The Great Depression: America 1929-1941
Robert S. McElvaine
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One of the classic studies of the Great Depression, featuring a new introduction by the author with insights into the economic crises of 1929 and today.
In the twenty-five years since its publication, critics and scholars have praised historian Robert McElvaine’s sweeping and authoritative history of the Great Depression as one of the best and most readable studies of the era. Combining clear-eyed insight into the machinations of politicians and economists who struggled to revive the battered economy, personal stories from the average people who were hardest hit by an economic crisis beyond their control, and an evocative depiction of the popular culture of the decade, McElvaine paints an epic picture of an America brought to its knees—but also brought together by people’s widely shared plight.
In a new introduction, McElvaine draws striking parallels between the roots of the Great Depression and the economic meltdown that followed in the wake of the credit crisis of 2008. He also examines the resurgence of anti-regulation free market ideology, beginning in the Reagan era, and argues that some economists and politicians revised history and ignored the lessons of the Depression era.
More importantly, Roosevelt was backing Phil’s Democratic opponent. This seemed an insurmountable obstacle, but when the ballots were counted Philip La Follette had won back the governor’s chair. The governor’s radical rhetoric increased rapidly following his 1934 victory. “We are not liberals!” Phil exclaimed. “Liberalism is nothing but a sort of milk-and-water tolerance.… I believe in a fundamental and basic change.” “I am a radical,” Governor La Follette insisted. “There is no alternative to
and their representatives in Congress. Like its predecessor, the FSA never had nearly enough money to have an appreciable effect on the massive problems of the rural poor. When Tugwell was placed in charge of the RA, he realized that many of its programs were tempting targets for conservative critics. To try to blunt some of the inevitable complaints, he established an Information Division to put out positive propaganda about the Resettlement Administration’s programs. One result was the
to Hopkins on Lawrence County, Pa., Fall 1934, Hopkins Papers, Box 66; A. Graham, Jr., Seattle, Wash., to FERA, Dec. 12, 1934, FERA Files, Box 4 (reproduced in McElvaine, Down and Out, 59–60); Hickok, Report to Hopkins from Rock Springs, Wyo., Sept. 3, 1934, Hickok Papers, Box 11; Wayne Parrish, Report to Hopkins on New Jersey, Dec. 1, 1934, Hopkins Papers, Box 66; Hickok, Report to Hopkins from Lincoln, Neb., Nov. 18, 1933, and Hickok, Report to Hopkins on West Virginia, Aug. 16–26, 1933, both
in McElvaine, Down and Out, 94); Raymond Wolters, Negroes and the Great Depression: The Problem of Economic Recovery (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1970), 116–17, 126–27, 130–31, 39; Arthur F. Raper, The Tragedy of Lynching (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1933), 30–31; Hilton Butler, “Lynch Law in Action,” The New Republic, 67 (July 22, 1931), 257; Frank Freidel, Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Triumph (Boston: Little, Brown, 1956), 276; Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro
forbidding it, Smith and Raskob were. Their attempt to repeal prohibition and shift the tax burden to the poor spent $7 million, compared to the $9 million Hoover effort. This was a spending ratio far better than the Democrats usually enjoy, but it did them little good at the polls. For his part, Hoover ran a mildly progressive campaign. Despite the mildness of his progressivism, it was enough to upset many Wall Streeters. Hoover was known to favor a cooling of stock speculation. Although they