Chapter 25 The Great Depression and the New Deal, 1929–1941 Learning Objectives



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Chapter 25

The Great Depression and the New Deal,
1929–1941

Learning Objectives

After you have studied Chapter 25 in your textbook and worked through this study guide chapter, you should be able to:

1. Discuss the impact of the Great Depression on the American economic system and on city dwellers, farmers, marriage patterns, and family life.

2. Examine how and why Americans responded to the Great Depression as they did.

3. Explain and evaluate the Hoover administration’s attempts to deal with the economic and human crises posed by the Great Depression.

4. Examine the issues and personalities and explain the outcome of the 1932 presidential and congressional elections.

5. Discuss the impact of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s personal and professional experiences prior to 1932 on his political, social, and economic views, and examine the relationship between his political, social, and economic views, and his handling of the Great Depression.

6. Explain the practical and theoretical basis for the legislative enactments of the First New Deal (l933–1934), and evaluate the effectiveness of the First New Deal in solving the problems of the depression.

7. Examine the variety of criticisms leveled against the New Deal, and discuss the alternatives proposed.

8. Contrast the Supreme Court’s reaction to New Deal legislation before and after 1937, and explain the reasons for the shift.

9. Explain the practical and theoretical basis for the legislative enactments of the Second New Deal (1935–1939), and evaluate the effectiveness of the Second New Deal in solving the problems of the depression.

10. Identify the components of the New Deal coalition, and examine the impact of this coalition on the 1936 presidential election.

11. Examine the problems encountered by President Roosevelt during his second term.

12. Examine the power struggle between craft unions and industrial unions during the New Deal era; discuss the victories and defeats of organized labor during this period; and assess the overall impact of the New Deal era on organized labor in the United States.

13. Examine the impact of the Great Depression and the New Deal era on African Americans, American Indians, Mexican Americans, and women, and explain the responses of these groups to the obstacles they faced.

14. Discuss the issues and personalities and explain the outcome of the 1940 presidential election.

15. Discuss the legacy of the New Deal.

Thematic Guide

Chapter 25 opens with a discussion of the Great Depression’s impact on people’s lives. The human story includes the increase in malnutrition and disease, the sufferings of drought- and debt-ridden farmers, descriptions of hobo towns, altered marital patterns, and changes to family life.

In the midst of the depression, few Americans thought in radical, revolutionary terms. Many accepted the traditional American belief in the self-made man and blamed themselves for the depression. The protests that emerged were relatively mild, the most spectacular being the Bonus March. Furthermore, in the case of the Bonus March, it was the government, not the people, that overreacted.

Hoover’s response to appeals from the people that the government extend aid was at first defensive. Hoover was convinced that self-help was the solution, not government aid. As the depression deepened, Hoover reluctantly began to energize the government. But at the same time he pursued policies that caused further deterioration of the economic situation.

An understanding of Franklin Roosevelt’s background, his perception of himself, his society, and American government is important to an understanding of his approach to the Great Depression. That background and Roosevelt’s frame of reference are outlined as part of the discussion of the presidential election of 1932. Moreover, the authors explain the reasons for Roosevelt’s victory and reveal that in spite of a deepening crisis Americans did not adopt radical solutions. Instead, they continued to follow tradition by peacefully exchanging one government for another.

With the aid of the “Brain Trust,” Roosevelt adopted a theoretical basis for the New Deal he promised to the American people. Roosevelt believed that government could act as a positive force in American society. In deciding how it should act, he was a pragmatist and thus willing to experiment. At first he accepted the idea that government could and should effectively regulate big business. He accepted the idea that centralized planning by the federal government could solve some of the problems associated with the depression, and he was willing to have government engage in direct relief to alleviate the distress of the nation’s citizens. Furthermore, the first New Deal was based on the assumption that overproduction was the underlying problem.

Roosevelt’s initial actions, outlined in “Launching the New Deal and Restoring Confidence,” demonstrate both the conservative nature of his approach and his realization that the psychology of pessimism within the country was as great an enemy as the depression itself. The legislation that was passed, as well as the fireside chats, provided a sense of movement that helped break the mood of pessimism.

An attempt to solve the problem of overproduction through centralized planning provided the theoretical framework for passage of the AAA, the NIRA, and the TVA. Belief in giving direct relief to states and to individuals may be seen in acts such as the Federal Emergency Relief Act and the CCC. The authors consider these and other measures passed during the Hundred Days, and they also discuss the concept of interest-group democracy, which is important for understanding the politics of the New Deal and the Democratic coalition that emerged.

