Thursday, January 23, 2020

Down And Out In The Great Depression Essay -- Robert McElvaine

During the 1920’s, America was a prosperous nation going through the â€Å"Big Boom† and loving every second of it. However, this fortune didn’t last long, because with the 1930’s came a period of serious economic recession, a period called the Great Depression. By 1933, a quarter of the nation’s workers (about 40 million) were without jobs. The weekly income rate dropped from $24.76 per week in 1929 to $16.65 per week in 1933 (McElvaine, 8). After President Hoover failed to rectify the recession situation, Franklin D. Roosevelt began his term with the hopeful New Deal. In two installments, Roosevelt hoped to relieve short term suffering with the first, and redistribution of money amongst the poor with the second. Throughout these years of the depression, many Americans spoke their minds through pen and paper. Many criticized Hoover’s policies of the early Depression and praised the Roosevelts’ efforts. Each opinion about the causes an d solutions of the Great Depression are based upon economic, racial and social standing in America. At the start of the Depression, many letters (mostly discouraging) were sent to President Hoover. These letters came primarily from well-to-do citizens, however some leftist workers’ letters found their way in as well. The well-to-do citizens agreed that the ultimate cause of the lower classes’ depression was their laziness and incompetence. On top of that, these well-to-do citizens thanked Hoover, probably because their money had gone unscathed (McElvaine, 38). Some opinions weren’t as favorable for the Hoover administration, however. Some people believed that â€Å"engineers may be intelligent but poor presidents† (pp. 43). Finally, the leftist parties did not appreciate the endeavors of the Hoover presiden... ...for their misfortune. The rich blamed the poor, the poor blamed the rich, the middle class blamed the blacks, and no one took responsibility themselves. One complaint most of these classes (with exception to the few that benefited) was the lack of success of the New Deal and other relief efforts. Whether the blacks had too much employment, or the poor were too lazy to receive aid, very few Americans appeared to be happy with Roosevelt’s solution. This didn’t stop his popularity. Many Americans stood behind their president rain or shine, depression or big boom. Regardless of their positions, these citizens who turned to the President in their time of desperation proved that the pen is truly mightier. Works Cited McElvaine, Robert S, ed. Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the Forgotten Man. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1983.

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