The 1930?s: The Good Times and The Bad Times
The decade of the 1930?s can be characterized in two parts: The Great Depression, and the restoration of the American economy. America had been completely destroyed due to the Stock Market Crash of 1929. It was up to the government and people of the 1930?s to "mend" America?s wounds. One man stood up to this challenge, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He promised to fix the American economy, provide jobs, and help the needy. During The Great Depression, the crime rate had risen to an all new high. J. Edgar Hoover helped to create the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As America was restored, culture grew quickly. Dance clubs, new music styles, glamour girls, movies and sports were all popular forms of entertainment in the 1930?s. From January 1st, 1930 to December 31st 1939, American was in a process of healing it?s economic wounds.
The stock market panic preceded an economic depression that not only spread over the United States but in the early 1930s became worldwide. In the United States, despite the optimistic statements of President Herbert Hoover (president during the crash) and his secretary of the treasury, Andrew W. Mellon, that business was "fundamentally sound" and that a new era of prosperity was just about to begin, many factories closed, unemployment steadily increased, banks failed in growing numbers, and the prices of commodities steadily fell. The administration began to take steps to combat the crisis. Among the measures taken were the granting of emergency appropriations for farm relief and public works, modification of the rules of the Federal Reserve System to make it easier for people in business and farming to obtain credit, and the establishment of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), with assets of $2 billion, to make emergency loans to industries, railroads, insurance co!
mpanies, and banks. Nevertheless, the economic depression steadily worsened during the remainder of the Hoover administration. Hoover?s plans were not working well. By 1932 hundreds of banks had failed, hundreds of mills and factories had closed, mortgages on farms and houses were being foreclosed in large numbers, and more than 10 million workers were unemployed. The presidential campaign of 1932, in which the Democratic candidate was Franklin D. Roosevelt, was waged on the issues of Prohibition and the economic crisis. The Democratic platform called for outright repeal of the 18th Amendment and promised a "new deal" in economic and social matters to bring about recovery from the depression. The Republicans did not call for outright repeal of the amendment. In regard to the depression, they warned against the danger to business and the national finances if the social and economic philosophies of the Democrats were substituted for the sound and conservative ideas of the Hoover!
administration. The Democrats won an overwhelming success in the election, carrying all but six states.
Almost immediately after taking office, Roosevelt called on Congress to convene and began what would be known as the Hundred Days, which lasted until June 16, 1933. On March 6 Roosevelt called a nationwide bank holiday, and on March 9 Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act, which provided for federal bank inspections. In the summer of 1933, the Glass-Steagle Act set much more stringent rules for banks and provided insurance for depositors through the newly formed Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). These acts helped to restore popular confidence in the wake of widespread bank failures. Two acts, one in 1933 and one in 1934, mandated detailed regulations for the securities market, enforced by the new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Several bills provided mortgage relief for farmers and homeowners and offered loan guarantees for home purchasers through the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration which was headed !
by Harry Hopkins, a social worker appointed by Roosevelt, expanded existing relief grants to the states and resulted in assistance for more than 20 million people. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) provided work relief for thousands of young men under a type of military discipline. The CCC emphasized reforestation, among other projects. Congress established the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to develop the Tennessee River in the interest of navigation and flood control and to provide electric power to a wide area of the southeastern United States.
The most important legislation of 1933 involved the major economic sectors. As a climax to a decade of wrangling, Congress in 1933 enacted a complex new