The Effects Of The Great Depression Essay

, Research Paper

The Twenties have frequently been known as one of the most comfortable decennaries in our history. It was the decennary of high times following the Great War & # 8217 ; s add-ons to our economic system. But it was these add-ons that finally led to the largest stock market clang in America. Millions were affected by the ensuing depression, which finally became so monolithic that the leaders of the clip started mentioning to it as the Great Depression. The summing up of these effects is a occupation best left to historiographers, but a speedy overview of some of them is more easy obtained.

Before traveling into the effects of an event, it is best to see some of the causes of the said event. Few expected the Twenties to stop with any kind of economic crisis, allow entirely the largest in American history. Herbert Hoover, speech production at the Republican National Convention in 1928, stated that:

One of the oldest and possibly the noblest of human aspirations has been abolishment of

poorness. By poorness I mean the grinding by undernourishment, cold and ignorance, and fright of old age of those who have the will to work. We in America today are nearer to the concluding victory over poorness than of all time before in the history of any land. The poorhouse is disappearing from among us. We have non yet reached the end, but, given a opportunity to travel frontward with the policies of the last eight old ages, we shall shortly with the aid of God be in sight of the twenty-four hours when poorness will be banished from this state ( qtd. in Wilbur 2 ) .

And, during the first months of the Hoover disposal, it looked as if this end was near-by. The popular heroes of the twenty-four hours were concern leaders, as opposed to athleticss stars or histrions. Time & # 8217 ; s Man of the Year in 1929 was William P. Chrysler, one of the taking car makers ( Boardman 4 ) .

On the low terminal of the societal spectrum were the multitudes of workers. The estimation of how many were unemployed in 1929 scopes from four million to 5.8 million ( Meltzer 13 ) . During the full decennary, something to the order of 8.2 % of the population earned $ 5,000 or more during the span of a twelvemonth. The bulk of the public, 59.5 % , had an income of less than $ 2,000 a twelvemonth ( Boardman 7 ) and about six million households earned less than $ 1,000 in a twelvemonth ( Meltzer 10 ) .

Beyond a uncertainty, those who were most affected by the Great Depression were those who had the least. & # 8220 ; You fellows, better organized, got yours, & # 8221 ; Alexander Logge said in 1930, & # 8220 ; while the husbandman, unorganised, failed to acquire anything & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in Romasco 97 ) . Among the industries worst hit by the Crash in 1929 was the automotive industry. A Willys works in Toledo had started the twelvemonth with 28,000 employees. By the terminal, merely 4,000 were still working. Ford & # 8217 ; s works in Detroit lost a similar sum of workers, get downing the twelvemonth with 128,000 and stoping it with 100,000 ( Meltzer 24 ) .

Despite this, many thought that thedepression was merely like any other fluctuation in the market, and that the economic system would finally swerve upwards. Mistake was placed on the jobless by the wealthy, such as John Edgarton, President of the National Association of Manufacturing. In his head, & # 8220 ; if they gamble off their nest eggs on the stock market or elsewhere, is our economic system, or authorities, or industry to fault? & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in Meltzer 160 )

Besides happening mistake, optimism was besides in the air. Charles M. Schwab, a taking steel maker, said in 1930 that & # 8220 ; all present indicants are that 1930, in wide prospective, will turn out to be a twelvemonth of normal concern advancement & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in Boardman 25 ) .

Following such shallow opinions, coupled with inaction, was a deepening of the Depression. As George Soule said in 1931, & # 8220 ; The chief problem is non that concern is in the saddle ; the problem is that cipher is in the saddle & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in Romasco 202 ) . General Motors, which before the Depression employed 260,000, had downsized about 100,000 of them by October of 1931. Baltimore & A ; Ohio Railroad & # 8217 ; s net incomes were down 33 % from 1929, and 20,000 workers had been laid off ( Romasco 139 ) . Those employed in metropoliss did no better. 18 % of Cincinatti, and 26 % of Buffalo, was unemployed, alongside a million people in New York City ( Meltzer 29 ) . In Chicago, two out of every five people, a full 624,000 people, had no occupation ( Romasco 155 ) .

One of the first things to be lost in poorness is the luxury of eating good, or at all. As an Illinois common man wrote to Hoover, & # 8220 ; The emty stomack does non recogniz no Torahs & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in McElvaine 81 ) . & # 8220 ; There is non, & # 8221 ; Edmund Wilson reported, & # 8220 ; a refuse shit in Chicago which isn & # 8217 ; t diligently hunted by the hungry. & # 8221 ; Thomas Wolfe, one of the societal voices of the Depression, seemed to decease a small each clip he saw such sights. As he wrote, & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; the ageless reverberations of these scenes of agony, force, subjugation, hungriness, cold, and the crud and poorness traveling on unherded in a universe in which the rich were still rotten with their wealth, left a cicatrix upon my life & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in Boardman 32 ) . The point that Hoover did small to alleviate such jobs was seized upon by imperfects in the Republican party, and about led to the formation of a 3rd party. Henrik Shipstead, a congresswoman in the early 30s, commented that & # 8220 ; Before the Roman revolution, when the people became discontented and hungry, they were given a loaf of staff of life and a circus. Now we can merely give them a circus & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in Feinman 19 ) .

