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J0JI81 S. KiClHIHE, Ellin l> [Hcl 

^ ENCYCLOPEDIA Of THE 




JHEONLY THING WE HAVE 
£Oj FEAR IS FEAR ITSELF 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE 

V]REAT 
EPRESSION 



EDITORIAL BOARD 



EDITOR IN CHIEF 

Robert S. McElvaine 
Millsaps College 

ASSOCIATE EDITORS 

Tony Badger 
Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University 

Roger Biles 
East Carolina University 

Patricia Sullivan 

University of South Carolina 

W. E. B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University 

Joe W. Trotter 
Carnegie Mellon University 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE 

UREAT 
EPRESSION 




VOLUME 1: A-K 



ROBERT S. McELVAINE 

EDITOR IN CHIEF 



MACMILLAN 
REFERENCE 
USA™ 



THOMSON 

* — 

GALE 



New York • Detroit * San Diego • San Francisco • Cleveland • New Haven, Conn. • Waterville, Maine • London * Munich 



XHOIVISOIM 

* 



GALE 



Encyclopedia of The Great Depression 

Robert S. McElvaine, Editor in Chief 



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Cover photographs reproduced by permission 
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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA 

Encyclopedia of the Great Depression / Robert McElvaine, editor in chief, 
p. cm. 

Includes bibliographical references and index. 
ISBN 0-02-865686-5 (set : hardcover)— ISBN 0-02-865687-3 (v. 1)— 
ISBN 0-02-865688-1 (v. 2) 

1. United States— History— 1933-1945— Encyclopedias. 2. United 
States— History— 1919-1933— Encyclopedias. 3. United States- 
Economic Conditions — 1918-1945 — Encyclopedias. 4. Depressions- 
1929— United States— Encyclopedias. 5. New Deal, 1933-1939— 
Encyclopedias. I. McElvaine, Robert S., 1947- 

E806.E63 2004 
973.91'6'03— dc21 
2003010292 



This title is also available as an e-book. 
ISBN 0-02-865908-2 

Contact your Gale sales representative for ordering information. 



Printed in the United States of America 
109876 5432 1 



For Larry Levine, Bill Leuchtenburg, 

Arthur Schlesinger, and Studs Terkel. 

Sources of inspiration, 

students of the Great Depression, 

and friends. 



CONTENTS 



Preface ix 

List of Articles xiii 

List of Contributors xxix 

Outline of Contents xlv 

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 1 

Timeline 1079 

Index 1083 



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ENCYCLOPEDIA E E H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



PREFACE 



The Great Depression, the worldwide economic 
collapse that began in 1929 and ended only well 
after the outbreak of World War II a decade later, 
remains a topic of widespread fascination. There are 
several reasons for such continuing interest. Among 
them is the fact that the experience was seared into 
the lives, memories, and outlooks of an entire gen- 
eration, coloring its members' views of their subse- 
quent experiences. Another reason for the intense 
interest in the Depression is that it seemed to con- 
tradict the expectations of most Americans and 
their experiences of relative prosperity throughout 
most of the time since. Then there is the era's defi- 
ance of the modern trend toward individualism and 
the identification of personal well-being with 
material consumption. Those who object to the 
modern rush toward ever greater selfishness and 
self-indulgence are drawn to the alternate visions 
of co-operation and rejection of consumerism evi- 
dent in the Great Depression. 

There are also the facts that the modern presi- 
dency emerged, the role of the federal government 
as a major force in citizens' lives was established, 
the partial welfare state was begun, and the politi- 
cal realignment that remained dominant for much 
of the remainder of the century was forged during 
the Great Depression. 

Perhaps most of all, however, the Great 
Depression continues to be a matter of great inter- 



est because so many people remain uncertain about 
the economic prospects in their own times. Anyone 
who is at least vaguely aware that this massive eco- 
nomic collapse was preceded by a period of 
unprecedented prosperity in the 1920s is apt to ask 
the question: "If it happened once, can it happen 
again?" Whenever the unemployment rate raises 
sharply, as it did in the early 1980s, or the stock 
market plunges, as it did in 1987 and again, in a 
much more prolonged slide, between 2001 and 
2003, those of us who specialize in the era of the 
Great Depression are asked to comment in the 
popular media on whether another depression 
might be coming. The fear that "hard times" could 
return has never completely vanished, and this con- 
cern stimulates continuing interest in the events of 
the 1920s and 1930s. 

The Great Depression was the worst domestic 
crisis the United States faced in the twentieth cen- 
tury and the second worst, after the Civil War, in 
American history. However, it was by no means 
confined to the United States. Rather, the econom- 
ic collapse became a global phenomenon. The 
worldwide ramifications of the Depression consti- 
tute another major reason for contemporary inter- 
est in the era. It is widely believed that the worst 
horrors of the twentieth century — the rise to power 
of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi followers, World War II, 
and the Holocaust — would not have happened had 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



IX 



PREFACE 



the economic collapse not provided an opening for 
extremist views to gain credibility. 

As its role in the appeal of dictatorship and 
controlled economies indicates, the Great 
Depression severely tested both democratic politi- 
cal institutions and market-based economies. It 
was the principal achievement of President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs in the 
United States to demonstrate that democratic insti- 
tutions and a slightly modified free market eco- 
nomic system were viable. Indeed, the Great 
Depression can be seen as providing a stage upon 
which Roosevelt and Hitler presented to the world 
sharply contrasting views of the proper way to 
organize and lead societies, polities, and 
economies. That contest was finally to be decided 
under arms in World War II, which in a real sense 
can be seen as the final act — the climax — of the 
Great Depression. 

The 542 articles in the two volumes that consti- 
tute The Encyclopedia of the Great Depression are 
intended to provide the widest audience, both the 
general public and students of history, with accessi- 
ble information and analysis, reflecting the latest 
scholarship, on an extensive variety of topics relat- 
ed to the Great Depression. 

Although the bulk of the articles in this ency- 
clopedia focus on the era of the Great Depression in 
the United States, a substantial number of entries 
address the worldwide dimensions of the econom- 
ic collapse and deal with specific events and figures 
from other parts of the world. 

The Great Depression was, of course, first and 
foremost an economic and, consequently, a social 
phenomenon. As such it brings up images that 
are — well, depressing. But anyone who sees the era 
of the Depression as only grim misses much of its 
flavor and significance. The decade of the 1930s 
was, to be sure, a time of economic hardship that 
was, with the exception of the South during the 
Civil War, unprecedented in American history. But it 
was much more. It was a period of political and 
social innovation. It was also a time of extraordinary 
cultural developments in the new medium of sound 
cinema as well as in art, literature, music, theater, 
and photography. Even a cursory look at the list of 
articles under the heading of "Culture" in the out- 
line of contents should give the reader a sense of 



how diverse, significant, and, in many cases, "un- 
depressing"the cultural aspects of the decade were. 

The Depression decade came to be dominated 
by the personality of Franklin D. Roosevelt, but it 
was also populated by a vast array of other memo- 
rable characters — women as well as men, minori- 
ties as well as whites, international figures as well 
as Americans — from the arts, labor, business, poli- 
tics, government, civil rights, diplomacy, the media, 
religion, academe, the law, social reform, agricul- 
ture, and sports. Biographies of more than two hun- 
dred of these individuals are to be found in the 
pages of this compendium. 

This encyclopedia constitutes the most com- 
prehensive resource available on one of the most 
important periods in our history and one that con- 
tinues to affect us today in ways subtle and not-so- 
subtle. A substantial number of articles in these two 
volumes are, in my opinion, the best short analyses 
of their subjects available in print. In many cases, 
the articles are written by the leading scholars on 
the subject. There is every reason to anticipate that 
this publication will remain the standard reference 
for the era of the Great Depression for many years 
to come. 

There are 542 articles in the Encyclopedia of the 
Great Depression arranged alphabetically for easy 
reference. The articles range in length from 300 to 
5,000 words. Entries are written by 270 scholars 
from around the world, active researchers in histo- 
ry, American studies, economics, social science, 
geography, political science, radio and television, 
literature, and music. Each signed article features 
several carefully chosen cross-references to related 
entries as well as a bibliography of print and inter- 
net resources. A topical outline appears in Volume I, 
just after the alphabetical article list. It groups arti- 
cles by broad categories, thereby offering teachers 
and readers alike an informed map of the field. A 
comprehensive index offers yet another entry point 
for the set, encouraging readers to explore the 
information contained in these two volumes. 

In addition to the fine work of the contributors, 
this project is the result of the great work of my 
associate editors, Roger Biles, Joe Trotter, Tony 
Badger, and Patricia Sullivan, and I thank them all. 
Several people at Macmillan Reference USA and 
the Gale Group have worked on this project over 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF E H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



PREFACE 



the course of its development and helped to assure 
its successful completion. I want to thank Erin 
Bealmear, Joe Clements, Judith Culligan, Jill Lectka, 
and Elly Dickason. 

My parents, Edward and Ruth McElvaine, lived 
through the Great Depression, and their stories first 
sparked my interest in the period and in history in 
general. That interest was carried forward and 
developed by a large number of instructors, schol- 
ars, and writers over the years, including Carl 
Youngman, Warren Susman, Lloyd Gardner, 
Charles Forcey, Richard Dalfiume, Melvyn 
Dubofsky James MacGregor Burns, Frank Freidel, 



Joan Wallach Scott, Susan Ware, Harvard Sitkoff, 
Lizabeth Cohen, Patrick Maney, the four associate 
editors of this encyclopedia, and the four friends 
and sources of inspiration to whom it is dedicated, 
Lawrence W. Levine, William E. Leuchtenburg, 
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Studs Terkel. 

My wonderful family, as always, deserves 
the greatest thanks. Anne is my everything. 
Kerri, Lauren, Allison, Brett, Scott, Evan, and Anna 
add even more to my life, causing it to overflow 
with joy. 

Robert S. McElvaine 
Clinton, Mississippi , August 2003 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST OF ARTICLES 



Abraham Lincoln Brigade 
Cary Nelson 

Adamic, Louis 
Daniel Geary 

Advertising in the Great Depression 
Daniel Pope 

Africa, Great Depression in 
Dietmar Rothermund 

African Americans, Impact of the Great Depression on 
Joe W. Trotter 

Agee, James 

Alan Spiegel 

Agricultural Adjustment Act 
David Hamilton 

Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) 
David Hamilton 

Agriculture 

D. Clayton Brown 

Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) 
Jeff Singleton 

Alabama Sharecroppers' Union 
Mary Jo Binker 

Allen, Frederick Lewis 
David W. Levy 



Amalgamated Clothing Workers (ACW) 
Nancy Quam-Wickham 

American Exodus, An 
Kate Sampsell 

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) 
Kimberly K. Porter 

American Federation of Labor (AFL) 
Frank A. Salamone 

American Guide Series 
Trent A. Watts 

American Labor Party 
John J. Simon 

American Liberty League 
Robert Burk 

American Negro Labor Congress (ANLC) 
Harvard Sitkoff 

American Scene, The 
Stuart Kidd 

American Student Union 
Robert Cohen 

American Youth Congress 
Robert Cohen 

Ameringer, Oscar 
Linda Reese 

Ames, Jesse Daniel 
Sarah E. Gardner 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XIII 



LIST 



F 



T I C L E S 



Amos 'n' Andy 

Melvin Patrick Ely 

Anderson, Marian 
Mary L. Nash 

Anderson, Sherwood 
Kim Townsend 

Anticommunism 

M. J. Heale 

Anti-lynching Legislation 
Robert L. Zangrando 

Anti-Semitism 

Barbara S. Burstin 

Appalachia, Impact of the Great Depression on 
Jerry Bruce Thomas 

Architecture 

Sara A. Butler 

Armstrong, Louis 

William R. Bettler 

Arnold, Thurman 
William J. Barber 

Art 

Jonathan Harris 

Arthurdale, West Virginia 
Stuart Keith Patterson 

Asia, Great Depression in 
Dietmar Rothermund 

Asian Americans, Impact of the Great Depression on 
Kornel S. Chang 

Association Against the Prohibition Amendment 
(AAPA) 

Ellis W. Hawley 

Australia and Neio Zealand, Great Depression in 
Stuart Macintyre 



B 

Back-to-the-Land Movement 
Stuart Keith Patterson 

Bakke, E. Wight 
Alice O'Connor 



"Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd" 
Mary L. Nash 

Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937 
Paul E. Mertz 

Banking Panics (1930-1933) 

Elmus Wicker 

Baruch, Bernard 
Larry G. Gerber 

Bauer, Catherine 
John F. Bauman 

Berkeley, Busby 
Daniel J. Leab 

Berle, Adolf A., Jr. 
Stuart Kidd 

Bethune, Mary McLeod 
Harvard Sitkoff 

Biddle, Francis 

Christopher W. Schmidt 

Big Band Music 

Bradford W. Wright 

Bilbo, Theodore 

Chester M. Morgan 

Black, Hugo 

Mark Tushnet 

Black Cabinet 
John B. Kirby 

Black Legion 

John E. Miller 

Black Metropolis 

Vernon J. Williams, Jr. 

Black Thirty-Hour Bill 
Stuart Kidd 

Bonnie and Clyde (Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow) 
Laura Browder 

Bonus Army/Bonus March 
Roger Daniels 

Boondoggle 

June Hopkins 

Borah, William 

Leonard Schlup 

Boulder Dam 

Todd J. Pfannestiel 



XIV 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



ARTICLES 



Bonrke-White, Margaret 
Harvard Sitkoff 

Boy and Girl Tramps of America 
Errol Lincoln Uys 

Brain(s) Trust 

Michael V. Namorato 

Brandeis, Louis D. 
David W. Levy 

Breadlines 

Kim Richardson 

Bridges, Harry 

Robert Francis Saxe 

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" 
Philip Furia 

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) 
Beth Tompkins Bates 

Browder, Earl 

James G. Ryan 

Bunche, Ralph 

Jonathan Scott Holloway 

Businessmen 

Jason Scott Smith 

Byrd, Harry 

Larissa M. Smith 

Byrnes, James F. 

Henry C. Ferrell, Jr. 



Cagney, James 

Peter C. Holloran 

Cahill, Holger 
Stuart Kidd 

Caldwell, Erskine 
Joseph Entin 

Canada, Great Depression in 
John M. Bumsted 

Capone, Al 

Douglas Bukowski 



Capra, Frank 

Benjamin L. Alpers 

Cardozo, Benjamin N. 
Sean J. Savage 

Cartoons, Political 

William Arthur Atkins 

Caste and Class 

Alice O'Connor 

Causes of the Great Depression 
Robert S. McElvaine 

Cermak, Anton 

Douglas Bukowski 

Chandler, Raymond 
Austin Wilson 

Chaplin, Charlie 

Charles J. Maland 

Charity 

Michael Reisch 

Chavez, Dennis 

Caryn E. Neumann 

Children and Adolescents, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 

Kriste Lindenmeyer 

Cities and Suburbs 

Bonnie Fox Schwartz 
Joel Schwartz 

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 
John A. Salmond 

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 
Paul T. Murray 

Civil Works Administration (CWA) 
Jeff Singleton 

Class 

Kathy Mapes 

Cohen, Benjamin V. 

Michael V. Namorato 

Collective Bargaining 
Gregory Miller 

Collier, John 

Leonard Schlup 

Comics 

Bradford W. Wright 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



xv 



LIST 



F 



T I C L E S 



Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) 
Lawrence J. Nelson 

Communications Act of 1934 
Barry Dean Karl 

Communications and the Press 
Gregory W. Bush 

Communist Party 
Gwen Moore 

Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) 
Daniel Clark 

Conservation Movement 
Sara M. Gregg 

Conservative Coalition 
Robert Burk 

Consumerism 
Meg Jacobs 

Coolidge, Calvin 
Robert Ferrell 

Corcoran, Thomas G. 
Donald A. Ritchie 

Costigan, Edward 
Jonathan W. Bell 

Coughlin, Charles 

Lisa Krissoff Boehm 

Cowley, Malcolm 
Mark C. Smith 

Cradle Will Rock, The 

Martin Halpern 

Crime 

Kim Phillips-Fein 

Culture and the Crisis 
William J. Maxwell 

Cummings, Homer 
Barry Cushman 

Currie, Lauchlin 

Roger J. Sandilands 



Deficit Spending 
Iwan Morgan 

Democratic Party 
Sean J. Savage 

De Priest, Oscar 

Kevin Mumford 

Dewey, Thomas E. 

Susan Estabrook Kennedy 

Deioson, Mary (Molly) 
Laura J. Hilton 

Dictatorship 

J. Simon Rofe 

Dictatorship, Fear of in the United States 
Kim Phillips-Fein 

Disney, Walt 

J. B. Kaufman 

Documentary Film 
George C. Stoney 

Domestic Service 

Bernadette Pruitt 

Don't Buy Where You Can't Work Movement 
BillV. Mullen 

Dos Passos, John 
Daniel Geary 

Douglas, William O. 
Tinsley E.Yarbrough 

Dubinsky, David 
James R. Barrett 

Du Bois, W. E. B. 

David Levering Lewis 

Dust Bowl 

R. Douglas Hurt 



D 



Davis, Chester 

Lawrence J. Nelson 



Earhart, Amelia 
Susan Ware 

Eccles, Marriner 
Peter Fearon 



XVI 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



ARTICLES 



Economists 

William J. Barber 

Economy, American 
Peter Fearon 

Economy Act of 1933 
Iwan Morgan 

Education 

Daryl Webb 

Elderly, Impact of the Great Depression on the 
Ron Goeken 

Election of 1928 

Allan J. Lichtman 

Election of 1930 

Allan J. Lichtman 

Election of 1932 
Elliot A. Rosen 

Election of '1934 

Howard W. Allen 

Election of 1936 

Michael J. Webber 

Election of 1938 

David L. Porter 

Election of 1940 

John W. Jeffries 

Ellington, Duke 

Burton W. Peretti 

Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932 
Jeff Singleton 

Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 
Jeff Singleton 

End Poverty in California (EPIC) 
William J. Billingsley 

Ethiopian War 

Laura J. Hilton 

Europe, Great Depression in 
Patricia Clavin 

Evans, Walker 
Alan Spiegel 

Ezekiel, Mordecai 
David Hamilton 



Fair Labor Standards Act 
Larry G. Gerber 

Family and Home, Impact of the Great Depression on 
Dennis Bryson 

Farley, James A. 
Leonard Schlup 

Farm Credit Administration (FCA) 
Adrienne M. Petty 

Farmers' Holiday Association (FHA) 
Mark Love 

Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) 
Brian Q. Cannon 

Farm Foreclosures 

Adrienne M. Petty 

Farm Policy 

Kim Richardson 

Farm Security Administration (FSA) 
Stuart Kidd 

Fascism 

Martin Halpern 

Father Divine 
Jill Watts 

Faulkner, William 

Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr. 

Fauset, Crystal Bird 
Eric Ledell Smith 

Federal Art Project (FAP) 
Jonathan Harris 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 
Maurine H. Beasley 

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) 
Brian Q. Cannon 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) 
James S. Olson 

Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) 
Peter Fearon 

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) 
Iwan Morgan 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XVII 



LIST 



F 



T I C L E S 



Federal Music Project (FMP) 
Frank A. Salamone 

Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) 
Eduardo F. Canedo 

Federal One 
Stuart Kidd 

Federal Reserve System 
Peter Fearon 

Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation 
(FSLIC) 

David Eisenbach 

Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation (FSCC) 
Sara M. Gregg 

Federal Theatre Project (FTP) 
Gregory W. Bush 

Federal Writers' Project (FWP) 
BillV. Mullen 

Fireside Chats 

David W. Levy 

Fish, Hamilton 

Justus D. Doenecke 

Flanagan, Hallie 

Caryn E. Neumann 

Flynn, Edward J. 

Caryn E. Neumann 

Folklorists 

Jerrold Hirsch 

Ford, Henry 

Michael French 

Ford, John 

Charles J. Maland 

Foreman, Clark 

Patricia Sullivan 

Foster, William Z. 
Gwen Moore 

Frank, Jerome 

Lawrence J. Nelson 

Frankfurter, Felix 

Tinsley E.Yarbrough 

Freaks 

Gary D. Rhodes 



Gabriel Over the White House 
Michael B. Stoff 

Gangster Films 
Luca Prono 

Garner, John Nance 
Nancy Beck Young 

Gastonia, North Carolina 
John A. Salmond 

Gays and Lesbians, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 
James Polchin 

Gellhorn, Martha 
Laura J. Hilton 

Gender Roles and Sexual Relations, Impact of the 
Great Depression on 

Robert S. McElvaine 

Gershwin, George and Ira 
Natoma N. Noble 

Glass, Carter 

Larissa M. Smith 

Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 
Michael French 

Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 
James S. Olson 

Gold Diggers of 1933 

Jennifer Langdon-Teclaw 

Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-1940) 
Blanche M. G. Linden 

Gold Standard 
Patricia Clavin 

Gone with the Wind 

Jennifer Langdon-Teclaw 

Goodman, Benny 
Burton W. Peretti 

Good Neighbor Policy 
Joseph Smith 

Government, United States Federal, Impact of the 
Great Depression on 
Paul B.Trescott 



XVI 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



ARTICLES 



Governments, State, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 

William Arthur Atkins 

Grand Coulee Project 
James Stripes 

Grapes of Wrath, The 
David W. Levy 

Grassroots Democracy 
G. Wayne Dowdy 

Green, William 
Craig Phelan 

Greenbelt Towns 

Cathy D. Knepper 

Guffey-Snyder Act of 1935 
John Kennedy Ohl 

Guffey-Vinson Act of 1937 
John Kennedy Ohl 

Guthrie, Woody 

Bradford W. Wright 



H 

Hague, Frank 

J. Christopher Schnell 

Hammett, Dashiell 
Sean McCann 

Hansen, Alvin 

Patrick D. Reagan 

"Happy Days Are Here Again' 
Philip Furia 

Hard-Boiled Detectives 
Sean McCann 

Harlan County 

Kim Phillips-Fein 

Harlem Riot (1935) 
Paul T. Murray 

Harrison, Byron "Pat" 
Martha H. Swain 

Hatch Act of 1939 
David L. Porter 



Hazoley-Smoot Tariff 
Michael French 

Health and Nutrition 
Gerald Markowitz 

Hearst, William Randolph 
David Nasaw 

Hellman, Lillian 

Michael T. Van Dyke 

Henderson, Leon 
Iwan Morgan 

Herndon, Angelo, Case 
Charles Martin 

Heroes 

Bradford W. Wright 

Hickok, Lorena 

Allida M. Black 

Highlander Folk School 
John M. Glen 

Hillman, Sidney 

Nancy Quam-Wickham 

Hine, Lewis 

Blanche M. G. Linden 

History, Interpretation, and Memory of the Great 
Depression 

Trent A. Watts 

Hitler, Adolf 

Patricia Clavin 

Holiday, Billie 
Mary L. Nash 

Hollyioood and the Film Industry 
Bradford W. Wright 

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. 
Tinsley E.Yarbrough 

Homelessness 

Yael Schacher 

Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) 
A. Scott Henderson 

Hoover, Herbert 

Susan Estabrook Kennedy 

Hoover, J. Edgar 

Kenneth O'Reilly 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XIX 



LIST 



F 



T I C L E S 



Hoover, Lou Henry 

Susan Estabrook Kennedy 

Hopkins, Harry 
June Hopkins 

House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) 
M. J. Heale 

Housing 

Kristin Szylvian 

Houston, Charles 

Genna Rae McNeil 

Howard University 

Jonathan Scott Holloway 

Howe, Louis McHenry 
Alfred B. Rollins Jr. 

Hughes, Charles Evans 
Tinsley E.Yarbrough 

Hughes, Langston 

Arnold Rampersad 

Hull, Cor dell 

David B. Woolner 

Humor 

Joseph Boskin 

Hundred Days 
Tony Badger 

Hunger Marches 
Martin Halpern 

Hurston, Zora Neale 
Emily Bernard 



I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang 
Robert S. McElvaine 

Ickes, Harold 

Michael V. Namorato 

Income Distribution 
Kim Phillips-Fein 

Indian New Deal 

Donald L. Parman 



Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 
Donald L. Parman 

Individualism 

Benjamin K. Hunnicutt 

Industry, Effects of the Great Depression on 
Michael French 

Insull, Samuel 

Douglas Bukowski 

International Impact of the Great Depression 
Peter Fearon 

International Labor Defense (ILD) 
Gwen Moore 

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union 
(ILGWU) 

John T. Cumbler 

International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) 
Bruce Nelson 

Isolationism 

Justus D. Doenecke 



J 



Jackson, Robert 
Mark Tushnet 

Jazz 

Douglas Henry Daniels 

Johnson, Hugh 

John Kennedy Ohl 

Johnson, Lyndon B. 
Nancy Beck Young 

Joint Committee for National Recovery (JCNR) 
Jonathan Scott Holloway 

Jones, Jesse 

James S. Olson 



K 

Kaiser, Henry 

Michael French 



xx 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



ARTICLES 



Kennedy, Joseph P. 
Jon Herbert 

Kerr, Florence 

Martha H. Swain 

Keynes, John Maynard 
Dean L. May 

Keynesian Economics 
Dean L. May 

Keyserling, Leon 
Meg Jacobs 

Kristallnacht 

Laura J. Hilton 



Labor's Non-Partisan League 
James S. Olson 

La Follette, Philip 
John E. Miller 

La Follette, Robert M., Jr. 
John E. Miller 

La Follette Civil Liberties Committee 
John E. Miller 

La Guardia, Fiorello H. 
Barbara Blumberg 

Laissez-Faire 

Iwan Morgan 

London, Alfred M. 
Michael J. Webber 

Land Use Planning 
Jess Gilbert 

Lange, Dorothea 
Linda Gordon 

Latin America, Great Depression in 

Joseph Smith 

Latino Americans, Impact of the Great Depression on 
Allison Brownell Tirres 

Law Enforcement 

William Arthur Atkins 



League for Independent Political Action 
John Sillito 

Legal Profession 
Mark Tushnet 

LeHand, Marguerite (Missy) 
Mary Jo Binker 

Lehman, Herbert 
Robert P. Ingalls 

Leisure 

William H.Young 

Lewis, John L. 
Craig Phelan 

Lindbergh, Charles 

Liesl Miller Orenic 

Literature 

Sean McCann 

Little Caesar 

Robert S. McElvaine 

Little Steel Strike 

Eduardo F. Canedo 

Lomax, Alan 

J. Marshall Bevil 

London Economic Conference of 1933 
Patricia Clavin 

Long, Huey P. 

Glen Jeansonne 

Louis, Joe 

David K. Wiggins 

Luce, Henry 

Maurine H. Beasley 

Lynchings 

Michael J. Pfeifer 



M 



Marcantonio, Vito 
John J. Simon 

Marx Brothers 

John Parris Springer 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XXI 



LIST 



F 



T I C L E S 



Marxism 

Paul Buhle 

Mason, Lucy Randolph 
Larissa M. Smith 

Maverick, Maury 

Nancy Beck Young 

McWilliams, Carey 
Daniel Geary 

Means, Gardiner C. 
Patrick D. Reagan 

Mellon, Andrew 

Susan Estabrook Kennedy 

Memorial Day Massacre 
Irwin M. Marcus 

Men, Impact of the Great Depression on 
Robert S. McElvaine 

Mencken, H. L. 

Charles A. Fecher 

Mexico, Great Depression in 
Marcos T. Aguila 

Micheaux, Oscar 
Thomas Cripps 

Middletown in Transition 
Paul T. Murray 

Midwest, Great Depression in the 
Ellis W. Hawley 

Migration 

Maurine H. Beasley 

Migratory Workers 
Kathy Mapes 

Military: United States Army 
Henry C. Ferrell, Jr. 

Military: United States Navy 
Henry C. Ferrell, Jr. 

Mills, Ogden 

William J. Barber 

Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party 
Richard M.Valelly 

Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada 
Denton L. Watson 



Mitchell, Arthur W. 

Christopher E. Manning 

Moley, Raymond 

Michael V. Namorato 

Monetary Policy 

William J. Barber 

Monopoly (Board Game) 
Philip E. Orbanes 

Morgan, J. P., Jr. 
James G. Lewis 

Morgenthau, Henry T., Jr. 
Dean L. May 

Moses, Robert 

Michael T. Van Dyke 

Moskoioitz, Belle 

Elisabeth Israels Perry 

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 
Daniel J. Leab 

Mumford, Lewis 
John F. Bauman 

Murphy, Frank 
Sidney Fine 

Murray, Philip 

Andrew A. Workman 

Museums, Art 

Blanche M. G. Linden 

Museums and Monuments, Historic 
Blanche M. G. Linden 

Music 

Natoma N. Noble 

Mussolini, Benito 
Patricia Clavin 

Muste, A. J. 

David W. Levy 



N 



National Association for the Advancement of Colored 
People (NAACP) 

Denton L. Watson 



XXI 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



ARTICLES 



National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) 
Jason Scott Smith 

National Committee to Abolish the Poll Tax 
Patricia Sullivan 

National Farmers Union (NFU) 
Kathy Mapes 

National Housing Act of 1934 
Iwan Morgan 

National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) 
John Kennedy Ohl 

National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (Wagner Act) 
Larry G. Gerber 

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) 
Vernon J. Williams, Jr. 

National Lawyers Guild 
Ann Fagan Ginger 

National Negro Congress 
Kenneth O'Reilly 

National Recovery Administration (NRA) 
John Kennedy Ohl 

National Resources Planning Board (NRPB) 
Patrick D. Reagan 

National Urban League 
Richard W. Thomas 

National Women's Party 
Blanche M. G. Linden 

National Youth Administration (NYA) 
John A. Salmond 

Native Americans, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 

Donald A. Grinde, Jr. 

Nazi-Soviet Pact 
James G. Ryan 

New Deal 

Tony Badger 

New Deal, Second 
John W. Jeffries 

New Deal, Third 
John W. Jeffries 

Neio Masses 

James Smethurst 



New York World's Fair (1939-1940) 
Isadora Anderson Helfgott 

Niebuhr, Reinhold 

Richard Wightman Fox 

Norris, George 

Richard Lowitt 

Norris-La Guardia Act 
Larry G. Gerber 

Northeast, Great Depression in the 
Bob Batchelor 



o 

Odum, Howard 
Mark C. Smith 

Okies 

William H. Mullins 

Old-Age Insurance 
Steven B. Burg 

Olson, Floyd B. 

Edward A. Goedeken 

Olympics, Berlin (1936) 
Steven A. Riess 

Organized Labor 

Eduardo F. Canedo 

Our Daily Bread 
Daniel J. Leab 

Owens, Jesse 

William J. Baker 



Patman, Wright 

Nancy Beck Young 

Peace Movement 
Martin Halpern 

Pecora, Ferdinand 
Donald A. Ritchie 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XXIII 



LIST 



F 



T I C L E S 



Pendergast, Tom 

Lawrence H. Larsen 

Pepper, Claude 

Tracy E. Danese 

Perkins, Frances 

Barbara Blumberg 

Philanthropy 

Judith Sealander 

Photography 

Blanche M. G. Linden 

Planning 

Patrick D. Reagan 

Poetry 

James Smethurst 

Political Realignment 
Sean J. Savage 

Popular Front 
BillV. Mullen 

Post Office Murals 
Stuart Kidd 

President's Committee on Social Trends 
Mark C. Smith 

President's Emergency Committee for Employment 
(PECE) 

Jeff Singleton 

President's Organization for Unemployment Relief 
(POUR) 

Jeff Singleton 

Production Code Administration (Hays Office) 
Daniel J. Leab 

Prohibition 

David E. Kyvig 

Prostitution 
Holly Allen 

Psychological Impact of the Great Depression 
Bob Batchelor 

Public Power 

Richard Lowitt 

Public Utilities Holding Company Act 
Donald A. Ritchie 



Public Works Administration (PWA) 
Jeanne Nienaber Clarke 



R 



Race and Ethnic Relations 
Vernon J. Williams, Jr. 

Radio 

Burton W. Peretti 

Randolph, A. Philip 
Paula F. Pfeffer 

Raper, Arthur 

Clifford M. Kuhn 

Raskob, John J. 
Douglas Craig 

Recession of 1937 
Dean L. May 

Reciprocal Trade Agreements 
David B. Woolner 

Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) 
James S. Olson 

Regional Planning Association of America (RPAA) 
John F. Bauman 

Religion 

Colleen McDannell 

"Remember My Forgotten Man" 
Robert S. McElvaine 

Reorganization Act of 1939 
Patrick D. Reagan 

Report on the Economic Conditions of the South 
Patricia Sullivan 

Republican Party 
Clyde P. Weed 

Resettlement Administration (RA) 
Paul E. Mertz 

Reuther, Walter 
Daniel Clark 

Richberg, Donald 

Andrew A. Workman 



XXIV 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



ARTICLES 



Rivera, Diego 

Larissa M. Smith 

Road to Plenty, The 
Stuart Kidd 

Robeson, Paul 

Harvard Sitkoff 

Robinson, Edward G. 
Daniel J. Leab 

Robinson, Joseph 

Cecil E. Weller, Jr. 

