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The Great Depression in Literature

The Great Depression in Literature

Place, in the literary sense of the word, has many different meanings. For one, place is defined as the physical aspect of the environment in which we live. And another definition would be that place is used to define the setting in which writing and other similar skills happen (Scaliger.) In the literally world, place is often combined with the events and the time in order to establish and know the social context or setting of a certain literary work. The Great Depression (1929-1939,) was the longest and hardest economic slump in the history of the Western industrialized world. In the U.S.A, the Great Depression began shortly after the market crash on October 1929; which then sent Wall Street into panic and washed away millions of investors (Lathbury.) Two works that represent the way in which the setting of the Great Depression is represented in the story are Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and America's Great Depression by Murray N. Rothbard. Place is absolutely important when it comes to understanding a writers work since the symbolization of the place adds up to the large meaning of what the writer wants to deliver to the readers.

On October 29, 1929, the economic world turned upside down. What was known as "The Roaring Twenties," or the stock prices, which had risen to unstable levels, began to falter (The Great Depression.) Since the beginning of September that same year, the stock market had already lost about a 17 percent of its real value, and almost a week before it all happened, on October 24, there was a decline that became a free fall, motivating leaders of the U.S. financiers to increase their market.

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Great Depression 2 Essay Research Paper The - рефераты

Great Depression 2 Essay Research Paper The

Great Depression 2 Essay, Research Paper

The Great Depression

All these changes affects the society in different ways .The Great Depression caused many people to destruct businesses and led the government to regulate the businesses and economic affairs. All this increased regulation led to the widespread belief that the government should promise or guarantee citizens a good life, and high employment. After the depression, many people no longer trusted employers to protect workers.

As a result labor unions gained more members and grater public acceptance then ever before. Depression makes some people lose there faith in government which then brings them to not believe anybody who promises a change.

Can anyone tell me who you think was the two leaders that actually took part during the depression was? (show overhead of the fifth paragraph) Leaders who actually took power during the depression were Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini who of which was the dictator of Italy from 1922 to 1943 just like Hitler was dictator of Germany from 1933 to 1945. Relation between the nations suffer during a depression. Basically each country tries to protect its own interests without concerns of other nations.

Depression hurt a lot of people, especially working people who lose there jobs. Bank failures clean out some depositors savings if funds are not ensured. When there was the depression, most people can not meet the house or apartment payments so they lose there homes and become homeless.

During a depression some people must live on charity just to support themselves and there families. Sometimes the people who get the charity money, clothes, and food get kind of embarrassed that they need the money and they feel ashamed that they can’t afford to support themselves which is basically not their fault. The Great Depression caused lots of marriages and birth rates to decline. If you were a younger person and you didn’t have a job you would delay your wedding until you have enough money to pay for it just because of the depression. Most of the time when your unemployed for a long time you lose faith in yourself and in the future. After a depression many people value security more than anything else.

Some people profit from the depression, like people with enough money can buy businesses, stocks, or other property for a very low price.

From what I hear economists disagree on what causes depressions and how they are or can be prevented .Some economists believe that psychological factors such as peoples optimism or pessimism, determine decisions to save or spend.

Several theories maintain that population changes or inventions cause periods of expansion and contractions-(depression or recession). When immigration or higher birth rates cause a population to grow, demands tends to increase.

When population growth slows down, demands drop by huge amounts. Such inventions as the automobile and color television spur business investments and consumer spending, causes expansion. After demand for these products has been satisfied, spending drop offs resulting in contraction. Still other theories suggest that during expansion, business invest too heavily in buying.

The expanded role of the federal government came to be accepted by most all Americans by the end of the 1930’s. Even republicans who had bitterly opposed the new deal shifted there stance.

Wendle Wilkie the republican president nominee in 1940 declared that he couldn’t oppose reform such as regulation of the security markets and the utility holding companies, the legal recognition of unions, or social security and unemployment allowances. What bothered him so much and not just him but other critics was extensions of the federal bureaucy. In March of 1933 president Roosevelt declared “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

The great depression was the worst economic slump ever in the U.S History, and one which spread to virtually all of the industrialized world. ( show second paragraph of overhead) However, the main causes for the depression was the combination of the greatly unequal distributions of wealth throughout the 1920 s, and the extensive stock market speculation that took place during the latter part that same decade. The maldistribution of wealth in the 1920 s existed on many levels. Money was distributed disparately between the rich and the middle – class, between industry and agriculture within the United States, and between the U.S. and Europe. This imbalance of wealth created an high, but eventually lead to large market crashes. These market crashes, combined with the maldistribution of wealth, caused the American economy to capsize.

