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1930's American Society

By Tom Davies

Tom Davies

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of 1930's American Society

1930's American Society The Great Depression The Wall Street Crash Farming And The Dust Bowl The American Dream The Great Depression was a worldwide economic recession in the decade preceding World War 2. The depression originated in the USA after the fall in stock prices around October 29th, 1929.

It had devastating effects on everyone in America at the time. Several programs were started by President Hoover yet all of these failed to reverse the downturn and in some cases, made it even worse.

For example in June 1930 Congress approved the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act which raised tariffs on thousands of imported items. The intent of the Act was to encourage the purchase of American-made products by increasing the cost of imported goods, while raising revenue for the federal government and protecting farmers. Other nations increased tariffs on American-made goods in retaliation, reducing international trade, and worsening the Depression. The wall street crash in America, began in late October 1929 and was the mose devastating stock market crash in the entire history of the USA. The crash started off the 10-year Great Depression.

The crash was so bad that it caused fear and also shock. The number of unemployed people reached upwards of 13 million. Many people lived in primitive conditions close to famine. One New York family moved into a cave in Central Park. In St Louis, more than 1,000 people lived in shacks made from scrap metal and boxes. The places where these were used were known as Hoovervilles. There were many similar Hoovervilles all over America. Between 1 and 2 million people travelled the country desperately looking for work. Signs saying 'No Men Wanted' were displayed all over the country. After the great depression had started, several industries such as mining and logging suffered extremely badly, but farming suffered the most. Farming and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by approximately 60%.

This was also made worse because of the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American lands in the 1930s, particularly in 1934 and 1936.

During the drought of the 1930s, without natural anchors to keep the soil in place, it dried, turned to dust, and blew away with the prevailing winds. At times, the clouds blackened the sky, reaching all the way to East Coast cities such as New York and Washington, D.C. Much of the soil ended up deposited in the Atlantic Ocean, carried by prevailing winds.

This meant that meant that many farmers were made unemployed and were out of money, which made the economy even worse. The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that "all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.

Yet in 1930 this was only applicable to white men as they were treated as the best Racism In The USA In the United States in the 1930's racism was rife. the great depression, affected jobs in America and made loads of people unemployed but black males were the first to be affected by the job layoffs. They were expected to leave their jobs for the white people. If they did have jobs they had to settle for lower pay scales then white men. Racism was particulary in the southern states, all other ethnic groups were treated as lower class citizens. Most things were segregated, there were separate water fountains, eating spaces and bathrooms for black and white people. A job shortage in the southwest of America meant that 400,000 Mexican-Americans were deported so that there were more jobs and government relief for white people.

In 1920 two black men called Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith were lynched. They'd been accused of rape and murder- but not tried or convicted. A crowd broke into the jail where they were being held and killed them. The Klu Klux Klan (KKK) The KKK is the name of three distinct Klans which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically expressed through terrorism. Since the mid-20th century, the KKK has also been anti-communist. The current manifestation is splintered into several chapters with no connections between each other; it is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is estimated to have between 3,000 and 5,000 members as of 2012.

The second Klan was the most popular, peaking at around 3,000,000-6,000,000 members from 1920-1925. It is thought to be because of the film "The Birth Of A Nation", which mythologized and glorified the first Klan. As this had so many members during the Great Depression, black people were not expected to have jobs and the whites were given the best jobs Attitudes Towards Women, The Elderly, And Disabled Women
Women got the vote in america in 1920. However, black women, like black men, were often prevented from voting in the south by the poll tax, literacy laws, threats, intimidation,and outright violence.

Most single women worked for a living, and so did a lot of married women.The number of married women going out to work increased during the 1930s because many women were trying to keep their families afloat. Some people objected to married women working, because they thought they were taking jobs from single women who needed to support themselves. Many school boards for instance refused to hire married women teachers. But in spite of this, the number of working married women increased steadily throughout the 30s.
The elderly were treated with deference, and cared for. Their opinions were sought by the younger people. Allowances were made for their infirmaries. They were cleaned up after as it was considered a family duty
It was an era of the "survival of the fittest" and there was not a lot of money available for special treatment of the handicapped or people with mental illness. There were some facilities for the mentally challenged but the treatment was antiquated such as the use of shock treatment. The mentally handicapped were mostly institutionalized and it came to light years later that many were sterilized so they could not reproduce.
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