Rogers, Will 

Steven K. Gragert 

Roosevelt, Eleanor 

Blanche Wiesen Cook 

Roosevelt, Franklin D. 
Sean J. Savage 

Rothstein, Arthur 
Betsy Fahlman 

Route 66 

Steven Koczak 

Ruml, Beardsley 
Meg Jacobs 

Rumsey, Mary Harriman 
Mary Jo Binker 

Rural Electrification Administration (REA) 
D. Clayton Brown 

Rural Life 

D. Clayton Brown 

Ryan, Father John A. 
Bentley Anderson 



San Francisco General Strike (1934) 
Eduardo F. Canedo 



Sanger, Margaret 

Caryn E. Neumann 

Science and Technology 
Rick Szostak 



Scottsboro Case 

Robert Francis Saxe 

Securities Regulation 
Donald A. Ritchie 

Shahn, Ben 

David W. Levy 

Sharecroppers 
Paul E. Mertz 

Shelterbelt Project 

Mary W. M. Hargreaves 

Sinclair, Upton 

William J. Billingsley 

Sit-Doion Strikes 

Douglas J. Feeney 

Slave Narratives 
Jerrold Hirsch 

Smith, Alfred E. 

Allan J. Lichtman 

Smith, Gerald L. K. 
Glen Jeansonne 

Snow White and the Seven Dioarfs 
Robert S. McElvaine 

Socialist Party 
Paul Buhle 

Social Science 

Caryn E. Neumann 

Social Security Act 
Alice O'Connor 

Social Workers 

Felix L. Armfield 

Soil Conservation Service (SCS) 
Chris Rasmussen 

Soup Kitchens 

Gregory Baggett 

South, Great Depression in the 

Tony Badger 

Southern Agrarians 
Mark G. Malvasi 

Southern Conference for Human Welfare (SCHW) 
Christopher W. Schmidt 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XXV 



LIST 



F 



T I C L E S 



Southern Negro Youth Congress (SNYC) 
Larissa M. Smith 

Southern Tenant Farmers' Union (STFU) 
Michael V. Namorato 

Spanish Civil War 
Cary Nelson 

Sports 

Steven A. Riess 

Stalin, Joseph 
Paul Le Blanc 

Steel Workers' Organizing Committee (SWOC) 
Bruce Nelson 

Steinbeck, John 
Austin Wilson 

Stimson, Henry 

David F. Schmitz 

Stock Market Crash (1929) 
Peter Fearon 

Strikes 

Eduardo F. Canedo 

Subsistence Homesteads Division 
Kathy Mapes 

Suicide 

Bogdan Balan 
Brian L. Mishara 

Superman 

Bradford W. Wright 

Supreme Court 

Barry Cushman 

Supreme Court "Packing" Controversy 
Barry Cushman 



Taxpayers Leagues 
David T. Beito 

Taylor Grazing Act 

Mary W. M. Hargreaves 

Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, New 
York (TERA) 

June Hopkins 

Temporary National Economic Committee (TNEC) 
John W. Jeffries 

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 
Steven M. Neuse 

Thomas, Norman 
Burton W. Peretti 

Thomas Amendment 
Gregory Baggett 

Thompson, Dorothy 
Laura J. Hilton 

Townsend Plan 
John E. Miller 

Transients 

Maurine H. Beasley 

Transportation 

William Arthur Atkins 

Tugwell, Rexford G. 

Michael V. Namorato 

Tully, Grace 

Christopher Brick 

Tuskegee Syphilis Project 
Susan M. Reverby 



U 



Talmadge, Eugene 

Caryn E. Neumann 

Tammany Hall 

Barbara Blumberg 

Taxation 

Mark H. Leff 



Unemployed Councils 
Jeff Singleton 

Unemployment, Levels of 
Kim Phillips-Fein 

Unemployment Insurance 
Jeff Singleton 

Union Party 

John E. Miller 



XXVI 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



ARTICLES 



United Automobile Workers (UAW) 
Nelson Lichtenstein 

United Farmers' League (UFL) 
Steven Koczak 

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 
Melvyn Dubofsky 

United States Housing Authority (USHA) 
Kristin Szylvian 



V 



Values, Effects of the Great Depression on 
Robert S. McElvaine 



Vann, Robert 

Bernadette Pruitt 



W 



Wagner, Robert F. 
John D. Buenker 

Wallace, Henry A. 

Richard S. Kirkendall 

Washington Commonwealth Federation (WCF) 
William Arthur Atkins 

Weaver, Robert Clifton 
John B. Kir by 

Welfare Capitalism 
Colin Gordon 

Welles, Orson 
Frank Brady 

West, Great Depression in the American 
William H. Mullins 

West, Mae 
Jill Watts 



West, Nathanael 
Ben Siegel 

Wheeler, Burton K. 
David L. Porter 

"Which Side Are You On?" 
Michael Honey 
Mark Allan Jackson 

White, Walter 

Kenneth R. Janken 

White, William Allen 
Sally F. Griffith 

Williams, Aubrey 
John A. Salmond 

Willkie, Wendell 

Herbert S. Parmet 

Wilson, Edmund 
James Boylan 

Wisconsin Progressive Party 
John E. Miller 

Wizard of Oz, The 

Robert S. McElvaine 

Women, Impact of the Great Depression on 
Lisa Krissoff Boehm 

Women's Emergency Brigade 
Martin Halpern 

Woodward, Ellen 

Martha H. Swain 

Workers Education Project 
Rachel Rubin 

Work Ethic 

Gregory Miller 

Works Progress Administration (WPA) 
J. Christopher Schnell 

World Court 

Michael Dunne 

World War II and the Ending of the Depression 
John W. Jeffries 

Wright, Richard 
Trent A. Watts 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XXVII 



LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS 



MARCOS T. AGUILA 

Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Xochimilco 
Mexico, Great Depression in 



Law Enforcement 

Transportation 

Washington Commonwealth Federation 



HOLLY ALLEN 

Middlebury College 
Prostitution 

HOWARD W. ALLEN 

Southern Illinois University, Carbondale 
Election of 1934 

BENJAMIN L. ALPERS 

University of Oklahoma 
Capra, Frank 

BENTLEY ANDERSON 

St. Louis University 

Ryan, Father John A. 

FELIX L. ARMFIELD 

Buffalo State College 
Social Workers 

WILLIAM ARTHUR ATKINS 

Atkins Research and Consulting 
Cartoons, Political 

Governments, State, Impact of the Great 
Depression 



TONY BADGER 

Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University 
Hundred Days 
New Deal 
South, Great Depression in the 

GREGORY BAGGETT 

Columbia University 
Soup Kitchens 
Thomas Amendment 

WILLIAM J. BAKER 

University of Maine, Orono 
Owens, Jesse 

BOGDAN BALAN 

CRISE, University of Quebec, Montreal 
Suicide 

WILLIAM J. BARBER 

Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn. 
Arnold, Thurman 
Economists 
Mills, Ogden 
Monetary Policy 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XXIX 



LIST OF C N T R I 



U T R S 



JAMES R. BARRETT 

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 
Dubinsky, David 

BOB BATCHELOR 

Novato, Calif. 

Northeast, Great Depression in the 
Psychological Impact of the Great Depression 

BETH TOMPKINS BATES 

Wayne State University 

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) 

JOHN F. BAUMAN 

Muskie School, University of Southern Maine 
Bauer, Catherine 
Mumford, Lewis 

Regional Planning Association of America 
(RPAA) 

MAURINE H. BEASLEY 

University of Maryland, College Park 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 

Luce, Henry 

Migration 

Transients 



WILLIAM J. BILLINGSLEY 

California State University, Fullerton 
End Poverty in California (EPIC) 
Sinclair, Upton 

MARY JO BINKER 

The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, George 
Washington University 

Alabama Sharecroppers' Union 

LeHand, Marguerite (Missy) 

Rumsey, Mary Harriman 

ALLIDA M. BLACK 

The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, George Washington 
University 

Hickok, Lorena 

BARBARA BLUMBERG 

Pace University 

La Guardia, Fiorello H. 
Perkins, Frances 
Tammany Hall 

LISA KRISSOFF BOEHM 

Worcester State College 
Coughlin, Charles 
Women, Impact of the Great Depression on 



DAVID T BEITO 

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 
Taxpayers Leagues 



JOSEPH BOSKIN 

Boston University 
Humor 



JONATHAN W. BELL 

University of Reading 
Costigan, Edward 

EMILY BERNARD 

University of Vermont, Burlington 
Hurston, Zora Neale 

WILLIAM R. BETTLER 

Hanover College 

Armstrong, Louis 



JAMES BOYLAN 

University of Massachusetts, Amherst 
Wilson, Edmund 

FRANK BRADY 
St. John's University, New York 
Welles, Orson 

CHRISTOPHER BRICK 

The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, George 
Washington University 
Tully, Grace 



J. MARSHALL BEVIL 

Houston 

Lomax, Alan 



ROBERT H. BRINKMEYER, JR. 

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 
Faulkner, William 



XXX 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



F C N T 



U T R S 



LAURA BROWDER 

Virginia Commonwealth University 

Bonnie and Clyde (Bonnie Parker and Clyde 
Barrow) 



GREGORY W. BUSH 

University of Miami 

Communications and the Press 
Federal Theatre Project (FTP) 



D. CLAYTON BROWN 

Texas Christian University 
Agriculture 

Rural Electrification Administration (REA) 
Rural Life 

DENNIS BRYSON 

Bilkent University 

Family and Home, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 

JOHN D. BUENKER 

University of Wisconsin, Parkside 
Wagner, Robert F. 

PAUL BUHLE 

Brown University 
Marxism 
Socialist Party 



SARA A. BUTLER 

Roger Williams University 
Architecture 



EDUARDO F. CANEDO 

Columbia University 

Federal National Mortgage Association 

(FNMA) 
Little Steel Strike 
Organized Labor 

San Francisco General Strike (1934) 
Strikes 



BRIAN Q. CANNON 
ham Young University 
Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) 
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) 



DOUGLAS BUKOWSKI 

Benvyn, III. 

Cap one, Al 
Cermak, Anton 
Insull, Samuel 

JOHN M. BUMSTED 

University of Manitoba 

Canada, Great Depression in 



KORNEL S. CHANG 

University of Chicago 

Asian Americans, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 



DANIEL CLARK 

Oakland University 

Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) 
Reuther, Walter 



STEVEN B. BURG 

Shippensburg University 
Old-Age Insurance 

ROBERT BURK 

Zanesville, Ohio 

American Liberty League 
Conservative Coalition 

BARBARA S. BURSTIN 

Carnegie Mellon University 
Anti-Semitism 



JEANNE NIENABER CLARKE 
University of Arizona 

Public Works Administration (PWA) 



PATRICIA CLAVIN 

Jesus College, University ofOxf 
Europe, Great Depression in 
Gold Standard 
Hitler, Adolf 

London Economic Conference of 1933 
Mussolini, Benito 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XXXI 



LIST OF C N T R I 



U T R S 



ROBERT COHEN 

New York University 

American Student Union 
American Youth Congress 



G. WAYNE DOWDY 

Memphis/Shelby County Public Library and 
Information Center 

Grassroots Democracy 



BLANCHE WIESEN COOK 

John Jay College, The City University of New York 
Roosevelt, Eleanor 

DOUGLAS CRAIG 

Australian National University 
Raskob, John J. 

THOMAS CRIPPS 

Morgan State University 
Micheaux, Oscar 



MELVYN DUBOFSKY 

Binghamton University, SUNY 

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 

MICHAEL DUNNE 

University of Cambridge 
World Court 

DAVID EISENBACH 

Columbia University 

Federal Savings and Loan Insurance 
Corporation (FSLIC) 



JOHNT. CUMBLER 

University of Louisville 

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union 
(ILGWU) 

BARRY CUSHMAN 

University of Virginia 
Cummings, Homer 
Supreme Court 
Supreme Court "Packing" Controversy 



MELVIN PATRICK ELY 

College of William and Mary 
Amos V Andy 

JOSEPH ENTIN 
Brooklyn College 

Caldwell, Erskine 

BETSY FAHLMAN 

Arizona State University 
Rothstein, Arthur 



TRACY E. DANESE 

Jacksonville, Fla. 
Pepper, Claude 

DOUGLAS HENRY DANIELS 

University of California, Santa 
Jazz 

ROGER DANIELS 

University of Cincinnati 

Bonus Army/Bonus March 

JUSTUS D. DOENECKE 

New College of Florida 
Fish, Hamilton 
Isolationism 



PETER FEARON 

University of Leicester 
Eccles, Marriner 
Economy, American 
Federal Emergency Relief Administration 

(FERA) 
Federal Reserve System 

International Impact of the Great Depression 
Stock Market Crash (1929) 

CHARLES A. FECHER 

Baltimore, Md. 

Mencken, H. L. 

DOUGLAS J. FEENEY 

Three Rivers Community College, Norwich, Conn. 
Sit-Down Strikes 



XXXI 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



F C N T 



U T R S 



HENRY C. FERRELL, JR. 

East Carolina University 
Byrnes, James F. 
Military: United States Army 
Military: United States Navy 

ROBERT FERRELL 

Indiana University, Bloomington 
Coolidge, Calvin 

SIDNEY FINE 

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 
Murphy Frank 

RICHARD WIGHTMAN FOX 

University of Southern California 
Niebuhr, Reinhold 

MICHAEL FRENCH 

University of Glasgow 
Ford, Henry 

Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 
Hawley-Smoot Tariff 

Industry, Effects of the Great Depression on 
Kaiser, Henry 

PHILIP FURIA 

University of North Carolina, Wilmington 
"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" 
"Happy Days Are Here Again" 

SARAH E. GARDNER 

Mercer University 

Ames, Jesse Daniel 

DANIEL GEARY 

University of California, Berkeley 
Adamic, Louis 
Dos Passos, John 
McWilliams, Carey 

LARRY G. GERBER 

Auburn University 
Baruch, Bernard 
Fair Labor Standards Act 



National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (Wagner 

Act) 
Norris-La Guardia Act 

JESS GILBERT 

University of Wisconsin, Madison 
Land Use Planning 

ANN FAGAN GINGER 

Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute 
National Lawyers Guild 

JOHN M. GLEN 

Ball State University 

Highlander Folk School 

EDWARD A. GOEDEKEN 

Iowa State University 
Olson, Floyd B. 

RON GOEKEN 

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 

Elderly, Impact of the Great Depression on the 

COLIN GORDON 

University of Iowa 

Welfare Capitalism 

LINDA GORDON 

New York University 
Lange, Dorothea 

STEVEN K. GRAGERT 

Rogers State University, Claremore, Okla. 
Rogers, Will 

SARA M. GREGG 

Columbia University 

Conservation Movement 
Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation 
(FSCC) 

SALLY F. GRIFFITH 

Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa. 
White, William Allen 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XXXIII 



LIST OF C N T R I 



U T R S 



DONALD A. GRINDE, JR. 

State University of New York, Buffalo 

Native Americans, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 

MARTIN HALPERN 

Henderson State University 
Cradle Will Rock, The 
Fascism 

Hunger Marches 
Peace Movement 
Women's Emergency Brigade 

DAVID HAMILTON 

University of Kentucky 

Agricultural Adjustment Act 

Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) 

Ezekiel, Mordecai 

MARY W. M. HARGREAVES 

University of Kentucky 
Shelterbelt Project 
Taylor Grazing Act 

JONATHAN HARRIS 

University of Liverpool 
Art 
Federal Art Project (FAP) 

ELLIS W. HAWLEY 

University of Iowa 

Association Against the Prohibition 

Amendment (AAPA) 
Midwest, Great Depression in the 

M. J. HEALE 

University of Lancaster, England 
Anticommunism 

House Un-American Activities Committee 
(HUAC) 

ISADORA ANDERSON HELFGOTT 

Harvard University 

New York World's Fair (1939-1940) 



JON HERBERT 

Keele University 

Kennedy, Joseph P. 

LAURA J. HILTON 

Muskingum College 

Dewson, Mary (Molly) 
Ethiopian War 
Gellhorn, Martha 
Kristallnacht 
Thompson, Dorothy 

JERROLD HIRSCH 

Truman State University 
Folklorists 
Slave Narratives 

PETER C. HOLLORAN 

Worcester State College 
Cagney, James 

JONATHAN SCOTT HOLLOWAY 

Yale University 
Bunche, Ralph 
Howard University 
Joint Committee for National Recovery 0CNR) 

MICHAEL HONEY 

University of Washington, Tacoma 
"Which Side Are You On?" 

JUNE HOPKINS 

Armstrong Atlantic State University 
Boondoggle 
Hopkins, Harry 

Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, 
New York (TERA) 

BENJAMIN K. HUNNICUTT 

University of Iowa 
Individualism 



A. SCOTT HENDERSON 

Furman University 

Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) 



R. DOUGLAS HURT 

Iowa State University 
Dust Bowl 



XXXIV 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



F C N T 



U T R S 



ROBERT P. INGALLS 

University of South Florida, Tampa 
Lehman, Herbert 

MARK ALLAN JACKSON 

American University 

"Which Side Are You On?" 

MEG JACOBS 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 
Consumerism 
Keyserling, Leon 
Ruml, Beardsley 

KENNETH R. JANKEN 

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 
White, Walter 

GLEN JEANSONNE 

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 
Long, Huey P. 
Smith, Gerald L. K. 

JOHN W. JEFFRIES 

University of Maryland, Baltimore County 
Election of 1940 
New Deal, Second 
New Deal, Third 
Temporary National Economic Committee 

(TNEC) 
World War II and the Ending of the 
Depression 

BARRY DEAN KARL 

University of Chicago 

Communications Act of 1934 

J. B. KAUFMAN 
Wichita, Kans. 
Disney, Walt 

SUSAN ESTABROOK KENNEDY 

Virginia Commonwealth University 
Dewey, Thomas E. 
Hoover, Herbert 
Hoover, Lou Henry 
Mellon, Andrew 



STUART KIDD 

University of Reading 
American Scene, The 
Berle, Adolf A., Jr. 
Black Thirty-Hour Bill 
Cahill, Holger 

Farm Security Administration (FSA) 
Federal One 
Post Office Murals 
Road to Plenty, The 

JOHN B. KIRBY 

Denison University 
Black Cabinet 
Weaver, Robert Clifton 

RICHARD S. KIRKENDALL 

University of Washington, Seattle 
Wallace, Henry A. 

CATHY D. KNEPPER 

Kensington, Md. 

Greenbelt Towns 

STEVEN KOCZAK 

NewYork State Senate Research Service 
Route 66 
United Farmers' League (UFL) 

CLIFFORD M. KUHN 

Georgia State University 
Raper, Arthur 

DAVID E. KYVIG 

Northern Illinois University 
Prohibition 

JENNIFER LANGDON-TECLAW 

University of Illinois, Chicago 
Gold Diggers of 1933 
Gone with the Wind 

LAWRENCE H. LARSEN 

University of Missouri, Kansas City 
Pendergast, Tom 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XXXV 



LIST OF C N T R I 



U T R S 



DANIEL J. LEAB 
Seton Hall University 

Berkeley, Busby 

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 

Our Daily Bread 

Production Code Administration (Hays Office) 

Robinson, Edward G. 



PAUL LE BLANC 

La Roche College 
Stalin, Joseph 



MARK H. LEFF 

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 
Taxation 



DAVID W. LEVY 

University of Oklahoma 
Allen, Frederick Lewis 
Brandeis, Louis D. 
Fireside Chats 
Grapes of Wrath, The 
Muste, A. J. 
Shahn, Ben 



DAVID LEVERING LEWIS 

New York University 
Du Bois, W. E. B. 



JAMES G. LEWIS 
Falls Church, Va. 
Morgan, J. P., Jr. 



NELSON LICHTENSTEIN 

University of California, Santa 

United Automobile Workers (UAW) 



ALLAN J. LICHTMAN 

American University 
Election of 1928 
Election of 1930 
Smith, Alfred E. 



BLANCHE M.G. LINDEN 
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. 

Golden Gate International Exposition 
(1939-1940) 

Hine, Lewis 

National Women's Party 

Museums, Art 

Museums and Monuments, Historic 

Photography 

KRISTE LINDENMEYER 

University of Maryland, Baltimore County 

Children and Adolescents, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 

MARK LOVE 

Central Missouri State University 

Farmers' Holiday Association (FHA) 

RICHARD LOWITT 

University of Oklahoma 
Norris, George 
Public Power 

STUART MACINTYRE 

University of Melbourne, Australia 

Australia and New Zealand, Great 
Depression in 

CHARLES J. MALAND 

University of Tennessee, Knoxville 
Chaplin, Charlie 
Ford, John 

MARK G. MALVASI 

Randolph-Macon College 
Southern Agrarians 

CHRISTOPHER E. MANNING 
Loyola University, Chicago 
Mitchell, Arthur W. 

KATHY MAPES 

State University of New York, Geneseo 
Class 
Migratory Workers 



XXXVI 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



F C N T 



U T R S 



National Farmers Union (NFU) 
Subsistence Homesteads Division 



Values, Effects of the Great Depression on 
Wizard of Oz, The 



IRWIN M. MARCUS 

Indiana University of Pennsylvania 
Memorial Day Massacre 



GENNA RAE MCNEIL 

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 
Houston, Charles 



GERALD MARKOWITZ 

John Jay College, The City University of New York 
Health and Nutrition 

CHARLES MARTIN 

University of Texas, El Paso 
Herndon, Angelo, Case 

WILLIAM J. MAXWELL 

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 
Culture and the Crisis 

DEAN L. MAY 

University of Utah 

Keynes, John Maynard 
Keynesian Economics 
Morgenthau, Henry T., Jr. 
Recession of 1937 

SEAN MCCANN 

Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn. 

Hammett, Dashiell 

Hard-Boiled Detectives 

Literature 



PAUL E. MERTZ 

University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point 

Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937 
Resettlement Administration (RA) 
Sharecroppers 

GREGORY MILLER 

University of Toledo 
Black Legion 
Collective Bargaining 
Townsend Plan 
Union Party 

Wisconsin Progressive Party 
Work Ethic 

JOHN E. MILLER 

South Dakota State University 
La Follette, Philip 
La Follette, Robert M., Jr. 
La Follette Civil Liberties Committee 

BRIAN L. MISHARA 

CRISE, University of Quebec, Montreal 
Suicide 



COLLEEN MCDANNELL 

University of Utah 
Religion 

ROBERT S. MCELVAINE 

Millsaps College 

Causes of the Great Depression 

Gender Roles and Sexual Relations, Impact of 

the Great Depression on 
I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang 
Little Caesar 

Men, Impact of the Great Depression on 
"Remember My Forgotten Man" 
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 



GWEN MOORE 

Indiana University 
Communist Party 
Foster, William Z. 
International Labor Defense (ILD) 

CHESTER M. MORGAN 

Delta State University, Cleveland, Miss. 
Bilbo, Theodore 

IWAN MORGAN 

London Metropolitan University 
Deficit Spending 
Economy Act of 1933 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XXXVII 



LIST OF C N T R I 



U T R S 



Federal Housing Administration (FHA) 

Henderson, Leon 

Laissez-Faire 

National Housing Act of 1934 

BILL V.MULLEN 

University of Texas, San Antonio 

Don't Buy Where You Can't Work Movement 
Federal Writers' Project (FWP) 
Popular Front 

WILLIAM H. MULLINS 

Oklahoma Baptist University 
Okies 
West, Great Depression in the American 



BRUCE NELSON 

Dartmouth College 

International Longshoremen's Association 

(ILA) 
Steel Workers' Organizing Committee (SWOC) 

CARY NELSON 

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 
Abraham Lincoln Brigade 
Spanish Civil War 

LAWRENCE J. NELSON 

University of North Alabama 

Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) 
Davis, Chester 
Frank, Jerome 



KEVIN MUMFORD 

University of Iowa 
De Priest, Oscar 

PAUL T. MURRAY 

Siena College 

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 
Harlem Riot (1935) 
Middletown in Transition 

MICHAEL V NAMORATO 

University of Mississippi 
Brain (s) Trust 
Cohen, Benjamin V. 
Ickes, Harold 
Moley, Raymond 

Southern Tenant Farmers'Union (STFU) 
Tugwell, Rexford G. 

DAVID NASAW 

The City University of New York Graduate Center 
Hearst, William Randolph 



CARYN E. NEUMANN 
Ohio State University 

Chavez, Dennis 

Flanagan, Hallie 

Flynn, Edward J. 

Sanger, Margaret 

Social Science 

Talmadge, Eugene 

STEVEN M. NEUSE 

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 

NATOMA N. NOBLE 

Millsaps College 

Gershwin, George and Ira 
Music 



ALICE O'CONNOR 

University of California, Santa 
Bakke, E. Wight 
Caste and Class 
Social Security Act 



MARY L. NASH 

Carnegie Mellon University 
Anderson, Marian 
"Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd" 
Holiday, Billie 



JOHN KENNEDY OHL 

Mesa Community College 

Guffey-Snyder Act of 1935 
Guffey-Vinson Act of 1937 
Johnson, Hugh 



XXXVI 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



F C N T 



U T R S 



National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) 
National Recovery Administration (NRA) 

JAMES S. OLSON 

Sam Houston State University 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) 

Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 

Jones, Jesse 

Labor's Non-Partisan League 

Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) 

PHILIP E. ORBANES 

Winning Moves, Inc. 

Monopoly (Board Game) 

KENNETH O'REILLY 

University of Alaska, Anchorage 
Hoover, J. Edgar 
National Negro Congress 

LIESL MILLER ORENIC 

Dominican University, River Forest, III. 
Lindbergh, Charles 

DONALD L. PARMAN 

Purdue University 
Indian New Deal 
Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 

HERBERT S. PARMET 

Queensborough Community College, The City 
University of New York 
Willkie, Wendell 

STUART KEITH PATTERSON 

Emory University 

Arthur dale, West Virginia 
Back-to-the-Land Movement 

BURTON W. PERETTI 

Western Connecticut State University 
Ellington, Duke 
Goodman, Benny 
Radio 
Thomas, Norman 



ELISABETH ISRAELS PERRY 

Saint Louis University 
Moskowitz, Belle 

ADRIENNE M. PETTY 

Columbia University 

Farm Credit Administration (FCA) 
Farm Foreclosures 

TODD J. PFANNESTIEL 

Clarion University 
Boulder Dam 

PAULA F. PFEFFER 

Loyola University, Chicago 
Randolph, A. Philip 

MICHAEL J. PFEIFER 

Evergreen State College 
Lynchings 

CRAIG PHELAN 

University of Wales, Swansea 
Lewis, John L. 
Green, William 

KIM PHILLIPS-FEIN 

Columbia University 
Crime 

Dictatorship, Fear of in the United States 
Harlan County 
Income Distribution 
Unemployment, Levels of 

JAMES POLCHIN 

New York University 

Gays and Lesbians, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 

DANIEL POPE 

University of Oregon 

Advertising in the Great Depression 

DAVID L. PORTER 

William Venn University 
Election of 1938 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



XXXIX 



LIST OF C N T R I 



U T R S 



Hatch Act of 1939 
Wheeler, Burton K. 

KIMBERLY K. PORTER 

University of North Dakota 

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) 

LUCA PRONO 

Bologna, Italy 

Gangster Films 

BERNADETTE PRUITT 

Sam Houston State University 
Domestic Service 
Vann, Robert 

NANCY QUAM-WICKHAM 

California State University, Long Beach 

Amalgamated Clothing Workers (ACW) 
Hillman, Sidney 

ARNOLD RAMPERSAD 

Stanford University 
Hughes, Langston 

CHRIS RASMUSSEN 

Fairleigh Dickinson University 

Soil Conservation Service (SCS) 

PATRICK D. REAGAN 

Tennessee Technological University 
Hansen, Alvin 
Means, Gardiner C. 

National Resources Planning Board (NRPB) 
Planning 
Reorganization Act of 1939 

LINDA REESE 

East Central University, Ada, Okla. 
Ameringer, Oscar 



SUSAN M. REVERBY 

Wellesley College 

Tuskegee Syphilis Project 

GARY D. RHODES 

University of Oklahoma 
Freaks 

KIM RICHARDSON 

LB] Library and Museum 
Breadlines 
Farm Policy 

STEVEN A. RIESS 

Northeastern Illinois University 
Olympics, Berlin (1936) 
Sports 

DONALD A. RITCHIE 

U.S. Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C. 
Corcoran, Thomas G. 
Pecora, Ferdinand 

Public Utilities Holding Company Act 
Securities Regulation 

J. SIMON ROFE 

King's College, London 
Dictatorship 

ALFRED B. ROLLINS JR. 

Old Dominion University 
Howe, Louis McHenry 

ELLIOT A. ROSEN 

Rutgers University, Newark, N.J. 
Election of 1932 

DIETMAR ROTHERMUND 

University of Heidelberg 

Africa, Great Depression in 
Asia, Great Depression in 



MICHAEL REISCH 

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 
Charity 



RACHEL RUBIN 

University of Massachusetts, Boston 
Workers Education Project 



xl 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



F C N T 



U T R S 



JAMES G. RYAN 

Texas A&M University, Galveston 
Browder, Earl 
Nazi- Soviet Pact 

FRANK A. SALAMONE 

Iona College 

American Federation of Labor (AFL) 
Federal Music Project (FMP) 



CHRISTOPHER W. SCHMIDT 

Harvard University 
Biddle, Francis 

Southern Conference for Human Welfare 
(SCHW) 

DAVID F. SCHMITZ 

Whitman College 
Stimson, Henry 



JOHN A. SALMOND 

La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia 
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 
Gastonia, North Carolina 
National Youth Administration (NYA) 
Williams, Aubrey 

KATE SAMPSELL 

Bilkent University 

American Exodus, An 

ROGER J. SANDILANDS 

University of Strathclyde 
Currie, Lauchlin 

SEAN J. SAVAGE 

Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Ind. 

Cardozo, Benjamin N. 

Democratic Party 

Political Realignment 

Roosevelt, Franklin D. 

ROBERT FRANCIS SAXE 

Rhodes College 
Bridges, Harry 
Scottsboro Case 

YAEL SCHACHER 

Harvard University 
Homelessness 

LEONARD SCHLUP 

Akron, Ohio 

Borah, William 
Collier, John 
Farley, James A. 



J. CHRISTOPHER SCHNELL 

Southeast Missouri State University 
Hague, Frank 
Works Progress Administration (WPA) 

BONNIE FOX SCHWARTZ 

New York 

Cities and Suburbs 

JOEL SCHWARTZ 

Montclair State University 
Cities and Suburbs 

JUDITH SEALANDER 

Bowling Green State University 
Philanthropy 

BEN SIEGEL 

California State Polytechnic University 
West, Nathanael 

JOHN SILLITO 

Weber State University 

League for Independent Political Action 

JOHN J. SIMON 

New York 

American Labor Party 
Marcantonio, Vito 

JEFF SINGLETON 

Boston College 

Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) 
Civil Works Administration (CWA) 
Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 
1932 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



xli 



LIST OF C N T R I 



U T R S 



Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 
President's Emergency Committee for 

Employment (PECE) 
President's Organization for Unemployment 

Relief (POUR) 
Unemployed Councils 
Unemployment Insurance 

HARVARD SITKOFF 

University of New Hampshire 

American Negro Labor Congress (ANLC) 
Bethune, Mary McLeod 
Bourke -White, Margaret 
Robeson, Paul 

JAMES SMETHURST 

University of Massachusetts, Amherst 
New Masses 
Poetry 

ERIC LEDELL SMITH 

The State Museum of Pennsylvania 
Fauset, Crystal Bird 

JASON SCOTT SMITH 

Harvard Business School 
Businessmen 
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) 

JOSEPH SMITH 

Exeter University 

Good Neighbor Policy 

Latin America, Great Depression in 

LARISSA M. SMITH 

Longwood University 
Byrd, Harry 
Glass, Carter 
Mason, Lucy Randolph 
Rivera, Diego 
Southern Negro Youth Congress (SNYC) 

MARK C. SMITH 

University of Texas, Austin 
Cowley, Malcolm 
Odum, Howard 
President's Committee on Social Trends 



ALAN SPIEGEL 

State University of New York, Buffalo 
Agee, James 
Evans, Walker 

JOHN PARRIS SPRINGER 

University of Central Oklahoma 
Marx Brothers 

MICHAEL B. STOFF 

University of Texas, Austin 

Gabriel Over the White House 

GEORGE C. STONEY 

New York University 
Documentary Film 

JAMES STRIPES 

Whitworth College 

Grand Coulee Project 

PATRICIA SULLIVAN 

University of South Carolina; W. E. B. Du Bois 

Institute, Harvard University 
Foreman, Clark 

National Committee to Abolish the Poll Tax 
Report on the Economic Conditions of the South 

MARTHA H. SWAIN 

Mississippi State University 
Harrison, Byron "Pat" 
Kerr, Florence 
Woodward, Ellen 

RICK SZOSTAK 

University of Alberta 

Science and Technology 

KRISTIN SZYLVIAN 

Western Michigan University 
Housing 
United States Housing Authority (USHA) 

JERRY BRUCE THOMAS 

Shepherd College 

Appalachia, Impact of the Great Depression on 



xlii 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



LIST 



F C N T 



U T R S 



RICHARD W. THOMAS 

Michigan State University 
National Urban League 

ALLISON BROWNELL TIRRES 

Harvard University 

Latino Americans, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 

KIM TOWNSEND 

Amherst College 

Anderson, Sherwood 

PAUL B. TRESCOTT 

Southern Illinois University 

Government, United States Federal, Impact of 
the Great Depression on 

JOE W. TROTTER 

Carnegie Mellon University 

African Americans, Impact of the Great 
Depression on 

MARK TUSHNET 

Georgetown University Law Center 
Black, Hugo 
Jackson, Robert 
Legal Profession 

ERROL LINCOLN UYS 

Cambridge, Mass. 