The first to experience the effects of malnutrition were kids. & # 8220 ; I said to the instructors last autumn, & # 8221 ; a

Chicago school principal testified, & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; Whenever you have a subject instance, inquire this inquiry foremost, & # 8216 ; What has he had for breakfast? & # 8221 ; , which normally brings out the fact that he has had nil at all & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in Meltzer 93 ) . In New York City, one-fifth of public school pupils were malnurished ( Boardman 64 ) . Besides malnutrition, kids besides had to cover with the monolithic school fiscal jobs of the epoch. In a clip when traveling to school intend the possibility of acquiring a better occupation to acquire more money for the household, more and more were shuting. By 1933, some 2,600 schools had closed, interrupting the instruction of over 10 million kids ( Meltzer 46 ) .

Another one of the effects of the Depression was migration due to the loss of lodging. 1931 was the first twelvemonth in which more people left the United States than entered it ( Boardman 30 ) . The following twelvemonth, over 273,000 households lost their places through foreclosure. Early on in 1933, a 1000 houses a twenty-four hours were being taken away by mortgage holders ( Meltzer 65 ) . In that same twelvemonth, an estimated million people spent their lives siting the tracks ( Boardman 30 ) . Roughly a one-fourth of these transients were under 21. Many had been to high school, and some had even gone to college ( Meltzer 49 ) .

1932, the 3rd full twelvemonth of the Depression, saw even more adversities for the citizens of the

United States. The figure of unemployed strafed the 13 million grade ( Boardman 46 ) . Among those with occupations were some really low-paid workers. In Chicago, a section shop salesgirl would gain between five and 25 cents an hr. Sawmill workers in Pennsylvania earned a Ni an hr, and non-union coal mineworkers were paid $ 1.50 for a twenty-four hours & # 8217 ; s work. Sweatshops in Connecticut paid girls 60 cents to a dollar for a 55-hour hebdomad, and farmworkers average

d a pay of a dollar and alteration for a twenty-four hours of work ( Meltzer 108 ) .

Mirroring the descent of the peoples & # 8217 ; rewards was the autumn in the national economic system. The gross national production of the full state, which in 1929 was $ 104 billion, was down to $ 58.5 billion ( Boardman 46 ) . Some 4,000 Bankss failed between the stock market clang and the beginning of 1933 ( Boardman 64 ) . In the same clip period, ingestion outgos went down 18 % , building decreased by 78 % , investings declined by 98 % , and the unemployment rate fell from 3.2 % to an amazing 24.9 % ( McElvaine 75 ) . Before 1933 was out, 85,000 concerns had failed, with losingss of $ 4.5 billion ( Meltzer 65 ) . Despite all of this economic pandemonium, there were so many goods being produced that some of them had to be destroyed, while people in desperate demand of it froze and starved. To cite John M. Keynes, & # 8220 ; In all our ideas and feelings and undertakings for the improvement of things, we should hold it at the dorsum of our caputs that this is non a crisis of poorness, but a crisis of copiousness & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in Romasco 3 ) .

As the Depression deepened in 1932-33, a vocal minority felt that the lone solution to the

jobs of the clip was revolution. A good trade of the members of the Communist and Socialist parties believed that this was the terminal of the American capitalistic society, but few in the general populace shared this belief. The Socialist party, which had captured over a million ballots in both the 1912 and 1920 presidential elections, took in less than 900,000 in 1932 with their campaigner Norman Thomas. William Z. Foster and the Communists merely gained 100,000 ballots in the same twelvemonth, and that was merely after intense in-fighting about who would be the campaigner ( Meltzer 162 ) .

Black Americans faced the dual menace of their ain economic problems and the choler of white Americans who had had plenty of their ain fiscal jobs. Throughout the Depression, black unemployment rates stayed well higher than those of Whites. In 1930, 1931, and 1932, the black rate of unemployment was, severally, 15.7 % , 35 % , and 56 % ( Meltzer 57 ) . Bing the last adult male hired and the first adult male fired was about the preferred life style in the Deep South, where 1 could kill a black individual with little-to-no fright of legal jobs. & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; Ku Klux patterns were being being resumed in the certainty that dead work forces non merely state no narratives but create vacancies, & # 8221 ; reported Hilton Butler ( qtd. in Meltzer 62 ) . Lynchings in America rose from 8 in 1932 to an norm of 20 for 1933, 1934, and 1935. An Atlanta Klan-styled group had a motto that stated & # 8220 ; no occupations for niggas until every white adult male has a job. & # 8221 ; Even persons that weren & # 8217 ; t affiliated with such associations had a racist attitude towards employment. As a Georgia adult female wrote the President in 1935, & # 8220 ; Negroes being worked everyplace alternatively of white work forces it dont expression like that is rite & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in McElvaine 187 ) .

