09 October 2012
Today, we all know, or have learned something about the great depression and the effects it had on the United States. There are a list of issues the created the great depression, but have we actually thought about it, and tried to understand it before? In the 1920’s the American economy was going strong, for the most part, and the vast majority of Americans had witnessed economic growth, however, stock prices fell, more and more issues arose, and then came the great depression which created uneven distribution of wealth and an irrational behavior from the stock market. In the film, Matewan, it brought up how things were tough in response to effort by the miners to organize labor union, and they were receiving huge cuts in their pay, and some of the coal mine workers were being replaced, which I would assume were being paid substantially less than the original coal miners were.
The new workers were African American from Alabama, but they did not make it far because the coal miners were on the attack. I would imagine this was not the only issue America was facing before or during the great depression. The crash of the stock market not only affected the poor, it affected the rich as well, but like I stated before, one of the biggest issues was the gap between the rich working class people and how it was enlarged. Also, production costs fell quickly and wages rose slowly and prices remained steady. Obviously, like most problems in America, the government contributed to the depression as well. The federal income taxes were reduced a lot by the Revenue Act in 1926, thus, the rich did not have to pay a lot in taxes. The poor, or middle class areas were spending a lot of their annual income to buy consumer goods, even though they were not bringing in a lot, most of their money went to that.
The book, The Big Money, made a lot of great points and was surrounded around the American dream and how it ends in corruption. The desire to have “big money” is tarnished and destroys everything. For example: Charley Anderson was a Mechanic, earned his way up to a career in aviation, but the road to success created greed, and that eventually lead to charley’s downfall. Granted, I believe we still maintain some of these issues today, in America, but I think most Americans have given up on that American “dream” whatever that may be, I am not sure. Now, there were some things that were going on in the 1920’s that were social issues that may or may not have been an impact on the nation which led to the Great Depression. In the 1920’s there was the women who we call Flappers, their behavior was considered outlandish, which at the time, women were viewed differently, and did not have as many rights as they do today. The flapper era ended after the Wall Street crash which had followed the Great Depression, the high sprites of these women were not acceptable during the economic hardship (Lecture 2). Also, I believe another issue that may have caused tension for some individuals was prohibition in the United States. It began in 1920 and did not end until about 1933. Prohibition was the ban of all alcohol, meaning no one could buy or sell it. Prohibition became very controversial among a lot of people and soon stir up plenty of issues for people who wanted alcohol (Lecture 2).
As known, the stock market was a huge issue in the crash of our market and then led to the Great Depression, The stock market went from 117 points to 225 points after Hoover made his speech, and then stock brokers raised stocks to 3.5 billion in 1927 to 8.5 billion two years earlier. People, and companies were constantly borrowing from the banks, which in turn lead them to be in debt, and were unable to pay the banks back. By 1922 banks were closed, or failed, millions of people lost their jobs, and farmers were losing their mortgages for their farm land, which then caused them to lose income (Lecture 3). President Hoover’s