Boy and Girl Tramps of America 

RICHARD M.VALELLY 

Swarthmore College 

Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party 

MICHAEL T. VAN DYKE 

Michigan State University 
Hellman, Lillian 
Moses, Robert 

SUSAN WARE 

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard 

University 

Earhart, Amelia 



DENTON L. WATSON 

The Papers of Clarence Mitchell, Jr., State University 
of New York, Old Westbury 

Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada 

National Association for the Advancement of 
Colored People (NAACP) 

JILL WATTS 

California State University, San Marcos 
Father Divine 
West, Mae 

TRENT A. WATTS 

University of Missouri, Rolla 
American Guide Series 
History, Interpretation, and Memory of the 

Great Depression 
Wright, Richard 

DARYL WEBB 

Marquette University 
Education 

MICHAEL J. WEBBER 

University of San Francisco 
Election of 1936 
Landon, Alfred M. 

CLYDE P. WEED 

Southern Connecticut State University 
Republican Party 

CECIL E. WELLER, JR. 

San Jacinto College South, Houston 
Robinson, Joseph 

ELMUS WICKER 

Indiana University, Bloomington 
Banking Panics (1930-1933) 

DAVID K. WIGGINS 

George Mason University 
Louis, Joe 

VERNON J. WILLIAMS, JR. 

Purdue University 
Black Metropolis 

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) 
Race and Ethnic Relations 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



xliii 



LIST OF C N T R I 



U T R S 



AUSTIN WILSON 

Millsaps College 

Chandler, Raymond 
Steinbeck, John 

DAVID B. WOOLNER 

Marist College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 
Hull, Cordell 
Reciprocal Trade Agreements 

ANDREW A. WORKMAN 

Mills College 

Murray, Philip 
Richberg, Donald 

BRADFORD W. WRIGHT 

University of Maryland University College, European 
Division 

Big Band Music 

Comics 

Guthrie, Woody 

Heroes 

Hollywood and the Film Industry 

Superman 



TINSLEY E.YARBROUGH 

East Carolina University 
Douglas, William O. 
Frankfurter, Felix 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. 
Hughes, Charles Evans 

NANCY BECKYOUNG 
McKendree College 

Garner, John Nance 

Johnson, Lyndon B. 

Maverick, Maury 

Patman, Wright 

WILLIAM H.YOUNG 

Lynchburg, Va. 
Leisure 

ROBERT L. ZANGRANDO 

University of Akron 

Anti-lynching Legislation 



xliv 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



OUTLINE OF CONTENTS 



This outline of contents -provides a general overview of the conceptual scheme of the encyclopedia, listing the titles of each entry. The 
outline is divided into twenty-one parts. 

Agriculture; Biographies; Business; Culture; Economic Conditions; Environment; Events; Government; Intellectual Trends and 
Developments; International Situation; Labor; Law, Justice, and Crime; New Deal; Places; Politics (The Left, The Right); Protest; 
Race and Ethnicity; Religion; Society (Commentai-y, Lifestyles, Programs); Sports and Leisure; Women and Gender. 

Because the section headings are not mutually exclusive, certain entries in the encyclopedia are listed in more than one section. 



AGRICULTURE 



Agricultural Adjustment Act 

Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) 

Agriculture 

Alabama Sharecroppers' Union 

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) 

Back-to-the-Land movement 

Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act 

Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) 

Davis, Chester 

Dust Bowl 

Ezekiel, Mordecai 

Farm Credit Administration (FCA) 

Farmers' Holiday Association (FHA) 

Farmers Home Administration (FMHA) 

Farm Foreclosures 

Farm Policy 

Farm Security Administration (FSA) 

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) 



Frank, Jerome 

Migratory Workers 

National Farmers Union (NFU) 

Okies 

Resettlement Administration (RA) 

Rural Electrification Administration (REA) 

Rural Life 

Sharecroppers 

Soil Conservation Service (SCS) 

Southern Tenant Farmers' Union (STFU) 

Subsistence Homesteads Division 

Taylor Grazing Act 

United Farmers' League (UFL) 

Wallace, Henry A. 



BIOGRAPHIES 



Adamic, Louis 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



xlv 



U T L I N 



F ( 



N T 



N T S 



Agee, James 
Allen, Frederick Lewis 
Ameringer, Oscar 
Ames, Jesse Daniel 
Anderson, Marian 
Anderson, Sherwood 
Armstrong, Louis 
Arnold, Thurman 
Bakke, E. Wight 
Baruch, Bernard 
Bauer, Catherine 
Berkeley, Busby 
Berle, Adolf A., Jr. 
Bethune, Mary McLeod 
Biddle, Francis 
Bilbo, Theodore 
Black, Hugo 
Borah, William 
Bourke -White, Margaret 
Brandeis, Louis D. 
Bridges, Harry 
Browder, Earl 
Bunche, Ralph 
Byrd, Harry 
Byrnes, James F. 
Cagney, James 
Cahill, Holger 
Caldwell, Erskine 
Capone, Al 
Capra, Frank 
Cardoza, Benjamin N. 
Cermak, Anton 
Chandler, Raymond 
Chaplin, Charlie 
Chavez, Dennis 
Church, Robert R., Jr. 
Cohen, Benjamin V. 
Collier, John 
Coolidge, Calvin 
Corcoran, Thomas G. 
Costigan, Edward 
Coughlin, Charles 
Cowley, Malcolm 
Cummings, Homer 
Currie, Lauchlin 
Darrow, Clarence 
Davis, Chester 
De Priest, Oscar 



Dewey, Thomas E. 
Dewson, Mary (Molly) 
Disney, Walt 
Dos Passos, John 
Douglas, William O. 
Dubinsky, David 
Du Bois, W. E. B. 
Earhart, Amelia 
Eccles, Marriner 
Ellington, Duke 
Evans, Walker 
Ezekiel, Mordecai 
Farley, James A. 
Father Divine 
Faulkner, William 
Fauset, Crystal Bird 
Fish, Hamilton 
Flanagan, Hallie 
Flynn, Edward J. 
Ford, Henry 
Ford, John 
Foreman, Clark 
Foster, William Z. 
Frank, Jerome 
Frankfurter, Felix 
Garner, John Nance 
Gellhorn, Martha 
Gershwin, George and Ira 
Glass, Carter 
Goodman, Benny 
Green, William 
Guthrie, Woody 
Hague, Frank 
Hammett, Dashiell 
Hansen, Alvin 
Harrison, Byron "Pat" 
Hearst, William Randolph 
Hellman, Lillian 
Henderson, Leon 
Hickok, Lorena 
Hillman, Sidney 
Hine, Lewis 
Hitler, Adolf 
Holiday, Billie 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. 
Hoover, Herbert 
Hoover, J. Edgar 
Hoover, Lou Henry 



xlvi 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



U T L I 



OF CO 



T E 



T S 



Hopkins, Harry 
Houston, Charles 
Howe, Louis McHenry 
Hughes, Charles Evans 
Hughes, Langston 
Hull, Cordell 
Hurston, Zora Neale 
Ickes, Harold 
Insull, Samuel 
Jackson, Robert 
Johnson, Hugh 
Johnson, Lyndon B. 
Jones, Jesse 
Kaiser, Henry 
Kennedy, Joseph P. 
Kerr, Florence 
Keynes, John Maynard 
Keyserling, Leon 
La Follette, Philip 
La Follette, Robert M., Jr. 
La Guradia, Fiorello H. 
Landon, Alfred M. 
Lange, Dorothea 
LeHand, Marguerite (Missy) 
Lehman, Herbert 
Lewis, John L. 
Lindbergh, Charles 
Long, Huey P. 
Louis, Joe 
Luce, Henry 
Marcantonio, Vito 
Marx Brothers 
Mason, Lucy Randolph 
Maverick, Maury 
McWilliams, Carey 
Means, Gardiner C. 
Mellon, Andrew 
Mencken, H. L. 
Micheaux, Oscar 
Mills, Ogden 
Mitchell, Arthur W. 
Moley, Raymond 
Morgan, J. P., Jr. 
Morgenthau, Henry T., Jr. 
Moses, Robert 
Moskowitz, Belle 
Mumford, Lewis 
Murphy, Frank 



Murray, Philip 
Mussolini, Benito 
Muste, A. J. 
Niebuhr, Reinhold 
Norris, George 
Odum, Howard 
Olson, Floyd B. 
Owens, Jesse 
Patman, Wright 
Pecora, Ferdinand 
Pendergast, Tom 
Pepper, Claude 
Perkins, Frances 
Randolph, A. Philip 
Raper, Arthur 
Raskob, John J. 
Reuther, Walter 
Richberg, Donald 
Rivera, Diego 
Robeson, Paul 
Robinson, Edward G. 
Robinson, Joseph 
Rogers, Will 
Roosevelt, Eleanor 
Roosevelt, Franklin D. 
Rothstein, Arthur 
Ruml, Beardsley 
Rumsey, Mary Harriman 
Ryan, Father John A. 
Sanger, Margaret 
Shahn, Ben 
Sinclair, Upton 
Smith, Alfred E. 
Smith, Gerald L. K. 
Stalin, Josef 
Steinbeck, John 
Stimson, Henry 
Talmadge, Eugene 
Thomas, Norman 
Thompson, Dorothy 
Tugwell, Rexford G. 
Tully, Grace 
Vann, Robert 
Wagner, Robert F. 
Wallace, Henry A. 
Weaver, Robert Clifton 
Welles, Orson 
West, Mae 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



xlvii 



U T L I N 



F ( 



N T 



N T S 



West, Nathanael 
Wheeler, Burton K. 
White, Walter 
White, William Allen 
Williams, Aubrey 
Willkie, Wendell 
Wilson, Edmund 
Woodward, Ellen 
Wright, Richard 



CULTURE 



BUSINESS 



Advertising in the Great Depression 

Banking Panics (1930-1933) 

Businessmen 

Collective Bargaining 

Communications Act of 1934 

Fair Labor Standards Act 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) 

Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) 

Federal Reserve System 

Ford, Henry 

Gold Standard 

Guffey-Snyder Act of 1935 

Guffey-Vinson Act of 1937 

Hollywood and the Film Industry 

Industry, Effects of the Great Depression on 

Insull, Samuel 

Johnson, Hugh 

Jones, Jesse 

Kaiser, Henry 

Kennedy, Joseph P. 

Luce, Henry 

Mellon, Andrew 

Morgan, J. P., Jr. 

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) 

National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) 

National Recovery Administration (NRA) 

Pecora, Ferdinand 

Raskob, John J. 

Ruml, Beardsley 

Securities Regulation 

Stock Market Crash (1929) 

Welfare Capitalism 



Agee, James 

American Exodus, An 

American Guide Series 

American Scene, The 

Amos 'n' Andy 

Anderson, Marian 

Anderson, Sherwood 

Architecture 

Armstrong, Louis 

Art 

"Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd" 

Berkeley, Busby 

Big Band Music 

Bourke -White, Margaret 

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?' - 

Cagney, James 

Cahill, Holger 

Caldwell, Erskine 

Capra, Frank 

Cartoons, Political 

Chandler, Raymond 

Chaplin, Charlie 

Comics 

Communications Act of 1934 

Communications and the Press 

Cowley, Malcolm 

Cradle Will Rock, The 

Culture and the Crisis 

Disney, Walt 

Documentary Film 

Dos Passos, John 

Ellington, Duke 

Evans, Walker 

Faulkner, William 

Federal Art Project (FAP) 

Federal Music Project (FMP) 

Federal One 

Federal Theatre Project (FTP) 

Federal Writers' Project (FWP) 

Flanagan, Hallie 

Folklorists 

Ford, John 

Freaks 

Gabriel Over the White House 

Gangster Films 

Gershwin, George and Ira 



xlviii 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



U T L I 



OF CO 



T E 



T S 



Gold Diggers of 1933 

Gone with the Wind 

Goodman, Benny 

Grapes of Wrath, The 

Guthrie, Woody 

Hammett, Dashiell 

"Happy Days Are Here Again" 

Hard-Boiled Detectives 

Hellman, Lillian 

Heroes 

Highlander Folk School 

Hine, Lewis 

Holiday, Billie 

Hollywood and the Film Industry 

Hughes, Langston 

Humor 

Hurston, Zora Neale 

I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang 

Jazz 

Lange, Dorothea 

Literature 

Little Caesar 

Lomax, Alan 

Luce, Henry 

Marx Brothers 

Mencken, H. L. 

Museums, Art 

Museums and Monuments, Historic 

Music 

New Masses 

Our Daily Bread 

Photography 

Poetry 

Post Office Murals 

Production Code Administration (Hays Office) 

Radio 

"Remember My Forgotten Man" 

Rivera, Diego 

Robeson, Paul 

Robinson, Edward G. 

Rogers, Will 

Rothstein, Arthur 

Shahn, Ben 

Slave Narratives 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 

Steinbeck, John 

Superman 

Thompson, Dorothy 



Welles, Orson 
West, Mae 
West, Nathanael 
"Which Side Are You On?' 
White, William Allen 
Wilson, Edmund 
Wizard of Oz, The 
Wright, Richard 



ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 

Africa, Great Depression in 

Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) 

Agriculture 

Arnold, Thurman 

Asia, Great Depression in 

Australia and New Zealand, Great Depression in 

Banking Panics (1930-1933) 

Breadlines 

Canada, Great Depression in 

Causes of the Great Depression 

Charily 

Class 

Collective Bargaining 

Consumerism 

Currie, Lauchlin 

Deficit Spending 

Eccles, Marriner 

Economists 

Economy, American 

Economy Act of 1933 

Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932 

Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 

Europe, Great Depression in 

Fair Labor Standards Act 

Farm Credit Administration (FCA) 

Farm Policy 

Farm Security Administration (FSA) 

Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 

Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 

Gold Standard 

Hansen, Alvin 

Hawley-Smoot Tariff 

Income Distribution 

International Impact of the Great Depression 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



xlix 



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N T S 



Joint Committee for National Recovery 0CNR) 

Jones, Jesse 

Keynes, John Maynard 

Keynesian Economics 

Laissez-Faire 

Latin America, Great Depression in 

London Economic Conference of 1933 

Means, Gardiner C. 

Mexico, Great Depression in 

Midwest, Great Depression in the 

Monetary Policy 

National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) 

Northeast, Great Depression in the 

Planning 

Public Utilities Holding Company Act 

Recession of 1937 

Reciprocal Trade Agreements 

Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) 

Road to Plenty, The 

Science and Technology 

South, Great Depression in the 

Stock Market Crash (1929) 

Strikes 

Taxation 

Temporary National Economic Committee (TNEC) 

Thomas Amendment 

Transportation 

Unemployment, Levels of 

West, Great Depression in the American 

World War II and the Ending of the Depression 



EVENTS 



ENVIRONMENT 



Boulder Dam 

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 

Conservation Movement 

Dust Bowl 

Grand Coulee Project 

Greenbelt Towns 

Land Use Planning 

Regional Planning Association of America (RPAA) 

Shelterbelt Project 

Soil Conservation Service (SCS) 

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 



Bonus Army/Bonus March 

Earhart, Amelia 

Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-1940) 

Harlem Riot (1935) 

Lindbergh, Charles 

Lynchings 

Nazi-Soviet Pact 

New York World's Fair (1939-1940) 

San Francisco General Strike (1934) 



GOVERNMENT 



Agricultural Adjustment Act 

Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) 

Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937 

Boulder Dam 

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 

Civil Works Administration (CWA) 

Cohen, Benjamin V. 

Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) 

Communications Act of 1934 

Corcoran, Thomas G. 

Cummings, Homer 

Davis, Chester 

Eccles, Marriner 

Economists 

Economy Act of 1933 

Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932 

Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 

Fair Labor Standards Act 

Farm Credit Administration (FCA) 

Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) 

Farm Policy 

Farm Security Administration (FSA) 

Federal Art Project (FAP) 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) 

Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) 

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) 

Federal Music Project (FMP) 

Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) 

Federal One 

Federal Reserve System 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



U T L I 



OF CO 



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T S 



Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation 

(FSLIC) 
Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation (FSCC) 
Federal Theatre Project (FTP) 
Federal Writers' Project (FWP) 
Glass, Carter 

Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 
Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 
Government, United States Federal, Impact of the 

Great Depression on 
Governments, State, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Grassroots Democracy 
Guffey-Snyder Act of 1935 
Guffey- Vinson Act of 1937 
Hatch Act of 1939 
Hawley-Smoot Tariff 

Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) 
Hopkins, Harry 
House Un-American Activities Committee 

(HUAC) 
Hull, Cordell 
Ickes, Harold 
Johnson, Hugh 
Jones, Jesse 
Kennedy, Joseph P. 
Keyserling, Leon 
Land Use Planning 
Lehman, Herbert 
Mellon, Andrew 
Monetary Policy 
Morgenthau, Henry T., Jr. 
National Housing Act of 1934 
National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) 
National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (Wagner Act) 
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) 
National Recovery Administration (NRA) 
National Resources Planning Board (NRPB) 
National Youth Administration (NYA) 
Norris-La Guradia Act 
President's Committee on Social Trends 
President's Emergency Committee for 

Employment (PECE) 
President's Organization for Unemployment Relief 

(POUR) 
Prohibition 
Public Power 
Public Utilities Holding Company Act 



Public Works Administration (PWA) 

Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) 

Reorganization Act of 1939 

Resettlement Administration (RA) 

Richberg, Donald 

Roosevelt, Franklin D. 

Ruml, Beardsley 

Rural Electrification Administration (REA) 

Securities Regulation 

Shelterbelt Project 

Social Security Act 

Social Workers 

Soil Conservation Service (SCS) 

Stimson, Henry 

Supreme Court 

Taxation 

Taylor Grazing Act 

Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, New 

York (TERA) 
Temporary National Economic Committee (TNEC) 
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 
Tugwell, Rexford G. 

United States Housing Authority (USHA) 
Wagner, Robert F. 
Wallace, Henry A. 
Woodward, Ellen 
Works Progress Administration (WPA) 



INTELLECTUAL TRENDS AND 
DEVELOPMENTS 

Architecture 

Arnold, Thurman 

Art 

Culture and the Crisis 

Economists 

Education 

History, Interpretation, and Memory of the Great 

Depression 
Individualism 
Keynes, John Maynard 
Keynesian Economics 
Literature 
Marxism 
Mumford, Lewis 
Museums, Art 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



U T L I N 



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N T 



N T S 



Museums and Monuments, Historic 

Niebuhr, Reinhold 

Poetry 

Religion 

Science and Technology 

Social Science 

Southern Agrarians 

Values, Effects of the Great Depression on 



INTERNATIONAL SITUATION 

Abraham Lincoln Brigade 

Africa, Great Depression in 

Asia, Great Depression in 

Australia and New Zealand, Great Depression in 

Canada, Great Depression in 

Causes of the Great Depression 

Dictatorship 

Ethiopian War 

Europe, Great Depression in 

Fascism 

Gold Standard 

Good Neighbor Policy 

Hawley-Smoot Tariff 

Hitler, Adolf 

International Impact of the Great Depression 

Isolationism 

Keynes, John Maynard 

Kristallnacht 

Latin America, Great Depression in 

London Economic Conference of 1933 

Mexico, Great Depression in 

Military: United States Army 

Military: United States Navy 

Mussolini, Benito 

Nazi-Soviet Pact 

Olympics, Berlin (1936) 

Peace Movement 

Popular Front 

Reciprocal Trade Agreements 

Roosevelt, Franklin D. 

Spanish Civil War 

Stalin, Joseph 

Stimson, Henry 

World Court 

World War II and the Ending of the Depression 



LABOR 



Alabama Sharecroppers' Union 

Amalgamated Clothing Workers (ACW) 

American Federation of Labor (AFL) 

American Labor Party 

Bridges, Harry 

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) 

Collective Bargaining 

Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) 

Dubinsky, David 

Fair Labor Standards Act 

Gastonia, North Carolina 

Green, William 

Harlan County 

Highlander Folk School 

Hillman, Sidney 

International Labor Defense (ILD) 

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union 

(ILGWU) 
Labor's Non-Partisan League 
La Follette Civil Liberties Committee 
Lewis, John L. 
Little Steel Strike 
Mason, Lucy Randolph 
Memorial Day Massacre 
Murray, Philip 

National Farmers Union (NFU) 
National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (Wagner Act) 
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) 
Norris-La Guradia Act 
Organized Labor 
Perkins, Frances 
Randolph, A. Philip 
Reuther, Walter 

San Francisco General Strike (1934) 
Sit-Down Strikes 

Southern Tenant Farmers'Union (STFU) 
Steel Workers' Organizing Committee (SWOC) 
Strikes 

United Automobile Workers (UAW) 
United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 
Wagner, Robert F. 
"Which Side Are You On?" 
Women's Emergency Brigade 



Mi 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



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LAW, JUSTICE, AND CRIME 

Anti-lynching Legislation 

Black, Hugo 

Bonnie and Clyde (Bonnie Parker and Clyde 

Barrow) 
Brandeis, Louis D. 
Cap one, Al 
Cardoza, Benjamin N. 
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 
Cohen, Benjamin V. 
Corcoran, Thomas G. 
Crime 

Darrow, Clarence 
Dewey, Thomas E. 
Douglas, William O. 
Frankfurter, Felix 
Herndon, Angelo, Case 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. 
Hoover, J. Edgar 
Houston, Charles 
Hughes, Charles Evans 
International Labor Defense (ILD) 
Jackson, Robert 

La Follette Civil Liberties Committee 
Law Enforcement 
Legal Profession 
Lynchings 

Missouri ex. rel. Gaines v. Canada 
Murphy, Frank 
National Lawyers Guild 
Scottsboro Case 
Supreme Court 
Supreme Court "Packing" Controversy 



NEW DEAL 

Agricultural Adjustment Act 

Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) 

Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) 

American Guide Series 

Arnold, Thurman 

Arthur dale, West Virginia 

Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937 

Baruch, Bernard 

Berle, Adolf A, Jr. 



Black Cabinet 

Boondoggle 

Brain (s) Trust 

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 

Civil Works Administration (CWA) 

Cohen, Benjamin V. 

Collier, John 

Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) 

Communications Act of 1934 

Conservation Movement 

Corcoran, Thomas G. 

Davis, Chester 

Deficit Spending 

Democratic Party 

Dewson, Mary (Molly) 

Documentary Film 

Douglas, William O. 

Eccles, Marriner 

Election of 1932 

Election of 1934 

Election of 1936 

Election of 1938 

Election of 1940 

Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 

Ezekiel, Mordecai 

Fair Labor Standards Act 

Farley, James A. 

Farm Credit Administration (FCA) 

Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) 

Farm Policy 

Farm Security Administration (FSA) 

Federal Art Project (FAP) 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) 

Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) 

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) 

Federal Music Project (FMP) 

Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) 

Federal One 

Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation 

(FSLIC) 
Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation (FSCC) 
Federal Theatre Project (FTP) 
Federal Writers' Project (FWP) 
Fireside Chats 
Flanagan, Hallie 
Flynn, Edward J. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



liii 



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N T 



N T S 



Frank, Jerome 

Frankfurter, Felix 

Gellhorn, Martha 

Glass- Steagall Act of 1933 

Good Neighbor Policy 

Government, United States Federal, Impact of the 

Great Depression on 
Governments, State, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Grand Coulee Project 
Greenbelt Towns 
Guffey-Snyder Act of 1935 
Guffey-Vinson Act of 1937 
Henderson, Leon 
Hickok, Lorena 

Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) 
Hopkins, Harry 
Howe, Louis McHenry 
Hundred Days 
Ickes, Harold 
Indian New Deal 
Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 
Johnson, Hugh 
Jones, Jesse 
Kennedy, Joseph P. 
Keyserling, Leon 
Labor's Non-Partisan League 
LeHand, Marguerite (Missy) 
Moley, Raymond 
Morgenthau, Henry T., Jr. 
National Housing Act of 1934 
National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) 
National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (Wagner Act) 
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) 
National Recovery Administration (NRA) 
National Resources Planning Board (NRPB) 
National Youth Administration (NYA) 
New Deal 
New Deal, Second 
New Deal, Third 
Old-Age Insurance 
Perkins, Frances 
Planning 

Post Office Murals 
Public Power 

Public Utilities Holding Company Act 
Public Works Administration (PWA) 
Recession of 1937 



Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) 

Reorganization Act of 1939 

Resettlement Administration (RA) 

Roosevelt, Eleanor 

Roosevelt, Franklin D. 

Rural Electrification Administration (REA) 

Securities Regulation 

Shelterbelt Project 

Slave Narratives 

Social Security Act 

Soil Conservation Service (SCS) 

Subsistence Homesteads Division 

Supreme Court "Packing" Controversy 

Taxation 

Taylor Grazing Act 

Temporary National Economic Committee (TNEC) 

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 

Tugwell, Rexford G. 

Tully, Grace 

United States Housing Authority (USHA) 

Wagner, Robert F. 

Wallace, Henry A. 

Williams, Aubrey 

Woodward, Ellen 

Works Progress Administration (WPA) 



PLACES 

Africa, Great Depression in 

Appalachia, Impact of the Great Depression on 

Arthurdale, West Virginia 

Asia, Great Depression in 

Australia and New Zealand, Great Depression in 

Boulder Dam 

Canada, Great Depression in 

Cities and Suburbs 

Dust Bowl 

Europe, Great Depression in 

Gastonia, North Carolina 

Grand Coulee Project 

Harlan County 

Latin America, Great Depression in 

Mexico, Great Depression in 

Midwest, Great Depression in the 

Northeast, Great Depression in the 

Route 66 



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



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South, Great Depression in the 

West, Great Depression in the American 



POLITICS 

Agricultural Adjustment Act 

American Labor Party 

American Liberty League 

Anticommunism 

Anti-lynching Legislation 

Association Against the Prohibition Amendment 

(AAPA) 
Bilbo, Theodore 
Black Cabinet 
Black Thirty-Hour Bill 
Borah, William 
Brain (s) Trust 
Byrd, Harry 
Byrnes, James F. 
Cartoons, Political 
Cermak, Anton 
Chavez, Dennis 

Communications and the Press 
Communist Party 

Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) 
Conservative Coalition 
Coolidge, Calvin 
Costigan, Edward 
Democratic Party 
De Priest, Oscar 
Dewey, Thomas E. 

Dictatorship, Fear of in the United States 
Election of 1928 
Election of 1930 
Election of 1932 
Election of 1934 
Election of 1936 
Election of 1938 
Election of 1940 

End Poverty in California (EPIC) 
Farley, James A. 
Fireside Chats 
Fish, Hamilton 
Flynn, Edward J. 
Garner, John Nance 
Glass, Carter 



Grassroots Democracy 

Hague, Frank 

Harrison, Byron "Pat" 

Hatch Act of 1939 

Hearst, William Randolph 

Hoover, Herbert 

Hopkins, Harry 

House Un-American Activities Committee 

(HUAC) 
Howe, Louis McHenry 
Ickes, Harold 
Johnson, Lyndon B. 

Joint Committee for National Recovery (JCNR) 
Labor's Non-Partisan League 
La Follette, Philip 
La Follette, Robert M., Jr. 
La Follette Civil Liberties Committee 
La Guradia, Fiorello H. 
Landon, Alfred M. 

League for Independent Political Action 
Lehman, Herbert 
Lewis, John L. 
Long, Huey P. 
Marcantonio, Vito 
Maverick, Maury 
Micheaux, Oscar 
Mills, Ogden 

Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party 
Mitchell, Arthur W. 
Moses, Robert 
Moskowitz, Belle 
Murphy, Frank 
National Women's Party 
Norris, George 
Olson, Floyd B. 
Patman, Wright 
Pecora, Ferdinand 
Pendergast, Tom 
Pepper, Claude 
Political Realignment 
Prohibition 
Raskob, John J. 
Reorganization Act of 1939 
Republican Party 
Robinson, Joseph 
Roosevelt, Eleanor 
Roosevelt, Franklin D. 
Sinclair, Upton 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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Smith, Alfred E. 

Socialist Party 

Social Security Act 

Stimson, Henry 

Supreme Court "Packing" Controversy 

Talmadge, Eugene 

Tammany Hall 

Taxation 

Taxpayers Leagues 

Thomas, Norman 

Thomas Amendment 

Townsend Plan 

Union Party 

Wagner, Robert F. 

Wallace, Henry A. 

Washington Commonwealth Federation (WCF) 

Wheeler, Burton K. 

White, William Allen 

Willkie, Wendell 

Wisconsin Progressive Party 

THE LEFT 

Abraham Lincoln Brigade 

Alabama Sharecroppers' Union 

American Labor Party 

American Negro Labor Congress (ANLC) 

American Student Union 

American Youth Congress 

Bridges, Harry 

Browder, Earl 

Communist Party 

Cradle Will Rock, The 

Culture and the Crisis 

End Poverty in California (EPIC) 

Farmers' Holiday Association (FHA) 

Foster, William Z. 

Grassroots Democracy 

Guthrie, Woody 

Highlander Folk School 

Hunger Marches 

International Labor Defense (ILD) 

League for Independent Political Action 

Long, Huey P. 

Marcantonio,Vito 

Marxism 

Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party 

Muste, A. J. 



National Lawyers Guild 

New Masses 

Olson, Floyd B. 

Peace Movement 

Popular Front 

Sinclair, Upton 

Socialist Party 

Southern Conference for Human Welfare (SCHW) 

Southern Negro Youth Conference (SNYC) 

Southern Tenant Farmers'Union (STFU) 

Spanish Civil War 

Stalin, Joseph 

Thomas, Norman 

Unemployed Councils 

United Farmers' League (UFL) 

Washington Commonwealth Federation (WCF) 

"Which Side Are You On?" 

Wisconsin Progressive Party 

Workers Education Project 

THE RIGHT 

American Liberty League 

Anticommunism 

Anti-Semitism 

Black Legion 

Boondoggle 

Byrd, Harry 

Conservative Coalition 

Coughlin, Charles 

Dictatorship, Fear of in the United States 

Fascism 

Ford, Henry 

Hitler, Adolf 

House Un-American Activities Committee 

(HUAC) 
Kristallnacht 
Lindbergh, Charles 
Mussolini, Benito 
Smith, Gerald L. K. 
Spanish Civil War 
Taxpayers Leagues 
Union Party 



PROTEST 



Bonus Army/Bonus March 



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



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Communist Party 

Conservative Coalition 

Coughlin, Charles 

Don't Buy Where You Can't Work Movement 

End Poverty in California (EPIC) 

Farmers' Holiday Association (FHA) 

Harlem Riot (1935) 

Hunger Marches 

Long, Huey P. 

Marxism 

Memorial Day Massacre 

San Francisco General Strike (1934) 

Sinclair, Upton 

Socialist Party 

Strikes 

Townsend Plan 

Unemployed Councils 

Union Party 



RACE AND ETHNICITY 

African Americans, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
American Negro Labor Congress (ANLC) 
Ames, Jesse Daniels 
Amos 'n'Andy 
Anderson, Marian 
Anti-lynching Legislation 
Anti-Semitism 
Armstrong, Louis 
Asian Americans, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Bethune, Mary McLeod 
Black Cabinet 
Black Metropolis 

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) 
Bunche, Ralph 
Caste and Class 
Chavez, Dennis 
Church, Robert R., Jr. 
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 
Collier, John 
De Priest, Oscar 
Domestic Service 

Don't Buy Where You Can't Work Movement 
Du Bois, W. E. B. 



Ellington, Duke 

Ethiopian War 

Father Divine 

Fauset, Crystal Bird 

Foreman, Clark 

Harlem Riot (1935) 

Herndon, Angelo, Case 

Holiday, Billie 

Houston, Charles 

Howard University 

Hughes, Langston 

Hurston, Zora Neale 

Indian New Deal 

Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 

Latino Americans, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Louis, Joe 
Lynchings 

Mason, Lucy Randolph 
Micheaux, Oscar 
Missouri ex. rel. Gaines v. Canada 
Mitchell, Arthur W. 
National Association for the Advancement of 

Colored People (NAACP) 
National Committee to Abolish the Poll Tax 
National Negro Congress 
National Urban League 
Native Americans, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Owens, Jesse 

Race and Ethnic Relations 
Randolph, A. Philip 
Robeson, Paul 
Roosevelt, Eleanor 
Scottsboro Case 
Slave Narratives 

Southern Conference for Human Welfare (SCHW) 
Southern Negro Youth Conference (SNYC) 
Southern Tenant Farmers' Union (STFU) 
Tuskegee Syphilis Project 
Vann, Robert 
Weaver, Robert Clifton 
White, Walter 
Williams, Aubrey 
Wright, Richard 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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RELIGION 



Father Divine 

Niebuhr, Reinhold 

Religion 

Ryan, Father John A. 



SOCIETY 



COMMENTARY 

Adamic, Louis 

Agee, James 

American Exodus, An 

Ameringer, Oscar 

Ames, Jesse Daniel 

Anderson, Sherwood 

Bakke, E. Wight 

Boy and Girl Tramps of America 

McWilliams, Carey 

Middletown in Transition 

Odum, Howard 

President's Committee on Social Trends 

Raper, Arthur 

Report on the Economic Conditions of the South 

Road to Plenty, The 

Rumsey, Mary Harriman 

Ryan, Father John A. 

