Great Depression Essay

1974 words - 8 pages

Great Depression

In the United States between 1929 and 1933, one hundred thousand businesses were unsuccessful. Corporate profits plummeted by nine billion dollars. Americans’ deposits were vanishing behind the closed doors of the banks. At the beginning of 1930 those without jobs totaled four million; however, by the end of 1930 that number had rose to six million (Norton 696). All of these events characterizing the Great Depression were occurring during the Herbert Hoover administration. From 1929 until his election loss in 1933, Hoover was “presiding over a gloomy and sometimes angry nation” (696). While Hoover seemed like an excellent candidate for the leadership of America, it was unknown at the time that he couldn’t offer the right leadership at the right time for the United States. America was diminishing and the country needed a leader who could pull the people out of this recession. “A new deal” needed to happen with a new president. The depression and its’ characteristics helped to define the deal that Americans would receive in 1933 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

As the Great Depression grew deeper necessities became luxuries. Millions of Americans were freezing in addition to hungry and sick. Fuel was unattainable because it was unaffordable. Soup kitchens and bread lines became popular for many families in the United States. The homeless Americans crafted together small box towns called Hoovervilles (698). These “houses” were created out of anything from egg crates to boards, bricks, and dirt. In 1929 a total of 659 banks around America closed their doors. By 1930 the number had leaped to a surprising 1,350. In 1931 alone 2,293 banks went under while another 1,453 quit doing business. Money was unavailable; consequently, people began postponing getting married, having children, and getting divorced, although desertions began to rise as male caretakers abandoned families because they felt they could not provide for them (698).

As a solution to this insoluble problem, Hoover offers the idea of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation or the RFC as it is referred to as. The corporation operates off of a theory that the American economy is seen as a pyramid with a pump of money. At the bottom of the pyramid are the working consumers. The middle of the pyramid consists of retailers, and the extreme top of the pyramid is made up of producers. According to Hoover and the RFC if money is injected through the top of the pyramid (to the producers) than eventually it will “trickle down” to the working consumers. Theoretically the producers will reopen and produce things if they are given money. Unfortunately for the American people this did not solve their economic crisis or improve their economic position. On the contrary by 1932 the economy was in a more decrepit state than it had been in to begin with (Manzione).

Not surprisingly, uprisings and revolts were numerous around the country. One of the...

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