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Sunday, April 29, 2007

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Causes of Great Depression- October 24, 1929
Though there were a few causes for the Great Depression the main ones were the unequal distribution of money in the 1920s and the stock market crashes in late 1929. The Roaring Twenties brought much prosperity to America but caused a large gap between the rich and the middle-class in the distribution of money. For example, Henry Ford earned an income of about 14 million a year while the average income of the working class would be about $750. The unstable economy finally came crashing down on everyone when on October 24, 1929; huge stock market crashes in the United States led to the Great Depression, which soon spread worldwide.

Huey Long-1930
Senator Huey D (“Kingfish”) Long of Louisiana organized his “share the wealth” plan. This program promised to make “Every man a King” by giving every family $5,000 at the expense of the rich. He was described by former clergyman Gerald L.K Smith as “the gutsiest, loudest, and lustiest…” He governed the state of Louisiana with dictorial hand and in 1930, he became a U.S Senator. Although he backed FDR, Long split with Roosevelt in June 1933 and planned to create his presidential campaign. He was then assassinated in the state capitol of Louisiana in 1935.

President Hoover-1932
During the depression, Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) was the thirty-first president of the United States. During his term he tried to combat the depression through government involvement and volunteer movements. Some of his greatest blunders were the raising of tariffs in 1930(Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act) and taxes (1932 Revenue Act) which caused frightened depositors to withdraw their funds and caused the failure of about 5,100 banks. Hoover failed to get the nation out of its economic downfall which is why he lost the election of 1932 to FDRs inspiring promises, optimism, and his New Deal.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt-1932
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) was the thirty-second president of the United States. He was elected for four terms and won his first election in 1932. His New Deal, which would help the nation get out of its economic depression, and his optomistic go-getter attitude appealed to the panicked people at the time. Roosevelts liberalism helped pull forward the New Deal, and though it did not cure the nation of its depression, Roosevelt left behind programs like the TVA and the Social Security System.

Mary McLeod Bethune-1930s
Mary Bethune was the most important African American in the Roosevelt cabinet. She became the director of the Office of Minority Affairs an the National Youth Administration. From there, she crated the “Black Cabinet”, where she made sure that black people benefited from the New Deals.

Civilian Conservation Corps-March 31, 1933
Roosevelts New Deal, while trying to accomplish relief, recovery, and reform-the Hundred Days Congress created the Civilian Conservation Corps. Unemployment was high in the U.S during the Great Depression and the CCC provided recovery and relief for about three million men. The men delt with jobs such as reforestation, firefighting, flood control and swamp drainage. This helped conserve human and natural resources.

Agricultural Adjustment Act (May 12,1933) and Home Owners Loan Corporation (June 13, 1933)
For immidiate relief the Africultural Adjustment Act and Home Owners Loan Corporation were created by the Hundred Days Congress. The AAA was created in May 12,1933 and was designed to help out farmers with their mortgages. To help refinance the homes of nonfarmers the HOLC was created about amonth after the AAA.

Frances Perkins-1934
Frances Perkins(1880-1965) was the first woman cabinet member. She was the Secretary of Labor and worked under Roosevelt. Unfortunately, she received much undeserved critism from male businessmen, laborites and politicians. Perkins also oversaw the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1935. She also campaigned for minimum wage and unemployment insurance laws. In 1934, she served as chairman of the pesidents committee on economic security. With this job, she helped bring about the Social Security Act of 1935.

Wagner Act of 1935
The Congress during FDRs first term, passed the Wagner Act of 1935. This law created a National Labor Relations Boeard, of which asserted the right of labor and self organization.

Social Security Act of 1935
This provided insurance for the people who were unable to work. They received checks every month, which ranged from ten dollars to eighty-five. People with handicaps, such as the elderly and delinquint children were eligible for these payments. The Social Security Act was one of the legacies that Roosevelt left behind during the Great Depression and of which still exists today.

Hatch Act of 1939
This law did not allow federal officials, except for the highest policy makers, to campaign. It also did not allow government funds for political purposes, and the collection of campaign contributions from people receiving relief payments.

Ending the Depression-1937-1945
The Great Depression finally came to an end in 1937 as the ecomomy began to reach a normal state, though unemployment remained high. As World War II progressed(1939-1945) the government spent more on the military and started drafting men in 1940. Sixteen million men were drafted by 1945 but there were still many without jobs. Unemployment went down below 2% by 1943 as factories employed unskilled workers(1941-43) while the government payed for the training. Policies were made easier for women to get work,thousands of factories were built and wages were raised for workers.

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