Sanger, Margaret 

Social Science 

Southern Agrarians 

Steinbeck, John 

LIFESTYLES 

African Americans, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Agriculture 
Asian Americans, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Back-to-the-Land Movement 
Breadlines 

Boy and Girl Tramps of America 
Caste and Class 

Causes of the Great Depression 
Charity 



Children and Adolescents, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Cities and Suburbs 
Class 

Consumerism 
Crime 

Domestic Service 
Dust Bowl 
Economy, American 
Education 

Elderly, Impact of the Great Depression on the 
Family and the Home, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Farm Foreclosures 
Gays and Lesbians, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Gender Roles and Sexual Relations, Impact of the 

Great Depression on 
Health and Nutrition 
History, Interpretation, and Memory of the Great 

Depression 
Homelessness 
Housing 

Income Distribution 
Individualism 

Industry, Effects of the Great Depression on 
Latino Americans, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Leisure 

Men, Impact of the Great Depression on 
Midwest, Great Depression in the 
Migration 
Migratory Workers 
Native Americans, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Okies 

Philanthropy 
Prostitution 

Psychological Impact of the Depression 
Rural Life 
Sharecroppers 
Social Workers 
Soup Kitchens 

South, Great Depression in the 
Suicide 
Transients 

Tuskegee Syphilis Project 
Unemployment, Levels of 



Iviii 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



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Values, Effects of the Great Depression on 
West, Great Depression in the American 
Work Ethic 



Owens, Jesse 

Radio 

Sports 



PROGRAMS 

Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) 

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 

Civil Works Administration (CWA) 

Conservation Movement 

Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 

Farm Security Administration (FSA) 

Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) 

Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation (FSCC) 

Greenbelt Towns 

Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) 

Hopkins, Harry 

Ickes, Harold 

Kaiser, Henry 

Kerr, Florence 

Old-Age Insurance 

Public Works Administration (PWA) 

Resettlement Administration (RA) 

Social Security Act 

Subsistence Homesteads Division 

Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, New 

York (TERA) 
Townsend Plan 

United States Housing Authority (USHA) 
Works Progress Administration (WPA) 



SPORTS AND LEISURE 

Hollywood and the Film Industry 

Leisure 

Literature 

Louis, Joe 

Monopoly (Board Game) 

Music 

Olympics, Berlin (1936) 



WOMEN AND GENDER 



Dewson, Mary (Molly) 

Domestic Service 

Earhart, Amelia 

Fauset, Crystal Bird 

Gays and Lesbians, Impact of the Great 

Depression on 
Gellhorn, Martha 
Gender Roles and Sexual Relations, Impact of the 

Great Depression on 
Grapes of Wrath, The 
Hellman, Lillian 
Holiday, Billie 
Hoover, Lou Henry 
Hurston, Zora Neale 
Kerr, Florence 
Lange, Dorothea 
LeHand, Marguerite (Missy) 
Mason, Lucy Randolph 
Men, Impact of the Great Depression on 
Moskowitz, Belle 
National Women's Party 
Perkins, Frances 
Prostitution 

"Remember My Forgotten Man" 
Roosevelt, Eleanor 
Rumsey Mary Harriman 
Sanger, Margaret 
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 
Thompson, Dorothy 
Tully, Grace 
West, Mae 

Women, Impact of the Great Depression on 
Women's Emergency Brigade 
Woodward, Ellen 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



lix 




AAA. See AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT 
ADMINISTRATION. 



AAPA. See ASSOCIATION AGAINST THE 
PROHIBITION AMENDMENT. 



ABRAHAM LINCOLN BRIGADE 

The name Abraham Lincoln Brigade refers to about 
3,000 Americans who volunteered to defend the 
Spanish Republic during Spain's 1936 to 1939 civil 
war. The brigade included not only those who 
fought in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, but also 
Americans who fought in other battalions or served 
in medical units. Although the average age of the 
American volunteers was twenty-seven, the bri- 
gade included three members as young as eighteen, 
and others as old as fifty-nine and sixty. Many vol- 
unteers were students or teachers, but others were 
seamen, autoworkers, steelworkers, electricians, 
and doctors or nurses. 

The International Brigades that fought in the 
Spanish Civil War were entirely integrated, and 
more than eighty members of the Abraham Lincoln 
Brigade were African American. In fact, the Abra- 
ham Lincoln Battalion was commanded, until he 



died in battle, by Oliver Law, an African-American 
volunteer from Chicago, marking the first time in 
American history that an integrated military force 
was led by an African-American officer. Most of the 
American volunteers were unmarried, although, as 
their letters reveal, many had relationships back 
home that they tried to sustain by correspondence. 
Most were from urban areas; about 18 percent came 
from New York. Perhaps a third were Jews, which 
was not surprising in view of Adolf Hitler's support 
of the rebel general Francisco Franco. About two- 
thirds of the American volunteers were Commu- 
nists, but their primary motive for volunteering was 
antifascism. Many of them believed a world war 
would ensue if fascism were not defeated, and in 
fact the Spanish Civil War effectively signaled the 
opening of World War II. 

The Abraham Lincoln Battalion officially en- 
tered the war when volunteers fought at Jarama in 
February 1937, though some American volunteers 
had fought in Madrid in the fall of 1936 before the 
International Brigades were organized. After Jara- 
ma, the Abraham Lincoln Battalion fought in un- 
bearable heat in the battle of Brunete in July 1937. 
This battle was followed by battles at Quinto and 
Belchite in August and Fuentes de Ebro in October. 
Then, after a brief period of training, the Abraham 
Lincoln Battalion endured the snows of Teruel in 
January and February of 1938. In spring of that year 



A C W 



they faced continuous bombing from the air and 
Panzer-style massed tank assaults at key points. 
The battalion then crossed the Ebro Paver south- 
west of Barcelona during the summer of 1938 to ini- 
tiate the largest battle of the war. Barcelona and 
Madrid fell to Franco's forces in early 1939, and the 
war ended on April 1 with the surrender of the Loy- 
alist forces. About seven hundred members of the 
Abraham Lincoln Brigade died in Spain. 

During the war and after, the Abraham Lincoln 
Brigade symbolized internationalism for a country 
that was often isolationist. The heroism and self- 
sacrifice of the American volunteers, each of whom 
made a personal decision to join the war effort, be- 
came a model for succeeding generations. Al- 
though the surviving members of the Abraham 
Lincoln Brigade were often hounded during the an- 
ticommunist McCarthy period of the 1950s, by the 
1990s sentiment had changed, and several monu- 
ments were erected in their honor. 

See Also: SPANISH CIVIL WAR. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Carroll, Peter. The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Bri- 
gade: Americans in the Spanish Civil War. 1994. 

Nelson, Cary, and Hendricks, Jefferson, eds. Madrid 
1937: Letters of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from the 
Spanish Civil War. 1996. 

Wolff, Milton. Another Hill: An Autobiographical Novel 
about the Spanish Civil War. 1994. 

Cary Nelson 



ACW. See AMALGAMATED CLOTHING WORKERS. 



ADAMIC, LOUIS 



the California leftist Carey McWilliams before mov- 
ing back to New York in 1929. Like many intellectu- 
als, Adamic was attracted to left-wing ideas during 
the Great Depression, though he was suspicious of 
the Communist Party. In the 1930s, Adamic be- 
came one of the most prominent advocates of 
American immigrant groups. Traveling across the 
United States, he chronicled the experiences of 
"new Americans" from southern and eastern Eu- 
rope, concentrating his attention on second- 
generation Americans. His Depression-era books, 
My America: 1928-1938 (1938) and From Many 
Lands (1940), were combinations of autobiographi- 
cal writings, political journalism, and stories he had 
collected in his journeys. 

Though Adamic was a cultural pluralist who 
sought to win respect and tolerance for ethnic mi- 
norities, he bemoaned the cultural fragmentation of 
American life. He thus sought both to combat the 
discrimination faced by ethnic minorities and to 
craft a notion of American identity that associated 
the nation not with its Anglo-Protestant roots but 
with ethnoracial diversity and democratic norms. 
Like other left-liberals in the 1930s, Adamic saw the 
labor movement as the most significant political 
agency capable of achieving his goals. He believed 
that the new labor federation, the Congress of In- 
dustrial Organizations (CIO), much of whose 
membership came from the "new American" 
groups Adamic championed, would be an "impor- 
tant factor in the delicate and vital process of inte- 
gration of our heterogeneous population" (My 
America). In 1940 Adamic founded Common Ground, 
the most significant World War Il-era journal advo- 
cating ethnoracial democracy. 

See Also: CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL 

ORGANIZATIONS (CIO); MCWILLIAMS, CAREY; 
RACE AND ETHNIC RELATIONS. 



The writer Louis Adamic (March 23, 1898-Septem- 
ber 4, 1951) played a key role in the 1930s move- 
ment for ethnoracial democracy. A Slovenian im- 
migrant, Adamic came to New York in 1913, but 
moved to southern California in the 1920s, where 
he made a name for himself as a chronicler of Los 
Angeles and established a lifelong friendship with 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Denning, Michael. The Cultural Front: The Laboring of 
American Culture in the Twentieth Century. 1997. 

Weiss, Richard. "Ethnicity and Reform: Minorities and 
the Ambience of the Depression Years." Journal of 
American History 66 (1979): 566-585. 

Daniel Geary 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



ADVERTISING 



I N 



T H E 



GREAT DEPRESSION 



ADC. See AID TO DEPENDENT CHILDREN. 



ADVERTISING IN THE GREAT 
DEPRESSION 

"Every advertisement is an advertisement for suc- 
cess," claimed an advertising campaign in 1926. 
During the Depression years of the 1930s, with suc- 
cesses hard to find, the advertising business faced 
severe challenges. Economic stringency, political 
attacks, and a need to recast their appeals all made 
the decade a difficult one for advertisers. Indeed, 
the advertising industry's achievements during the 
1920s in establishing its cultural and economic im- 
portance may have made the challenges of the 
Great Depression more severe. 

Spending on advertisements — from local clas- 
sified ads to major campaigns in national media — 
plunged by more than 60 percent between 1929 
and 1933, and it did not rise above pre-crash levels 
until after World War II. Although advertising 
agencies stressed the foolhardiness of cutting back 
on promotion during hard times and argued that 
advertising could help lift the nation out of its 
slump, many businesses, with revenues plunging, 
viewed advertising as an unnecessary expense. 

After initially attempting to slow the economic 
downslide by exhortation, advertising agencies 
themselves began to cut back. High-salaried em- 
ployees were dismissed, and competition for ac- 
counts became more intense. Advertisers pressed 
agencies to accept lower commissions; agencies in 
turn wooed potential clients away from their rivals. 
Despite this anxious environment, several new ad- 
vertising agencies made headway, some by bor- 
rowing the florid techniques of tabloid newspapers 
and comic strips. Other agencies pioneered in radio 
advertising as commercials became the main sup- 
port of the medium. 

As might be expected, advertising styles did not 
respond uniformly to the Depression. In the first 
few years, advertisers recycled themes of more 
prosperous times. By about 1932, however, there 
was a notable shift to hard-sell campaigns. Al- 
though ads still portrayed an unrealistically afflu- 



ent, racially and ethnically homogeneous America, 
ominous threats, fear appeals, and insistent de- 
mands to buy became more prominent. As Roland 
Marchand observed in Advertising the American 
Dream (1985), campaigns adopted tropes like the 
"parable of the sickly child" or displayed images of 
defeated, prematurely aged fathers to warn of the 
dire consequences of failing to consume the appro- 
priate products. Coupled with this, images of sun- 
beams promised a hopeful future and clenched fists 
symbolized the determination to persevere — and 
purchase — despite hard times. 

While advertisements depicted consumers 
under pressure, the advertising business found it- 
self beleaguered by a reinvigorated consumer 
movement and the threat of regulation by New 
Dealers. A bill introduced in 1933 proposed to give 
the Food and Drug Administration power to pro- 
hibit false and misleading advertising of the prod- 
ucts it regulated. Advertising interests worked to 
kill the measure. The 1938 amendments to the Pure 
Food and Drug Act contained a less stringent defi- 
nition of "misleading" than earlier versions. The 
Wheeler-Lea Act, also passed in 1938, gave the 
Federal Trade Commission explicit authority to act 
against advertising that deceived consumers. Previ- 
ously, the Commission's mandate had protected 
only competitors. The new laws themselves made 
no dramatic difference to advertisers, but industry 
efforts to preempt government control by self- 
regulation, along with public revulsion against the 
most vulgar publicity of the decade, seems to have 
reduced blatant dishonesty in advertising during 
the thirties. Still, as the Japanese attack on Pearl 
Harbor approached, advertising leaders saw them- 
selves under siege from power-hungry bureaucrats 
and radical ideologues. 

Despite the Depression-era's adversities, in 
several ways advertising and the consumer culture 
it promoted gained ground. In big cities, as Liza- 
beth Cohen demonstrated in Making a New Deal 
(1990), economic pressures on workers and their 
families weakened earlier loyalties to ethnic neigh- 
borhood retailers and brought consumers into 
chain stores offering low-priced, mass-produced 
products. Commercial radio provided an effective 
way to reach consumers with national advertising 



ENCYCLOPEDIA T THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A F 



campaigns. In the countryside, inducements to 
modernize through consumption accompanied 
drives for rural electrification. By 1940, nearly all 
homes served by Rural Electrification Administra- 
tion cooperatives had radios and more than half 
had washing machines. Although wartime short- 
ages soon replaced the privations of Depression- 
era America, the industry's struggles during the 
1930s marked a delay, not a denial, of advertising's 
promises of fulfillment through consumption. 

See Also: COMMUNICATIONS AND THE PRESS; 
CONSUMERISM; RADIO. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Cohen, Lizabeth. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers 
in Chicago, 1919-1939. 1990. 

Kline, Ronald R. Consumers in the Country: Technology and 
Social Change in Rural America. 2000. 

Lears, T. J. lackson. Fables of Abundance: A Cultural Histo- 
ry of Advertising in America. 1994. 

Marchand, Roland. Advertising the American Dream: Mak- 
ing Way for Modernity, 1920-1940. 1985. 

Pease, Otis. The Responsibilities of American Advertising: 
Private Control and Public Influence, 1920-1940. 1958. 

Rorty, lames. Our Master's Voice: Advertising. 1934. 

Daniel Pope 



AFBF. See AMERICAN FARM BUREAU 
FEDERATION. 



elaborate land revenue systems, African peasants 
did not pay taxes on land; rather, they paid a poll 
tax or a hut tax. Such taxes did not require a sophis- 
ticated system of assessment or a record of rights in 
land. Colonial governments in Africa did not bother 
much about land laws and protected "customary 
law" if it suited them. 

The export of African produce was controlled 
by large European trading companies, and a few 
major ports provided the channels through which 
such exports had to pass. By collecting export taxes 
in those ports, colonial rulers could conveniently 
raise additional revenue. 

The African colonies did not have currencies of 
their own; they depended on the currencies of their 
respective colonial rulers. At the time of the Great 
Depression, this gave rise to differentiation in the 
economic fate of the colonies. Great Britain and 
Portugal left the gold standard in 1931, and their 
currencies depreciated. France, on the other hand, 
which had returned to the gold standard only in 
1928 but at a much lower parity than other nations, 
stuck to the gold standard until 1936. This caused 
competition that was particularly keen when the 
same type of produce was exported by colonies that 
were adjacent to each other but used different cur- 
rencies. In this context, African peasants were 
sometimes forced to grow cash crops that gave 
them no returns. 

A few regional case studies illustrate the fate of 
the peasants and the problems of the export of pro- 
duce at the time of the Depression. 



AFL. See AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR. 



AFRICA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN 

African peasants were deeply affected by the steep 
fall in agrarian prices caused by the worldwide De- 
pression of the 1930s. Like peasants in Asia, they 
would not have been affected by a fall in prices if 
they had relied solely on subsistence agriculture, 
but colonial taxation forced African peasants to 
produce for the market to earn cash for paying 
taxes. Unlike their counterparts in Asia, with its 



WEST AFRICAN PEASANTS AND EUROPEAN 
TRADING COMPANIES 

The Ivory Coast, the Gold Coast (Ghana), Togo, 
and Nigeria were producers of palm kernels and 
cocoa. These products were exported by European 
companies, which were also active in the import 
trade. In the latter capacity they were interested in 
maintaining the purchasing power of their African 
customers, and lobbied colonial governments for a 
reduction of the export tax, arguing that this would 
help African peasants. But when the export tax was 
lowered, the poll tax had to be increased, which the 
companies did not mind because it forced the peas- 
ants to produce for the market. If the peasants re- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A F R I C 



GREAT DEPRESSION IN 



belled, the government could suppress them. In the 
French Ivory Coast, everybody above the age of 
fourteen was required to pay a higher poll tax, a tax 
that had already been increased as recently as the 
late 1920s. At that time, the tax had been collected 
without difficulty, but when the government chose 
to raise rather than reduce it during the Depression, 
many Ivory Coast peasants left the countryside and 
disappeared into the slums of the towns. 

The British Gold Coast levied no poll tax, and 
the government relied entirely on the export tax. 
The British departure from the gold standard gave 
the Gold Coast a competitive edge over the French 
colonies, and exports increased. The government in 
Togo, which was by that time a French mandate 
territory, relied heavily on the poll tax and had to 
repress a peasant rebellion in 1933. British Nigeria 
had a more diversified agrarian production, with 
palm kernels in the Southeast, cocoa near Lagos, 
and peanuts in the North. A poll tax, which had 
been introduced in southern Nigeria in 1927, was 
vigorously collected by 1931 and promptly caused 
peasant unrest. 

The European companies, however, tried to 
make profits even at the worst of times. Many of 
them failed, and only larger companies, such as the 
United Africa Company and Lever Brothers, sur- 
vived. 



FORCED CULTIVATION IN THE BELGIAN 
CONGO 

Sixty percent of exports from the Belgian Congo 
consisted of products from the mines; palm kernels 
and cocoa made up most of the remaining 40 per- 
cent. The colonial government in the Congo mainly 
depended on the poll tax; in 1930 this tax had only 
amounted to one-sixth of its revenue, but it had 
risen to one-fourth by 1932. Rebellions were brutal- 
ly suppressed, and the government resorted to an 
old system of forced labor that had been replaced 
by the poll tax in 1910. During the Depression, the 
Congo's colonial rulers practically converted the 
whole colony into a huge plantation, ordering the 
peasants what to produce, dictating prices, and 
controlling delivery. While imposing this system of 
forced cultivation, the government also diversified 
production, pushing the cultivation of cotton, cof- 



fee, rice, and peanuts, in addition to the traditional 
crops, such as palm kernels and cocoa. Cotton ex- 
ports from this region tripled from 1929 to 1937. 
The government could be proud of its economic 
success, but the peasants suffered. 

SETTLERS AND PEASANTS: KENYA AND 
SOUTHERN RHODESIA 

The presence of white settlers had a special im- 
pact on African peasants because many of them 
had to provide the settlers with cheap labor. The 
case of Kenya's "white highlands" was particularly 
striking. This area had been extensively cultivated 
in the past by Kikuyu tribesmen, but when white 
settlers arrived, they introduced a modern capitalist 
system of agriculture. The tribesmen, who were tol- 
erated as "squatters" on the settlers' large land- 
holdings, had few options but to work for them at 
low wages. Under colonial legislation, the breach of 
a labor contract was a criminal offence, and those 
who had entered into such contracts were practical- 
ly treated like slaves. In shifting the burden of the 
Depression onto the shoulders of their African la- 
borers, white settlers could survive the Depression. 
But some of these settlers found it difficult to make 
ends meet, particularly if they produced maize and 
not the more profitable cash crops, such as sisal, 
coffee, and tea. 

Maize had become so inexpensive that it was 
hardly worth growing any longer. The colonial gov- 
ernment in Kenya subsidized its cultivation, how- 
ever, because it was required as food for the African 
laborers. The maize subsidy ceased when the gov- 
ernment could no longer afford it. White maize 
farmers petitioned for a maize control act to regu- 
late production, but its passage was prevented by 
other settlers who would have had to pay higher 
wages to their laborers so that they could afford to 
buy maize. The maize farmers then stopped pro- 
ducing maize, and turned their land over to African 
tenants. When the Depression ended under the im- 
pact of Word War II, the white settlers wanted to 
recover their land from these tenants, calling them 
"squatters" once more. This situation contributed 
to a growing unrest that culminated in the Mau- 
Mau rebellion. 

In Southern Rhodesia maize was a major cash 
crop produced by white settlers. Since they did not 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AFRICA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN 



face the resistance of other settlers here, Rhodesian 
maize farmers did manage to get a maize control 
act passed. According to this act, output was se- 
verely restricted, produce was procured by the gov- 
ernment at a fixed price, and consumers had to buy 
maize at a price well above the export price. The 
maize control was exercised in such a way that only 
white settlers benefited from it. But the government 
soon realized that the restrictions prevented African 
peasants from producing for the market, and they 
were thus unable to pay the poll tax. The govern- 
ment then commuted the poll tax, offering the 
peasants the option of working for twenty-three 
days on road construction instead. But so many 
poor peasants took up this offer that the govern- 
ment had to withdraw it. There could not have been 
a more striking testimony to the terrible poverty 
that had hit the peasantry. 

FRENCH COLONIES IN NORTH AFRICA 

The Arab countries of North Africa that were 
under French colonial rule also experienced a pecu- 
liar competition between European settlers and in- 
digenous peasants. The main crop in Algeria, Mo- 
rocco, and Tunisia was wheat, but there were two 
varieties of it, hard wheat (Triticum durum) and nor- 
mal wheat (Triticum vulgare). The latter was mostly 
grown by European settlers, whereas hard wheat 
was produced by indigenous people. Both varieties 
were exported, hard wheat mostly to Italy, where it 
was used for the preparation of pasta. When wheat 
became the first major crop whose price fell due to 
the Depression, the French colonial governments 
were pressed by the settlers (mostly French) to sup- 
port the price of normal wheat; they did this to 
some extent, but showed no interest in the price of 
hard wheat grown by the Arabs. Similarly the colo- 
nial authorities ignored the problems of the indige- 
nous producers of olive oil in Tunisia, many of 
whom became heavily indebted during the Depres- 
sion and lost their land to their creditors. 

SOUTH AFRICA 

At the opposite end of the continent South Af- 
rica provided another striking contrast to the rest of 
Africa. It was dominated by a white minority and 
enjoyed political independence as a dominion in 
the British Commonwealth. The country was rich in 



natural resources and was the world's largest gold 
producer. The average annual production in the 
1930s amounted to eleven million ounces (311 met- 
ric tons). Under such conditions it could hold on to 
the gold standard even after Great Britain had 
abandoned it in September 1931. 

South Africa was governed by the Nationalist 
Party, which was caught in a dilemma. It represent- 
ed the white farmers, who were affected by the fall 
in prices and stood to gain from a devaluation, but 
the party was also pledged to upholding national 
autonomy as embodied in the gold standard. There 
was a fear that if South Africa abandoned that stan- 
dard, gold would be given up as a standard of value 
worldwide and that this would harm South African 
gold production. The mine owners did not share 
this fear. Gold prices had risen after September 
1931 and this made the processing of low-grade ore 
profitable, which would extend the life of the mines 
considerably. 

In the meantime, speculators invested their 
money in the depreciating pound sterling in the 
hope that they could shift it back to South Africa at 
a profit once the South African currency was taken 
off the gold standard. Banking business in South 
Africa was in the hands of two British banks, Stan- 
dard and Barclays, whose headquarters was in Lon- 
don. Thus, South Africa was intimately linked with 
the British financial market. In December 1932, 
these various pressures combined and forced South 
Africa to abandon the gold standard. The specula- 
tors then repatriated their funds. The South African 
economy was reflated. In February 1932, the South 
African currency was pegged to the pound sterling 
and maintained this relationship for a long time. 

Great Britain absorbed the total production of 
South African gold and built up massive reserves 
for the sterling area. The fears that going off gold 
would harm gold production proved to be un- 
founded. From 1929 to 1936 world gold production 
increased by 50 percent and the price of gold rose 
by 66 percent. Because Great Britain and the United 
States stored vast amounts of gold in their reserves, 
the increase in the price of gold was not reflected 
in commodity prices. Nevertheless, reflation did 
push up prices in South Africa, which helped the 
farmers. The black farmhands who worked for the 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A F R I C 



GREAT DEPRESSION IN 



white farmers, and the miners in the gold mines did 
not share the benefits of reflation because the em- 
ployers managed to keep wages down. 

EGYPT 

Egypt stood in contrast to the countries sur- 
veyed above. It had been a British colony but had 
achieved a kind of independent status in 1922. Its 
currency was still tied to the pound sterling, but the 
Egyptian government was free to impose a gold ex- 
port embargo after Britain left the gold standard. In 
this way the distress gold of indebted peasants, 
which would have poured out of the country as it 
did elsewhere at that time, was retained by the 
Egyptian government and could be used for fight- 
ing the deflation of the national economy. 

Another special feature of the Egyptian econo- 
my was its dependence on the cultivation of cotton. 
Cotton production was mostly controlled by absen- 
tee landlords, who relied on the state for protection 
of their interests. Egypt had expanded its cotton 
production from 0.27 to 0.38 million metric tons 
from 1920 to 1929, and cotton exports constituted 
about 75 percent of total Egyptian exports. The 
country was therefore particularly vulnerable to a 
fall in cotton prices. In June 1929 the world price of 
cotton stood at eighteen cents; by 1932 it had 
dropped to six cents per pound, its lowest price dur- 
ing the Depression. This two-thirds reduction with- 
in three years was more severe than the price drop 
for most other commodities. Nevertheless the rate 
of cotton production was not reduced because de- 
mand for it remained stable. 

Egypt's system of taxation, a land revenue sys- 
tem of the Indian type, differed from tax systems in 
other African countries. The tax was fixed at about 
one-third of the rental assets, and was collected 
without remission even during the years of the De- 
pression. The rigidity of this system was due to the 
fact that the income from this tax had been pledged 
to Egypt's foreign creditors. 

Despite these problems there were attempts at 
sponsoring industries that produced goods such as 
textiles, which previously had to be imported. Egypt 
was the only country in Africa where such an in- 
dustry existed. The availability of cheap cotton was 
a boon to an indigenous textile industry, and a 



group of Egyptian entrepreneurs who had also 
been behind the establishment of the Bank Misr as 
a "national" bank now tried their hand at this type 
of industrialization. 

It is difficult to gauge the deterioration of the 
standard of living in Egypt, and in other African 
countries, during the Depression years. There are 
only a few indicators that throw light on the condi- 
tions of the people: The per capita consumption of 
food and grain, for example, dropped by about 26 
percent, even though wheat and barley became 
much cheaper; school attendance receded; and the 
number of Muslim pilgrims who performed the hajj 
dwindled in 1933 to about one-tenth the 1920s fig- 
ure. 

In Egypt, as elsewhere in Africa, the burden of 
the Depression was mostly shouldered by the rural 
poor, whereas the urban classes, particularly those 
who received salaries that had been fixed in better 
times, lived very well. Thus the gap between town 
and countryside widened considerably in the 1930s. 

THE AFTERMATH OF THE DEPRESSION 

In terms of the value of world trade, Africa suf- 
fered less from the Depression than other parts of 
the world. Whereas the value of world exports de- 
clined by 66 percent from 1929 to 1934, the value 
of African exports declined only by 48 percent. Ag- 
riculturists were affected by this drop in value more 
than mine owners. 

The European colonists who depended entirely 
on export production were discouraged by the ex- 
perience of the Depression, and the declining reve- 
nues affected colonial governments. The possession 
of colonies was no longer profitable, but colonial 
rulers were also creditors, who did not wish to re- 
linquish their control. In the long run, the Depres- 
sion contributed to the decolonization of Africa. 

See Also: EUROPE, GREAT DEPRESSION IN; 
ETHIOPIAN WAR; GOLD STANDARD; 
INTERNATIONAL IMPACT OF THE GREAT 
DEPRESSION. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Brown, Ian, ed. The Economies of Africa and Asia in the 
Inter-War Depression. 1989. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AFRICAN A M E R I C 



N S 



IMPACT 



f 



T H E 



GREAT DEPRESSION 



N 



Coquery-Vidrovitch, Catharine, ed. L'Afrique et la crise de 
1930. Special issue. Revue frangaise a" outre mer 63 
(1976). 

Drummond, Ian M. The Floating Pound and the Sterling 
Area, 1931-1939. 1981. 

Hailey, Lord. An African Survey. 1957. 

Jewsiewicki, B. "The Great Depression and the Making 
of the Colonial Economic System in the Belgian 
Congo." African Economic History 4 (1977): 153-171. 

Lonsdale, John. "The Depression and the Second World 
War in the Transformation of Kenya." In Africa and 
the Second World War, edited by David Killingray 
and Richard Rathbone. 1986. 

Mejcher, Helmut. "Die Reaktion auf die Krise in Westa- 
sien und Nordafrika." In Die Peripherie in der Welt- 
wirtschaftskrise: Afrika, Asien, und Lateinamerika, 
1929-1939, ed. Dietmar Rothermund. 1982. 

Moor, Jaap de, and Dietmar Rothermund, eds. Our Laws, 
Their Lands: Land Use and Land Laws in Modern Colo- 
nial Societies. 1995. 

Rothermund, Dietmar. The Global Impact of the Great De- 
pression, 1929-1939. 1996. 

Dietmar Rothermund 



AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF 
THE GREAT DEPRESSION ON 

The Great Depression brought mass suffering to all 
regions of the country. National income dropped by 
50 percent and unemployment rose to an estimated 
25 percent of the total labor force. At the same time, 
twenty million Americans turned to public and pri- 
vate relief agencies for assistance. As the "Last 
Hired and the First Fired," African Americans en- 
tered the Depression long before the stock market 
crash in 1929, and they stayed there longer than 
other Americans. By 1933, African Americans found 
it all but impossible to find jobs of any kind in agri- 
culture or industry. As cotton prices dropped from 
eighteen cents per pound on the eve of the Depres- 
sion to less that six cents per pound in 1933, some 
12,000 black sharecroppers lost their precarious 
footing in southern agriculture and moved increas- 
ingly toward southern, northern, and western cit- 
ies. Mechanical devices had already slowly reduced 
the number of workers required for plowing, hoe- 
ing, and weeding, but now planters also experi- 



mented with mechanical cotton pickers, which dis- 
placed even more black farm workers. Despite 
declining opportunities in cities, the proportion of 
blacks living in urban areas rose from 44 percent in 
1930 to nearly 50 percent by the onset of World War 
II. 

HARD TIMES AND RISE OF NEW DEAL FOR 
BLACKS 

As the number of rural blacks seeking jobs in 
cities escalated, urban black workers experienced 
increasing difficulties. Black urban unemployment 
reached well over 50 percent, more than twice the 
rate of whites. In southern cities, white workers ral- 
lied around such slogans as, "No Jobs for Niggers 
Until Every White Man Has a Job" and "Niggers, 
back to the cotton fields — city jobs are for white 
folks." The most violent episodes took place on 
southern railroads, as unionized white workers and 
the railroad brotherhoods intimidated, attacked, 
and murdered black firemen in order to take their 
jobs. Nearly a dozen black firemen lost their jobs in 
various parts of the South. As one contemporary 
observer succinctly stated, "The shotgun, the whip, 
the noose, and Ku Klux Klan practices were being 
resumed in the certainty that dead men not only tell 
no tales, but create vacancies." For their part, in the 
North and South, black women were forced into 
the notorious Depression era "slave market," 
where even working-class white women employed 
black women at starvation wages, as little as $5 per 
week for full-time laborers in northern cities. In 
their studies of the market in Bronx, New York, two 
black women compared the practice to the treat- 
ment of slaves in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel 
Uncle Tom's Cabin. 

Despite mass suffering, the Republican admin- 
istration of Herbert Hoover did little to aid the poor 
and destitute. Instead, the federal government es- 
tablished the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 
which relieved the credit problems of large bank- 
ing, insurance, and industrial firms. Although Hoo- 
ver believed that such policies would create new 
jobs, stimulate production, and increase consumer 
spending, benefits did not "trickle down" to the 
rest of the economy and end the Depression. Still, 
African Americans rallied to the slogan "Who but 
Hoover" in the presidential contest of 1932. In the 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION ON 




During most of the 1930s, African Americans found it all but impossible to find jobs of any kind in agriculture or industry. The 
father of this impoverished family, photographed in 1937 by Lewis Hine, was a miner who lost his job in the Scott's Run area of 
West Virginia. National Archives and Records Administration 



eyes of blacks, the Republican Party remained the 
party of emancipation, partly because Democratic 
candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt had embraced 
the segregationist policies of the Democratic Party. 

Following his inauguration, Roosevelt's atti- 
tude toward African Americans changed little. He 
not only opposed vital civil rights legislation like the 
anti-lynchingbill, designed to make lynching a fed- 
eral offense, but showed little interest in challeng- 
ing even the most blatant manifestations of racial 
injustice in the proliferation of New Deal agencies. 
The National Recovery Administration (NRA), Ag- 
ricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the 



Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Ten- 
nessee Valley Authority (TV A), the Civilian Conser- 
vation Corps (CCC), and the Federal Emergency 
Relief Administration (FERA), to name only a few, 
all failed to protect blacks against discriminatory 
employers, agency officials, and local whites. 

When the AAA paid farmers to withdraw cot- 
ton lands from production, county officials barred 
African Americans from representation and de- 
prived them of government checks. For their part, 
by exempting domestic service and unskilled labor 
from minimum wage and participatory provisions, 
the NRA and the social security programs eliminat- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AFRICAN AMERICANS 



IMPACT OF THE 6 R E A F DEPRESSION ON 




Many African-American children in the rural South, like these photographed by Dorothea Lange at their farm in Mississippi in 
1936, lived in extreme poverty during the Depression years. Library of Concress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI 
Collection 



ed nearly 60 percent of African Americans from 
benefits. When the jobs of African Americans were 
brought under the provisions of the NRA in south- 
ern textile firms, employers reclassified such jobs 
and removed them from coverage of the higher 
wage code. 