The statistics provided show that the New Deal was not a cure-all and help explain the emergence of opposition to it. The range of criticism indicates that Roosevelt was a political moderate in the route that he chose. Furthermore, the kind of opposition from popular critics like Huey Long, as well as Supreme Court decisions against the AAA and the NIRA, help explain the launching of the Second New Deal.

The Second New Deal stemmed from the view that underconsumption was the nation’s basic problem, that business and banking interests had to be regulated more closely, and that the government had a responsibility to the aged and the needy in American society. These assumptions were behind the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act and five other major pieces of legislation passed during the Second Hundred Days.

The Second New Deal and the forging of the New Deal coalition carried Roosevelt to victory in the 1936 election. Mistakes and political reality meant that Roosevelt did not enjoy successes during his second term like those experienced in his first. He made a political and tactical mistake in his request for a restructuring of the Supreme Court. His dislike of deficit spending and desire for a balanced budget led to drastic cuts in federal spending, which in turn led to a new recession in 1937 and to a renewal of deficit spending. Such mistakes undercut some of Roosevelt’s charisma, and with the passage of a new Agricultural Adjustment Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, the last reforms of the New Deal were enacted.

Having discussed the reforms of the New Deal, the authors consider the impact of the New Deal era on organized labor, nonwhites, and women. Organized labor benefited from both Section 7(a) of the NIRA and the Wagner Act. Therefore, despite determined resistance by management and a division within the labor movement that led to the creation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), the union movement made impressive gains during the 1930s.

Although passage of the Indian Reorganization Act indicates a more enlightened governmental approach to American Indians, the experience of African Americans and Mexican Americans demonstrates that racism continued as a force detrimental to the lives of nonwhites. The Scottsboro case serves as a symbol of the “ugliness of race relations in the depression era.” Furthermore, despite the presence of the Black Cabinet, President Roosevelt was never fully committed to civil rights for blacks, and some New Deal measures functioned in a discriminatory way. However, there were some indications that change was on the horizon.

First, in relation to cases arising out of the Scottsboro trial, the Supreme Court ruled that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment made the criminal protection procedures (the right to adequate defense counsel and the right to an impartial jury) of the Sixth Amendment applicable to the states. Second, Roosevelt created the Black Cabinet and had within his administration people committed to racial equality. Furthermore, African Americans continued, as they had throughout their history, to work in their own behalf to overcome the injustices and abuses associated with white racism. The March on Washington Movement and Roosevelt’s subsequent issuance of Executive Order No. 8802 can be seen in this light.

Like blacks, women continued to suffer discrimination during the depression era. Although their contributions to the family increased, their status within the family remained unchanged. As more women entered the work force, they continued to face hostility, wage discrimination, and limited employment choices because of sex-typed occupations. Women participated in the shaping and execution of the New Deal through the “women’s network” and through formal appointment to governmental posts, but the fact remained that much New Deal legislation either discriminated against or excluded women.

The chapter ends with a discussion of the presidential election of 1940 and the way in which historians view the legacy of the New Deal.


Building Vocabulary

Listed below are important words and terms that you need to know to get the most out of Chapter 25. They are listed in the order in which they occur in the chapter. After carefully looking through the list, refer to a dictionary and jot down the definition of words that you do not know or of which you are unsure.

severance

specter


moratorium

ingratiating

penchant

analogue


solvent

deflation

vehement

auspices


demagogue

fiscally


regressive

disparate

ironic

intimidate



astute

docile


maxim

preempt


coherent

pragmatist

ameliorate

Identification and Significance

After studying Chapter 25 of A People and a Nation, you should be able to identify fully and explain the historical significance of each item listed below.


1. Identify each item in the space provided. Give an explanation or description of the item. Answer the questions who, what, where, and when.



  1. Explain the historical significance of each item in the space provided. Establish the historical context in which the item exists. Establish the item as the result of or as the cause of other factors existing in the society under study. Answer this question: What were the political, social, economic, and/or cultural consequences of this item?

