedure increased.
  • Margaret Sanger pioneered the establishment of
    professionally staffed birth control clinics and
    in 1937 won the American Medical Associations
    endorsement of contraception.

  • Women workers did not fare well, but gender
    divisions of labor insulated some working women
    from unemployment.
  • In the 1930s, the total number of married women
    employed outside the home rose 50 percent
    working women faced resentment and discrimination
    in the workplace, a sizable minority of women
    being the sole support of their families.
  • Single, divorced, deserted, or widowed women had
    no husbands to support them. This was especially
    true of poor black women a survey of Chicago
    revealed that two-fifths of adult black women in
    the city were single.
  • Many fields where women workers already had been
    concentrated suffered less from economic
    contraction than did the heavy industries when
    the depression ended, women were even more
    concentrated in low-paying, dead-end jobs than
    when it began.

  • White workers pushed minorities out of menial
  • Observers paid little attention to the impact of
    the depression on the black family, as white men
    and women willingly sought out jobs usually held
    by blacks or other minorities.

  • During the depression, most men and women
    continued to believe that the sexes have
    fundamentally different roles and
    responsibilities and that a womans life should
    be shaped by marriage and her husbands career.

  • The depression also had a negative and sometimes
    permanent impact on the lives of young people,
    whose career aspirations were often delayed or
  • Some of Americas young people became so
    demoralized by the depression that they became
    hobos or sisters of the road.
  • College was a privilege for a distinct minority,
    and many college students became involved in
    political movements the Student Strike against
    War drew student support across the country.
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