As they encountered various forms of discrimi- 
nation in New Deal Agencies, many African Ameri- 
cans concluded that the so-called New Deal was in- 
deed a "raw deal." Only during the mid-1930s 
would African Americans gain broader access to the 
New Deal social programs. By 1939, income from 



10 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION ON 




A group of young men study radio operations in 1933 at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp for African-American men in Kane, 
Pennsylvania. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library 



New Deal work and relief programs nearly matched 
African -American income from private employ- 
ment. African Americans occupied about one-third 
of all federal low-income housing projects, and 
gained a growing share of CCC jobs, Federal Farm 
Security loans, and benefits from WPA educational 
and cultural programs. African Americans now fre- 
quently hailed the New Deal as "a godsend." Some 
blacks even quipped that God "will lead me" and 
relief "will feed me." 

The emergence of a "new deal" for blacks was 
closely intertwined with the growth of the Commu- 
nist Party, the resurgence of organized labor, and 
the increasing political efforts of blacks on their 
own behalf. When the Communist Party helped 



save nine black youths, the Scottsboro Boys, from 
execution and secured the release of their own 
black comrade Angelo Herndon from a Georgia 
chain gang, the African -American community took 
notice. When the party helped to initiate hunger 
marches, unemployed councils, farm labor unions, 
rent strikes, and mass demonstrations to prevent 
the eviction of black families from their homes, its 
work gained even greater recognition within the 
African -American community. As one black news- 
paper editor, William Kelley of the Amsterdam 
News, reported, "The fight that they are putting up 
. . . strike [s] forcefully at the fundamental wrongs 
suffered by the Negro today." 

The rise of the Congress of Industrial Organiza- 
tions (CIO) in 1935 facilitated the emergence of a 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



II 



AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 6 R E A F DEPRESSION ON 




During the Depression, thousands of black sharecroppers lost their precarious footing in southern agriculture and moved 
increasingly toward southern, northern, and western cities. This family was evicted from their farm in 1938 after drought caused 
their crops to fail. They were photographed while encamped along the highway in New Madrid county, Missouri. Library of 
Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



real New Deal for African Americans. Unlike the 
old American Federation of Labor (AFL), the CIO 
made a firm commitment to organize both black 
and white workers. The organization soon 
launched the Packinghouse Workers Organizing 
Committee (PWOC), the United Automobile 
Workers (UAW), and the Steel Workers Organizing 
Committee (SWOC). The new unions appealed to 
civil rights organizations like the National Associa- 
tion for the Advancement of Colored People 
(NAACP) and the Urban League, recruited black 
organizers, and advocated an end to unequal pay 
scales for black and white workers. Although most 
AFL unions continued to exclude black workers, 
the national leadership gradually supported a more 
equitable stance toward black workers. The union 



finally approved an international charter for the 
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) in 
1935 and endorsed efforts to free the Scottsboro 
Boys and Angelo Herndon. 

Following the lead of anthropologist Franz 
Boas and his associates, social scientists encouraged 
the lowering of racial barriers in American society. 
As early as the 1920s, they had gradually turned 
away from earlier biological definitions of race, 
which defined African Americans as innately inferi- 
or. The new social scientists challenged the biologi- 
cal determinists to "prove" that African Americans 
occupied a lower socioeconomic and political status 
in American society because of their hereditary in- 
feriority. Legal change lagged significantly behind 
the new intellectual perspectives on race; yet, even 



IZ 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION ON 




Three young African-American women, trained in office skills by the National Youth Administration, work ■part-time in the offices 
of the YWCA in Chicago, Illinois, in 1936. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library 



here, African Americans witnessed the slow transi- 
tion to a new deal. As early as 1935, the Maryland 
Court of Appeals ordered the University of Mary- 
land to admit blacks to the state's law school or set 
up a new separate and equal facility for blacks. 
Rather than face the expense of establishing a new 
all-black law school, university officials lowered ra- 
cial barriers and admitted black students to the all- 
white institution. 



COMMUNITY AND INSTITUTIONAL 
RESPONSES 

Despite the rise of interracial alliances and the 
emergence of anti-racist movements among 
whites, African Americans developed their own 



strategies for social change and helped to create 
their own "new deal." African Americans cared for 
each other's children, offered emotional support, 
and creatively manipulated their family's resources. 
As one Georgia relief official noted, "These people 
are catching and selling fish, reselling vegetables, 
sewing in exchange for old clothes, letting out 
sleeping space, and doing odd jobs . . . Stoves are 
used in common, wash boilers go their rounds, and 
garden crops are exchanged and shared." Urban 
blacks also maintained vegetable gardens, staged 
rent parties, played the numbers game, and ex- 
panded their church-based social welfare activities. 
While rent parties provided "down home" food, 
drink, music, and a place to dance for a small ad- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE 6 R E A F DEPRESSION 



13 



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mission fee, the "policy" or numbers game em- 
ployed large numbers of African Americans as run- 
ners and as bookkeepers. According to some 
observers, for example, Chicago's south side em- 
ployed seven thousand people in the numbers 
business and cushioned them from unemployment 
even as it provided hope for thousands of blacks 
seeking to make a "hit." For their part, some "num- 
bers kings" provided donations to black churches 
and charitable organizations, but religious organi- 
zations launched their own social welfare activities. 
In addition to the work of established denomina- 
tions, new religious movements also expanded 
their efforts to feed the poor. Started during the 
1920s, for example, Father Divine's Peace Mission 
moved its headquarters from Sayville on Long Is- 
land to Harlem in 1932 and gained credit for feed- 
ing the masses and offering relief from widespread 
destitution. At about the same time, Bishop Charles 
Emmanuel Grace, known as "Daddy Grace," 
founded the United House of Prayer of All People, 
opened offices in twenty cities, and offered thou- 
sands of people respite from suffering. 

As African Americans used their community- 
based social networks and institutions to address 
their needs, they also turned toward the labor 
movement. Under the growing influence of the 
new CIO unions, African Americans expanded 
their place in the house of labor. Perhaps more than 
any other single figure, however, A. Philip Ran- 
dolph epitomized the persistent struggle of black 
workers to organize in their own interests. Born in 
Crescent City, Florida, in 1889, Randolph had mi- 
grated to New York City in 1911 and spearheaded 
the formation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car 
Porters and Maids in 1925. When New Deal federal 
legislation (the Railway Labor Act of 1934) legiti- 
mized the rights of workers to organize, Randolph 
and the BSCP intensified its organizing drive 
among black porters. By 1933, the union represent- 
ed some 35,000 porters. Two years later, the union 
defeated a company union and won the right to 
represent porters at the bargaining table with man- 
agement, which signed its first contract with the 
union in 1937. The BSCP victory not only helped to 
make African Americans more union conscious, but 
increased their impact on national labor policy. 



The NAACP, Urban League, and other civil 
rights organizations also increased their focus on 
the economic plight of African Americans. In 1933, 
these organizations formed the Joint Committee on 
National Recovery (JCNR) and helped to publicize 
the racial inequities in New Deal programs. African 
Americans also launched the "Don't Buy Where 
You Can't Work" campaign in New York, Chicago, 
Washington, D. C, and other cities. They boycotted 
white merchants who served the African-American 
community but refused to employ blacks except in 
domestic and common laborer positions. When 
Harlem store owners refused to negotiate, New 
York blacks formed the Citizens League for Fair 
Play and set up pickets around Blumstein's Depart- 
ment Store. In 1938, their actions produced con- 
crete results when the New York Uptown Chamber 
of Commerce and the Greater New York Coordi- 
nating Committee for Employment agreed to give 
African Americans one-third of all new retail exec- 
utive, clerical, and sales jobs. 

African Americans usually expressed their 
grievances through organized and peaceful action, 
but sometimes they despaired and turned to vio- 
lence. Racial violence erupted in Harlem in 1935 
when a rumor spread that a black youth had been 
brutally attacked and killed by police. Although the 
rumor proved false, African-American crowds soon 
gathered and smashed buildings and looted stores 
in a night of violence that left one person dead, over 
fifty injured, and thousands of dollars in property 
damage. Some blacks believed that radicalism of- 
fered the most appropriate response to the deepen- 
ing crisis of African Americans. Some African 
Americans joined the Socialist Southern Tenant 
Farmers Union (STFU) and the Communist Ala- 
bama Sharecroppers Union. Nate Shaw (Ned 
Cobb), whose life became the subject of an oral bi- 
ography, recalled that he had joined the sharecrop- 
pers union to fight the system that oppressed him. 
Shaw later recalled that he had to act because he 
had labored "under many rulins, just like the other 
Negro, that I knowed was injurious to man and dis- 
pleasin to God and still I had to fall back." In Bir- 
mingham, the Communist Party's League of Strug- 
gle for Negro Rights (LSNR) and its energetic fight 
on behalf of the Scottsboro Boys also attracted un- 
employed workers, such as Al Murphy and Hosea 



K 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AFRICAN 



M E R I C A N S 



IMPACT 



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G R E A F DEPRESSION 



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Hudson. As Hudson put it, "I always did resent in- 
justice and the way they used to treat Negroes. . . . 
My grandmother used to talk about these things. 
She was very militant herself, you know." 



BLACKS AND THE NEW DEAL COALITION 

Although some blacks joined radical social 
movements and parties, most worked hard to 
broaden their participation in the New Deal coali- 
tion. As Republicans continued to take black votes 
for granted, blacks increasingly turned toward the 
northern wing of the Democratic Party. As early as 
1932, the editor of the black weekly Pittsburgh Cou- 
rier had urged African Americans to change their 
political affiliation: "My friends, go turn Lincoln's 
picture to the wall . . . that debt has been paid in 
full." By the mid-1930s, nearly forty-five blacks had 
received appointments to New Deal agencies. Re- 
ferred to as the Black Cabinet, these black advisors 
included Robert L. Vann, editor of the Pittsburgh 
Courier, Robert C. Weaver, an economist, and Mary 
McCleod Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman 
College in Florida. In 1936, African Americans 
formed the National Negro Congress (NNC), 
which aimed to unite all existing political, fraternal, 
and religious organizations and push for policies 
designed to bring about the full socioeconomic re- 
covery of the black community. Spearheaded by 
Ralph Bunche, a professor of political science at 
Howard University in Washington, D.C, and John 
Davis, executive secretary of the Joint Committee 
on National Recovery, the founding meeting of the 
NNC brought together some six hundred organiza- 
tions and selected A. Philip Randolph as its first 
president. The NNC symbolized as well as promot- 
ed the growing political mobilization of the Afri- 
can-American community. In the presidential elec- 
tion of 1936, African Americans voted for the 
Democratic Party in record numbers; Roosevelt re- 
ceived 76 percent of northern black votes. 

After the election of 1936, African Americans 
intensified demands on Roosevelt's New Deal ad- 
ministration. They placed justice before the law 
high on their list of priorities. As early as 1933, the 
NAACP organized a Writers League Against 
Lynching and intensified its national movement for 
a federal anti-lynching law. The Costigan-Wagner 



anti-lynching bill gained little support from Roose- 
velt and failed when southern senators filibustered 
the measure in 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, and 1940. 
Despite failure to pass a federal anti-lynching law, 
partly because of the campaign, the number of re- 
corded lynchings dropped from eighteen in 1935 to 
two in 1939. 

During the 1930s, black attorneys like Charles 
Hamilton Houston and William Hastie assaulted 
the legal supports of Jim Crow, while black histori- 
ans, social scientists, and writers challenged its in- 
tellectual underpinnings. Under the leadership of 
historian Carter G. Woodson, the Association for 
the Study of Negro Life and History (founded in 
1915) continued to promote the study of African- 
American history, emphasizing the role of blacks in 
the development of the nation. African-American 
intellectuals (e.g., E. Franklin Frazier, W. E. B. Du 
Bois, Charles S. Johnson, Langston Hughes, and 
Richard Wright) reinforced the work of Carter G. 
Woodson. 

As suggested by the role of black intellectuals 
and attorneys on the one hand and the rent parties 
of poor and working-class blacks on the other, Afri- 
can-American responses to poverty were by no 
means uniform. They varied across class, gender, 
and generational lines. Women manipulated 
household resources, while black men predominat- 
ed in the organized labor and civil rights move- 
ments. Moreover, elite men dominated the leader- 
ship positions of civil rights and social service 
organizations like the NAACP and the Urban 
League. Yet, African Americans during the period 
were united through a common history, color, and 
culture. The emergence of Joe Louis as a folk hero 
symbolized African Americans' sense of common 
plight, kinship, and future. The exploits of Louis 
helped to unify African Americans and gave them 
hope that they could demolish the segregationist 
system. When Joe Louis lost, African Americans la- 
mented, as in his first fight with the German Max 
Schmeling, who symbolized Adolf Hitler's doctrine 
of Aryan supremacy. When Louis knocked out Max 
Schmeling in the first round of their rematch, black 
people celebrated. The singer Lena Home later re- 
called that Joe Louis "was the one invincible Negro, 
the one who stood up to the white man and beat 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE 6 R E A F DEPRESSION 



15 



AFRICAN A M E R I C 



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IMPACT 



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GREAT DEPRESSION 



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him down with his fists. He in a sense carried so 
many of our hopes, maybe even dreams of ven- 
geance." 

Despite the transition from a raw deal to a new 
deal between 1935 and 1939, the persistence of ra- 
cial discrimination within and outside governmen- 
tal agencies limited the achievements of the Roose- 
velt administration. As whites returned to full-time 
employment during the late 1930s, African Ameri- 
cans remained dependent on public service and re- 
lief programs. While the CIO aided blacks who 
were fortunate enough to maintain or regain their 
jobs during the Depression years, it did little to en- 
hance the equitable reemployment of black and 
white workers as the country slowly pulled itself out 
of the Depression. The Communist Party helped to 
change attitudes toward racial unity, but the bene- 
fits of such changes were largely symbolic as racial 
injustice continued to undermine the material posi- 
tion of African Americans. As the nation increas- 
ingly mobilized for War after 1939, African Ameri- 
cans resolved that World War II would be fought on 
two fronts. They wanted a "Double-V," victory at 
home and victory abroad. 

See Also: AMERICAN NEGRO LABOR CONGRESS 
(ANLC); BLACK CABINET; BLACK METROPOLIS; 
BROTHERHOOD OF SLEEPING CAR PORTERS 
(BSCP); LYNCHINGS; NATIONAL ASSOCIATION 
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE 
(NAACP); NATIONAL NEGRO CONGRESS; 
SCOTTSBORO CASE. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Anderson, lervis. A. Philip Randolph: A Biographical Por- 
trait. 1986. 

Dickerson, Dennis C. Out of the Crucible: Black Steelwork- 
ers in Western Pennsylvania, 1875-1980. 1986. 

Drake, St. Clair, and Horace R. Cayton. Black Metropolis: 
A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City, rev. edition, 
1962. 

Egerton, John. Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation 
Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South. 1994. 

Foner, Philip S. Organized Labor and the Black Workers, 
1619-1973. 1974. 

Franklin, John Hope, and August Meier, eds. Black Lead- 
ers of the Twentieth Century. 1982. 

Giddings, Paula. When and Where 1 Enter: The Impact of 
Black Women on Race and Sex in America. 1984. 



Grant, Nancy L. TV A and Black Americans: Planning for 
the Status Quo. 1990. 

Gray, Brenda Clegg. Black Temale Domestics during the De- 
pression in New York City, 1930-1940. 1993. 

Greenberg, Cheryl Lynn. Or Does It Explode?: Black Har- 
lem in the Great Depression. 1991. 

Harris, William H. Keeping the Faith: A. Philip Randolph, 
Milton P. Webster, and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car 
Porters, 1925-37. 1977. 

Harris, William H. The Harder We Run: Black Workers 
Since the Civil War. 1982. 

Hine, Darlene Clark. Black Women in White: Racial Con- 
flict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 
1890-1950. 1989. 

lones, lacqueline. Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black 
Women, Work, and the Family, From Slavery to the 
Present. 1985. 

Kelley, Robin D. G. Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Commu- 
nists during the Great Depression. 1990. 

Kirby, lohn B. Black Americans in the Roosevelt Era: Liber- 
alism and Race. 1992. 

Kusmer, Kenneth L., ed. Black Communities and Urban 
Development in America, 1720-1960, Vol. 6: Depres- 
sion, War, and the New Migration, 1930-1960. 1991. 

Lerner, Gerda, ed. Black Women in White America: A Doc- 
umentary History. 1973. 

Levine, Lawrence. Black Culture and Black Consciousness: 
Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom. 
1977. 

Lewis, Earl. In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power 
in Twentieth-Century Norfolk, Virginia. 1991. 

Meier, August, and Elliott Rudwick. Black Detroit and the 
Rise of the UAW. 1979. 

Naison, Mark. Communists in Harlem during the Depres- 
sion. 1983. 

Natanson, Nicholas. The Black Image in the New Deal: The 
Politics ofFSA Photography. 1992. 

Painter, Nell Irvin. The Narrative ofHosea Hudson: His Life 
as a Communist. 1979. 

Rosengarten, Theodore. All God's Dangers: The Life of 
Nate Shaw. 1974. 

Sitkoff, Harvard. A New Deal for Blacks: The Emergence of 

Civil Rights as a National Issue, Vol. 1: The Depression 

Decade. 1978. 
Southern, Eileen. The Music of Black Americans: A History. 

1971. 
Sternsher, Bernard, ed. The Negro in Depression and War: 

Prelude to Revolution, 1930-1945. 1969. 
Sullivan, Patricia. Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the 

New Deal Era. 1996. 

Trotter, Joe William, Ir. Black Milwaukee: The Making of 
an Industrial Proletariat, 1915-45. 1985. 



16 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



G E E 



AMES 



Trotter, Joe William, Jr. The African American Experience. 
2001. 

Watts, Jill. God, Harlem U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story. 
1992. 

Weiss, Nancy Joan. Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black 
Politics in the Age of FDR. 1983. 

Wolters, Raymond. Negroes and the Great Depression: The 
Problem of Economic Recovery. 1970. 

Wright, Richard, and Edwin Rosskam. 12 Million Black 
Voices. 1941. 

Zangrando, Robert L. The NAACP Crusade against Lynch- 
ing, 1909-1950. 1980. 

Joe W. Trotter 



AGEE, JAMES 

James Rufus Agee (November 27, 1909-May 16, 
1955) was a gifted man of letters who in his brief 
but intense life left an indelible touch on a variety 
of literary forms: poetry, novels, film criticism, 
screenplays, essays, and journalism. Born in Knox- 
ville, Tennessee, Agee was one of America's best 
film critics (for Time and The Nation, 1941-1948), 
and the first to raise the mechanics of weekly re- 
viewing to the level of prose art. His scripts for such 
films as The African Queen (1951) and The Night of 
the Hunter (1955) were generally judged superior to 
their novelistic sources. His posthumous autobio- 
graphical novel, A Death in the Family (1957), which 
won the 1958 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, remains a 
much-loved period evocation of southern Ameri- 
cana, as well as an aching memoir of parents, chil- 
dren, and the negotiation of loss. Arguably, his 
greatest achievement was a product of his late 
youth, the Depression-era classic Let Us Now Praise 
Famous Men (1941), co-authored with the photog- 
rapher Walker Evans. Part anatomy of the impover- 
ished conditions surrounding a tenant farmer's life, 
part poetic and metaphysical inquiry into the mys- 
teries of existence, part intimate confession of the 
author's search for his aesthetic identity and family 
roots, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a book like 
no other. Admittedly unclassifiable, it is without 
doubt one of the most brilliant and original junc- 
tures of image and text in the annals of mixed 
media creation. 



In the summer of 1936, Fortune magazine sent 
Agee and Evans to the South "to prepare an article 
on cotton tenantry in the United States." The co- 
authors spent approximately six weeks on assign- 
ment, much of the time actually living with three 
tenant families in Hale County, Alabama. Agee 
meant for the resulting text of almost five hundred 
pages and Evans's thirty-one plates (later expanded 
to sixty-two) to be understood as analogous but 
very different views of the same subject. According- 
ly, the images were lucid, surgical, and selfless, 
while the prose was turbulent, extravagant, and 
self-reflexive. Evans's models were connoisseurs of 
fact, the photographers Eugene Atget and Matthew 
Brady; Agee's were visionary poets, William Shake- 
speare, Walt Whitman, and William Blake. Occa- 
sionally self-indulgent, the author's language is fre- 
quently breathtaking in its intellectual passion, 
moral force, and near holographic reproduction of 
the physical reality. Equally characteristic is the way 
Agee refuses to view the farmer as a ready-made 
protest symbol, or in any way as an applicant for the 
reader's pity or patronization. Let Us Now Praise Fa- 
mous Men remains honorably distinct in the litera- 
ture of the Depression in its vision of the imperiled 
family as exalted in tragedy, inheritors of a moral 
aristocracy, and virtual gods in ruins. 

See Also: EVANS, WALKER. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Agee, James. Agee on Film, Vol. 1: Reviews and Comments. 
1958. Reprint, 1983. 

Agee, James. A Death in the Family. 1957. Reprint, 1969. 

Agee, James, and Walker Evans. Let Us Now Praise Fa- 
mous Men. 1941. Reprint, 1960. 

Bergreen, Lawrence. James Agee: A Life. 1984. 

Spiegel, Alan. James Agee and the Legend of Himself: A 
Critical Study. 1998. 

Stott, William. Documentary Expression and Thirties Amer- 
ica. 1973. 



Alan Spiegel 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



17 



AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT 



AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT 
ACT 

The Agricultural Adjustment Act was signed into 
law on May 12, 1933, and was a crucial part of the 
New Deal recovery program of the First Hundred 
Days. It passed Congress after many weeks of de- 
bate between the Roosevelt administration, farm 
organization leaders, and agrarian militants and 
their representatives in Congress. Led by Secretary 
of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace, the administration 
wanted a farm program based on voluntary produc- 
tion controls. Farmers who agreed to curtail pro- 
duction would receive a benefit payment financed 
by a tax on agricultural processors, such as flour 
millers. The amount the farmers would curtail pro- 
duction would be determined by a decentralized 
system of farmer committees in cooperation with 
the Department of Agriculture. This system, Wal- 
lace and his advisers hoped, would reduce the mas- 
sive surpluses glutting American markets and en- 
gage farmers themselves in the administration of 
the new farm program. Farm leaders wanted a 
price-raising measure to boost prices and incomes, 
but they were reluctant to endorse production con- 
trols for fear such measures would entail a large bu- 
reaucracy. Agrarian militants also opposed produc- 
tion controls and demanded some form of currency 
inflation and the power for government-mandated 
prices to bring about immediate increases in farm 
income. While Congress debated the bill, frustrated 
farmers in the Midwest launched farm strikes and 
mortgage foreclosure protests that sometimes 
turned violent. 

In its final form, Title I of the act authorized the 
secretary of agriculture to create a production con- 
trol program for eight major commodities and to 
impose a tax on the processors of these commodi- 
ties. It also authorized the secretary to establish 
marketing agreements among producers of other 
commodities, such as dairy goods, in order to per- 
mit greater control over production and distribu- 
tion. It committed the Department of Agriculture to 
raising farm prices to a level that would gain farm- 
ers the same purchasing power they had enjoyed 
for the years 1909 to 1914 in order to achieve "pari- 
ty" between the farm and non-farm economies. 



Title II became the Emergency Farm Mortgage Act, 
which authorized emergency mortgage loan refi- 
nancing. Title III, introduced by Senator Elmer 
Thomas, a Democrat from Oklahoma, granted the 
president discretionary power to undertake curren- 
cy inflation and to reduce the gold content of the 
dollar. The act became the basis for the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administration. On January 6, 1936, 
the Supreme Court ruled the processing tax and 
production control features of the Agricultural Ad- 
justment Act unconstitutional in the Butler decision. 

The act advanced farm policy beyond the failed 
actions of the Hoover administration's Federal 
Farm Board, made possible programs that con- 
tained farm protest movements, and initiated a fun- 
damental change in the role of the federal govern- 
ment in the American farm economy. 

See Also: AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT 

ADMINISTRATION (AAA); FARM POLICY; 
HUNDRED DAYS. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Fite, Gilbert C. George N. Peek and the Fight for Farm Pari- 
ty. 1954. 

Hamilton, David E. From New Day to New Deal: American 
Farm Policy from Hoover to Roosevelt, 1928-1933. 
1991. 

Perkins, Van L. Crisis in Agriculture: The Agricultural Ad- 
justment Administration and the New Deal, 1933. 1969. 

Romasco, Albert U. The Politics of Recovery: Roosevelt's 
New Deal. 1983. 

David Hamilton 



AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT 
ADMINISTRATION (AAA) 

The Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) 
was established in 1933 to carry out the production 
control and marketing agreement provisions of the 
Agricultural Adjustment Act. Unlike the Federal 
Farm Board of the Herbert Hoover administration, 
the AAA was made a part of the U.S. Department 
of Agriculture (USDA). The AAA was originally 
conceived as an emergency program to meet the 
farm crisis of the Great Depression, but it evolved 



18 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ADMINISTRATION (AAA 




The Mattress Project Center in Newberry Country, South Carolina, offered temporary work to low -income farmers and their 
families. The Center, pictured in early 1941, was established by the Agricultural Adjustment Administration in cooperation with 
the Surplus Marketing Administration and the Extension Seroice of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. National Archives and 
Records Administration 



into a permanent system of price and income sup- 
ports for American farmers. Although much criti- 
cized, the AAA was able to resuscitate a devastated 
system of agriculture and overcome the deep- 
rooted constitutional and political obstacles to an 
enlarged role for the federal government in Ameri- 
can life. 



THE CRISIS, CHALLENGES, AND PROGRAMS 

At the start of the New Deal, agriculture's con- 
dition was grim. Prices of staple commodities and 
annual farm incomes were lower than they had 



been in decades; the farm credit system had nearly 
ceased to function, and massive unemployment 
and a gnarled system of international trade were 
depressing prices and causing commodity stocks to 
pile up. The effects of the deflation were brutal be- 
cause farmers could not shield themselves from 
credit and price risks in the increasingly capital- 
intensive farm economy of the twentieth century. 
How to respond to the immediate crisis and how to 
rebuild the farm economy posed formidable chal- 
lenges because of deeply ingrained fears that gov- 
ernmental programs would mean the creation of 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



19 



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L T U R A L ADJUSTMENT ADMINISTRATION 



A A 



coercive bureaucracies, and maybe even a police 
state, in agriculture. 

Deep divisions over the AAA's objectives fur- 
ther complicated its task. Farmers, farm leaders, 
members of Congress, and some USDA officials 
wanted the AAA to restore farm purchasing power 
to the more profitable levels of the 1909 to 1914 pe- 
riod, or what had come to be known as parity price 
levels. Major figures within the Department of Ag- 
riculture, including the economists M. L. Wilson, 
Mordecai Ezekiel, and Howard Tolley, saw the 
AAA as an short-term "adjustment" program that 
would stabilize the farm economy and serve as a 
transition to a long-term farm program based on 
trade liberalization, land use planning, and soil 
conservation. Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. 
Wallace hoped for both higher incomes and long- 
term adjustments. 

From 1933 through 1935, the AAA focused on 
establishing production control programs for 
wheat, cotton, tobacco, hogs, corn, milk and milk 
products, rice, and potatoes. Participation was to be 
voluntary and farmers who agreed to cooperate 
would be paid a benefit payment for reducing acre- 
age. The payments were financed by a tax on the 
processors of agricultural goods. The program 
would be administered through a decentralized 
system of farmer committees in collaboration with 
county extension agents, land-grant universities, 
and the USDA. Curtailed production would im- 
prove domestic prices while the benefit payments 
would supply desperate farmers with immediate 
income. The cooperative and voluntary nature of 
the program, Wallace and other USDA officials 
hoped, would create new forms of grassroots de- 
mocracy within agriculture. 

Implementing the AAA programs was an un- 
precedented undertaking. It required establishing a 
three-year production base for all participating 
farmers, determining how much each farm would 
have to cut back on acreage, ensuring compliance, 
allocating benefit payments, and adjudicating dis- 
putes. This array of tasks was made easier by the 
prior development of the Department of Agricul- 
ture's data-gathering capabilities, its county and 
state extension system, and its economic research 
divisions, but even so the AAA administrators faced 
constant challenges. 



CONTROVERSY AND OPPOSITION 

The AAA was engulfed in controversy from the 
start. Faced with gluts of hogs and cotton before 
production controls could be instituted, the AAA 
paid producers to slaughter pigs and plow up plant- 
ed cotton. Critics denounced these attempts to 
create artificial scarcities when many millions of 
Americans were in need of food and clothing. Inter- 
nal policy divisions marred the AAA's early months 
as well. Its first administrator, George N. Peek, was 
a prominent farm leader who objected to the em- 
phasis on production controls and frequently 
clashed with Wallace. He resigned after seven 
months and was replaced by Chester Davis, also a 
farm leader, but one who was more sympathetic to 
reducing acreage. Under Davis, the AAA's cotton 
program became the center of a national controver- 
sy when southern landlords began exploiting the 
production control contracts to evict sharecroppers 
or deny them an equitable distribution of AAA ben- 
efit payments. Davis investigated but, in spite of ex- 
tensive evidence indicating wholesale violations of 
the contracts by growers, he was unwilling to im- 
pose new rules that would protect the South's rural 
poor. When Jerome Frank, the head of the AAA's 
legal division, tried to impose a stricter interpreta- 
tion of the contract for the benefit of tenants and 
sharecroppers in 1935, Davis responded by hastily 
firing Frank and many of his staff. The New Deal 
then tried to address rural poverty outside the AAA 
by creating first the Resettlement Administration in 
1935 and then the Farm Security Administration in 
1937. 

Economic and political crises also forced fre- 
quent changes in AAA policies and programs. In 
October and November of 1933, a sharp increase in 
the prices of manufactured goods, caused in part by 
the policies of the National Recovery Administra- 
tion, brought new threats of farm strikes and de- 
mands for currency inflation and price -fixing. Presi- 
dent Roosevelt responded to the protests with an 
executive order creating the Commodity Credit 
Corporation (CCC) to make commodity loans to 
farmers and to serve as an adjunct to AAA pro- 
grams. The CCC could establish loan rates for com- 
modities, and if prices fell below the rate, farmers 
did not have to repay the loan. Political pressure 
from growers also minimized the voluntary features 



20 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A G R I C 



L T U R A L ADJUSTMENT 



D M I N I S T R A T I N 



of some commodity programs. Angry at the effect 
non-cooperators were having on prices, growers of 
potatoes, tobacco, and cotton succeeded in pressur- 
ing Congress in 1934 and 1935 to make participa- 
tion in their acreage control programs virtually 
mandatory. 

The processors and the Supreme Court posed 
a more formidable problem. Bitterly resentful at 
having to pay the processing tax, the middlemen 
challenged its constitutionality and in a six to three 
vote the Supreme Court ruled in their favor in the 
United States v. Butler decision of January 6, 1936. 
During the nearly three years before Butler, the 
AAA succeeded in injecting $1.1 billion in benefit 
payments into the farm economy and contributed 
to a modest but desperately needed $2.5 billion in- 
crease in gross farm income. The AAA did succeed 
in involving many thousands for farmers in its com- 
mittee system, but the results were not always what 
the advocates of grassroots planning had envi- 
sioned. In the south, the committees empowered 
white landlords who took advantage of black and 
white tenants and sharecroppers. The AAA also en- 
couraged a dramatic growth in American Farm Bu- 
reau Federation membership, which in turn fos- 
tered a narrow interest group orientation on the 
part of many farmers. 

Following Butler, AAA programs shifted yet 
again. In response to the devastating droughts of 
1934 and 1936, which had greatly curtailed grain 
production, Henry Wallace began to advocate the 
creation of an Ever-Normal Granary. This would 
involve extensive CCC commodity loans and stor- 
age operations, which, Wallace argued, would en- 
sure stable food supplies and also help maintain 
higher levels of farm income. In addition, Congress 
approved the Soil Conservation and Domestic Al- 
lotment Act (1936), which authorized the AAA to 
pay farmers to shift some portion of their acreage 
to soil-conserving crops in place of surplus com- 
modities. In 1937 Wallace campaigned for a more 
extensive farm bill, which became the second Agri- 
cultural Adjustment Act (1938). The act formally es- 
tablished the CCC commodity loans and crop stor- 
age programs, provided conservation payments for 
growers who restricted production, established a 
system of crop insurance, and provided mandatory 



production controls, or marketing quotas, if two- 
thirds of the producers of a commodity voted to ac- 
cept them. The act was a compromise between 
Wallace, who favored price supports as a means of 
establishing economic security for farmers, and the 
Farm Bureau, which wanted rigid production con- 
trols and high price-support loans to ensure parity 
prices. 

Unlike the original Agricultural Adjustment 
Act, the second act envisioned the Department of 
Agriculture having a permanent role in supporting 
farm prices and incomes. The efficacy of the new 
tools, however, was almost immediately over- 
whelmed by the combination of an economic reces- 
sion, favorable growing weather, and a deteriorat- 
ing world trade situation. Faced with a new round 
of crises, the AAA and the CCC struggled to sustain 
prices and needed both supplemental appropria- 
tions from Congress and massive export subsidies 
for wheat, cotton, and corn to avoid sharp price 
breaks. Only the sudden increase in wartime de- 
mand prevented a major farm crisis at the start of 
the 1940s. 