Marvin Montgomery

Identification

Significance

“Hoovervilles”

Identification

Significance

the Farmers’ Holiday Association

Identification

Significance

the Bonus Expeditionary Force

Identification

Significance

Herbert Hoover

Identification

Significance

the President’s Organization on Unemployment Relief

Identification

Significance

the Federal Farm Board

Identification

Significance

the Reconstruction Finance Corporation

Identification

Significance

the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Identification

Significance

the Revenue Act of 1932

Identification

Significance

the Twenty-First Amendment

Identification

Significance

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Identification

Significance

Eleanor Roosevelt

Identification

Significance

the Brain Trust

Identification

Significance

the economics of scarcity

Identification

Significance

the 1932 presidential campaign and election

Identification

Significance

Roosevelt’s first inaugural address

Identification

Significance

national bank holiday

Identification

Significance

the Emergency Banking Relief Bill (March 9, 1933)

Identification

Significance

Roosevelt’s fireside chats

Identification

Significance

the Beer-Wine Revenue Act (March 22, 1933)

Identification

Significance

the Agricultural Adjustment Act (May 12, 1933)

Identification

Significance

the Farm Credit Act (June 16, 1933)

Identification

Significance

the Civilian Conservation Corps (March 31, 1933)

Identification

Significance

the Federal Emergency Relief Act (May 12, 1933)

Identification

Significance

the National Industrial Recovery Act (June 16, 1933)

Identification

Significance

the Public Works Administration

Identification

Significance

the National Recovery Administration

Identification

Significance

Section 7(a) of NIRA

Identification

Significance

the Federal Securities Act (May 17, 1933)

Identification

Significance

the Banking Act of 1933 (June 16, 1933)

Identification

Significance

the Tennessee Valley Authority (May 18, 1933)

Identification

Significance

the First Hundred Days

Identification

Significance

the Grazing Service

Identification

Significance

interest-group democracy

Identification

Significance

the American Liberty League

Identification

Significance

the “Okies” and “Arkies”

Identification

Significance

the Dust Bowl

Identification

Significance

Father Charles Coughlin

Identification

Significance

Dr. Francis E. Townsend

Identification

Significance

Huey Long

Identification

Significance

the Communist Party of the United States of America

Identification

Significance

Schechter v. U.S. and U.S. v. Butler

Identification

Significance

the Second New Deal

Identification

Significance

the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act (April 8, 1935)

Identification

Significance

the Works Progress Administration

Identification

Significance

the Federal Theater, Federal Arts, Federal Music, and Federal Writers Projects

Identification

Significance

the Second Hundred Days

Identification

Significance

the National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act (July 5, 1935)

Identification

Significance

the Social Security Act (August 15, 1935)

Identification

Significance

the Wealth Tax Act (August 30, 1935)

Identification

Significance

the 1936 presidential election

Identification

Significance

the New Deal coalition

Identification

Significance

the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937

Identification

Significance



NLRB v. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp.

Identification

Significance

the recession of 1937–1939

Identification

Significance

the National Housing Act (September 1, 1937)

Identification

Significance

the Fair Labor Standards Act (June 25, 1938)

Identification

Significance

craft unions vs. industrial unions

Identification

Significance

John L. Lewis

Identification

Significance

the Congress of Industrial Organizations

Identification

Significance

the United Auto Workers’ strike of 1936

Identification

Significance

the Memorial Day Massacre

Identification

Significance

Judge John J. Parker

Identification

Significance

the Scottsboro trials

Identification

Significance

A. Philip Randolph

Identification

Significance

the Black Cabinet

Identification

Significance

the March on Washington Movement

Identification

Significance

Executive Order No. 8802 (June 25, 1941)

Identification

Significance

John Collier

Identification

Significance

the Indian Reorganization Act (June 18, 1934)

Identification

Significance

Mexican Americans and the Depression

Identification

Significance

the Farm Security Administration

Identification

Significance

It’s Up to the Women

Identification

Significance

the “women’s network”

Identification

Significance

the 1940 presidential election

Identification

Significance
Organizing Information

President and Mrs. Roosevelt engaged in such a flurry of activity to jump-start a nation in the throes of a deep depression and also to influence social attitudes that it is difficult to remember all they did to re-shape Americans’ concept of the federal government. To get a handle on the Roosevelt initiatives and programs and forms of social as well as political and economic leadership, complete the following two charts about New Deal achievements and then a third chart about how the roles of federal government evolved under the influence of the Roosevelts.


