Presentation on theme: "Hoovers response to the Great Depression. Realizing that peoples faith in the plummeting economy might hinder the chances of recovery, Hoover claimed."— Presentation transcript:
Realizing that peoples faith in the plummeting economy might hinder the chances of recovery, Hoover claimed that the economic downswing would soon pass. Following his faith in voluntary action, Hoover asked business leaders to pledge not to cut wages or production. He urged city and state governments to stimulate local economies through building projects. Hoovers Response
Hoovers Response (cont.) Despite Hoovers efforts, business conditions worsened. The early 1930s saw declining incomes, rising unemployment, and mounting business failures. With the number of unemployed growing every month, charity funds soon proved inadequate. The Federal Reserve compounded the problem by squandering chances to rescue the collapsing banking system.
Too Little Too Late Hoover finally bowed to pressure and responded to the deepening economic crisis by asking Congress to approve the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The RFC was authorized to dispense $2 billion in loans–more in federal aid than ever requested by a President–to faltering banks, insurance companies, and railroads.
Too Little Too Late (cont.) When the trickle-down approach failed, Congress passed the Emergency Relief Act, which approved additional loans to state governments for unemployment relief. However, state governments did not qualify for the loans unless they were on the verge of bankruptcy.
With wages dropping, unemployment growing, and so little money trickling down from relief measures, resentment grew among those hardest hit by the Depression. Economic suffering led veterans from World War I to organize a protest aimed at winning early payment of a bonus due to them in 1945. Too Little Too Late (cont.)
The so-called bonus army, made up of veterans and their families, marched on Washington, D.C. After Congress refused to pass a bonus bill, the veterans slowly began to disperse. However, they did not leave quickly enough for Hoover, who saw the bonus army as a hostile force. The Bonus Army
Hoover dispatched troops to break up the veterans camps. News of cavalry units, tanks, infantry with fixed bayonets, and a machine-gun detachment marching on unarmed veterans appalled Americans. The routing of the bonus army, along with the ongoing Depression, handed the 1932 election to Democratic candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt. Bonus Army
On the Farms Declining farm prices made it impossible for many farmers to escape bank foreclosures on their property. Some avoided foreclosures by borrowing money from friends and relatives or by holding penny auctions. But thousands of farmers on the Great Plains– the Okies–had no choice but to abandon their fields in search of a better life. Uprooted, the Okies drifted anywhere they thought they might have a chance to find work. Leaflets advertising seasonal work drew many to California, where they faced stiff competition for jobs paying nearly starvation-level wages.
Tenant farmers, who lived mostly in the South, were hit hard by two developments: (1) When the government began paying landowners to take some of their land out of production, most landowners pulled the land used by tenant farmers. (2) As landowners used their government checks to buy new farm equipment, they no longer needed year-round tenant farmers. On the Farms (cont.)
Evicted from their farms, tenant farmers took to the roads looking for work. Although all suffered hardship, African American tenant farmers endured the added burden of racial discrimination.
On the Farms (cont.) Mexicans and Mexican Americans living in California, the Southwest, and Texas also faced discrimination as officials demanded that the government deport all people of Mexican descent. The depressed economy, coupled with violations of rights, led many Mexican Americans to apply for repatriation to Mexico.
In the City The prospect for people without jobs was just as bleak in the cities as on the farms. Despite promises by Hoover to keep factories running full tilt, many factory owners began to lay off workers after a year or two of economic decline. With wage reductions, many working people were no better off than people who qualified for relief. In many cities, the jobless and those with jobs became economic equals.
In the City (cont.) To reduce living expenses, people moved in with relatives. Those unable to escape eviction lived in their cars, along the road, or in makeshift shelters known as Hoovervilles.
In the City (cont.) Even relatively well-to-do people sometimes had to depend on the aid and charity of their neighbors to make ends meet. However, most people who were wealthy before the Depression had a much better chance of weathering the economic storm. A few, such as future oil baron J. Paul Getty, took advantage of the rock- bottom prices to increase their wealth.
In the City (cont.) For most Americans the loss of money and material possession was not nearly as damaging as the sense of lost hope and pride.
In many families the father–the traditional provider–lost status and self-esteem during the Depression. Women, traditionally taking the role of homemakers, suffered less upheaval. Their efforts at economizing–canning vegetables, drying food, sewing clothes– kept families from starvation. To add to the family income, some women started home industries, such as taking in laundry, selling baked goods, or renting rooms to boarders. In the Family
In the Family (cont.) Although women faced increased discrimination in professional fields, jobs that traditionally went to women did not decline as extensively as the professional and manufacturing jobs that traditionally went to men. While some people came away from the Depression with an increased sense of inner strength or stronger bonds to their family, for most the Depression was aptly named. It was a time of psychological and spiritual, as well as economic, depression.
Today: Recession or Mancession -There is a growing gap between male and female unemployment (about a 2.5 percent gap) -It's the largest gap since World War II, and economists blame it on the huge layoffs in manufacturing and construction, where men made up roughly 70 and 85 percent of the workforce. -Roughly 35 percent of women now bring home at least half of their family's income