Sunday, March 9, 2008

Analyze the ways in which the Great Depression altered the American social fabric in the 1930s.

World War I preceded the Great Depression. The nation prospered due to overseas demands for supplies. All this prosperity leaked in to the 1920s, when the nations was full of cultural diversity and growing businesses. However, as underlying and often ignored issues came to light at the turn of the decade, America's economy collapsed. President Roosevelt attempted to relieve, reform, and help the nation recover. Social fabric was altered emotionally, politically, and economically.

President Hoover did not do much to interfere with the economy. The Great Depression have brought about great hardships among America. Many Americans were disappointed with the capitalist system. They had lost confidence in the banking system as well. Most importantly, Americans felt anger and resentment towards President Hoover, the "do-nothing leader." As more and more people lost their houses and moved to "Hoovervilles," the American Dream seemed to fade.

Triggered by the disillusionment brought about by Hoover's weak attempt to aid the economy, Americans were ready for a change. Although Hoover ran for office, he lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Not only had Americans shifted political preference from Republicans to Democrats, but they had broken the trend of conservative presidents. Filled with frustration and desperation, Americans called for more liberal ways of dealing with the depression.

Franklin D. Roosevelt did his best to aid society by helping the economy. His alphabet programs ended the unemployed portion of the nation, which at the time was a great percentage. The Civilian Conservation Corps, Civil Works Administration, and Works Progress Administration employed thousands of people for conservation and construction purposes. The Federal Emergency Relief Act provided money for employment similar to these. Together, these programs helped alleviate the unemployment crisis.

In addition to helping the unemployed, Roosevelt also focused on agriculture, the working population, and consumers. In an attempt to help crop prices rise, FDR issued the Agricultural Adjustment Act. This program paid farmers to reduce their crops. Also, the Resettlement Administration was imposed. This allowed for assistance to farmers and other agrarian portions of society, which were harshly hit by the depression. Non self-employed workers were aided by the National Labor Relations Acts, which gave rights for bargaining and labor unions. Finally, Roosevelt was also concerned about consumers. The Home Owners Refinancing Act provided Americans with the opportunity to keep their homes. The National Bank Holiday and Glass-Steagall Act allowed Americans to regain trust and confidence in the banking system. The National Bank Holiday took the nation off the gold standard, and allowed only solvent banks to reopen. Very importantly, the Glass-Steagall Act established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which guaranteed deposits.

The Great Depression significantly tore the American social fabric. Citizens were left with great disillusionment in capitalism. The 1930s was a time when leaders worked to carefully mend the torn fabric through political and economic reform. These programs served to shape modern society, as social security and labor unions have survived through the years.

2 comments:

honestabe said...

not a very well written nor thought out essay...too bad one of my students totally plagiarized it

honestabe said...

not a very well written nor thought out essay...unfortunately one of my students plagiarized it entirely.