ASSESSMENT 

Economists have criticized the AAA for its inef- 
fective production controls, for limiting American 
agricultural exports by pushing U.S. prices out of 
line with world prices, and for impeding adjust- 
ments in crop and livestock specializations. Histori- 
ans and other critics have criticized the AAA for 
programs that benefited successful commercial 
farmers at the expense of the rural poor and for 
spurring the growth of narrowly focused farm inter- 
est groups. Such criticisms have validity, but they 
should not obscure the fact that the AAA ended the 
catastrophic unraveling of the farm economy dur- 
ing the early Depression years, allowed many farm- 
ers to survive the 1930s, and stabilized the farm 
economy in ways that encouraged new investment 
in tractors and technology later in the decade. Nor 
should the AAA's critics overlook the limited tools 
and strategies available for devising a farm program 
amidst the Great Depression. 

See Also: AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT; 
COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION (CCC); 
FARM POLICY; SUPREME COURT. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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R E 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Badger, Anthony J. Prosperity Road: The New Deal, Tobac- 
co, and North Carolina. 1980. 

Clarke, Sally H. Regulation and the Revolution in United 
States Tarm Productivity. 1994. 

Conrad, David Eugene. The Porgotten Farmers: The Story 
of Sharecroppers in the New Deal. 1965. 

Daniel, Pete. Breaking the Land: The Transformation of 
Cotton, Tobacco, and Rice Cultures since 1880. 1985. 

Fite, Gilbert C. George N. Peek and the Fight for Farm Pari- 
ty. 1954. 

Hamilton, David E. From New Day to New Deal: American 
Farm Policy from Hoover to Roosevelt, 1928-1933. 
1991. 

Kirkendall, Richard S. Social Scientists and Farm Politics in 
the Age of Roosevelt. 1966. 

McConnell, Grant. The Decline of Agrarian Democracy. 
1953. 

Nourse, E. G, Joseph Davis, and John D. Black. Three 
Years of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. 
1937. 

Perkins, Van L. Crisis in Agriculture: The Agricultural Ad- 
justment Administration and the New Deal, 1933. 1969. 

Saloutos, Theodore. The American Farmer and the New 
Deal. 1982. 

Schuyler, Michael W. The Dread of Plenty: Agricultural Re- 
lief Activities of the Federal Government in the Middle 
West, 1933-1939. 1989. 

Skocpol, Theda, and Kenneth Finegold. State and Party 
in America's New Deal. 1995. 

David Hamilton 



AGRICULTURE 

Agriculture underwent fundamental changes dur- 
ing the Great Depression because of the crushing 
need of farmers to find relief from severe economic 
hardship and their need to make adjustments to 
their new position in American society. American 
farmers had been shifting away from self- 
sufficiency to commercialism since the Civil War, 
but the speed of the process began increasing at the 
start of the twentieth century and particularly since 
World War I. In the mid 1920s the prices of com- 
modities such as wheat and cotton slipped down- 
ward, and they fell harshly in 1930. Only with 
World War II did substantial improvement come. 



During that interval the position of the farmer as an 
independent yeoman changed to that of a busi- 
nessman dependent on government support. This 
development had been steadily creeping forward 
for the past generation, and the farmer now had to 
accept this role to remain a viable part of the Ameri- 
can economy. 

In 1930 agriculture found itself facing old and 
unresolved problems. To begin with, farm prices 
were simply too low. Cotton had been 28.7 cents 
per pound in 1924, but hit bottom at 5.9 cents in 
1931, and never rose above 12.4 cents during the 
Depression. Wheat followed a similar pattern, ris- 
ing in price but never reaching the level it had held 
in some years of the previous decade. Exports, long 
a vital part of the commodity market, also fell dra- 
matically, but the loss of this market had begun in 
the 1920s, partly because of America's new position 
as a global creditor after World War I. This new 
condition, along with the country's protective tar- 
iffs, severely hampered the ability of foreign buyers 
to tap the U. S. market and led to the collapse of ex- 
port sales in 1930. By the 1920s, furthermore, the 
United States had a surplus farm population, and 
with their incomes falling, farm workers were un- 
deremployed. In the South and Midwest, tenant 
farming reached high proportions, about 40 percent 
by 1930, and these farmers lived in extreme poverty. 
Once the Depression hit, consumer demand for 
farm produce dropped and sent agriculture spiral- 
ing downward. Since farmers had been steadily be- 
coming less self-sufficient and more dependent on 
cash flow, they fell into one of their most extreme 
periods of hardship. 

Wretched conditions in agriculture during the 
Depression had severe ramifications. For one thing, 
the rural farm population in 1930 made up about 25 
percent of the total U.S. population, but a larger 
percentage of Americans depended on agriculture. 
During the past generation urban America had be- 
come more cosmopolitan, but rural residents lacked 
the amenities of modern living, such as electric 
lighting, radios, running water, adequate health 
care, and education. For this segment of the popu- 
lation, the standard of living was below the national 
level, and rural educational and cultural opportuni- 
ties were not keeping pace. Until farm incomes im- 



22 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



G R I C U L T 



R E 




During the 1930s many farmers continued to rely on mules and horses to work their fields. These brothers, photographed in 1939, 
worked the land on their father's farm near Outlook in Yakima county, Washington. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs 
Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



proved, the gap in lifestyles between urban and 
rural Americans would remain. For these reasons, 
the administration of President Franklin D. Roose- 
velt believed that agriculture had equal importance 
with industry in restoring prosperity to the nation, 
and therein lay one of the important Depression- 
era changes related to agriculture. 

Under the aegis of the New Deal, numerous as- 
sistance and relief programs went into operation in 
hopes of bringing prosperity back to agriculture. 



The price support programs, particularly the first, 
the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), 
which started in 1933, and the second AAA of 1938, 
set a guaranteed minimum price under staple 
crops. New Dealers thought improvements in sta- 
ple prices would also bring hikes in other agricul- 
tural goods. Along with the Commodity Credit 
Corporation (CCC), which offered farmers an op- 
portunity to store their crops in government ware- 
houses until commodity prices rose, the support 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



Z3 



AGRICULTURE 










«■■■■• 



A Farm Security Administration country superoisor and his assistant examine the oat crop of a rural rehabilitation borrower in 
West Carroll parish, Louisiana, in 1940. Many farmers kept their farms running during the Depression with loans and other aid 
from the Farm Security Administration. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



programs managed to raise prices, but only mod- 
estly. On the eve of America's entry into World War 
II, the United States still had large surpluses, or car- 
ryovers, in cotton, corn, and wheat. 

Price supports constituted only a portion of the 
federal assistance programs initiated during the 
Depression. In 1933 the Farm Credit Administra- 
tion began refinancing mortgage loans at low inter- 
est. Two years later the Farm Mortgage Moratorium 
Act implemented a three-year moratorium against 
seizure of farm property, which helped debt-laden 
farmers refinance their farms. That same year the 
Soil Conservation Service (SCS) went into opera- 
tion, and the Resettlement Administration (RA) 



undertook to furnish assistance to small farmers 
trying to buy land or relocate into different areas. 
The RA also offered assistance to tenants and 
sharecroppers trying to establish their own home- 
steads. In 1935 Roosevelt created the Rural Electri- 
fication Administration (REA) by executive order, 
but Congress gave it statutory authority in 1936. 
The REA began a program using farmer-owned co- 
operatives to provide rural residents with electricity. 
In 1936 the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allot- 
ment Act temporarily replaced the first AAA, which 
had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme 
Court. Later in 1937 the Farm Security Administra- 
tion went into operation. It absorbed and expanded 



Z4 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



G R I C U L T 



R E 




This farmer in Door county, Wisconsin, stopped cultivating his field to discuss his plans with the Farm Security Administration 
county supervisor in 1940. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



the operations of the RA by offering small land- 
owners, tenants, and sharecroppers opportunities 
to buy land, refurbish their homes, and participate 
in rural health cooperatives. 

These New Deal agencies represented a new 
effort to extend assistance and relief to agriculture. 
They offered help to all classes of farmers and land- 
owners, large and small, and to tenants and share- 
croppers. Not all the agencies survived past the 
New Deal, but a number of them, such as the REA, 
continued. What was probably the most important 
new concept of the Depression, the introduction of 
subsidized farming, became a regular feature of the 
American economy and continued into the twenty- 
first century. At the close of the Depression, agri- 
culture relied heavily on federal supports in various 



forms, ending the independence of farmers as indi- 
vidualistic yeomen. Farming was also on the road 
to becoming more commercial, a practice that had 
begun, however, prior to the Depression. 

NEW AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGIES 

Mechanization continued to advance during 
the Depression, though at a much slower rate. The 
Cotton Belt lagged drastically behind in the use of 
tractors and other implements owing to the techni- 
cal difficulty of developing machines to pick cotton 
and remove weeds in cotton fields. Southern farm- 
ers continued to rely heavily on hand labor and ani- 
mal power, but there were efforts nonetheless to 
develop a mechanical cotton picker by the Rust 
brothers and International Harvester. It was not 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



25 



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until after World War II, however, that a mechani- 
cal picker became available. 

In 1937 rubber tires became available for trac- 
tors, which made them more attractive for a variety 
of chores and tasks other than the cultivation of 
crops. During the nine-year period after 1930, the 
number of tractors used in agriculture nearly dou- 
bled; most were general purpose tractors used in 
the grain belt, Corn Belt, and areas of specialized 
production, such as dairying and vegetable farming. 
Improvements in other devices like water pumps, 
irrigation systems, and small motors also greatly 
aided the farmer. 

Advances in seed varieties greatly aided pro- 
duction. Hybrid corn replaced much of the open- 
pollinated varieties in the Corn Belt, and wheat that 
was resistant to "rust" began to be more widely cul- 
tivated during the Depression. Similar progress oc- 
curred with sugar beets, soybeans, and grain sor- 
ghum. New cotton varieties resistant to wind 
damage encouraged the spread of cotton on the 
Texas plains. And California began to expand its 
acreage of cotton with the development of the acala 
variety. Research into livestock production contin- 
ued with advances in cross breeding, artificial in- 
semination, nutritional feeds, and disease preven- 
tion. All of these advances enabled farmers to 
obtain greater yields and thereby increase the 
country's total production. As animal power de- 
clined, more land became available for food crop 
production rather than animal feed. By the late 
1930s manpower needs were expected to drop, par- 
ticularly in the southern states where advances in 
mechanization would soon occur. 

Improvements in mechanization and technolo- 
gy caused farmers to have greater capital needs, 
shoving them into commercial operations. In order 
to earn profit, landowners needed to expand the 
size of their operations, meaning more land, larger 
herds of livestock, and the use of more hybrid varie- 
ties of crops. Higher production per acre and great- 
er total volume of output became mandatory to re- 
main a viable part of the economy. 

CONCLUSION 

Once war broke out in Europe in 1939 and the 
economy began to improve from the effects of the 



war, agriculture was on the threshold of entering a 
new era. The federal government had become a 
partner in farming operations. Small family farms, 
or "dirt farmers," faced greater difficulty surviving 
in the competitive economics of commercial farm- 
ing, and tenants and sharecroppers began to sense 
the draw of city life as the United States started in- 
dustrializing for the war. 

The Depression had brought recognition that 
agriculture needed to modernize and overcome its 
reliance on hand labor and animal power. It was 
clear that small family operations would no longer 
provide an adequate standard of living, and if farm 
residents intended to keep pace in the increasingly 
modern and cosmopolitan world, they would have 
to abandon farming or operate on a commercial 
basis. This process had been underway prior to the 
Depression, of course, but the compelling hardship 
of the era forced this realization upon agriculture. 

See Also: AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT; 

AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ADMINSTRATION 
(AAA); AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION 
(AFBF). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Conrad, David Eugene. The Forgotten Farmers: The Story 
of Sharecroppers in the New Deal. 1965. 

Saloutos, Theodore. The American Farmer and the New 
Deal. 1982. 

U. S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers in a Changing 
World (Yearbook of Agriculture) . 1940. 

D. Clayton Brown 



AID TO DEPENDENT CHILDREN 
(ADC) 

Aid to Dependent Children (ADC), Title IV of the 
Social Security Act of 1935, provided federal match- 
ing grants to state programs for poor, "dependent" 
children. Although it was one of the least contro- 
versial provisions of the 1935 law, ADC paved the 
way for the single-parent family entitlement 
("welfare") that has provoked so much opposition 
and public criticism since the Depression. 

ADC federalized the state mothers' aid pro- 
grams that had been passed during the World War 



Z6 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



ID TO DEPENDENT CHILDREN (ADC) 




The Aid to Dependent Children program was established to provide assistance to low -income families with minor children, like 
these in Hale county, Alabama, photographed by Walker Evans in 1936. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, 
FSA/OWI Collection 



I era. These were state laws mandating that local 
governments assist mothers in homes where the 
"breadwinner" was incapacitated. A product of the 
Progressive -era reform crusade, mothers' aid pro- 
grams were often justified as a way of keeping low- 
income families intact and keeping children out of 
institutional care. The caseloads were generally 
small, as authorities sought to restrict mothers' aid 
to a few "deserving" recipients who conformed to 
middle-class norms. Mothers' aid programs spread 
quickly and were implemented by nearly every 
state in the two decades that preceded the Great 
Depression. In most localities, mothers' aid pro- 
grams were administered separately from tradition- 
al public and private "general relief" programs that 
assisted impoverished families and single individu- 
als. 



During the early years of the Great Depression, 
however, it was general relief that absorbed the 
bulk of unemployed workers seeking aid. Mothers' 
pension caseloads increased, but these programs 
were dwarfed by the national unemployment relief 
system, which by late 1932 was bankrolled in part 
by federal funds from the Reconstruction Finance 
Corporation. Mothers' aid programs were initially 
not eligible to receive federal funding under the 
New Deal's relief program, the Federal Emergency 
Relief Administration. 

When the Committee on Economic Security 
(CES), which wrote the Social Security Act, was 
created in June 1934, it was assumed that state 
mothers' aid programs would receive federal funds 
under the new legislation. This fact, coupled with 
the decision later in the year to abandon the federal 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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general relief program, represented an abrupt 
about-face for the New Deal. Now so-called "cate- 
gorical" programs (programs targeted to the elder- 
ly, children, and the disabled) would receive federal 
aid, and general assistance would be returned to 
the states. 

The planning and legislative process that pro- 
duced ADC attracted little public attention, yet 
there was a good deal of behind-the-scenes ma- 
neuvering for control of the program. Initially it was 
assumed that the United States Children's Bureau, 
the federal agency that oversaw national child wel- 
fare polices, would administer ADC. Children's Bu- 
reau officials actually wrote the initial policy draft 
for the CES. But these officials were a minority on 
the advisory committees that assisted the CES. Just 
prior to the submission of the legislation to Con- 
gress, the ADC program was taken from the Bureau 
and given to the Federal Emergency Relief Admin- 
istration, the New Deal agency that had been ad- 
ministering relief since 1933. This was a small and 
short-lived victory for the new federal bureaucracy 
of the early New Deal. 

Congress eventually decided to have ADC ad- 
ministered by a Bureau of Public Assistance located 
within the new Social Security Board. The Bureau 
of Public Assistance was also charged with admin- 
istering the larger and more politically important 
grant program for the elderly (Old Age Assistance). 
ADC, as the name implied, was now targeted to 
children and the term "mothers' pensions" was 
abandoned. Initially, federal grants provided for 
one-third of state program expenditures. This was 
expanded to a fifty-fifty matching grant in 1939. 

The overall impact of the new federal program 
was to liberalize the mothers' aid policies inherited 
from the Progressive era. To be eligible for federal 
aid, states were required to allocate funds for ADC 
and operate programs in all local areas. As a result, 
many states that had previously resisted appropri- 
ating funds for needy families were now forced to 
do so, and programs were established in many lo- 
calities that had never implemented mothers' aid. 
State and local policies that restricted aid to a limit- 
ed number of "worthy" widows were weakened, 
particularly by the influx of single parents who had 
worked their way onto the federal general relief 
rolls during the early years of the Depression. 



Still, ADC incorporated many of the restrictive 
features of the old mothers' pension programs. No 
adequate standard of aid was established, and pay- 
ments varied widely from state to state. States were 
allowed to keep traditional mothers' aid provisions 
requiring that aid be given only to those who main- 
tained a "suitable home" for their children. While 
such language could be used to increase benefit 
payments to make the homes more "suitable" (the 
approach federal officials advocated), it was also 
used to deny aid to needy applicants who did not 
conform to white middle-class norms. In southern 
states, suitable home requirements were widely 
used to deny aid to needy black families. 

Some historians have argued that the limita- 
tions inherent in ADC and the flaws in its early im- 
plementation sowed the seeds of the modern wel- 
fare dilemma. The New Deal's Social Security 
legislation, it is suggested, created a two-tiered 
welfare system: one set of popular national pro- 
grams (old-age insurance and unemployment com- 
pensation) existing side-by-side with an unpopular 
and politically vulnerable welfare entitlement 
(ADC). Others argue that the New Deal established 
a limited but politically defensible entitlement for 
children and suggest that the "welfare explosion" 
of the 1960s altered the original intent of ADC. Yet 
all agree that the ADC policy, which received virtu- 
ally no attention when the Social Security Act was 
passed in 1935, produced unforeseen consequences 
in social policy and politics 

See Also: CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS, IMPACT 
OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION ON; SOCIAL 
SECURITY ACT. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bell, Winifred. Aid to Dependent Children. 1965. 

Brown, Tosephine. Public Relief, 1929-1939. 1940. 

Gordon, Linda. Pitied but Not Entitled: Single Mothers and 
the History of Welfare, 1890-1935. 1994. 

Howard, Christopher. "Sowing the Seeds of 'Welfare': 
The Transformation of Mothers' Pensions, 
1900-1940." Journal of Policy History 4, no. 2 (1992): 
188-227. 

Piven, Frances Fox, and Cloward, Richard A. Regulating 
the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare. 1971. 

Skocpol, Theda. Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Polit- 
ical Origins of Social Policy in the United States. 1992. 



Z8 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



ALABAMA SHARECROPPERS 



N I N 



Teles, Stephen M. Who's Welfare?: AFDC and Elite Poli- 
tics. 1996. 

Jeff Singleton 



ALABAMA SHARECROPPERS' 

UNION 

The Alabama Sharecroppers' Union was the largest 
Communist-organized, black-led mass organiza- 
tion in the Deep South during the Great Depres- 
sion. Composed of African-American sharecrop- 
pers, tenant farmers, and agricultural wage 
laborers, the union at its peak numbered an esti- 
mated ten to twelve thousand members. However, 
due to persistent opposition from white southern- 
ers, shifts in agricultural production, unfavorable 
New Deal policies, and, ultimately, lack of Commu- 
nist support, the union was never able to effect per- 
manent change in working conditions for rural 
blacks in the South. 

Founded in 1931, the Alabama Sharecroppers' 
Union was part of a larger Communist Party effort 
to organize African Americans as a separate group 
of Americans that required "liberation" from capi- 
talist society. Most of the union's first members 
were semi-independent African -American farmers 
and sharecroppers who had been displaced by in- 
creasing farm mechanization and depressed com- 
modity prices. Within months of the group's found- 
ing, many members and nonmembers had to go 
into hiding after local white authorities killed an Af- 
rican-American union leader, Ralph Gray, in a dis- 
pute over working conditions. 

After Gray's death the organization regrouped 
and adopted the name Sharecroppers' Union. Fear- 
ing more white violence, the new secretary of the 
union, Al Murphy, an African-American Commu- 
nist from Georgia, turned the group into a secret 
underground organization whose members were 
armed for self defense. Under Murphy's leadership, 
the union spread into Alabama's "black belt" coun- 
ties and beyond to the Alabama-Georgia border; 
white violence spread along with it. A confronta- 
tion between white authorities and Sharecroppers' 
Union members in Reeltown, Alabama, in 1932 left 



three dead and several others wounded; eventually, 
five Sharecroppers' Union members were convicted 
and jailed for assault with a deadly weapon. 

Still, the Sharecroppers' Union continued to 
grow as African-American sharecroppers faced 
with evictions resulting from New Deal acreage re- 
duction policies joined in large numbers. By June 
1933 the union's membership was estimated at two 
thousand; fifteen months later estimates ran as 
high as eight thousand members. 

In 1934, a new white Sharecroppers' Union 
leader, Clyde Johnson, tried to merge the group 
with the newly formed Socialist-led Southern Ten- 
ant Farmers' Union, but the effort failed when the 
leadership of the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union 
denounced the Sharecroppers' Union as a Commu- 
nist front. Meanwhile, white violence persisted. 
Two strikes in Alabama in the spring and summer 
of 1935 left six dead and dozens of strikers jailed 
and beaten. 

In 1936 the Sharecroppers' Union, now at its 
peak membership, moved into Louisiana and Mis- 
sissippi as its leaders tried again to merge with the 
Southern Tenant Farmers' Union. When that at- 
tempt failed, the Communist Party ordered the 
Sharecroppers' Union to disband. Sharecroppers 
and tenant farmers were transferred to the National 
Farmers' Union, while the agricultural wage labor- 
ers of the Sharecroppers' Union were told to join 
the Agricultural Worker's Union, an affiliate of the 
American Federation of Labor (AFL). However, 
some Sharecroppers' Union locals in Alabama and 
Louisiana chose not to affiliate and remained inde- 
pendent into the 1940s. 

See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION; COMMUNIST PARTY; 
SOUTH, GREAT DEPRESSION IN THE. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Dyson, Lowell K. Red Harvest: The Communist Party and 
American Farmers. 1982. 

Shaw, Nate. All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw, 
compiled by Theordore Rosengarten. 1974. 

Mary Jo Binker 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



Z9 



A L E 



A N D E R 



WILLI 



ALEXANDER, WILLIAM. See FARM 
SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (FSA). 



ALLEN, FREDERICK LEWIS 

Frederick Lewis Allen (July 5, 1890-February 13, 
1954) was a writer, magazine editor, and popular 
historian. The son of an Episcopalian minister, 
Allen was descended from a line of estimable New 
Englanders that went back to the Mayflower. He re- 
ceived a superb education at Groton School and 
then at Harvard University, where he helped edit 
the literary magazine, and earned a B A. in English 
in 1912 and an MA. in modern languages in 1913. 
In 1914, he was hired by the prestigious Atlantic 
Monthly. After working for the Council on National 
Defense from 1917 to 1918 and a stint as Harvard's 
publicity manager from 1919 to 1923, Allen was 
hired as an editor for Harper's Magazine and spent 
the rest of his career there, becoming Harper's edi- 
tor-in-chief in 1941. A skillful and sensitive editor, 
Allen attracted distinguished contributors to Har- 
per's and solidified the magazine's reputation for 
intelligence and literary brilliance. He stole eve- 
nings and weekends from his editorial duties, how- 
ever, to write the books that were to make him fa- 
mous. 

In 1931, Allen published his best-known work, 
Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the Nineteen- 
Twenties. It was a remarkable survey of American 
popular culture from 1919 to 1929, written in a live- 
ly and engaging style, and filled with dramatic an- 
ecdotes and colorful personalities. Notable both for 
its acute perceptions of recent times and for its ap- 
peal to the general reading public, Only Yesterday 
sold more than a million copies and ran through 
twenty-two printings. Although Allen's book, 
along with numerous other influences, may have 
helped to fasten to the 1920s its exuberant, carefree, 
jazz-age image, it should not be dismissed as mere 
popularization: The historian William Leuchten- 
burg remarked that Only Yesterday was "written in 
such a lively style that academicians often under- 
rate its soundness." 

Allen tried to duplicate his success with a look 
at the 1930s, Since Yesterday: The Nineteen-Thirties 



in America, published in 1940. It was inevitably a 
more somber and serious portrait, emphasizing 
economic hardship, Franklin Roosevelt, and the 
darkening international scene. Since Yesterday re- 
tained the absorbing literary style of the earlier 
work and also became a best-seller, although it 
never reached the success of Only Yesterday. In ad- 
dition to these two works, Allen wrote three impor- 
tant books in his trademarked manner: The Lords of 
Creation (1935) was a study of Wall Street high fi- 
nance, centering on the figure of J. P. Morgan, a 
subject to which Allen returned in The Great Pier- 
pont Morgan (1949). Finally, Allen attempted a sur- 
vey of the first half of the twentieth century in The 
Big Change: America Transforms Itself 1900-1950 
(1952). 

Allen was respected and admired by his col- 
leagues, not only for his literary talents, but also for 
his generosity, modesty, fairness, and compassion. 
He died in New York City at the age of sixty-three. 

See Also: COMMUNICATIONS AND THE PRESS; 

HISTORY, INTERPRETATION, AND MEMORY OF 
THE GREAT DEPRESSION. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

"F. L. A. (1890-1954)." Harper's Magazine 208 (April 
1954): 74-75. 

Payne, Darwin. The Man of Only Yesterday: Frederick 
Lewis Allen. 1975. 

David W. Levy 



AMALGAMATED CLOTHING 
WORKERS (ACW) 

Founded in 1914, the Amalgamated Clothing 
Workers of America (ACW) was one of the nation's 
first independent industrial unions. Its leadership 
was largely drawn from the Jewish political left, in- 
cluding socialists like president Sidney Hillman, 
anarchists, syndicalists, and others. Targeting 
workers in the profitable men's clothing industry, 
the ACW actively organized women and immi- 
grant — especially southern and eastern Europe- 
an — workers. The ACW experienced its first suc- 



30 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A M A L G 



T E D 



CLOT 



I N G WORKERS 



A C W 



cesses in the 1910s, in an industry rapidly 
undergoing structural changes, where labor orga- 
nizers were bedeviled by production divisions be- 
tween "primary sector" firms like Hart, Schaffner & 
Marx that operated on a large-scale, rationalized 
shop basis, and garment industry subcontractors 
who engaged in the most exploitative forms of 
sweated-labor production. By the time of the Great 
Depression, the ACW had established itself as one 
of the leading independent industrial unions, al- 
though the most skilled workers in some shops, like 
cutters and tailors (called "labor aristocrats," some- 
times derisively), remained outside of the organiza- 
tion. 

The economic contraction of the early Depres- 
sion years devastated the ACW. By some estimates, 
only 10 percent of the members of the ACW were 
employed in January 1932, while union officials ne- 
gotiated temporary wage cuts (euphemistically 
termed "loans") to keep shops open and members 
employed. Both child labor and sweated labor ex- 
panded within the industry; in Baltimore, nearly 25 
percent of women workers in the industry labored 
in illegal conditions, and enforcement of local labor 
codes proved impossible. Open shop employers or- 
ganized to protect their interests. In New York, 
racketeering and criminal activity affected several 
locals; Hillman himself brought charges against 
corrupt union officials associated with the Jewish 
underworld. As conditions worsened, president 
Hillman vilified both the Herbert Hoover adminis- 
tration and the craft-based American Federation of 
Labor for their staunch adherence to the ethic of 
voluntarism. Militant leaders like Hillman called for 
a "new unionism" that linked workers' demands to 
government intervention in the economy, a devel- 
opment realized with the 1932 election of Franklin 
D. Roosevelt and the institution of the New Deal. 

The passage of the National Industrial Recov- 
ery Act coincided with aggressive ACW organizing 
drives. Hillman's influence within the Roosevelt 
administration resulted in a men's clothing code in 
the NRA that was advantageous to the ACW; con- 
sequently, homeworkers (sweated labor) were re- 
employed in manufacturing establishments, wages 
rose significantly, child labor was prevented, and 
membership surged within the union. Increasingly, 



the union's membership included not only Jewish, 
but also Italian workers; among the former, sectari- 
an political differences sometimes threatened to 
disrupt relations between the union's locals and its 
national officials, as in New York and Wisconsin in 
the late 1930s when Hillman prevented ACW locals 
from affiliating with state CIO councils heavily in- 
fluenced by Communist Party members. There 
were some fascist tendencies among Italian work- 
ers, especially in New York and Boston. Although 
women were generally discouraged from pursuing 
leadership positions within the ACW, the organiza- 
tion's elaborate cultural program, including labor 
colleges, helped to hold together an increasingly 
ethnically diverse membership. 

The ACW was a founding member of the Con- 
gress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). With sup- 
port from the CIO, the union expanded its mem- 
bership, taking in garment workers in the 
manufacture of nightclothes, work pants, and cov- 
eralls, as well as workers in laundry and dry- 
cleaning establishments. The ACW successfully ne- 
gotiated its first nationwide contract in 1937, in- 
cluding a significant wage increase. At the same 
time, Hillman and ACW organizers embarked on 
an ambitious plan to organize southern textile 
workers into the Textile Workers Organizing Com- 
mittee (TWOC), an undertaking that achieved only 
moderate success despite favorable rulings from the 
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in North 
Carolina and elsewhere. 

By the end of the 1930s, local ACW officials 
often found themselves at odds with national union 
officials, particularly in times of economic recession 
when local officials negotiated "local agreements," 
often calling for lower wages or "give-backs," to the 
national contract. On political issues, however, the 
ACW rank-and-file generally worked in concert 
with its leadership. Like Hillman and other leaders 
within the union, workers had flirted with third 
party movements, including New York's American 
Labor Party, in the mid-1930s. But most had re- 
turned to the Democratic Party by 1940, when Hill- 
man turned the ACW annual convention into a ve- 
hicle for Roosevelt's reelection in a grand "labor 
unity" pageant. Members responded enthusiasti- 
cally, voting in record numbers for Roosevelt and 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



31 



k H [ H I C 



[ X D U 5 



k H 



thus helping to further solidify the labor- 
government coalition that characterized much of 
the ACW's activities during the Depression years. 

See Also: AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR (AFL); 
CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS 
(CIO); HILLMAN, SIDNEY; INTERNATIONAL 
LADIES GARMENT WORKERS UNION (ILGWU); 
ORGANIZED LABOR. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Argensinger, Jo Ann. Making the Amalgamated: Gender, 
Ethnicity, and Class in the Baltimore Clothing Industry, 
1899-1939. 1999. 

Bernstein, Irving. The Lean Years: A History of the Ameri- 
can Worker, 1920-1933. 1960. 

Fraser, Steven. Labor Will Rule: Sidney Hillman and the 
Rise of American Labor. 1991. 

Seidman, Joel. The Needle Trades. 1942. 

Zeiger, Robert. The CIO, 1935-1955. 1995. 

Nancy Quam-Wickham 



AMERICAN EXODUS, AN 

In 1939 photographer Dorothea Lange and sociolo- 
gist Paul Schuster Taylor collaborated to publish a 
record of their social science observations and con- 
clusions drawn from their experiences in the Great 
Depression. They had collected the data for that re- 
cord, An American Exodus: A Record of Human Ero- 
sion, over the previous five years and while traveling 
through rural America under the aegis of the Reset- 
tlement Administration and, after the agency's 
name changed on January 1, 1937, the Farm Securi- 
ty Administration (RA-FSA). The book is divided 
into five sections: Old South, Plantation Under the 
Machine, Midcontinent, Dust Bowl, and Last West. 
All but nine of the photographs in the book are 
Lange's. 

Agricultural reform, the agenda of the RA-FSA, 
shaped American Exodus. Lange and Taylor con- 
cluded that the migrants who fled to California 
from devastated rural areas in the South and Mid- 
west could be compared to Europeans who had fled 
agricultural disasters to immigrate to America. 



Lange and Taylor saw a close parallel to one cause 
of European emigration: a process of agricultural 
consolidation known as enclosure, which dissolved 
small family-occupied or family-owned farms into 
large single-owner tracts. Enclosure in America was 
exacerbated by secondary hardships: agricultural 
mechanization and disfranchisement due to the 
poll tax. In addition, Lange and Taylor set the book 
in the wider cultural narrative of Frederick Jackson 
Turner's then-popular frontier thesis. 

Many of the captions accompanying the photo- 
graphs are descriptive of the subject of the photo- 
graph or of conditions that Lange and Taylor per- 
ceived had created the opportunity for the 
photograph to be taken; other captions consist of 
reported statistical data or historical quotes. Still 
others are quotations recorded by Lange and Taylor 
from the subjects in the photographs; some of these 
captions are extracts from longer statements, repro- 
duced out of context. 

Lange and Taylor had difficulty persuading a 
publisher to assume the expensive project. The suc- 
cess of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (1939) 
and widespread attention drawn by Carey McWil- 
liams's Factories in the Field (1939) ultimately con- 
vinced Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc., to take the project 
on. The book's distribution on January 19, 1940, five 
days before the release of John Ford's highly popu- 
lar film version of Steinbeck's novel, gave sales a 
boost. Nonetheless, contemporary critics unfavor- 
ably compared Lange and Taylor's self-styled social 
science reportage/argument to the compelling dra- 
matic narrative of the Joad family, notwithstanding 
American Exodus's subsequent and enduring critical 
acclaim. 

With national attention turning to World War 
II, An American Exodus went quickly out of print. It 
was reissued by Yale University Press in 1969 for 
the Oakland Museum of California and was pub- 
lished in a facsimile edition in 1999 by Jean-Michel 
Place. 

See Also: AGRICULTURE; LANGE, DOROTHEA; 
MIGRATION; PHOTOGRAPHY. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Lange, Dorothea, and Paul Taylor. An American Exodus: 
A Record of Human Erosion. 1939. Reprint, 1999. 



32 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AMERICAN 



FARM 



R E A 



FEDERATION 



A F B f 



Mayer, Henry. "The Making of a Documentary Book." In 
An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion 
(1939). 1999. 

Sampsell, Kate. "To Grab a Hunk of Lightning': An In- 
tellectual History of Depression-Era American Pho- 
tography." Ph.D. diss., Georgetown University. 
2002. 

