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VI. The Twenties, Thirties and the Great Depression.

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1 VI. The Twenties, Thirties and the Great Depression

2 1.For the most part, the 1920’s was a decade dominated by a return to international isolation, conservative political policies and the rise of big business. True The three presidents during the 1920’s were conservative, pro-business Republicans – Warren G. Harding, whose administration was plagued by the Teapot Dome Scandal, Calvin Coolidge, who took over when Harding died and Herbert Hoover, who had the misfortune of being president when the stock market crashed. There was also mounting concern about the spread of communism, triggered by the Russian Revolution in 1917. In the United States, this led to a “Red Scare” where people suspected of communism were subjected to harassment and civil rights violations. This was also a decade characterized by moral crusades such as Prohibition, quota restrictions on immigration that reflected rising intolerance and growing religious fundamentalism that emerged during the Scopes “Monkey Trial” of 1925.

3 2. African Americans and other minorities made significant progress in the 1920’s. False African Americans had cause for optimism: Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois had emerged as civil rights leaders offering differing types of leadership. African American soldiers had fought valiantly in World war One and had been treated as equals in France. The Great Migration of African Americans to northern cities had accelerated during the war and had even helped to spawn the Harlem Renaissance However, they were sadly disappointed. During the Twenties, the KKK was larger than at any time in its history. Thousands of Klansmen marched down the streets of Washington, DC and the Klan took over the governments of states like Indiana and Oregon.

4 Langston Hughes Juke Box Love Song I could take the Harlem night and wrap around you, Take the neon lights and make a crown, Take the Lenox Avenue busses, Taxis, subways, And for your love song tone their rumble down. Take Harlem's heartbeat, Make a drumbeat, Put it on a record, let it whirl, And while we listen to it play, Dance with you till day-- Dance with you, my sweet brown Harlem girl. A Dream Deferred What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?

5 The legacy of lynching’s…

6 3. The 1920’s witnessed important advances in terms of new technology and business efficiency. True The “Roaring Twenties” was a decade of phenomenal economic growth and prosperity. Much of this was fueled by new technology in such areas as automobiles, radio, film and aviation. Business also expanded due to new advances in assembly line technology, credit and modern advertising. However, while many got rich and the middle classes grew, farmers faced declining farm prices, minorities faced mounting discrimination and certain industries such as textiles and mining became “sick.”


8 4. The stock market crash in October of 1929 caused the Great Depression. False The stock market crash started the Depression, but it was not the cause. The long term causes were rooted in the 1920’s and included overproduction/under consumption, the uneven distribution of wealth and problems with international trade There was also too much unrestricted business speculation.

9 5. The Great Depression began in the United States and soon spread around the world. True The epicenter of the Great Depression was Wall Street, but the shock waves soon traveled throughout the planet. Communism immunized the Soviet Union from its effects. In fact, 100,000 Americans immigrated to the USSR during the 1930’s (This was the only decade in American history where more people left the U.S. than immigrated into the U.S.) However, nations like France, Great Britain and Germany suffered like the United States. The Great Depression is the single biggest reason why Hitler was able to take power.

10 6. At its height in 1932, the Depression saw one out of every four Americans unemployed. True Human suffering during the Depression was reflected in high unemployment, bankruptcies and bank closures. This came at a time when there was very little government relief, so there were millions who faced hunger and homelessness. Unlike previous depressions that were part of capitalism’s business cycle, this depression did not improve.

11 Life During the Great Depression… Numbers of Banks and Bank Suspensions YearNumber as of 12-31Suspensions 192924,633659 193022,7731350 193119,9702293 193218,3971453 193315,0154000 193416,09657

12 7. President Hoover’s decision to lower the tariff on foreign imports proved to be an effective boost to the economy during the Depression. False In reality, President Hoover pushed for passage of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff, the highest in the nation’s history. He believed this was a time when American industry needed protection. However, other nations soon retaliated. When countries should have been trading more to stimulate their economies, they were trading less. President Hoover also tightened the government’s budget. Instead, he should have borrowed money to increase spending and provide jobs. When President Hoover ran for reelection in 1932, he was defeated by Franklin Roosevelt in one of the greatest landslides in American history.

13 By 1932, the nation was ready for change!

14 8. President Franklin Roosevelt’s New deal drastically reduced the role of government in the nation’s economy. False FDR assembled a “Brain Trust” of experts who took a very pragmatic approach to solving the nation’s problems. The New Deal ended up creating an “alphabet soup” of about two dozen new agencies and organizations designed to deal with the effects of the Depression. The end result was a significant expansion in the role of government.

15 What were some of the most important accomplishments of the New Deal? * Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) a Hoover program to create unskilled jobs for relief; replaced by WPA in 1935. * United States bank holiday, 1933: closed all banks until they became certified by federal reviewers * Abandonment of gold standard, 1933: gold reserves no longer backed currency; still exists * Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), 1933: employed young men to perform unskilled work in rural areas; under Army supervision; separate program for Native Americans * Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), 1933: effort to modernize very poor region (most of Tennessee), centered on dams that generated electricity on the Tennessee River; still exists * Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), 1933: raised farm prices by cutting total farm output of major crops (and hogs) * National Recovery Act (NRA), 1933: industries set up codes to reduce unfair competition, raise wages and prices; * Public Works Administration (PWA), 1933: built large public works projects; used private contractors (did not directly hire unemployed )

16 Continued… * Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) / Glass-Steagall Act: insures deposits in banks in order to restore public confidence in banks; still exists * Securities Act of 1933, created the SEC, 1933: codified standards for sale and purchase of stock, required risk of investments to be accurately disclosed; still exists * Civil Works Administration (CWA), 1933-34: provided temporary jobs to millions of unemployed * Indian Reorganization Act, 1934 moved away from assimilation * Social Security Act (SSA), 1935: provided financial assistance to: elderly, handicapped, paid for by employee and employer payroll contributions; required years contributions, so first payouts were 1942; still exists * Works Progress Administration (WPA), 1935: a national labor program for 2+ million unemployed; created useful construction work for unskilled men; also sewing projects for women and arts projects for unemployed artists, musicians and writers. * National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) / Wagner Act, 1935: set up National Labor Relations Board to supervise labor-management relations; In 1930s it strongly favored labor unions. Modified by Taft-Hartley (1947); still exists * Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 1938: established a maximum normal work week of 40 hours, and a minimum pay of 40 cents/hour; still exists

17 9.The New Deal had many critics on both the “Left” and the “Right.” True On the left, leaders life Father Charles Coughlin, Dr. Francis Townsend and Senator Huey Long criticized the New Deal for not doing enough. Others on the political right criticized it to taking the nation “on the path towards socialism.” FDR even threatened to follow through on an ill-advised plan to increase the size of the Supreme Court when it declared parts of the New Deal to be unconstitutional.

18 10. Overall, FDR’s New Deal effectively ended the Great Depression. False Unemployment remained high throughout the 1930’s. While the situation improved, the Depression only ended with the start of World War Two. The best that can be said is the New Deal enabled people to survive the Depression. the American way of life, characterized by free elections, a limited government and a free enterprise economic system, survived without any violent revolutions or civil wars.

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