Another main cause of the great depression happened during the roaring twenties. The “roaring twenties” was an era when our country prospered tremendously. The nation s total realized that the income had rose from 74.3 billion dollars in 1923 to 89 billion dollars in 1929. However, the rewards of the “coolidge prosperity” of the 1920 s were not shared evenly among all Americans. According to a study done by the Brooking Institute, in 1929 the top .1 percent of Americans had a combined income equal to the bottom 42 percent. That same top .1 percent of Americans in 1929 controlled 34 percent of all savings, while 80 percent of Americans had no savings at all. ( show third paragraph of overhead) This might have sounded very confusing so I made an overhead showing what I explained.

A major reason for this large and growing gap between the rich and the working – class people was that the increased manufacturing output throughout this period. From 1923 – 1929 the average output per worker increased 32 percent in manufacturing. During that same period of time average wages for manufacturing jobs increased only 8 percent. Thus, wages increase at a rate as fourth as fast as productivity increased. As production costs fell quickly, wages rose slowly, and prices remained constant, the bulk benefit of the increased productivity went into corporate profits. In fact, from 1923 – 1929 corporate profits rose 62 percent and dividends rose 65 percents.

The large and growing disparity of wealth between the well – to – do and the middle – income citizens made the U.S. economy unstable. This made the economy function poorly which also lead to the great depression. For an economy to function properly, total demand must equal total supply. In an economy with such disparate of income it is not assured that demand will always equal supply. Essentially what happened in the 1920 s was there was an oversupply of goods. It was not that the surplus products of industrialized society were not wanted, but rather that those whose needs were not satisfied could not afford more, whereas the wealthy were satisfied by spending only a small portion of their income.

( show overhead of fourth paragraph) Through such a period of imbalance, the U.S. came to rely upon two things in order for the economy to remain on an even keel which helped to decrease the chances of going through the depressioncredit sales, and luxury spending and investment from the rich.

One obvious solution which might have stopped the depression was to let those who wanted goods to buy the products on credit. The concept of buying now and paying later caught on quickly. By the end of the 1920 s, 60 percent of cars and 80 percent of radios were bought on installments credit. Between 1925 and 1929 the total amount of outstanding installment credit more than doubled from 1.38 billion dollars to around 3 billion dollars. Installment credit allowed on to “telescope the future into the present”, as the president s committee on Social Trends noted. This strategy created artificial demand for products which people could not ordinarily afford. It put off the day of reckoning, but it made the downfall worse when it came. By telescoping the future into the present, when the “future” arrived, there was little to buy that hadn t already been bought. In addition, people could no longer use their regular wages to purchase whatever items they didn t have yet, because so much of the wages went to paying back past purchases.

The U.S. economy was also reliant upon luxury spending and investment from the rich to stay afloat during the 1920 s. The significant problem with this reliance was that luxury spending and investment were based on the wealth s confidence in the U.S. economy. If conditions were to take a downturn ( as they did with the market in fall and winter 1929). this pending and investment would slow to halt. While savings and investment are important for an economy to stay balanced, at excessive levels that are not good. Greater investment usually means greater productivity which were not being distributed equally, the problems of income distribution were only made worse. Lastly, the search for ever greater returns on investments lead to wide – spread market speculations.

So far, all these causes of depression might not be familiar with you but, they could affect the economy in great ways and that is why the Us. Economy has studied these causes so that they are prepared for the future. All of the causes that I have listed above are just the few causes to the Great depression. In fact, there are lots of other minor or major causes. Can anyone at least name one cause. (show overhead of main causes).

To understand the Great Depression, it is important to know the theories of John Maynard Keynes. (show overhead of sixth paragraph) Keynes is known as the “Father of modern Economics” because he was the first to accurately describe some of the causes and cures for recessions and depressions.

In a normal economy, Keynes said, there is a circular low of money. MY spending becomes part of your earnings, and your spending becomes a part of my earnings. For various reasons. However, this circular flow can falter. People start hoarding money when times become tough; but times become tougher when everyone starts hoarding money. This breakdown results in recession.

To get the circular flow of money started again, Keynes suggested that the central bank in the U.S. the Federal Reserve System should expand the money supply. This would put more money in people s hands, inspire consumer confidence, and compel them to start spending again.