Shindo, Charles J. Dust Bowl Migrants in the American 
Imagination. 1997. 

Stourdze, Sam. "Introduction." In An American Exodus: 
A Record of Human Erosion (1939). 1999. 

Kate Sampsell 



AMERICAN FARM BUREAU 
FEDERATION (AFBF) 

Organized in 1919, the American Farm Bureau Fed- 
eration (AFBF) initially sought educational and co- 
operative marketing solutions to the economic 
emergency gripping agriculture throughout the 
1920s. However, as these failed and the crisis deep- 
ened, membership waned. From a 1921 high of 
466,422 families, membership fell to 205,348 by 
1932. 

Desperate, the traditionally Republican AFBF 
offered its support to Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt 
repeatedly declared that insufficient farm income 
was at the root of the Depression and promised to 
direct the nation's attention to the farm crisis. Even 
before his election, Roosevelt met with farm lead- 
ers, including AFBF President Edward O'Neal, to 
discuss solutions to the emergency. 

What ultimately arose was the Agricultural Ad- 
justment Act (AAA). Allotting each producer a 
share of the domestic market required the involve- 
ment of tens of thousands of farmers. Counting pi- 
glets, measuring ground, and examining productiv- 
ity records dictated that extension agents enlist 
volunteers, most of whom were farm bureau mem- 
bers. Indeed, some argue that the AFBF's support 
for the AAA was predicated on the use of extension 
agents, assuming that their close association would 
revive flagging membership and finances. 

Membership climbed steadily during the 1930s, 
particularly in the cotton states. Some farmers may 



have been misled into joining the AFBF as a pre- 
sumed prerequisite for participation in the AAA. 
Elsewhere, membership rose with the suggestion 
that dues be deducted from benefit checks. Others 
joined hoping membership would gain them favor 
from county agents. In 1937, the AFBF recorded 
409,766 memberships. 

The substitution of the Soil Conservation and 
Domestic Allotment Act for the AAA gained initial 
support from the AFBF. Both programs relied upon 
the oversight of county agents and their associated 
farm bureaus. The price supports and economic as- 
sistance provided by the Commodity Credit Corpo- 
ration and the Farm Credit Administration also gar- 
nered AFBF favor. Members and leadership alike 
perceived of both agencies as relief mechanisms for 
commercially oriented, land-owning farmers. Sup- 
port for the second AAA was similarly based. 

Not all New Deal agricultural enterprises found 
favor with the AFBF. Particularly distasteful to the 
organization were the Resettlement Administration 
and its successor, the Farm Security Administration 
(FSA). According to the AFBF, FSA aid to tenant 
and small-scale farmers hindered agriculture's re- 
covery and prevented its efficient growth. The FSA 
focused more on reform than relief and did not 
have a particular role for county agents or farm bu- 
reau members. 

Whether a response to the increased visibility 
of the AFBF during the New Deal years, the per- 
ceived necessity of membership in the organiza- 
tion, or the improved farm economy of the 1930s, 
membership by 1940 reached 444,485 families. By 
2003 the organization had grown to 5,000,000 
members. 

See Also: AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT (AAA); 
FARM POLICY. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

American Farm Bureau. Homepage at: www.fb.com 

Campbell, Christina McFadyen. The Farm Bureau and the 
New Deal: A Study of the Making of National Farm Pol- 
icy, 1933-40. 1962. 

Kile, Orville M. The Farm Bureau through Three Decades. 
1948. 

Saloutos, Theodore. The American Farmer and the New 
Deal. 1982. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE 6 R E A F DEPRESSION 



33 



AMERICAN FEDERATION E L 



B R 



E L 



Schuyler, Michael W. The Dread of Plenty: Agricultural Re- 
lief Activities of the Federal Government in the Middle 
West, 1933-1939. 1989. 

Kimberly K. Porter 



AMERICAN FEDERATION OF 
LABOR (AFL) 



American labor movement. The fact that it obtained 
significantly improved working conditions for its 
members is undeniable, and the federation pointed 
to its record of gaining higher wages, shorter hours, 
workmen's compensation, laws against child labor, 
an eight-hour workday for government employees, 
and the exemption of labor from antitrust legisla- 
tion as proof of the success of its conservatism in 
comparison with other unions of its day. 



The American Federation of Labor (AFL) began as 
a conservative response to earlier labor unions in 
the United States. Late nineteenth-century labor 
leaders who opposed the socialist ideals of the 
Knights of Labor, as well as its belief in a central- 
ized labor movement, organized what became the 
AFL. The organization's founders believed that 
each member union should have a considerable de- 
gree of self-rule and the power to bring its concerns 
and views to an executive board that would work 
to implement agreed upon goals. Toward that end, 
representatives of a number of craft unions met in 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1881 and formed the 
Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions 
in the United States and Canada. Five years later at 
a meeting in Columbus, Ohio, this group reorga- 
nized and changed its name to the American Feder- 
ation of Labor. Samuel Gompers was behind the 
move of the cigar workers and other craft unions to 
make a clean break from the Knights of Labor. 
Gompers became the first president of the AFL and 
held that post, except for one year (1895), from 1886 
until his death in 1924. 

Under the AFL's plan of organization, individ- 
ual workers held membership in craft unions, while 
those unions belonged to, or were affiliated with, 
the AFL. These craft unions were made up of skilled 
workers, such as plumbers or electricians. The AFL 
resisted organizing or affiliating with industrial 
unions that were made up of all the workers in a 
particular industry, such as automobile workers. 

In conformity with its conservative nature, the 
AFL refused to form a labor party, generally re- 
frained from political action, and tended to empha- 
size its ability to promote labor-management har- 
mony. Because the AFL opposed Socialist and 
Communist influence, it considered itself a truly 



THE AFL DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION 

During the Great Depression, the AFL began to 
chart new paths while adapting older approaches to 
new conditions. At the beginning of the Depres- 
sion, for example, the AFL called for a broad ap- 
proach that took into account production, employ- 
ment, and consumption. The AFL's program called 
for a federal employment service, public works, and 
a federal program to stabilize management and 
labor, with labor input. Moreover, the AFL called 
for the establishment of a federal bureau of labor 
statistics to compile accurate unemployment data. 

The AFL also called on the president to estab- 
lish a national relief committee, and supported 
Herbert Hoover's President's Emergency Commit- 
tee on Employment. The AFL's member unions do- 
nated time and aid to get the relief movement 
working, and later in the decade the federation 
supported what became the Wagner Act (National 
Labor Relations Act, 1935), which protected organi- 
zation efforts and gave unions federal protection. 

Although the AFL initially rejected unemploy- 
ment insurance, branding it as un-American, mem- 
ber unions supported it and pressed the federa- 
tion's executive council to do likewise. The council 
however, repeated its stand that unemployment in- 
surance would foster idleness and retard recovery, 
citing the experience of Great Britain and Germany 
to support its opposition. During the year the AFL 
executive council indicated repeatedly that it would 
not alter its stand against unemployment insur- 
ance. The council's further argument against un- 
employment insurance was that it would require 
registration of every worker and lead to control by 
federal and state governments. This control would, 
the council argued, lead to a limit on the rights of 
union workers to fight for better conditions and 



3<, 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AMERICAN F E D E R 



E I N 



E LA 



R 



A F L 



would weaken unions by forcing workers to take 
jobs in non-union plants. 

The AFL, in sum, had three basic ideas about 
the Depression: (1) The Depression was caused by 
the failure of wages and salaries to keep up with in- 
dustry's power to produce; (2) management caused 
the Depression because of its failure to maintain a 
balance between production and consumption; and 
(3) government had a responsibility to help workers 
find jobs and should push management toward 
adopting policies that promoted stability. To com- 
bat the effects of the Depression, the AFL urged 
that working hours be reduced to help stabilize in- 
dustry. The federation also called for the govern- 
ment to establish a national economic council to 
maintain economic equilibrium through a national 
employment system, efficient industry planning for 
production, public works, vocational guidance and 
retraining, studies of technological unemployment 
and relief proposals, and a general program of edu- 
cation to meet the changing needs of industry. The 
AFL called, additionally, for a five-day workweek 
and six-hour workday. Finally, the AFL called on 
Hoover to convene a joint management-labor 
meeting to develop a plan to end the Depression. 

During the Depression, the AFL began to take 
more notice of industrial unions. There were two 
major industrial unions in the AFL at the beginning 
of the Depression, the Brewery Workers and the 
United Mine Workers. The United Mine Workers, 
under John L. Lewis, began to push the AFL toward 
organizing other industrial workers, and the feder- 
ation was receptive to this stimulus. The problems 
faced by the railway unions further moved the AFL 
into support of industrial unionism. The railway 
unions faced serious problems, including cuts in 
wages, when the railway industry underwent major 
reorganization, and railway workers became more 
radical. The AFL's advocacy of industrial stabiliza- 
tion with governmental aid made it important to 
foster industrial unionism. Moreover, the AFL 
changed its policy from one of opposition to gov- 
ernment aid in union-management negotiations to 
one of advocating such government intervention. 
Federal protection for collective bargaining became 
one of the AFL's major goals. 

During the Depression the AFL did not cling 
rigidly to conservative positions. Rather, it began to 



embrace bolder views, reaching out for solutions to 
various segments of the labor movement. The fact 
that the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) 
embraced more radical positions long overshad- 
owed the major changes that the Depression stim- 
ulated in the AFL. 



THE CREATION OF THE CIO AND ITS 
CHALLENGE TO THE AFL 

From its beginnings, the AFL had opposed in- 
dustrial unions. Conditions, however, were greatly 
different in the United States of the 1930s. World 
War I had changed the country forever, and it had 
become a great industrial power. The Great De- 
pression further changed social and economic reali- 
ty, making clear how closely and inextricably social 
and economic conditions were intertwined. 

A large minority of the AFL's members recog- 
nized the necessity of organizing industrial work- 
ers. The mass-production industries, including 
steel, automobiles, and rubber, required organiza- 
tion on an industry-wide basis. John L. Lewis, head 
of the United Mine Workers of America, recognized 
the need for industrial unions, and he became lead- 
er of the group within the AFL that formed a Com- 
mittee for Industrial Organization in 1935. The CIO 
left the AFL in 1938, and changed its name to the 
Congress of Industrial Organizations, immediately 
launching organizing drives in the industrial sector 
and achieving spectacular success with the aid of 
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's strong sup- 
port. 

The two confederations of unions remained 
separated until 1955 when George Meany of the 
AFL and Walter Reuther of the CIO led a drive to 
merge them. The new organization, the American 
Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Or- 
ganizations (AFL-CIO), elected George Meany as 
its president. Despite some problems, including 
Reuther's withdrawal of the automobile workers 
and the expulsion of the Teamsters Union, the 
merger has held. The decline in union membership 
and power since the 1950s has been a major factor 
in keeping the AFL-CIO together. 

See Also: COLLECTIVE BARGAINING; CONGRESS OF 
INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS (CIO); GREEN, 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



35 



A M E R I C 



GUIDE 



SERIES 



WILLIAM; INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S 
ASSOCIATION; LABOR'S NON-PARTISAN 
LEAGUE; ORGANIZED LABOR. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bancroft, Gertrude, and the U.S. Social Science Research 
Council. The American Labor Force: Its Growth and 
Changing Composition. 1958. 

Brody, David. Labor's Cause: Main Themes on the History 
of the American Worker. 1993. 

Browder, Laura. Rousing the Nation: Radical Culture in De- 
pression America. 1998. 

Galenson, Walter. The CIO Challenge to the ALL: A History 
of the American Labor Movement, 1935-1941. 1960. 

Goldberg, Arthur J. AFL-CIO, Labor United. New York: 
McGraw-Hill, 1956. 

Gompers, Samuel, ed. Seventy Years of Life and Labor: An 
Autobiography. 1925. 

Gould, William B. Black Workers in White Unions: fob Dis- 
crimination in the United States. 1977. 

Harris, Herbert. Labor's Civil War. 1940. 

Jacoby, Daniel. Laboring for Freedom: A New Look at the 
History of Labor in America. 1998. 

Kennedy, David M. Freedom from Fear: The American Peo- 
ple in Depression and War, 1929-1945. 1999. 

McKelvey, Jean Trepp. AFL Attitudes toward Production, 
1900-1932. 1952. 

Millis, Harry A., and Emily Clark Brown. From the Wagner 
Act to Taft-Hartley: A Study of National Labor Policy 
and Labor Relations. 1950. 

Northrup, Herbert R. Organized Labor and the Negro. 
1944. 

Northrup, Herbert, and Gordon F. Bloom. Government 
and Labor: The Role of Government in Union- 
Management Relations. 1963. 

O'Brien, Ruth Ann. Workers' Paradox: The Republican Ori- 
gins of New Deal Labor Policy, 1886-1935. 1998. 

Frank A. Salamone 



in length, and include a brief history of the state, as 
well as descriptions of its geography, culture, in- 
dustry, and agriculture. In addition to the state 
guides, the series also produced shorter guides and 
pamphlets for major cities, including Los Angeles, 
New Orleans, and Philadelphia; regional guides for 
such areas as the Oregon Trail and U.S. Route One, 
which ran from Fort Kent, Maine, to Key West, 
Florida; and local guides to such sites as Death Val- 
ley and Mount Hood. 

Produced by the Federal Writers' Project of the 
Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Ameri- 
can Guide series, like other WPA ventures, aimed 
to give meaningful skilled work to unemployed 
Americans. No comparable guide series existed, 
while the seemingly neutral content of the guides 
promised not to attract controversy. Generically, 
the guides represent a combination of encyclopedia 
and travel narrative; their prose is economical. Al- 
though the writing in most guides is not credited, 
the American Guide series employed the talents of 
more than 7,500 writers, including major figures. 
For instance, the Illinois guide featured the work of 
Richard Wright, Saul Bellow, Nelson Algren, and 
Jack Conroy. 

The guides demonstrate Americans' growing 
fascination with the country's regional variations 
and its history. Each guide includes detailed direc- 
tions for recommended tours of each state, thus en- 
couraging domestic travel and tourism. The guides 
also represent the New Deal's concern with region- 
al interdependence and national planning. The se- 
ries asserted the vitality of the nation during its 
worst economic crisis. Finally, because of its size, 
the series stands as a testimony to the New Dealers' 
faith in large-scale projects. 

See Also: FEDERAL ONE; FEDERAL WRITERS' 
PROJECT (FWP); WORKS PROGRESS 
ADMINISTRATION (WPA). 



AMERICAN GUIDE SERIES 

Published between 1935 and 1943, the American 
Guide series of more than one thousand books and 
pamphlets provided travel guides of the American 
states, as well as the territories of Alaska and Puerto 
Rico. The state volumes average five hundred pages 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bold, Christine. The WPA Guides: Mapping America. 1999. 

Mangione, Jerre. The Dream and the Deal: The Federal 
Writers' Project, 1934-1943. 1972. 

Schindler-Carter, Petra. Vintage Snapshots: The Fabrica- 
tion of a Nation in the W.P.A. American Guide Series. 
1999. 

Trent A. Watts 



36 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AMERICAN 



LABOR PARTY 




FOUR COLOR ROAD MAP AND 14 MAPS 

OF SPECIFIC AREAS • 624 PAGES 

■I60GRAVURE ILLUSTRATIONS* 



S *'CAH GU\^ 



FORNIA - WORKS PROGRESS ADM 1 N I STRATJO^ 



This Federal Art Project poster promoted an American Guide Series volume on California. Library of Congress, Prints & 
Photographs Division. WPA Poster Collection 



AMERICAN LABOR PARTY 

In 1936 it was feared that traditional anti-Tammany 
D emocratic voting habits among New York's immi- 
grant and first generation working-class voters, 
especially Jews, might cost Franklin D. Roosevelt 
the electoral votes of his home state. Two 
pro-Roosevelt labor leaders, Sidney Hillman 
of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union 
and David Dubinsky of the International Ladies' 
Garment Workers' Union, formed the American 
Labor Party (ALP) to appeal to voters who other- 
wise might have voted for Socialist and even Re- 
publican candidates. The effort was successful: 



More than a quarter million voted for Roosevelt on 
the ALP line. 

The formation of the ALP coincided with other 
third party efforts aimed at pressuring the New 
Deal from the left, especially the midwestern Far- 
mer Labor Party movement. Many independent 
radicals, as well as members of the Communist 
Party, joined these movements. In New York, leftist 
trade unionists, Communists, and others organized 
local constituency clubs. In return, the ALP was 
courted by liberal candidates in both the major par- 
ties. In 1937, New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia, 
who had formed his own ad hoc "Fusion" party in 
his first election, and had previously run for Con- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



37 



AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE 



gress on Republican and Socialist tickets, received 
nearly a half-million ALP votes, providing his mar- 
gin of victory. La Guardia became an enrolled 
member of the party. The ALP also elected two 
New York city council members (something it con- 
tinued to do for the next decade under New York's 
proportional representation laws). In 1938 the ALP 
secured the radical Vito Marcantonio's return to 
Congress. 

Providing unions and community activists with 
an electoral voice — and maintaining an uneasy co- 
alition of Communist and anti-Communist constit- 
uencies — the ALP championed racial equality in 
schools, housing, and employment, and subsidized 
public housing and an array of welfare programs, at 
the some time that it effectively muted the corrupt 
Tammany machine's hold on political life. The 
ALP's arrangement of constituent community ser- 
vice, pioneered by Marcantonio, replaced Tamma- 
ny's corrupt system, involving bribes, payoffs, and 
election fraud. The party also played a central role 
in the election of African Americans and Hispanics 
to the New York city council, the U.S. Congress, 
and the New York state legislature. 

But with the Nazi- Soviet pact in 1939, the 
Communist/non-Communist split became irrepa- 
rable. Marcantonio and his pro-Communist sup- 
porters gained control of the party and in 1944 the 
an ti- Communist wing left to form the Liberal Party. 
The ALP provided large vote totals for Roosevelt in 
1944, for Henry A. Wallace's independent presi- 
dential candidacy in 1948, and for Marcantonio's 
mayoral race in 1949. But with the Cold War, anti- 
Communism, and suburbanization sapping the 
ALP's working-class voter base, the party vanished 
in the mid-fifties. 

See Also: LA GUARDIA, FIORELLO H.; 

MARCANTONIO, VITO; ORGANIZED LABOR. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Marcantonio, Vito. I Vote My Conscience: Debates, Speech- 
es, and Writings of Vito Marcantonio, 1935-1950, ed- 
ited by Annette T. Rubinstein and associates. 1956. 

Meyer, Gerald. Vito Marcantonio: Radical Politician, 
1902-1954. 1989. 

Walzer, Kenneth Alan. "The American Labor Party: 
Third Party Politics in New Deal-Cold War New 



York, 1936-1954." Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 
1977. 

John J. Simon 



AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE 

On August 22, 1934, spokesman Jouett Shouse an- 
nounced the creation of the American Liberty 
League. According to Shouse, the group was 
formed to defend the Constitution, to protect pri- 
vate property rights, and to encourage the public to 
support traditional American political values. The 
league's founders were disgruntled business con- 
servatives, Wall Street financiers, right-wing oppo- 
nents of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, and de- 
feated rivals within Roosevelt's Democratic Party. 
The league's benefactors included the du Pont 
brothers (Pierre, Irenee, and Lammot); their busi- 
ness partner and former Democratic Party chair- 
man, John J. Raskob; financier E. F. Hutton; and ex- 
ecutive Sewell Avery of Montgomery Ward. Many 
of the politicians active in the league were Republi- 
cans, but more visible were anti-Roosevelt Demo- 
crats such as 1924 and 1928 presidential nominees 
John W. Davis and Alfred E. Smith. Many league 
activists had worked together earlier for the relegal- 
ization of the U. S. liquor industry through the As- 
sociation Against the Prohibition Amendment. 

Motivating league founders was a growing dis- 
taste of the expansion of federal power and of gov- 
ernment intrusions upon the prerogatives of private 
businessmen. They condemned early New Deal re- 
lief and public jobs programs, agricultural produc- 
tion controls and subsidies, sponsorship of collec- 
tive-bargaining rights, federal regulation of the 
banking and securities industries, and creation of 
public power facilities. Expansion in 1935 of federal 
regulation and taxation of business, promotion of 
labor rights, and income support for the poor and 
elderly through the Works Progress Administra- 
tion, the Wagner Act, Social Security, and the 
Wealth Tax Act infuriated leaguers even more. But 
critics effectively lampooned league members as 
champions of privilege, ungrateful critics of an ad- 
ministration that had saved capitalism, and vindic- 



38 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AMERICAN 



NEGRO 



L A 



OR CONGRESS 



N L C 



tive and selfish individuals seeking revenge on a 
president for betraying his social class. 

The Liberty League raised money and financed 
legal critiques of New Deal measures, published 
anti-New Deal pamphlets and political propagan- 
da, and aided the effort to defeat Roosevelt in 1936. 
Despite the organization's help for Republican 
nominee Alfred M. Landon, the incumbent won in 
a landslide. With the 1936 election seen as a repudi- 
ation of the league, it rapidly faded into obscurity, 
playing but a minimal role in such battles as the 
1937 court-packing fight. By 1940, the Liberty 
League had ceased active operation. However, its 
legacy of fund-raising tactics, ideology-driven is- 
sues research and public education, and coordina- 
tion with partisan legislative and electoral cam- 
paigns foreshadowed today's political action 
committees and independent-expenditure organi- 
zations. 

See Also: CONSERVATIVE COALITION; ELECTION OF 
1936; RASKOB, JOHN J.; SMITH, ALFRED E. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Burk, Robert F. The Corporate State and the Broker State: 
The du Fonts and American National Politics, 
1925-1940. 1990. 

Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox. 
1956. 

Leuchtenburg, William E. Franklin Roosevelt and the New 
Deal, 1932-1940. 1963. 

Wolfskill, George. The Revolt of the Conservatives: A Histo- 
ry of the American Liberty League, 1934-1940. 1962. 

Robert F. Burk 



AMERICAN NEGRO LABOR 
CONGRESS (ANLC) 

Organized in Chicago in October 1925 by the 
American Communist Party and its Trade Union 
Educational League, the American Negro Labor 
Congress (ANLC) sought "the abolition of all dis- 
crimination, persecution, and exploitation of the 
Negro race and working people generally." In a sig- 
nificant shift from the party's earlier strategy to or- 
ganize black laborers along separatist black nation- 



alist or "Pan-Africanist" lines in the African Blood 
Brotherhood (ABB), the ANLC, led by former ABB 
proponents Lovett Fort-Whiteman, H. V. Phillips, 
Edward Doty, and Harry Haywood, planned to 
achieve its goal by bringing black and white work- 
ers and farmers together in a nondiscriminatory 
trade union movement — an interracial proletarian 
movement. The ANLC hoped to form local councils 
in all centers of African-American population, es- 
pecially in the South. The councils in turn would 
form interracial labor committees to eliminate all 
practices that divided black and white workers and 
to support all efforts to unite them. 

The few hundred black laborers who attended 
the ANLC's opening session, however, quickly be- 
came disenchanted with the organization when the 
evening's entertainment turned out to be a Russian 
ballet and a play by Alexander Pushkin, performed 
in Russian. Only a handful attended the next day's 
organizing meeting, and even fewer local councils 
were formed. The National Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Colored People, the National Urban 
League, and the African-American press each casti- 
gated the ANLC for being under the thumb of 
Communists. Lacking popular support, the 
ANLC's major activity became its opposition to the 
Socialist and anti- Communist A. Philip Randolph, 
the head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Por- 
ters (BSCP). When the BSCP applied for affiliation 
with the American Federation of Labor in 1926, the 
ANLC criticized Randolph and the BSCP leaders 
for selling out: "They have forsaken the militant 
struggle in the interests of the workers for the policy 
of class collaboration with the bosses." By then, 
however, the ANLC, beset by African -American in- 
difference and disunity, as well as white hostility, 
barely existed. Outside of several tiny units in Chi- 
cago, only the ANLC's official paper, the Negro 
Champion, subsidized by the American Communist 
Party, struggled on. After several years of stagna- 
tion, its objectives never realized, the ANLC ceased 
existence in 1930, and was succeeded by the Na- 
tional Negro Labor Congress the following year. 

See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON; BROTHERHOOD OF 
SLEEPING CAR PORTERS (BSCP); RANDOLPH, A. 
PHILIP. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



39 



AMERICAN 



SCENE 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Haywood, Harry. Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an 
Afro-American Communist. 1978. 

Naison, Mark. Communists in Harlem During the Depres- 
sion. 1983. 

Solomon, Mark. The Cry Was Unity: Communists and Af- 
rican-Americans, 1917-1936. 1998. 

Spero, Sterling D., and Abram L. Harris. The Black Work- 
er. 1931. 

Harvard Sitkoff 



AMERICAN SCENE, THE 

The American Scene emerged in the 1920s and was 
related to the earlier Ashcan school of New York re- 
alists. It became the prevailing form of fine art ex- 
pression during the 1930s as the economic Depres- 
sion and the developing international crisis 
prompted American artists to become more cultur- 
ally introspective and more socially committed. 
Echoing the New Deal's own values, its most sa- 
lient characteristics were nationalism and de- 
mocracy. 

The American Scene is associated most closely 
with the regionalist school of painters based in the 
Midwest, such as Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) 
of Missouri, Grant Wood (1892-1942) of Iowa, and 
John Steuart Curry (1897-1946) of Kansas. The re- 
gionalist artists were committed to an art of the lo- 
cality and produced engaging images of their re- 
gion, its landscape, and its people. Their ideal of 
America was rural, and it is resonant in spirit of the 
significance that historian Frederick Jackson Turner 
attached to the frontier in molding American values 
and institutions. Such an American particularism 
was often sharpened by the fact that their practice 
drew upon the "naive" school of nineteenth- 
century American art. Unlike the "Lost Genera- 
tion" of the 1920s, their work was inspired by 
"commitment" and a determination to engage with 
their society. This involved not only relating their 
work to "the people," but also making it accessible 
for their subjects to appreciate. Its strong represen- 
tational emphasis and the incorporation of readily 
recognizable symbols and images have given some 



of their work lasting iconographic significance. 
Wood's American Gothic (1930), for example, has 
been copied, parodied, and recycled in diverse 
forms. 

Visits to Europe during the 1920s reinforced the 
regionalists' determination to work with American 
themes and idioms. In 1932 Benton claimed that 
"No American art can come to those who do not 
live an American life, who do not have an American 
psychology, who cannot find in America justifica- 
tion for their lives." Modernism provoked the scorn 
of the regionalists. In 1935 Wood wrote a manifes- 
to, "Revolt against the City," which proposed that 
American art free itself of European influences, es- 
pecially from abstractionism. The regionalists' 
fierce patriotism, localism, anti-urbanism, and anti- 
Marxism provoked the scorn of some critics who re- 
garded the group as parochial and complacent. 
Their celebration of such embattled qualities in De- 
pression America as social order, organic commu- 
nity, and the work ethic was dismissed as an embit- 
tered restorationism. The regionalists were also 
resented because of their influence in New Deal 
agencies and the prestigious commissions that they 
received. 

However, the regionalists' work was never as 
uncritical or unproblematic as is often claimed. 
Benton's decoration of the Missouri State Capitol in 
Jefferson City (1936) and Curry's murals for the 
Kansas Statehouse in Topeka (1937-1942) pro- 
voked considerable controversy. Despite the re- 
gionalists' identification with the people of the 
Midwest, some of their constituents complained 
that the murals presented them as caricatures and 
they objected to their states being associated with 
the James Brothers, John Brown, and tornadoes. In- 
deed, the regionalists' anti-modernism should not 
be overemphasized, their rhetoric notwithstanding. 
In the rhythmical lines and cartoon figures of Ben- 
ton's canvases and the satirical and surreal aspects 
of Wood's work, influences other than American 
ones are readily apparent, and it should not be for- 
gotten that Jackson Pollock was one of Benton's 
pupils. The work of Benton, Curry, and Wood was 
more diverse and less given to cliche than that of 
their many imitators who worked for the Treasury 
Department's Section of Fine Arts or the WPA's 
Federal Art Project. 



kO 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



AMERICAN STUDENT 



UNION 



While the American Scene is often associated 
with the midwestern regionalists, it should include, 
also, social realist artists whose outlook was more 
urban and whose point of view was more critical of 
existing institutions and values. The didactic paint- 
ings of Philip Evergood, Ben Shahn, Moses Soyer, 
and their metropolitan colleagues provided cri- 
tiques of the capitalist system, and by affirming 
working-class lives and satirizing those of the 
upper classes, they sought to prompt militant polit- 
ical consciousness and action. Like the regionalists, 
they were committed to an aesthetic of place and 
to the principle of relating their work to ordinary 
people, although their focus was upon the everyday 
experience of the urban working class and the im- 
pact of the Depression upon them. Stylistic accessi- 
bility was also essential for art as a political project 
and the social realists condemned the development 
of modernist abstractionism as politically and so- 
cially irrelevant. Although some social realists 
hoped that the people would become their patrons 
under the auspices of the union movement, more 
artists gained the opportunity to communicate to a 
wider public through federal employment. Their 
style was ubiquitous, although necessarily political- 
ly constrained, and social realists received major 
commissions, such as Shahn's decoration of the So- 
cial Security Building in Washington, D.C. 
(1941-1942). 

Both groups became objects of growing criti- 
cism as the decade progressed and they came to be 
associated with representational art in totalitarian 
states. According to the influential critic Clement 
Greenberg, "art for the millions" was tantamount 
to "kitsch" that could be manipulated by the state 
for its own purposes. He believed that cultural pres- 
ervation and progress was possible only through 
the promotion of a politically innocent avant-garde. 
It is ironic that for all the strident Americanism of 
the 1930s, it would be abstract expressionism that 
would become recognized globally as the first truly 
authentic American form of art. 

See Also: ART; FEDERAL ART PROJECT (FAP). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Baigell, Matthew. The American Scene: American Painting 
of the 1930s. 1974. 



Corn, Wanda M. Grant Wood: The Regionalist Vision. 
1983. 

Dennis, James M. Renegade Regionalists: The Modern Inde- 
pendence of Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and 
John Steuart Curry. 1998. 

Doss, Erika. Benton, Pollock, and the Politics of Modernism: 
From Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism. 1991. 

Greenberg, Clement. "Avant-Garde and Kitsch." Parti- 
san Review 6 (1939). Reprinted in Clement Green- 
berg. Art and Culture: Critical Essays. 1961. 

Heller, Nancy, and Julia Williams. Painters of the Ameri- 
can Scene. 1982. 

Kendall, M. Sue. Rethinking Regionalism: John Steuart 
Curry and the Kansas Mural Controversy. 1986. 

Shapiro, David, ed. Social Realism: Art as a Weapon. 1973. 

Stuart Kidd 



AMERICAN STUDENT UNION 

The Depression decade witnessed the rise of the 
first mass student protest movement in American 
history. This movement, which crusaded against 
war and fascism, and initially promoted a political 
agenda to the left of the New Deal, was led by the 
American Student Union (ASU), the largest U.S. 
student activist organization of its time 
(1935-1941). At its peak years of influence in the 
mid and late 1930s, the ASU had some 20,000 
members, mobilized almost half the nation's col- 
lege students in antiwar protests, lobbied for great- 
er federal aid to low income students and unem- 
ployed youth, became a campus voice for racial 
equality and workers' rights, championed student 
free speech rights, attracted the support of Eleanor 
Roosevelt, and even generated student activism in 
some of the nation's high schools. 

Although it arose during the Depression, the 
ASU-led student movement's most massive mobi- 
lizations focused on peace rather than the econo- 
my. Convinced that World War I had served plutoc- 
racy rather than democracy, and had paved the way 
for the rise of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, 
many college students embraced isolationism, paci- 
fism, and anti-interventionism. This antiwar mood 
facilitated the rise of a mass peace movement on 
campus, which beginning in 1934 featured the first 



ENCYCLOPEDIA T T H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



u 



AMERICAN STUDENT 



UNION 



national student strikes in American history, annual 
one-hour peace rallies, and boycotts of classes held 
on the anniversary of U.S. intervention in World 
War I. These strikes, which mobilized 25,000 stu- 
dents in April 1934 and more than 100,000 students 
in 1935, were organized by the Communist-led Na- 
tional Student League (NSL) and the Socialist-led 
Student League for Industrial Democracy (SLID). 
The success of these strikes, together with the 
Communists' new Popular Front movement, which 
urged unity against fascism, led NSL and SLID to 
merge into the ASU during a national unity con- 
vention of student activists in Columbus, Ohio, in 
December 1935. The ASU's biggest successes in its 
early life were the 1936 and 1937 antiwar strikes, 
each of which rallied more than 500,000 students 
for peace. 

The ASU was emblematic of the shift leftward 
of American student politics in the 1930s, marking 
a sharp break with the conservatism that had domi- 
nated the campuses in the 1920s, when students 
endorsed Republican presidential candidates by 
even larger majorities than did the American elec- 
torate. Although its leaders were predominantly 
leftists, the ASU found much common ground with 
liberals as it urged students to show solidarity with 
the burgeoning labor movement, supported the 
New Deal's more egalitarian measures, and criti- 
cized racial discrimination both on campus and off. 
With this kind of left-liberal ideology setting the 
tone of campus politics, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 
1936 became the first Democratic presidential can- 
didate in decades to win a plurality of the national 
student straw vote. It is little wonder, then, that El- 
eanor Roosevelt, attracted by their youthful ideal- 
ism, befriended several ASU leaders, worked with 
them in their campaign to expand federal aid to 
needy students, and defended them when they 
were attacked by the red-hunting House Commit- 
tee on Un-American Activities. 