Achievements of the First and Second New Deals

The charts on the following pages include the major achievements of the First and Second New Deals discussed in Chapter 25. They are arranged in the same manner as in the chart on page 442 in the textbook. Use the charts to compile and organize information about New Deal achievements and categorize those achievements. Since some of the acts listed are not dealt with extensively in the text, your professor may want you to do some library research to better identify and explain the historical significance of each.



First New Deal Achievements

Labor



Agriculture



Business and Industrial Recovery

Relief



Reform



1933

Section 7A of NIRA


Identification

Significance


Agricultural Adjustment Act
Identification

Significance

Farm Credit Act

Identification

Significance


Emergency Banking Act
Identification

Significance

Beer-Wine Revenue Act

Identification

Significance

Banking Act of 1933

Identification

Significance

National Industrial Recovery Act

Identification

Significance


Civilian Conservation Corps
Identification

Significance

Federal Emergency Relief Act

Identification

Significance

Home Owners Refinancing Act

Identification

Significance

Public Works Administration

Identification

Significance

Civil Works Administration

Identification
Significance


TVA

Identification

Significance

Federal Securities Act

Identification

Significance




1934

National Labor Relations Board

Identification
Significance



Taylor Grazing Act

Identification


Significance








Securities Exchange Act

Identification


Significance


Second New Deal Achievements

Labor



Agriculture



Business and Industrial Recovery

Relief



Reform



1935

National Labor Relations Act


Identification
Significance


Resettlement Administration
Identification
Significance

Rural Electrification Administration

Identification

Significance







Works Progress Administration
Identification

Significance

National Youth Administration
Identification

Significance




Banking Act of 1935

Identification

Significance

Social Security Act

Identification

Significance

Public Utilities Holding Co. Act

Identification

Significance

Revenue Act

Identification

Significance




1937


Farm Security Administration

Identification

Significance








National Housing Act

Identification
Significance


1938

Fair Labor Standards Act

Identification

Significance




Agricultural Adjustment Act
Identification

Significance













Evolving Roles of the Federal Government

Each column heading in the chart “Roles the Federal Government Assumed or Expanded to Turn Itself Into ‘The’ Government” names a kind of role that is now associated with the Roosevelt administrations and that, according to many Americans, represents a Depression-Era expansion of the concept of what government is all about. Under each sub-topic in each column, record illustrative examples mentioned in Chapter 25. Of course, you have already looked at many of these examples to come up with your entries for the two New Deal charts.





Roles the Federal Government Assumed or Expanded
to Turn Itself into “The” Government


Booster of Morale and Morality



Regulator of Production, Consumption, Marketplace


Provider of Economic Safety Net for Individuals



Guardian of National Economic/ Financial Stability



Redistributor of Wealth, Resources, Power, and Status

Public Confidence

Racism/Sexism

Sale/Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages


Money Supply and Credit

Business Competition

Farm Production,

Prices

Imports/Exports



Dependent


Children

Elderly


Disabled

Unemployed


Regulator, Protector of Financial Institutions

Balanced Budget/Deficit Spending

Wealth


Power/Treatment

of Minorities

• African Americans

• Native

Americans

• Mexican Americans

• Women




Interpreting Information

Using information you collected from Chapter 25 and your class notes and then organized in the three Organizing Information charts, plan and write a working draft of an essay in direct response to the following question:

In what ways could it be said that the Roosevelts and the Roosevelt administrations transformed the American public’s perception of the functions of the federal government and the federal government’s role in protecting citizens from economic catastrophe and social unfairness.

Let the chart “Roles the Federal Government Assumed or Expanded to Turn Itself Into ‘The’ Government” guide you in categorizing the most relevant specific examples from all three charts of attitude-shaping activities the federal government took on in the Roosevelt Era. Of course, you will want to cite the strongest examples to illustrate each of the categories. (You might want to review the hints in Chapter 8 of this study guide about writing essays—or sections of essays—about types or categories.)



Ideas and Details

Objective 1



1. As a result of the Great Depression,

a. the Communist Party became a major political force at the national level.

b. the divorce rate soared.

c. the number of marriages declined and the birthrate fell.

d. shortages of basic agricultural commodities caused famine.

Objective 2



2. The reactions of Americans to the Great Depression indicate which of the following?

a. Most Americans blamed the depression on the policies of the federal government.

b. Anger at the capitalist system placed society on the verge of anarchy.

c. Disillusionment with the American system caused the masses to think seriously of revolution.

d. Most Americans met the crisis with bewilderment and did not turn to protests or violence.

