The main theme of the 1930's was
the depression caused by the stock market crash in 1929. At that time, it concerned
and affected Americans for many reasons. Not only was it a nationwide economic fall,
but it caused the collapse of the world market as well. It eventually affected all
Americans and most of them blamed their troubles on President Hoover, because he was
President during the crash, and he didn't know what to do. People wanted jobs, but
there were no jobs to obtain. In the Midwest the crisis was worsened by the dust
bowl. It was all too sudden of a change after the roaring 20's and the economic
The effects of the depression were
harsh and unrelenting. Because of the depression, many people took pay cuts or lost
their jobs entirely. Those who had jobs were sometimes forced to move at the will of
their employers. An example of this is when many Midwestern farmers traveled to California
for jobs during the dust bowl. The rate of homelessness also increased as a result
of the depression and people were forced to live in junk shacks named
"Hoovervilles." Some of these people starved to death or committed suicide
because of the anxiety. When FDR came into office he created many government
programs to create a better society and more jobs for these suffering Americans.
This was the "New Deal" for the country and it started a bigger role and more
responsibility for the government.
In some ways the
depression still affects us today. The survivors of the depression are much more
cautious of money and credit. There is also some government programs created then
that are still in affect. A minimum wage was set up during the depression that
continues today. Prohibition was repealed during the depression and it continues to
be today. And perhaps the most important effect of the depression still lasting into
today, is the increase in presidential power because of FDR's actions in office. Yet
the thing that got us out of the depression didn't happen in this decade, but in the next
when the U.S. entered WWII.
Events of This Decade
*Starred Events relate to the main theme.
first supermarket is opened in the U.S.
1930-The U.S. signs a naval disarmament treaty with other
1930-"The Smoot-Hawley high tariff is
March 1931-Nine African American youths who
had been riding the rails were arrested and accused of raping two white women on the
train. Without being given the chance to hire a defense lawyer, eight of the nine
were quickly convicted by an all white jury.
1931-The Empire State Building opens in New York,
becoming the world's tallest skyscraper.
1932-Florence Kelly dies.
the Bonus Army protest in Washington, D.C. to get their money from WWI early.
1932-Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly solo across
the Atlantic Ocean.
1932-The infant son of flying hero Charles Lindbergh and
wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh is kidnapped and murdered. A German-American was
convicted of the crime, yet he haughtily denied this act all the way to the electric
1933-The First U.S. aircraft carrier launched
Tennessee Valley Authority is created to revitalize and give jobs to the Tennessee Valley.
1933-Former President Calvin Coolidge, a symbol of the
age of prosperity, dies.
Roosevelt is inaugurated as president under his "New Deal" campaign. It
begins a new age of activist Presidents, and even with his hidden polio, he becomes one of
the most popular presidents in U.S. History.
1933-Frances Perkins becomes the first woman to hold a
cabinet post when FDR appoints her secretary of labor.
1933-The 21st Amendment is added to the Constitution, repealing Prohibition.
families leave dust bowl-stricken Great Plains and move west to California.
1934-"Congress passes the Indian Reorganization
passes the Social Security Act, giving elder Americans Social Security money for the first
tax is passed which penalized the wealthy with higher taxes to help depression.
1935-Mery Bethune founds the National Council of Negro
Progress Administration is set up to improve America and create jobs.
* July 1935-With
President Roosevelt's support, the Wagner is passed, guaranteeing workers' rights to join
unions and bargain collectively.
1935-To keep the United States out of war in Europe,
Congress passes the Neutrality Act.
1936-An auto workers strike occurs in Detroit, the
nations leading producer of steel and cars.
1936-Margaret Mitchell writes Gonewith the Wind
an American classic.
1937-Roosevelt's famous attempt to pack the Supreme Court
1937-A steel strike happens in Chicago.
1938-The Fair Labor Standards Act makes it illegal to
employ child labor.
1938-Orson Wells's radio production of H.G. Wells's War
of the Worlds causes a national panic because of the believability of
recession hits the United States economy because of the depression.
1939-Author John Steinbeck publishes The Grapes
of Wrath, which was later turned into a movie that we happened to watch in
American History class.
1939-Hollywood releases The Wizard of Oz, one of the
first color films.
1939-Robert de Graff starts the Pocket Books company, a
paperback books company.