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The Great Depression

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Jerrid Harris

on 4 December 2015

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Transcript of The Great Depression

The Great Depression and the New Deal
Standard 17a-18d
Recap of the
There was an increase in consumerism…

Women and African Americans experienced new freedoms while immigrants came under attack

Government policies favored business and isolationism

…cars, radios, entertainment

The 1920s were a decade of consumer spending and the economy looked healthy on the surface

of the
Great Depression
of the
Great Depression
Over Production
Under Consumption
Problems for farmers and industry

Increasing American Debts

Many Americans used credit to live beyond their means, generate large debts, and had to cut back on spending by the end of the decade

Stock Market Speculation

-The stock market soared throughout the 1920s and people speculated by borrowing money to pay for stocks
(called buying on margin)
-The stock market was not regulated which allowed some companies to alter their stock values to increase profits…This created a “bubble” in the stock market

Black Tuesday
October 29, 1929
-The spark that triggered the Great Depression was the stock market crash in October 1929
-Speculators who bought on the margin, could not pay off their debts
-People rushed to sell, stock prices dropped, and investors lost a total of $30 billion

The Great Depression led to a collapse of the American financial system by 1933

Millions of people lost their jobs or took pay cuts to keep their jobs as result of the failure of businesses.

Poverty hits the United States

Soup Kitchens and Breadlines

Mortgage Foreclosures

The effects of the depression were made worse by the Dust Bowl

Decades of over-farming and droughts in the Plains led to windstorms that swept away soil and made farming impossible

Westward Migration
Farmers in the Plains (called “Okies” and “Arkies”) left their farms and searched for work or or for better land in West coast states

Blame it on
He encouraged business growth, wanted to keep taxes low, and avoided direct gov’t intervention

As the depression worsened, Hoover had no choice but to call for more direct government action to ease peoples’ suffering

-When the Great Depression began, President Herbert Hoover tried to solve America’s economic problems

-President Hoover believed that America could overcome the depression through “
rugged individualism
” (using hard work and perseverance)

Government interaction under Hoover's Administration
The gov’t issued relief checks to help the unemployed

Congress created the
Reconstruction Finance Corps (RFC)
to loan money to save failing businesses

Congress approved new building projects to put Americans to work like the
Hoover Dam

-Unfortunately these efforts did not end the depression and many citizens lost faith in President Hoover.

-Americans who lost their homes, lived in shantytowns nicknamed “

“Hoover Blankets”


“Hoover Hotels”

“Hoover Hotels”

By the election of 1932, Americans were looking for new leadership and a president who could save them from the Great Depression
-By the election of 1932, Hoover ran for re-election but Americans wanted hope and strong leadership
-Democratic candidate
Franklin Roosevelt
defeated Hoover and won the presidency

When Roosevelt was inaugurated as president, unemployment was at an all-time high

“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself; nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

In his first 100 days in office, FDR and Congress passed a broad platform of legislation to attack the depression called the
“New Deal”

FDR’s first action was to address the bank crisis

-By 1933, 25,000 banks had failed and the USA was in a complete financial collapse

-FDR declared a four-day “bank holiday”: all banks were closed and inspected by federal regulators to determine which banks were healthy…

…Only healthy banks could reopen after the bank holiday

The greatest success of the New Deal was its ability to offer relief to unemployed citizens with unemployment checks and job programs

During the New Deal, the gov’t provided relief checks to 15% of Americans

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a work program for young men aged 18-25 years old…

-The CCC built roads, parks, soil erosion project, and employed 3 million men

The Public Works Admin (WPA) hired 2 million to build airports, dams, schools, hospitals, parks

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was created to stimulate industry

-The NRA tried to set fair wages and hours for workers and minimum prices for products

-The NRA failed to create fair competition, stimulate industry, or end the depression

-Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) was created to help farmers and stimulate agriculture
-The AAA paid farmers not to produce; The gov’t hoped to increase crop prices by reducing supply
-The AAA helped farmers, but they never made enough money to stimulate the economy

The New Deal created long-term reforms to address weaknesses in the American economy and address the causes of the Great Depression

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was created to regulate the stock market and prevent another crash

-The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was created to guarantee customer bank accounts and restore public confidence in banks

-The government insures up to $250,000 in each bank account

-The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was created to bring electricity to the South and create jobs

-The TVA built hydroelectric power plants in seven Southern states providing issued cheap power

To combat poverty among the elderly and disabled, Congress created the Social Security Act

-Social Security provided old-age pensions for Americans at age 65

-Social Security was also America’s first welfare program because it provided payments for blind, handicapped, and needy children

One of the most important reforms on the New Deal was the Wagner Act

-The law protected workers’ right to strike and collectively bargain
-It created a Fair Labor Practices Commission to regulate unfair practices used by companies to discourage union membership
-Due to the Wagner Act, union membership in the USA increased

From 1933 to 1935, FDR’s New Deal programs helped lower unemployment and restored hope, but the Great Depression had not come to an end

-FDR’s failure to end the depression led to criticism of the New Deal
-The most vocal critic was Louisiana Senator Huey Long
-Huey Long’s Share the Wealth plan proposed taxing all personal income over $1 million and give each U.S. family $2,500 per year

In 1935, FDR began an aggressive series of laws called the Second New Deal

The Second New Deal was passed by Congress in a rapid succession known as the Second Hundred Days

The most ambitious works program of the New Deal was the Works Progress Administration (WPA)

By 1935, most New Deal work programs were non-skilled building jobs

The WPA was created to provide as many as 10 million jobs for men, women, and youths in building projects
FDR wins again...

…But his second term would prove more difficult than his first

Opposition to the Deal
By 1937, President Roosevelt faced criticisms that the New Deal was too expensive, did not eliminate unemployment, or end the depression

FDR backed off government funded job programs and unemployment quickly rose

In addition, two New Deal recovery programs (AAA and NRA) were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court

FDR feared that the Supreme Court would weaken the New Deal

FDR threatened to “pack the Supreme Court” and increase the number of justices from 9 to 15

People were outraged as FDR appeared to be overstepping his Constitutional powers

FDR’s New Deal dramatically changed America

The New Deal was successful in offering relief programs like the CCC, PWA, WPA to help people through the Depression

New Deal was successful in offering reform to the stock market (SEC), banking (FDIC), unions (Wagner Act, FLPC), elderly (Social Security)

But, the New Deal did not lead to recovery in the American economy. By 1938, nearly 10 million people were unemployed

Ultimately wealth remained unevenly divided

The First Lady
Eleanor Roosevelt
One of the most important reforms on the New Deal was the Wagner Act

The law protected workers’ right to strike and collectively bargain
It created a Fair Labor Practices Commission to regulate unfair practices used by companies to discourage union membership

Due to the Wagner Act, union membership in the USA increased
Full transcript