changing life in the USA, 1930-2000

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What were the main influences on American life between 1930 and 1945?

the impact of the wall street crash

  • rising unemployment- factories, banks and businesses collapsed; unemployment rose dramatically
  • family life- no system of social security so many forced to rely on charity and handouts; sharp rise in suicides, fall in birth rate
  • depression in the cities- could not pay rent and became homeless, forced to live in shanty towns called hoovervilles
  • depression in the countryside- many farmers unable to sell produce and became bankrupt; many evicted and became hobos searching for work; a drought caused soil in Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas to turn to dust; dust storms created a dust bowl

the response by President Hoover to the depression

  • believed in balancing the budget and refused to borrow money to help create jobs
  • believed in rugged individualism
  • the bonus army of unemployed veterans marched on washington to demand the early payment of war bonuses due in 1945; set up a huge hooverville oustside the white house; hoover sent in troops to remove them and burn down the shanty down
  • helped to create an image of a president who did not care
  • reconstruction finance corporation- gave 2 billion dollars of federal aid to banks, insurance companies and railroads
  • emergency relief act- gave 300 million dollars to state governments to help the unemployed
  • home loan bank act- twelve regional banks set up to stimulate house building and house ownership

1932 presidential election

  • repulican Herbert Hoover- deeply unpopular; republicans blamed for the depression; criticised for harsh treatment of bonus army; relief schemes too small and too late; seemed to offer nothing new
  • democrat- Franklin D Roosevelt- democrats offered more caring image; had overcome personal hardship, suffered from polio, he was a fighter; kept his message simple, promised a New Deal

Roosevelt and the New Deal

  • emergency banking act- americans had little confidence in the banks; many banks had gone bankrupt; government closed all banks for ten days; officially backed 5000 banks which helped restore confidence
  • federal emergency relief administration- poverty and unemployment; provided 500 million dollars for emergency relief to help poor and homeless
  • civilian conservation corps- unemployment among young people; provided 6 months of work for men aged between 18 and 25 in conservation projects
  • public works administration- unemployment; spent 3,300 million dollars on public works projects for the unemployed
  • agricultural adjustment administration- rural poverty, low crop prices; was intended to help farmers increase their profits; subsidies paid to farmers to destroy their crops and slaughter animals in an effort to push up prices
  • national industrial recovery act- poor economic condition of the usa- led to the setting up of National Recovery Administration to encourage employers to improve conditions; introduced codes of practice for minimum wages, hours and conditions
  • tennessee valley authority- agricultural overproduction; regular flooding in tennessee valley; public works programme set up to build 21 dams to irrigate the land and generate hydroelectric power; farmers given loans and training in soil conservation

second new deal

  • works progress…

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