PEOPLE

 

Charles Coughlin

.       Roman Catholic priest and radio celebrity

.       Attracted 30-45 million listeners a week

.       Started as a supporter of New Deal, then turned into bitter critic of it

.       Eventually became fascist sympathizer

 

Huey P. Long

.       Populist U.S. Senator from Louisiana and Governor of Louisiana (simultaneously)

.       Popular but corrupt; advocated simplistic plan of wealth redistribution from rich to poor

.       Assassinated in Louisiana statehouse, 1935

 

Eleanor Roosevelt

.       First Lady of the United States; wife (and distant cousin!) of Franklin Roosevelt

.       Advocate of liberal causes and early Civil Rights hero

 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

.       Democratic President of the United States, 1933-45

.       Implemented New Deal domestic reforms in response to Great Depression

.       One of most influential presidents in history

.       First and last president to serve four terms in office

.       Died in office, 1945

 

Upton Sinclair

.       Muckraking author of The Jungle

.       Ran for and nearly won governorship of California, 1934

.       Advocated radical plan to "End Poverty In California" by putting unemployed citizens to work in state-sponsored cooperative factories and farms

 

Francis Townsend

.       Medical doctor; proposed forcing those over 60 years old to retire and giving them stipend of $200 a month to stimulate spending while opening up jobs to younger worker

.       Scheme was economically absurd but quite popular; Townsend Clubs spread throughout the country

.       Scaled-back version of plan eventually enacted by FDR as Social Security

 

EVENTS

 

1929 Stock Market Collapse

.       Disastrous 90% decline in stock market from 1929 to 1932

.       Marked onset of Great Depression, worst economic collapse in American history

 

1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff

.       Raised tariffs to protect American industry during Depression

.       Didn't help American economy much but made things much worse in Europe

 

1935 Huey Long Assassinated

.       Popular Louisiana politician killed by political rival's son–in-law inside state capitol

.       Pre-empted possible challenge to Roosevelt from the left in 1936 elections

 

1941 Pearl Harbor Attack

.       Japanese attack on American naval base in Hawaii forced U.S. to enter World War II

.       Demands of war economy finally did what New Deal could not do, lifting U.S. out of Great Depression

 

GROUPS

 

Communist Party USA

.       Radical political party aligned with Soviet Union advocated overthrow of capitalist economic system

.       Never had a membership larger than 100,000 in U.S.

.       During Depression, initially attacked Democrats, then attempted to ally with them (forming a "Popular Front")

 


German-American Bund

.       Began as ethnic-based group promoting friendly relations between Germans and Americans

.       After Hitler's rise to power in Germany, Bund became haven for anti-Semitic fascist sympathizers in U.S.

.       Never had many members, though they did hold major rallies at Madison Square Garden in New York

 

Share the Wealth Clubs

.       Organized by Huey Long to advocate for redistribution of wealth from rich to poor

.       Long likened economy to a barbecue:  "We've got to call Mr. Morgan and Mr. Mellon and Mr. Rockefeller back and say, come back here, put that stuff back on this table here that you took away from here that you don't need."

.       Share the Wealth movement collapsed following Long's assassination in 1935

 

CONCEPTS

 

Underconsumption

.       When an economy's demand for goods and services falls far below potential output

.       Many economists and historians believed underconsumption was primary cause of Great Depression

 

Keynesian Economics

.       John Maynard Keynes attributed Depression to failure of aggregate demand

.       Suggested that government should use deficit spend during recessions to get economy moving again

.       Though Roosevelt was not directly inspired by Keynes, many of his programs had Keynesian dimensions

.       Friedmanism supplanted Keynesianism as dominant theory within economic profession in 1970s

 


Friedmanist Economics

.       Milton Friedman attributed Depression to constricted money supply

.       Suggested that a more intelligent Federal Reserve policy might have prevented Depression

.       Suggested that New Deal was counterproductive response to Depression