A depression, Keynes believed, is an especially severe recession in which people hoard money no matter how much the central bank tries to expand the money supply.(show overhead of seventh paragraph) In that case, he suggested that government should do what the people were not start spending. He called this “priming the pump” of the economy. Indeed, most economists believe that only massive U.S. defense spending in preparation for World War II cured the Great Depression.

(Show overhead of Chart)

3.20 % Hoover era, Great Depression begins

24.9 FDR, New Deal begins; contraction ends, March

19. Recession begins, May

As you can see, Roosevelt began relatively modest deficit spending that arrested the slide of the economy and resulted in some astonishing growth numbers. When 1936 saw a phenomenal record of 14 percent growth. Roosevelt eased back on the deficit spending, overly worried about balancing the budget. But this only caused the economy to slip back into a recession, as the above chart shows.

I have been unable to find reliable economic growth figures from World War II, but as a generalization it is safe to say the economy exploded, experiencing it s greatest growth in the U.S history. Between 1940 and 1945, the GDP nearly doubled in size, form 832 billion dollars to 1559 billion dollars in constant 87 dollars. And this occurred as deficit spending soared, to levels Keynes had earlier and unsuccessfully recommended to Roosevelt.

Реферат на тему Great Depression Essay Research Paper The 1930

Great Depression Essay, Research Paper

An Age of Depression

The Great Depression was started on October 24th also known as Black Thursday when the Stock Market crashed. When this happened many thousands of banks failed, sending millions of people to the unemployment line. Also at the time there was an extensive drought in the United States of America.

The Hindenberg was another disaster that happened in the 1930’s, the Hindenberg was the length of three football fields and was held aloft by 7 million cubic feet of hydrogen gas. It also had giant Swastika s painted on the tail fins. The Hindenberg was coming in to land in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Onlookers spotted flames near the stern of the enormous zeppelin. In seconds the blimp was a gigantic fireball in the sky. The extremely flammable hydrogen the blimp was filled with exploded instantly sending the blimp to the ground tail first with flames shooting out of the nose, with all 97 people still aboard. No one knows why this happened, they just know that it did happen. Many people believe that it was a terrorist act used to discredit the Nazi regime. Others believe it to have been caused by nature during an electrical storm that night and that the hydrogen was ignited by a spark.

For a legal look on the 1930’s lets look to the Scottsboro trials. This trial was held against nine Negro boys who were accused of raping two white women on a train. The women were arrested, probably on charges of vagrancy. The women remained under arrest in jail for several days, pending charges of vagrancy and possible violation of the Mann Act. The Mann Act prohibited taking a minor across state lines for immoral

purposes. The trial of the nine men began April 6, 1931 only twelve days after the arrest and continued through April 9, 1931. On that day eight of the nine men were sentenced to death. A mistrial was declared for the ninth because of his youth. November 7, 1932 the Supreme Court ordered new trials for the Scottsboro defendants because they had not had adequate representation. On March 27, 1933, the new trials ordered by the Court began in Decanter, Alabama. Now involved were two distinguished trial participants: a famous New York City defense lawyer named Samuel S. Leibowitz, who would continue to be a major figure in the various Scottsboro negotiations for more than a decade; and Judge James E. Horton, who would fly in the face of community sentiment by the unusual actions he took in the summer of 1933.

On April 9, 1933, the first of the defendants, Haywood Patterson, again was found guilty of rape and sentenced to execution. The execution was delayed, however; and six days after the original date set for Patterson s execution, one of the most startling events of the trial took place. Judge James Horton effectively overturned the conviction of the jury and, in a meticulous analysis of the evidence presented did not warrant conviction.

Despite Judge Hortons unprecedented action, the second defendant, Clarence Norris, was

tried in late 1933 and was found guilty as charged; but his execution was delayed pending appeal.

During this time all the defendants remained in prison, and not for two more years was any further significant action taken as Attorney Leibowitz filed appeals to the higher

courts. Finally, on April 1, 1935, the United States Supreme Court reversed the convictions of Patterson and Norris on the grounds that qualified African-Americans had been systematically excluded from all juries in Alabama, and that they had been specifically excluded in this case. However, even this decision by the Supreme Court was not the end of the trials, for on May 1, 1935, Victoria Price (one of the white women that was accusing the men of rape) swore out new warrants against the nine men.