Objective 3



3. Hoover responded to the Bonus March by

a. calling out troops to disperse the marchers.

b. establishing a comprehensive pension plan for future army veterans.

c. encouraging Congress to authorize the immediate payment of veterans’ benefits.

d. meeting with the marchers and negotiating a settlement.

Objective 3



4. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was based on the theory that

a. an increase in supply leads to a corresponding increase in demand.

b. the government must not interfere in the natural economic laws governing society.

c. aid made available at the top of the economic ladder will trickle down to those at the bottom.

d. taxes are a disincentive to economic recovery.

Objectives 4 and 5



5. Franklin Roosevelt’s actions as governor of New York demonstrate that he

a. accepted the theory that government should engage in deficit spending to combat an economic depression.

b. was willing to use the government to combat the depression.

c. believed that government should embark on a new trustbusting program to end bigness in industry.

d. rejected the extension of direct government aid to the poor.

Objective 6



6. Both the Agricultural Adjustment Act and the National Industrial Recovery Act were based on the belief that

a. the problems of the depression could best be solved by dealing with the problem of overproduction.

b. prices of industrial and agricultural goods had to be lowered.

c. deficit spending would result in an economic rebound.

d. the depression could best be dealt with by state and local authorities.

Objectives 6 and 12



7. As a result of Section 7(a) of the National Industrial Recovery Act,

a. unemployment insurance was provided to workers.

b. federally guaranteed pension plans were required by all major corporations.

c. workers were guaranteed the right to unionize and bargain collectively.

d. workers were required to join company-sponsored unions.

Objective 7



8. Conservative critics charged that the New Deal

a. cooperated too closely with business interests.

b. extended too little aid to the lower classes.

c. exercised too little control over economic forces.

d. destroyed individual initiative.

Objective 7



9. Through the Share Our Wealth program, Huey Long advocated that the government should

a. nationalize all major industry in the United States.

b. distribute free land to all families requesting it.

c. provide a guaranteed annual income to all American families.

d. create a national health insurance program.

Objective 8



10. In 1935, the Supreme Court ruled part of the NIRA unconstitutional because it

a. violated the First Amendment.

b. delegated excessive legislative power to the executive branch.

c. discriminated against small businesses.

d. violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Objectives 6 and 9



11. The Second New Deal differed from the First in that it

a. adopted a more aggressive, less cooperative approach toward big business.

b. returned to the concept of laissez faire.

c. rejected the concept of deficit spending.

d. emphasized the importance of state action.

Objective 9



12. Which of the following is true of the Social Security Act?

a. It established an old-age insurance plan for all workers in the United States.

b. Through its enactment, the government acknowledged some responsibility toward the aged, the dependent, and the disabled.

c. It established a national health insurance program for all Americans.

d. All benefits were paid by employers and the government.

Objective 11



13. Roosevelt’s 1937 decision to cut federal spending resulted in

a. a balanced budget.

b. a lowering of interest rates.

c. renewed spending by business on capital improvements.

d. a new recession.

Objective 13



14. The Senate rejected President Hoover’s nomination of Judge John J. Parker to the Supreme Court because Parker

a. was an outspoken opponent of capital punishment.

b. had endorsed the disfranchisement of blacks in North Carolina.

c. supported the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively.

d. claimed that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was infiltrated by Communists.

Objective 13



15. Analysis of the AAA, the FHA, the CCC, and TVA indicates which of the following?

a. These measures were quite effective in bringing about a redistribution of wealth in the United States.

b. Money spent on such programs went mainly to the wealthy.

c. All of these programs extended benefits to people in the city but not to the people in rural areas.

d. Some New Deal measures functioned in ways that were discriminatory toward black Americans.


Essay Questions

Objective 1

1. Discuss the impact of the Great Depression on the lives of Americans. What was the response of the American people to the Depression? Why did they respond as they did?

Objective 3

2. Explain President Hoover’s response to the depression.

Objectives 3 and 5

3. Discuss the similarities and differences between Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt in terms of personality, governing style, and view of the role of government.

Objectives 6 and 9

4. Discuss the similarities and differences between the theoretical basis of the First New Deal and that of the Second New Deal, and explain in both cases how the legislation enacted reflected this theory.

Objective 12

5. Discuss the impact of the New Deal on organized labor.

Objective 13



6. Examine the impact of the depression and New Deal on African Americans.


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