Chapter 25 Vocab

Herbert Hoover (Hoover’s Administration) (1928-1932) Hoover took office in 1928 just before the stock market crash in 1929, so the blame for the Depression was placed on Hoover.• Hoover was blamed by the American public for his failure to find effective remedies to combat the Depression. He relied on voluntary commitment by industrialists not to cut production or lay off workers and labor not to ask for higher wages. By 1931, the crisis was so severe the voluntary cooperation collapsed. • Hoover actually went further in his attempt to use government power to end the Depression than any other President to date with his Reconstruction Finance Corporation (see RFC below). • Although Hoover was renominated by the Republicans in 1932, he lost and left office as one of the most unpopular presidents in American history.
Hawley-Smoot Tariff (Hoover’s Administration) (1930) The tariff attempted to protect American farmers from international competition. It raised tariffs on seventy-five farm products and raised duties to the highest point in American history (an average of 50 percent on protected products). • Economists generally opposed the Hawley-Smoot tariff, warning that it would invite retaliation by European powers, but Hoover signed the tariff. Foreign governments retaliated by increasing their own trade restrictions which further limited the market for American goods and intensified the worldwide depression.
Agricultural Marketing Act (Hoover’s Administration) (1929) This was an early attempt (prior to the October 1929 stock market crash) by Hoover to help the struggling agricultural segment of the economy. This was the first time a government agency helped maintain farm prices because it allotted money to buy agricultural surpluses and consequently raise prices. • The act was ineffective because it relied on voluntary action by farmers to limit production rather than using government authority to limit production. • Both this act and the Hawley-Smoot Tariff demonstrated Hoover’s commitment to use government power, even before the Crash, to help the economy.
Black Tuesday (Hoover’s Administration) (October 29,1832) Black Tuesday refers to Oct 29, 1929, when the great stock market crash occurred. The crash came after a long period of speculation in the stock market and a period of instability in the market that started in early September. • Sixteen million shares of stock were traded that day and the stocks in many companies, major and minor, became almost worthless. It was ten years before the market fully recovered. • The crash was the first tangible sign of the economic crisis, but it was not the beginning or the cause of the Great Depression.
Causes of the Great Depression (Hoover’s Administration) (1929-1941) The Great Depression differed from earlier panics and depressions because of its severity and long duration. The Depression, like many important events, was multicausal. Causes included:• the lack of diversification in the economy – 1920s prosperity largely rested on the construction and automotive industries. When these industries declined the impact on the overall economy was significant• income distribution – the Inequality of Income Distribution meant supply outstripped demand because even in 1929 over 50% of Americans lived at or below the poverty level and could not buy the goods America industries were producing. There were also too many factories, warehouses, etc. in existence once the economy started to slow down • overextension of credit – too much of the economy from farming to banking was based on an overextension of credit – some banks were in trouble throughout the 1920’s as customers defaulted on loans and speculation in the stock market by large banks intensified the problem• declining international trade – American goods lost a significant share of the European markets as these countries rebuilt their economies in the 1920s and because some countries, like Germany, couldn’t afford American goods.• international debt structure – Germany couldn’t pay reparation to the former Allies and this meant that Britain and France couldn’t repay World War I loans. After World War I the American banks loaned European governments new loans so they could pay off previous loans. When American banks could not make additional loans to these countries in the 1920s the whole system of international credit began to collapse.
Causes of Great Depression- Lack of diversification of the economy 1920s prosperity largely rested on the construction and automotive industries. When these industries declined the impact on the overall economy was significant
Causes of the Great Depression- Income Distribution (Hoover’s Administration) the Inequality of Income Distribution meant supply outstripped demand because even in 1929 over 50% of Americans lived at or below the poverty level and could not buy the goods America industries were producing. There were also too many factories, warehouses, etc. in existence once the economy started to slow down
Causes of the Great Depression- Overextension of Credit too much of the economy from farming to banking was based on an overextension of credit – some banks were in trouble throughout the 1920’s as customers defaulted on loans and speculation in the stock market by large banks intensified the problem
Causes of the Great Depression- declining international trade American goods lost a significant share of the European markets as these countries rebuilt their economies in the 1920s and because some countries, like Germany, couldn’t afford American goods.
Causes of Depression- international debt structure Germany couldn’t pay reparation to the former Allies and this meant that Britain and France couldn’t repay World War I loans. After World War I the American banks loaned European governments new loans so they could pay off previous loans. When American banks could not make additional loans to these countries in the 1920s the whole system of international credit began to collapse.
Hooverville (Hoover Administration) (1930s) “Hooverville” was a name given to any shantytown during the period when Herbert Hoover was president. The term showed the unpopularity of Hoover and the fact that the American public blamed Hoover for the Depression.
Drought/ Dust Bowel/ Okies (Hoover Administration) (1930s) “Okies” were poor farmers primarily from Oklahoma in the 1930s that moved west to California and Arizona or to the crowded cities. They left because following two generations of drought and poor farming much of the Great Plains were stricken by dust storms (the area was known as the “dust bowl”).
Public relief or work relief (Hoover Administration) (1930s) “Relief” was the commonly used term in the 1930s for public welfare.
Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) (Hoover Administration) (1932) Government agency whose purpose was to give federal loans to businesses such as banks, railroads, and other large corporations. While Hoover opposed direct “public relief” (welfare) to the American public because he thought it would kill American self-reliance, the RFC was intended to supply jobs to Americans by rescuing businesses in danger of bankruptcy. • In addition, the RFC provided money to local governments to pay for public work projects and local relief programs (welfare). This was Hoover’s main effort to combat the Depression. • Although the RFC went much further to intervene in the economy than any previous act or agency, the RFC lent money to large corporations who had some solvency rather than to small businesses that desperately needed aid. The more pressing issue was the RFC didn’t give out enough money to make a difference to the economical crisis (it only spent about 20% of the money available to it). • Hoover’s willingness to loan federal money to businesses while steadfastly refusing to give direct aid to unemployed Americans greatly contributed to his unpopularity.
Bonus Expeditionary Force aka Bonus Army (Hoover Administration) (July 1932) The Bonus Army was a group of WWI veterans who demanded that the federal government pay them a promised bonus of $1000 (the bonus bill was passed in 1924) due in 1945. When Hoover refused because he was worried about balancing the budget, a group of 20,000 marched to Washington to present their cause in person. • Disregarding Hoover’s instructions, General Douglas MacArthur used excessive force to break up their encampment. Hoover was blamed for it and his popularity plummeted to an all time low.
Farmers Holiday Association/ Miles Reno (Hoover Administration) (1932) Midwest group of farmers who adopted the tactic of a farmers’ strike – refusing to sell farm products until prices came up. It did not work because many farmers would not participate and the effort was too small to make an impact on the market. • Violence broke out on several occasions and though this was a limited effort, it created uproar in state governments in farmer states. Reno, the leader of the strike, called off the attempt after the violence.
John Dos Pasos/ USA (Writers/ Literature) (1930-1936) Dos Passos was a writer who was involved in radical political movements. His trilogy U.S.A. attacked all levels of American society, from wealthy businessmen to labor leaders. Dos Passos believed that American society had been corrupted by the greed of the capitalist system.
Dorothea Lange/ Margaret Bourke White (Writers/ Literature) (1930s) Both of these photographers produced memorable portraits of people of the Depression that decades later are still recognized as indelible images of the Depression.
Erskine Caldwell/ Tobacco Road (Writers/ Literature) (1932) This play was the story of the Lesters, a family of southern white sharecroppers so destitute that most of their creditors had given up on them. Tobacco Road painted the debasing effects of poverty on the family.
John Steinback/ The Grapes of Wrath (Writers/ Literature) (1939) Steinbeck’s most famous novel tells the story of the Joad family, migrants from the Dust Bowl to California, and the trials and tribulations the family encounters. Steinbeck offered a blistering portrait of migrant workers’ lives in the West, but also depicted the endurance of the common people.
Richard Wright/ Native Son (Writers/ Literature) (1940) Wright’s novel delved into the extreme psychological pressures that brought a young urban black man to violence. The book established Wright as the leading African-American author of the 1940s.
James Agee and Walker Evans/ Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Writers/ Literature) (1941) A striking textual and photographic portrayal of the harsh, poverty-stricken life of Southern white sharecroppers that also served as a testimony to the strength and endurance of these people.
“Screwball comedies” (Movies) (1930s) Escapist movies, such as Bringing Up Baby or It Happened One Night or the Marx Brothers A Night at the Opera. Screwball comedies featured improbable plots designed to take the audience’s minds off their troubles.
Frank Capra / Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) / Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) / Meet John Doe (1941)/ It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (Movies) Director Frank Capra’s movies were known for their optimism and their celebration of the common people and the decency of small town living which he contrasted to the corrupt and decadent values of city living. • Capra’s movies depicted a faith in American democracy and the innate decency of average Americans.
Popular Front (late 1930s) This was a broad coalition of “antifascist” groups chiefly put together by the American Communist Party. • Per the instructions of the Soviet Union’s dictator Joseph Stalin, American Communists tempered their strident criticism of FDR and formed loose alliances with other progressive groups. • Stalin did this because he saw FDR as a potential ally against Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. The 1930s was the height of the American Communist Party’s numbers (100,000) and influence.
Spanish Civil War (1930s) Many American intellectuals supported the Republican government against the fascist forces of Francisco Franco (who was getting help from Hitler and Mussolini). The Abraham Lincoln Brigade, consisting of 3000 volunteers, was formed and went to Spain to fight in the war.
Election of _____: Franklin Roosevelt (D) vs. Hoover (R) (1932) The issue of the campaign was the Depression. Hoover’s popularity had hit rock bottom and no one doubted a Democratic victory. Roosevelt, a wealthy New York patrician, had made a political comeback after being stricken with polio in 1921. In 1928 and 1930 he was elected governor of New York and put into place government assistance programs to help the state. • In his acceptance speech of the Democratic candidacy he promised “a new deal for the American people.” Roosevelt refused to give details of his planned program during the campaign, but he won by a landslide — 57.4 % to Hoover’s 39.7 % of the popular vote. The Democrats also swept both houses of Congress.

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