On this note of legality I would like to bring up a famous man in the history of the USA his name is John Dillinger. John Dillinger, Public Enemy No. 1, lived up to the title bestowed upon him by J. Edgar Hoover s Division of Investigation and cemented his national notoriety when on March 3, 1934, he broke out of the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, Indiana. Dillinger had been in Crown Point since his extradition from Arizona in January awaiting trial for murder. On that morning, using a gun which had been carved of wood, he took two of his keepers hostage. After locking up the warden, Lou Baker, and getting the drop on the turnkey and one of the national guardsmen there to prevent such a breakout, he commandeered two machine guns. After freeing a fellow inmate, he

ultimately made his way out a side door of the heavily fortified jail and proceeded to make his getaway in the sheriff s V-8 Ford. Dillinger s bold escape set off a flurry of reports of sightings in the Midwest in the days that followed. The escape caused a political uproar. In the escape he had made one fatal mistake, in driving the stolen car across the state line toward Chicago, he had violated the one law that could involve

Federal agents at the time, the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act. It was an error that would set the stage for his ultimate demise outside of a Chicago theater four months later.

John Herbert Dillinger s career in crime had started inauspiciously enough with a botched robbery attempt of a grocer in his hometown of Mooresville, Indiana, on September 6, 1924. He had turned 21 years of age just three months earlier. John made friends while in jail. He was released and carried out robberies to raise funds for bribing of guards and officials and to arrange for smuggling of weapons into the prison to help his friends to escape. He was arrested at one of the robberies and after his friends escaped, they beat up and shot the sheriff holding Dillinger. The sheriff later died. They then robbed a police arsenal acquiring a cache of weapons including machine guns and bulletproof vests. He was involved in a series of robberies where some of his gang were killed and also policemen were killed. Dillinger reportedly dyed his hair red and grew a mustache while laying low to avoid the authorities. In 1934 in Tucson, Arizona he and some of his gang were arrested and sent back to Chicago for trial for murder. The county jail had a reputation for being escape-proof, in addition 50 guards employed there and the National Guardsmen and local citizens watching him. When Dillinger bluffed his way out with a wooden pistol on March 3rd, it left officials stunned and the public captivated.

He and his gang, which now included Lester Gillis, better known as Baby Face Nelson, robbed banks from Minnesota, through South Dakota, and into Iowa. He was trying to get enough money to leave the country. The FBI closed in on the gang several

times, but Dillinger always managed to escape, sometimes wounded. In Northern Wisconsin the gang and their girlfriends were resting in some cabins when the FBI moved in. Gunfire errupted and an innocent bystander was killed. Dillinger and his gang killed several FBI agents and local constables and escaped again. The entire raid came to be seen by the public as a disaster, bringing heavy criticism on the FBI and Hoover. Dillinger tried to have plastic surgery to change his appearance, but it didn t work very well. He also tried to remove his fingerprints. On June 30th Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Van Meter robbed the Merchants National Bank in South Bend, Indiana. An officer was shot and later died.

Anna Sage, a Romanian immigrant who was facing deportation proceedings, went to the FBI and offered to turn in Dillinger in return for help with her deportation problem. Melvin Purvis was heading up the FBI investigation. Anna Sage told him she would be going to the movies that evening with her friend Polly Hamilton and John Dillinger, who was going by the name of Jimmy Lawrence. On July 22, 1934 at 10:30 pm all available agents surrounded the Biograph theater. Spotting Dillinger coming out of the theater, they opened fire as he ran down the alley, hitting him three times and killing him instantly. A crowd of thousands gathered at his funeral. He was remembered as the most notorious outlaw of his time.

To wrap up the 1930’s I would like to say that I respect those who worked to better the lives of those who lived during the Depression but would also like to say that they

could have had a better way of aproaching the Depression other than food lines and reconstruction of the lives of those affected by it. I extend my condolences to those who lives through this terrable yet progressive times. I personally believe that this is a point coming across that we cant always rely on the technology we have we need to go to a deeper level called humanity. A way to show your love for your fellow man and not treat everything as if it were made of gold(money). Our lives really don t revolve around money we just think they do.

Album of American History, Volume 5, pages 138-260

America s Great Depression Timeline. On-line, Internet, March 15, 2000.

Historical Context: The Scottsboro Trials. On-line, Internet, March 10, 2000.

The John Dillinger Story. On-line, Internet, March 15, 2000.

Available http://www.gelcities.com/ jdillinger/story.html

The 1900’s. On-line, Internet, March10, 2000.

Available http://members.tripod.com/ archer2000/1930.html