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HST210 – Depression, New Deal and WWII.docx

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HST 210
Jenny Carson

HST210 – US History 1877 to Present Lecture #10 – Depression, New Deal and WWII Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D) - Hoover had no chance and was succeeded by FDR - 1910: suffers crushing blow o Polio o leaves him disabled o Eleanor Roosevelt (his wife) encouraged him to continue with his political career 1932 Election - breaks 30 year period of republican rule - FDR revitalizes democratic party - Democrats win the White House and Congress, ushering in nearly 2 decades of Democratic Rule FDR's New Deal - recruits intellectuals o "Brain Trust" - believe that the government should intervene in the economy to help the poor and curb the practices of Big Business - new dealers rejected laissez faire capitalism for a more activist and interventionist state - the policies they put in place stay in place The First New Deal - Emergency Banking Act: Treasury Department inspects banks and only sound banks are allowed to reopen o FDR gets this done a day after he was inaugurated o those who had hope would be saved by the government, those who couldn't be helped were shut down o within a week, 3/4 of the banks in the US were allowed to reopen - Glass-Steagall Act and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Government guarantees bank deposits up to $5000 o if the bank goes under, the government will pay you unto $5000 o prevents commercial banks from engaging in investment banking - Securities Exchange Commission established to regulate financial institutions and financial markets - Leads to tighter regulation of Wall Street Fireside Chats - FDR conducted 30 of them over his administration - explained the Emergency Banking Act - people were reassured by FDR - "cult of personality" around FDR Roosevelt and Relief - creates a whole bunch of organizations - CWA is a departure from FARA o for the first time ever the government gets involved at a personal level - people are actually on the federal government payroll, instead of the feds giving money to the state Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) - overproduction was a big issue - farmers had produced too much so the prices were low - we need to reduce supply, we need to get farmers to produce less so the prices will go back up - they paid farmers to produce fewer crops - supply comes and the government created shortage led to a rise in farmer prices - the money goes to the owners of the land - sharecroppers don't get anything because they don't own land, landlord gets the money o landlord tells sharecroppers to get off his land o used that money to mechanize so they never have to rehire any farm labourers - 200,000 AA tenant farmers were displaced > tenant farmers paid rent for the land, so the products are their own - in a few cases, crops were burned to reduce the supply, livestock were killed to reduce supply Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) - created to bring electricity to the south - private companies had said it was too expensive to provide electricity to rural areas, but the government decided to do it o put people to work and helped modernize the south o TVA built dams, power plants - TVA disproportionately helped the south o the south was the poorest region when the depression began National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) - a failure - they were trying to figure out different ways of making things work - businesses, workers and consumers would get together and establish wage codes, prices, max working hours o they would all agree to abide by the codes o what was hurting industries the most was cut throat competition, so essentially it would help (but it didn't) - workers gained the right to unionize Critiques of the First New Deal - by 1934, the government has done some stuff, but a lot of people are still unemployed, industry codes haven't worked, employers still squashing workers when they go on strike - FDR begins to get attacked o by corporate interests and workers - workers were more powerful because they were PISSED - communists party does its best recruiting during this time o attractive because by nationalizing industries you can regulate prices o capitalism doesn't seem to be working very well o advocating racial equality - Roosevelt scared Second New Deal - FDR shifts to the left - adopts radical reform in response to grassroots mobilization o people are unhappy o he's pissed at business - Revenue Act of 1935 ("Soak the Rick Tax") o raises taxes on the rich, raises corporate taxes, raises estate taxes o use the money to implement public work projects > putting people to work - Wagner Act o governs labour relations in the US o supports workers' rights to unionize and bargain collectively with the employer o bans unfair labour actions o puts the state behind unionizing & worker rights o workers go on strike and join union (huge union surge) The Revival of Organized Labour - workers break away from the AFL and form the CIO in 1935 - organized workers in mass production industries (auto rubber steel) including immigrants, AAs, women and unskilled workers, and use more militant action The Sit Down Strike - 1936 Michigan - GM workers pioneered the use of the sit down strike - more effective because the employers can't keep production going (the workers have occupied the plant) - the government doesn't intervene, and the workers stay in the plant for 6 weeks - GM can't produce anything, so they are forced to recognize the union Federal Theatre Project - FDR was innovative - created FTP - FTP put on first all black performance of Macbeth - jobs for writers, directors, musicians - establishes that government will in fact support arts and humanit
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