A visit to the events of 1932 wouldn & # 8217 ; t be complete without some mentioning of the Bonus

Expeditionary Force. In this unusual event, about 20,000 veterans came into Washington, D.C. to

have a payment for the insurance policies they had recieved during World War I. The veterans

planned on remaining at that place until their fillip was paid. The House of Representatives passed a measure for the fillip to be paid, but the Senate rejected it. At this point, many in the BEF left ( Boardman 48 ) . A few hebdomads went by, and the Congressional session ended. More veterans left, but some did non go forth rapidly plenty. A police officer fired at the group, killing one, and shortly a public violence broke out ( McElvaine 93 ) . The metropolis commissioners wrote to Hoover, saying that & # 8220 ; A serious public violence occurred & # 8230 ; . This country contains 1000s of brickbats and these were used by the rioters in their onslaught upon the constabulary & # 8230 ; . It will be impossible to keep jurisprudence & A ; order except by the free usage of pieces which will do the state of affairs a unsafe 1. The presence of Federal military personnels will ensue in far less force and bloodshed & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in & # 8220 ; Battle & # 8221 ; ) . Hoover called in military personnels from local Fort Myer in Virginia, but ne’er ordered them to assail or in anyhow take the Bonus Army from the D.C. country. This thought came from the leader of the military personnels, one General Douglas MacArthur. The veterans were given one hr to go forth, and so the ground forces, with bayonets and rupture gas, forced out the remainder. Hoover let MacArthur acquire off with insubordination, and took full public duty for the actions taken. & # 8220 ; Congress made proviso for the return place of the alleged Bonus marchers & # 8230 ; . Some 5,000 took advantage of the agreement & # 8230 ; . , & # 8221 ; he stated after citing the military personnels on August 8, & # 8220 ; An scrutiny of a big nuber of names discloses the fact that a considerable portion of those staying are non veterans & # 8230 ; . Many are Communists and individuals with condemnable records & # 8221 ; ( qtd. in & # 8220 ; Battle & # 8221 ; ) .

The presidential election of 1932 displaced Hoover, and set up Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the new leader of America. Through his plans, the Depression stopped acquiring worse, at least for a small piece. Banks stopped neglecting, the unemployment rate went down, and assurance in the stock market was restored. A batch of the difficult work acheived through his thoughts and plans was lost when a recession hit in August 1937. Two million lost their occupations by the terminal of the twelvemonth ( Boardman 110 ) . Even in 1940, 7.5 million were still unemployed ( Boardman 133 ) .

Ironically, the stoping of the Depression is tied into the cause of it. An addition in goods production was necessary during World War I. Once Europe could back up itself, the American consumer had to do up for the now lost market of Europe. Supply overpoweringly dwarfed demand. Ultimately, nil except a monolithic alteration in the state & # 8217 ; s industrial end product could stop the Great Depression, and one of the easiest ways to increase a state & # 8217 ; s end product is by being in a big war. World War II did non in any manner disappoint. As John Kenneth Galbriath wrote in his American Capitalism:

The Great Depression of the mid-thirtiess ne’er came to an terminal. It simply disappeared in the great mobilisation of the mid-fortiess. For a whole coevals it became the normal facet of

peacetime life in the United States-the thing to be feared and expected. Measured by its go oning imprint on actions and attitudes, the depression clearly stands with the Civil War as one of the two most of import events in American history since the Revolution. For the great bulk of Americans World War II, by contrast, was an about insouciant and pleasant experience ( qtd. in Boardman 132 ) .

Plants Cited

& # 8220 ; Battle of Washington. & # 8221 ; 8 Aug 1932. Time Magazine Multimedia Almanac. CD-ROM. Softkey Multimedia, Inc. , 1995

Boardman, Jr. , Fon W. The Thirties-America and the Great Depression. New York: Walck, 1967.

Feinman, Ronald L. Twilight of Progressivism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1981.

McElvaine, Robert S. The Great Depression. New York: Timess, 1984.

Meltzer, Milton. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? . Ed. John Anthony Scott. New York: Knopf, 1969.

Romasco, Albert U. The Poverty of Abundance. New York: Cambridge UP, 1965.

Wilbur, Ray Lyman and Arthur Mastick Hyde. The Hoover Policies. New York: Scribner & # 8217 ; s Sons, 1937.

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