The Effects Of The Great Depression Essay — страница 3

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capitalistic society, but few in the general public shared this belief. The Socialist party, which had captured over a million votes in both the 1912 and 1920 presidential elections, took in less than 900,000 in 1932 with their candidate Norman Thomas. William Z. Foster and the Communists only gained 100,000 votes in the same year, and that was only after intense in-fighting about who would be the candidate (Meltzer 162). Black Americans faced the double threat of their own economic troubles and the anger of white Americans who had had enough of their own financial problems. Throughout the Depression, black unemployment rates stayed substantially higher than those of whites. In 1930, 1931, and 1932, the black rate of unemployment was, respectively, 15.7%, 35%, and 56% (Meltzer

57). Being the last man hired and the first man fired was almost the preferable lifestyle in the Deep South, where one could kill a black person with little-to-no fear of legal problems. “…Ku Klux practices were being being resumed in the certainty that dead men not only tell no tales but create vacancies,” reported Hilton Butler (qtd. in Meltzer 62). Lynchings in America rose from 8 in 1932 to an average of 20 for 1933, 1934, and 1935. An Atlanta Klan-styled group had a slogan that stated “no jobs for niggers until every white man has a job.” Even individuals that weren’t affiliated with such associations had a racist attitude towards employment. As a Georgia woman wrote the President in 1935, “Negroes being worked everywhere instead of white men it dont look like

that is rite” (qtd. in McElvaine 187). A visit to the events of 1932 wouldn’t be complete without some mentioning of the Bonus Expeditionary Force. In this strange event, nearly 20,000 veterans came into Washington, D.C. to receive a payment for the insurance policies they had recieved during World War I. The veterans planned on staying there until their bonus was paid. The House of Representatives passed a bill for the bonus to be paid, but the Senate rejected it. At this point, many in the BEF left (Boardman 48). A few weeks went by, and the Congressional session ended. More veterans left, but some did not leave quickly enough. A policeman fired at the group, killing one, and soon a riot broke out (McElvaine 93). The city commissioners wrote to Hoover, stating that “A

serious riot occurred…. This area contains thousands of brickbats and these were used by the rioters in their attack upon the police…. It will be impossible to maintain law & order except by the free use of firearms which will make the situation a dangerous one. The presence of Federal troops will result in far less violence and bloodshed” (qtd. in “Battle”). Hoover called in troops from local Fort Myer in Virginia, but never ordered them to attack or in anyway remove the Bonus Army from the D.C. area. This idea came from the leader of the troops, one General Douglas MacArthur. The veterans were given one hour to leave, and then the army, with bayonets and tear gas, forced out the rest. Hoover let MacArthur get away with insubordination, and took full public

responsibility for the actions taken. “Congress made provision for the return home of the so-called Bonus marchers…. Some 5,000 took advantage of the arrangement….,” he stated after summoning the troops on August 8, “An examination of a large nuber of names discloses the fact that a considerable part of those remaining are not veterans…. Many are Communists and persons with criminal records” (qtd. in “Battle”). The presidential election of 1932 displaced Hoover, and set up Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the new leader of America. Through his programs, the Depression stopped getting worse, at least for a little while. Banks stopped failing, the unemployment rate went down, and confidence in the stock market was restored. A lot of the hard work acheived through his

ideas and programs was lost when a recession hit in August 1937. Two million lost their jobs by the end of the year (Boardman 110). Even in 1940, 7.5 million were still unemployed (Boardman 133). Ironically, the ending of the Depression is tied into the cause of it. An increase in goods production was necessary during World War I. Once Europe could support itself, the American consumer had to make up for the now lost market of Europe. Supply overwhelmingly dwarfed demand. Ultimately, nothing except a massive change in the country’s industrial output could end the Great Depression, and one of the easiest ways to increase a country’s output is by being in a large war. World War II did not in any way disappoint. As John Kenneth Galbriath wrote in his American Capitalism: The