International events, most notably the Spanish 
Civil War, rocked the ASU and the student peace 
movement and undermined their anti- 
interventionist ethos. That war seemed to prove 
that U.S. neutrality could not preserve peace, for 
while the United States embargoed the Spanish Re- 
public, Hitler gave military assistance to the fascist 



rebels who ultimately crushed the young republic. 
The ASU, influenced by these events — especially by 
the deaths of several ASU members who joined the 
International Brigade in its fight to save the Spanish 
Republic — and by the Popular Front line of the 
Comintern, shifted its emphasis from anti- 
interventionism to collective security against fas- 
cism. Although this shift alienated left-wing social- 
ists, pacifists, and isolationists, it conferred upon 
the ASU the elan of being at the forefront of the 
battle against Hitlerism. 

The ASU's demise was rooted in the machina- 
tions of its Communist faction, which forced the or- 
ganization into a series of disastrous flipflops on 
foreign policy. This began in fall 1939 when, in the 
wake of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the ASU dropped its 
anti-fascism in favor of an isolationist "Yanks Are 
Not Coming" position at a time when Hitler 
seemed more threatening than ever. This, together 
with the ASU's refusal to criticize the Soviet inva- 
sion of Finland in 1940 — which found an ostensibly 
antiwar organization unwilling to protest Stalin's 
military aggression — discredited the ASU with both 
mainstream students and such key liberal allies as 
Eleanor Roosevelt, who saw the organization as a 
puppet of the USSR and the American Communist 
Party, causing the collapse of the ASU by the time 
the United States entered World War II. Not until 
the 1960s would a student organization duplicate 
the ASU's initial success in leading a mass protest 
movement on American campuses. 

See Also: AMERICAN YOUTH CONGRESS; 
COMMUNIST PARTY; FASCISM; PEACE 
MOVEMENT. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Cohen, Robert. When the Old Left Was Young: Student 
Radicals and America's First Mass Student Movement, 
1929-1941. 1993. 

Cohen, Robert, and Thomas Thurston. "Student Activ- 
ism in the 1930s." New Deal Network. Available at: 
www.newdeal.feri.org/students/index.htm 

Draper, Hal. "The Student Movement of the Thirties: A 
Political History." In As We Saw the Thirties: Essays 
on Social and Political Movements of a Decade, edited 
by Rita James Simon. 1969. 

Eagan, Eileen. Class, Culture, and the Classroom: The Stu- 
dent Peace Movement of the 1930s. 1982. 

Lash, Joseph, P. Eleanor: A Friend's Memoir. 1964. 



i.Z 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AMERICAN V U T 



CONGRESS 



Wechsler, James A. Revolt on the Campus. 1935. 

Robert Cohen 



AMERICAN YOUTH CONGRESS 

Coming of age at a time of war crises abroad and 
economic crisis at home, Depression generation 
youth embraced new forms of political activism. 
They organized, for the first time in American his- 
tory, a national youth lobby, the American Youth 
Congress (AYC), which promoted a left-liberal 
agenda, demanding expanded government assis- 
tance to underprivileged youth and rallying against 
war and fascism. At its peak in the late 1930s the 
AYC assembled a broadly based youth coalition, 
which claimed to represent some 4.5 million young 
Americans from civil rights, labor, student, reli- 
gious, fraternal, political party, and peace organiza- 
tions. Arising in an era when the voting age was 
twenty-one, and in a political system that had tra- 
ditionally ignored young people — especially blue 
collar, unemployed, student, and minority youth — 
the AYC found daring and effective ways to give 
voice to the needs of the young. The AYC organized 
the first national youth marches on Washington 
(demanding jobs and education), held international 
congresses of young people, and sponsored its own 
youth assistance legislation — the American Youth 
Act. This activism made headlines and for a time at- 
tracted influential allies to the AYC, most notably 
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who befriended AYC 
national officers, raised money for the Youth Con- 
gress, attended some its meetings, and defended 
the Youth Congress's leaders when they came 
under attack by the red-hunting House Committee 
on Un-American Activities. 

Although the Youth Congress's founder, Viola 
lima, was a political moderate, the organization 
would be dominated by the Left, beginning at its 
first national meeting in 1934 when lima was oust- 
ed from the Congress's leadership by a coalition 
headed by young Communists and Socialists. Re- 
flecting the radicalism of this new leadership, the 
AYC was initially critical of the New Deal for failing 
to solve the problems of unemployed youth and 



needy students and for its other shortcomings, in- 
cluding its refusal to challenge the discriminatory 
racial practices of the Jim Crow South. Complaining 
that the National Youth Administration (NYA), the 
New Deal's primary youth relief organization, as- 
sisted only a fraction of the five to eight million un- 
employed young Americans and that NYA work- 
study jobs were too few to assist most low income 
students, the Youth Congress in 1935 wrote the 
American Youth Act as an alternative to the NYA. 
Unlike the NYA, the Youth Act would have helped 
all unemployed youth and needy students. But the 
Youth Act proved too expensive to ever get out of 
committee on Capitol Hill. Critics estimated that its 
annual cost would have been $3.5 billion, as op- 
posed to the $50 million allocated to the NYA. 

Even though the Youth Act never became law, 
the AYC's campaign for this legislation, which in- 
cluded a national march of some three thousand 
young people on Washington in 1937, helped to 
spotlight the problems of Depression-era youth, 
calling attention to the "youth crisis" — the lack of 
employment and educational opportunity that con- 
fronted millions of young Americans in the 1930s. 
By raising public awareness of the need for expand- 
ing federal aid to low income youth, the AYC 
helped to sustain a political climate friendly to the 
New Deal's youth program. Indeed, by 1938, the 
Youth Congress had dropped its advocacy of the 
American Youth Act and instead campaigned for an 
expanded NYA. This growing alliance with the 
New Deal emerged because the Youth Congress 
was concerned about Republican threats to cut the 
NYA and because the AYC's influential Communist 
faction — in accord with the new Comintern line ad- 
vocating liberal-radical unity against fascism — 
embraced Franklin Roosevelt and stressed the need 
to defend the New Deal from the forces of reaction. 
The high point of the AYC's alliance with the Roo- 
sevelt administration came in summer 1938 when 
Eleanor Roosevelt played a prominent role at the 
AYC-sponsored World Youth Congress meeting, 
which united young people from around the world 
on behalf of a progressive antifascist platform. 

The AYC's alliance with the Roosevelt adminis- 
tration collapsed in a very public way during the 
Youth Congress Citizenship Institute in February 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



u 



A M E R I N G E R 



OSCAR 



1940, sending the AYC into a tailspin from which 
it would never recover. Five thousand Youth Con- 
gress delegates had come to Washington for this 
Citizenship Institute, which was supposed to be a 
pro-New Deal event, teaching young people about 
government and involving them in lobbying for 
federal jobs and student aid programs. But the 
AYC's Communist faction — having dropped its an- 
tifascist! in the wake of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet 
Pact — converted the Institute into a demonstration 
against Roosevelt's foreign policies, especially his 
opposition to the Soviet invasion of Finland. Presi- 
dent Roosevelt, irritated that the Youth Congress 
had portrayed him as an imperialist war monger 
merely because he had criticized that invasion, re- 
sponded by delivering an angry speech to the Insti- 
tute delegates who had assembled on the White 
House lawn. Roosevelt told the delegates and a na- 
tional radio audience that the Youth Congress's 
charge that he was seeking war with Russia was 
"unadulterated twaddle." This and other criticisms 
that Roosevelt made of the Youth Congress and of 
the Soviet Union provoked the Communists in the 
crowd to raucous booing, and a similar response 
followed when Eleanor Roosevelt addressed the 
delegates. This public relations disaster, the Youth 
Congress's flipflop on antifascism, and the organi- 
zation's refusal to criticize Soviet policy, led young 
people to abandon what once had been Depression 
America's most dynamic youth lobby. With the col- 
lapse of the AYC both the American Left and the 
younger generation lost an invaluable political 
asset, for the Youth Congress had represented one 
of the most diverse movements of young Ameri- 
cans — uniting black and white, rural and urban, 
student and nonstudent, religious and secular, 
lower and middle -class, immigrant and old stock, 
liberal and radical — ever to organize on behalf of 
egalitarian social change. 

See Also: COMMUNIST PARTY; NATIONAL YOUTH 
ADMINISTRATION (NYA). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Cohen, Robert. When the Old Left Was Young: Student 
Radicals and America's First Mass Student Movement, 
1929-1941. 1993. 

Cohen, Robert. "Revolt of the Depression Generation: 
America's First Mass Student Protest Movement, 



1929-1940." Ph.D. diss. University of California, 
Berkeley, 1987. 

Cohen, Robert, and Thomas Lhurston. "Student Activ- 
ism in the 1930s." New Deal Network. 
www.newdeal.feri.org/students/index.htm 

Draper, Hal. "Lhe Student Movement of the Lhirties: A 
Political History." In As We Saw the Thirties: Essays 
on Social and Political Movements of a Decade, edited 
by Rita James Simon. 1969. 

Eagan, Eileen. Class, Culture, and the Classroom: The Stu- 
dent Peace Movement of the 1930s. 1982. 

Lash, Joseph, P. Eleanor: A Friend's Memoir. 1964. 

Rawick, George. "The New Deal and Youth: The Civilian 
Conservation Corps, the National Youth Adminis- 
tration, and the American Youth Congress." Ph.D. 
diss. University of Wisconsin, 1957. 

Robert Cohen 



AMERINGER, OSCAR 

Oscar Ameringer (August 4, 1870-November 5, 
1943) was a Socialist labor organizer, journalist, and 
architect of the Socialist Party in Oklahoma. Born 
in Germany, Ameringer immigrated to Cincinnati, 
Ohio, as a teenager, furthering his education at 
public libraries. He made unsuccessful bids for the 
Ohio legislature and mayoralty of Columbus. Mar- 
ried to Lulu Woods, he fathered three sons and 
supported his family by selling insurance. In 1901, 
Ameringer joined the Socialist Party and embarked 
on full-time labor activism. 

In 1934 and 1935, H. L. Mitchell and Clay East, 
founders of the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union, 
turned to Ameringer's organizing tactics and writ- 
ings for guidance. Ameringer had organized pover- 
ty-stricken Oklahoma tenant farmers by blending 
Jeffersonian theories, Socialist positions, Marxist 
philosophy, and homespun humor into a unique 
agrarian socialism. Ameringer reached rural people 
through speaker encampments and numerous pub- 
lications. Although Ameringer lost the 1911 race to 
become mayor of Oklahoma City by a narrow mar- 
gin, by 1914 he had so broadened the appeal of the 
Socialist Party that it won six seats in the state legis- 
lature. Rebuilding after World War I, Ameringer 
merged socialists with progressives in the Farmer- 



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



AMES 



JESSE 



D A N I E L 



Labor Reconstruction League to win the Oklahoma 
governorship for the Democrat fusion candidate, 
John Walton. 

Throughout the 1930s, Ameringer, with his 
second wife, Freda Hogan, published a variety of 
newspapers, including the influential weekly The 
American Guardian. His acclaimed columns, written 
under the cryptic pseudonym Adam Coaldigger, 
reached across the United States. Ameringer sup- 
ported Frank Farrington over John L. Lewis for con- 
trol of the United Mine Workers, losing an Illinois 
publication because of the schism. Ameringer cam- 
paigned extensively for Socialist candidates in other 
states, and he testified about the desperation of 
labor before the House Subcommittee on Unem- 
ployment in 1932. Borrowing $55,000, he launched 
an agricultural relocation project in Louisiana on 
behalf of destitute miners and farmers. The enter- 
prise succeeded without endorsement from the 
New Deal Resettlement Administration. By the end 
of the 1930s, Ameringer had completed his mem- 
oirs, If You Don't Weaken, found rapprochement 
with John L. Lewis's leadership, and expressed in- 
terest in the War Resisters League. 

See Also: SOCIALIST PARTY; UNITED MINE 
WORKERS OF AMERICA (UMWA). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Ameringer, Oscar. If You Don't Weaken: The Autobiogra- 
phy of Oscar Ameringer. 1940. Reprint, 1983. 

Bissett, Jim. Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson, 
and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1904-1920. 
1999. 

Green, James R. Grass-Roots Socialism: Radical Movements 
in the Southwest, 1895-1943. 1978. 

Thompson, John. Closing the Trontier: Radical Response in 
Oklahoma, 1889-1923. 1986. 

Linda Reese 



AMES, JESSE DANIEL 

Jesse Daniel Ames (November 2, 1883-February 21, 
1972) was a southern progressive, suffragist, and 
proponent of rights for African Americans. Ames 
rose to national prominence as an anti-lynching 



advocate during the 1930s. She was born in Pales- 
tine, Texas, the third of James and Laura Daniel's 
four children. Three years after graduating from the 
"ladies annex" of the local college in 1902, she mar- 
ried army surgeon Roger Post Ames. When Roger 
died in 1914, Ames entered into a life of social re- 
form, eventually holding a leadership position in 
the Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC). 
In 1930, Ames founded the Association of Southern 
Women for the Prevention of Lynching (ASWPL). 
As historian Jacquelyn Hall explains, Ames believed 
that lynchers justified their crimes on cultural as- 
sumptions that degraded white women as well as 
black men. A women's campaign to end lynching, 
Ames contended, could be particularly effective in 
exposing the myths that gave rise to "lynch law" in 
the South. 

Historian Christopher Waldrep notes that 
Ames's narrow definition of the crime was central 
to her efforts to achieve a lynchless year in the Unit- 
ed States. She held to the popular view that a mur- 
der could be considered a lynching only if it re- 
ceived community sanction. Her reform tactics thus 
centered on efforts to deprive lynchers of a support- 
ive environment in which to operate. Ames be- 
lieved that whites would cease to lynch if they 
thought they no longer had the community's back- 
ing. A strict definition ensured that newspaper ac- 
counts of lynching would be rare, suggesting that 
most southern whites did not consider the practice 
normal or routine. Stripped of a supportive envi- 
ronment, whites would hesitate to lynch, according 
to Ames. The ASWPL's goal of a lynchless year, as 
Waldrep notes, demanded this narrow definition. 

Ames's insistence on a strict definition of 
lynching increasingly put her at odds with other 
anti-lynching activists. The National Association 
for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 
for example, pushed for a broadened definition as 
it vied for members with rival organizations on the 
left that sought to eclipse it as the premier anti- 
lynching organization and defender of African- 
American rights. The NAACP eventually aban- 
doned the established view of lynching, arguing in- 
stead that race-based murders perpetrated by indi- 
viduals who operated without community support 
should be considered lynchings. The dispute be- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



1.5 



AMOS 



ANDY 



tween ASWPL and the NAACP revealed a funda- 
mental difference in the way in which the two orga- 
nizations understood the nature of the crisis 
confronting the New South. Ames and the ASWPL 
saw lynching as a blight on an otherwise healthy 
southern society, whereas the NAACP regarded the 
crime as merely symptomatic of a larger problem. 
The NAACP recognized that the abolition of lynch- 
ing would not necessarily signal an end to the per- 
vasive and intractable racism that plagued the 
South. Ames's definition, however, proved the 
more persuasive. 

On May 9, 1940, Ames announced that for the 
first time in the history of the New South a year had 
passed without a single lynching. Defenders of the 
more expansive definition, however, argued that 
Ames's pronouncement was premature. As Wal- 
drep suggests, the debate has endured. 

Ames's 1940 announcement that the ASWPL 
had reached its goal signaled the beginning of the 
end of the organization. Ames returned to her work 
in the CIC but felt increasingly at odds with those 
directing the course of modern liberalism. Ames, 
forced to retreat from the national political scene, 
turned her attention to local reform and to the 
strained relationship with her family. She died in an 
Austin, Texas, nursing home in 1972. 

See Also: ANTI-LYNCHING LEGISLATION; 

LYNCHINGS; NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR 
THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE 
(NAACP). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Brundage, W. Fitzhugh. Lynching in the New South: Geor- 
gia and Virginia, 1880-1930. 1993. 

Hall, Jacquelyn Dowd. Revolt against Chivalry: Jessie Dan- 
iel Ames and the Women's Campaign against Lynching. 
1979. 

Miller, Kathleen Atkinson. "The Ladies and the Lynch- 
ers: A Look at the Association of Southern Women 
for the Prevention of Lynching." Southern Studies 17 
(1978): 221-240. 

Waldrep, Christopher. "War of Words: Lhe Controversy 
over the Definition of Lynching, 1899-1940." Journal 
of Southern History 66 (2000): 75-100. 

Sarah E. Gardner 



AMOS 'N' ANDY 



Amos 'n' Andy, the first and most popular daily se- 
ries in the history of radio, made its debut on the 
NBC Blue network in August 1929, some ten weeks 
before the stock market crash. The comedy series, 
in which two white actors played a pair of African- 
American migrants to the big city, sometimes com- 
mented on the Great Depression. The program's 
characters occasionally talked about the need for 
citizens to spend money to boost the economy, and 
some of their adventures in the mid-1930s revolved 
around a fictional New Deal-era model town called 
Weber City. Andy's self-important but incompetent 
performance as "president" of the pair's perennially 
cash-strapped one-car Fresh Air Taxicab Company 
seemed to satirize the pretensions of business exec- 
utives who had promised the moon in the 1920s 
and then helped lead the country into economic di- 
saster. 

Amos 'n' Andy's creators developed their major 
themes and characterizations and built the show 
into a national sensation before it reached NBC, 
and before the Depression began. Though some 
historians identify the series as the quintessential 
Depression comedy, the mid and latter 1930s actu- 
ally saw the show's nightly audience of forty million 
dwindle. 

Amos 'n' Andy's history began when Freeman 
Gosden and Charles Correll, former professional 
directors of minstrel shows, created a series called 
Sam 'n' Henry for a Chicago radio station in 1926. 
They changed stations and renamed the show Amos 
'n' Andy in 1928, and moved to the network the fol- 
lowing year. The pair adopted many comic stereo- 
types of African Americans from minstrel shows 
and vaudeville. But Gosden and Correll also used 
their continuing storyline to develop vivid charac- 
ters with universal human traits; they won listeners 
ranging from ultra-racists to outspoken racial egali- 
tarians such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Amos 'n' Andy's 
creators were also the first popular artists to depict, 
however distortedly, characters experiencing the 
era's most profound change in African -American 
life — the great migration to northern cities, which 
had begun during World War I and renewed itself 
in the 1930s. 



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



ANDERSON, MARIAN 




Freeman Gosden (left) and Charles Correll perform as Amos V Andy for a radio broadcast in 1935. Bettmann/CORBIS 



The responses of African Americans to the se- 
ries likewise reflected Depression-era tensions that 
had deeper roots. Many eagerly tuned in to Amos 
'n' Andy, hearing in it elements of genuine African- 
American humor, while other black individuals and 
institutions protested that the series slandered Afri- 
can Americans' intelligence and economic strivings. 
That debate, like Amos 'n' Andy itself, outlived the 
Great Depression; the show remained on radio in 
one form or another until 1960 and spawned a tele- 
vised version, and a new black protest, in the early 
1950s. 

See Also: RADIO. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Boskin, Joseph. Sambo: The Rise and Demise of an Ameri- 
can fester. 1986. 



Ely, Melvin Patrick. The Adventures of Amos V Andy: A 
Social History of an American Phenomenon. 1991, rev. 
edition, 2001. 

Gosden-Correll Papers. Cinema-Television Library and 
Archives of Performing Arts. University of Southern 
California, Los Angeles. 

Wertheim, Arthur Frank. Radio Comedy. 1979. 

Melvin Patrick Ely 



ANDERSON, MARIAN 



Marian Anderson (February 27, 189 7- April 8, 
1993), best known as an opera singer, broke the 
color barrier when she performed on Easter Sunday 
in 1939 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF T H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



u 



N D E R S N 



MARIAN 




Marian Anderson, 1937. Library of Congress, Prints & 
Photographs Division, New York World -Telegram and the Sun 
Newspaper Photograph Collection 



D.C., marking the symbolic beginning of the civil 
rights movement. Born in Philadelphia, Anderson 
began her singing career in church, where her con- 
gregation dubbed her the "baby contralto." She 
gained public recognition in 1924 after winning a 
New York Philharmonic voice competition. Racism, 
however, forced her to study and perform in Eu- 
rope, where she met the impresario Sol Hurok, who 
became her manager. While she was performing at 
the Salzburg Festival in 1935, conductor Arturo 
Toscanini, impressed by her voice, said, "A voice 
like yours is heard once in a hundred years." That 
year, Hurok brought her back to the United States 
for a successful New York concert. Thereafter, she 
toured the United States, singing at the White 
House in 1936 and performing seventy recitals in 
1938. 

Although Anderson had become an interna- 
tionally famous recitalist and opera singer, racism 



denied her many opportunities. Hurok tried to 
shelter her from mounting racial hostilities by only 
booking her in certain cities. In 1939, the Daughters 
of the American Revolution refused to allow her to 
perform at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., 
claiming that the venue was for "white artists only." 
The incident created such a surge of protest that 
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt publicly resigned from 
the organization. The National Association for the 
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), along 
with African-American leaders at Howard Univer- 
sity and Mrs. Roosevelt, worked to find Anderson 
another setting for her concert. In the end, Secre- 
tary of Interior Harold L. Ickes invited Anderson to 
perform at the Lincoln Memorial. On Easter Sun- 
day, April 9, 1939, Anderson sang before a crowd 
of 75,000. The performance was broadcast over na- 
tional radio, making it one of the most noteworthy 
concerts in American history. In addition to inspir- 
ing a generation of African -American artists and 
activists, Anderson's performance at the Lincoln 
Memorial caught the attention of Hollywood. 
Twentieth Century Fox, which was producing John 
Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln starring Henry Fonda, in- 
vited her to sing at the film's premiere in Spring- 
field, Illinois, on May 30, 1939. On July 2, at the 
NAACP conference in Richmond, Virginia, Ander- 
son was reunited with Mrs. Roosevelt, who pres- 
ented her with the Spingarn Medal to celebrate her 
accomplishments as a singer. 

After World War II, Anderson resumed touring 
abroad and in 1952 made her television debut on 
the Ed Sullivan Show. In 1955 she sang the role of 
Ulrica in Verdi's A Masked Ball, making her the first 
African American to perform with New York's Met- 
ropolitan Opera. In 1957, she traveled throughout 
Asia as a goodwill cultural ambassador for the U.S. 
Department of State. She also performed at the in- 
augurations of presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower 
and John F. Kennedy. In 1963, Anderson returned 
to the Lincoln Memorial to sing at the March on 
Washington for Jobs and Freedom, at which Martin 
Luther King, Jr., delivered his "I Have a Dream" 
speech. That same year, she won the presidential 
Medal of Freedom. She died from congestive heart 
failure in 1993. 



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



ANDERSON 



SHERWOOD 



See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON; ELLINGTON, DUKE; 
HOLIDAY, BILLIE; MUSIC. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Anderson, Marian. My Lord, What a Morning: An Autobi- 
ography. 1956. 

Keiler, Allan. Marian Anderson: A Singer's Journey. 2000. 

Sims, Janet L., ed. Marian Anderson: An Annotated Bibli- 
ography and Discography. 1981. 

Mary L. Nash 



ANDERSON, SHERWOOD 

A business man turned writer, Sherwood Anderson 
(September 13, 1876-March 8 1941) was called by 
H. L. Mencken, "America's most distinctive novel- 
ist." Anderson grew up in a series of Ohio towns, 
the second of seven children of an unsuccessful 
harness maker and itinerant house painter and a 
long-suffering mother. His spotty education ended 
when at age twenty-three he graduated from Wit- 
tenberg Academy. He sought his fortune in adver- 
tising and then the mail-order business, and found 
it with an Ohio company that manufactured roof 
repair materials. By 1907 he was its president. 

In fiction that he wrote at night, Anderson 
sought to transcend the world in which he worked 
by day. The worlds clashed in 1912 when he walked 
out of his office in a fugue state and wandered for 
days, ending up in a Cleveland hospital, not know- 
ing who he was. When he recovered he dedicated 
his life to writing. His midlife crisis became legend- 
ary. Anderson was heralded as proof that America 
was growing out of its infatuation with material 
prosperity. 

Anderson wrote seven novels, several autobi- 
ographies and plays, and innumerable prose pieces. 
He was at his best in his four volumes of short sto- 
ries, the most famous of which is Winesburg, Ohio 
(1919). In the late 1920s he bought and edited two 
rival weeklies in southwestern Virginia. 

It was there that he met Eleanor Copenhaver, 
a social worker in the Industrial Division of the 



YWCA. He accompanied her in her travels to textile 
and steel mills, union halls, and workers' homes 
throughout the South. In 1933, Eleanor joined him 
in a happy marriage (his fourth) that lasted until his 
death. Although drawn to radical causes and meet- 
ings, he was too much the artist to toe any party 
line; instead he wrote about workers' conditions 
and the governmental and company policies that 
improved or worsened them. In Perhaps Women 
(1931) Anderson glossed his accounts of the dislo- 
cations southern workers were experiencing with 
the theory that men were being emasculated by 
their machines and needed to turn to women for 
their salvation. In Puzzled America (1935) he was 
content to let those workers, the unemployed, 
preachers, and the down-and-out speak for them- 
selves. He discovered no prospect of revolution, no 
danger of fascism, but instead "a hunger for belief," 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



(.9 



A N L C 



a determination to find and follow the leadership 
"we are likely to get out of democracy." The result, 
according to Irving Howe, was "one of the few 
books that convey a sense of what it meant to live 
in depression America." In the years that followed, 
he wrote Kit Brandon (1936), a novel about a female 
bootlegger, and several plays. He died en route to 
South America, where he had hoped to learn and 
write about communal life in a version of his fa- 
mous Winesburg. 

See Also: LITERATURE. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Howe, Irving. Sherwood Anderson. 1951. 

Sutton, William A. The Road to Winesburg: A Mosaic of the 
Imaginative Life of Sherwood Anderson. 1972. 

Townsend, Kim. Sherwood Anderson. 1987. 

Kim Townsend 



ANLC. See AMERICAN NEGRO LABOR 
CONGRESS. 



ANTICOMMUNISM 



Domestic anticommunism — fear of "red" subver- 
sion — had once reflected the apprehensions of eco- 
nomic and political elites of an insurrection from 
below, but in the aftermath of the Russian Revolu- 
tion and between the two world wars the red men- 
ace was redefined. The threat now seemed to lie 
less in class revolt than in conspiracy, directed from 
Moscow and using infiltration and ideological se- 
duction. This image of an invisible red menace un- 
derlined the need for systems of surveillance, 
whether by government agencies or by patriotic 
groups. With the communist movement apparently 
controlled by a hostile power, the issue increasingly 
became one of national security, and hence of com- 
pelling interest to politicians and bureaucrats. From 
the 1930s, party competition became a primary en- 
gine of anticommunist politics, but an array of in- 
terest groups — the American Legion, the United 
States Chamber of Commerce, the American Fed- 
eration of Labor, among others — also urged action 
against the dangers of domestic communism. 



During the Depression the Soviet experiment 
won some sympathetic interest among U. S. intel- 
lectuals, and the American Communist Party itself 
enjoyed a new vitality. At the same time the New 
Deal's expansion of government and its closeness 
to the labor movement evoked right-wing accusa- 
tions that it was subject to communist influence. 
The Republican platform in the 1936 election 
claimed that American liberties were for the first 
time "threatened by government itself." Labor ac- 
tivists and political dissidents had long been de- 
nounced for their alleged communist proclivities, 
but now the federal government itself was being 
targeted. Such charges had little effect in that elec- 
tion, which Franklin Roosevelt resoundingly won, 
but the course of events soon enhanced their plau- 
sibility. U. S. communists were associating them- 
selves with the Democratic Party and its allies, and 
popular front formations (in which liberals, radicals, 
and communists made common cause) appeared in 
some states and among industrial union, farmer- 
labor, and welfare groups. By 1938 a conservative 
reaction was underway against the New Deal, 
whose popular front associations rendered it vul- 
nerable to red-baiting tactics. What is sometimes 
known as "the little red scare" focused largely on 
these popular front alignments, and was promoted 
by conservative Republicans and Democrats and 
right-wing patriotic and fringe groups. The scare 
was aided in 1939 by the Nazi-Soviet Pact and the 
outbreak of war in Europe, when U. S. communists 
suddenly seemed to be the accessories of Nazi ag- 
gression. While the pact devastated the popular 
front formations, it left U. S. communists isolated 
and encouraged the development of a liberal (as 
well as conservative) anticommunism. The Roose- 
velt administration itself began to act against do- 
mestic communists (Communist Party leader Earl 
Browder was arrested on a passport charge) and 
liberal leaders of the Congress of Industrial Organi- 
zations (CIO) began exploring ways of easing com- 
munists out of CIO positions. As it turned out, the 
gathering anticommunist momentum was stalled 
by the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 
1941; when the United States joined the war in De- 
cember it found itself an ally of the Soviet Union, 
and U. S. communists enthusiastically joined the 
war effort. But the varieties of anticommunism — 



50 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A N T I - L V N C H I N 6 LEGISLATION 



corporate, patriotic, liberal, labor, Catholic, and 
others — did not disappear, and anticommunist pol- 
itics were to emerge more strongly than ever with 
the coming of the Cold War. 

See Also: COMMUNIST PARTY; HOUSE UN- 
AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE (HUAC). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Heale, M. J. American Anticommunism: Combating the 
Enemy Within, 1830-1970. 1990. 

Latham, Earl. The Communist Controversy in Washington: 
From the New Deal to McCarthy. 1966. 

Miles, Michael. The Odyssey of the American Right. 1980. 

Powers, Richard Gid. Not without Honor: The History of 
American Anticommunism. 1995. 

Rogin, Michael Paul. "Political Repression in the United 
States." In Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Epi- 
sodes in Political Demonology . 1987. 

M. J. Heale 



ANTI-LYNCHING LEGISLATION 

Because certain white people in the United States 
chose mob terrorism as a means of interracial social 
control, 3,445 of the 4,742 lynching deaths reported 
between 1882 and 1964 were black men and 
women. Local and state governments might have 
provided some protection, but Jim Crow laws had 
stripped African Americans of basic citizenship 
rights, especially the right to vote. Consequently, 
white officials felt no political obligation to defend 
a beleaguered minority or prosecute lynchers. 

Often less concerned about black rights than 
about the harm that violence could do to a state's 
reputation nationally and to its citizens' respect for 
the law, forty states from the 1890s to the early 
1930s adopted codes to deal with lynching and race 
riots. Not uniform by any means, some addressed 
the protection of prisoners once in custody, some 
held sheriffs liable if a lynching occurred, and some 
established dependents' rights to sue the town or 
county for damages or specified grounds for invok- 
ing state militia help against an impending mob. 
Especially in the South, these laws proved largely 



ineffectual. Officials too often condoned mob ac- 
tion; whites pretended that the victim had not been 
in police custody, thereby absolving the county and 
its leaders; coroners' juries compliantly ruled that 
death had come "at the hands of parties unknown"; 
and in the 1930s lynchers increasingly utilized small 
death squads to avoid public detection. Since the 
states had failed to halt lynching, the National As- 
sociation for the Advancement of Colored People 
(NAACP) launched its own crusade for a federal 
anti-lynching statute. 

Founded in 1909, the NAACP gathered evi- 
dence to inform the public of racist inequities, lob- 
bied legislators, and initiated litigation in pursuit of 
liberal reforms. In 1919, the association held a na- 
tional conference on lynching and published its fa- 
mous Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States, 
1889-1918, which was followed by annual supple- 
ments into the mid-1940s. 

Under James Weldon Johnson's leadership, the 
NAACP helped to formulate a model anti-lynching 
bill that Republican Congressman Leonidas Dyer 
from Missouri sponsored throughout the 1920s. 
These NAACP-Dyer bills provided fines and im- 
prisonment for local officials who allowed a lynch- 
ing or failed to prosecute mob members, and they 
set a fine of up to $10,000 on the county in question. 
In January 1922 the Dyer bill passed the House of 
Representatives but died under threat of a lengthy 
filibuster in the Senate. House passage, nonethe- 
less, indicated the growing strength of black voters 
in northern and midwestern districts, brought 
about by the heavy migrations of blacks from the 
South during the preceding three decades. 

With their emphasis on federal remedies, the 
New Deal and Fair Deal eras seemed a suitable time 
to renew the drive for a federal anti-lynching law, 
and the NAACP, then headed by Walter F. White, 
did so vigorously in the years from 1933 to 1950. 
The chief House sponsor in the 1930s was Demo- 
crat Joseph Gavagan from New York, while Robert 
F. Wagner, also a New York Democrat, headed the 
Senate effort. The NAACP mobilized impressive 
support among ethnic minorities, labor unions, 
women, liberal churches, and civil rights and civil 
liberties groups, a coalition that effectively set in 
motion the mid-century civil rights movement. Al- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



51 



A N T I - L Y N C H I N 6 LEGISLATION 




Anti-lynching activists demonstrate in Washington, D.C., in 1934 to draw attention to the failure of the U.S. government to 
include lynching in the -program of the national crime conference. Bettmann/CORBIS 



though opposed to lynching, the Communist 
Party-USA distanced itself from the anti-lynching 
bills because of ideological differences with the 
NAACP. The Association of Southern Women for 
the Prevention of Lynching also stood apart from 
the NAACP bills for fear of federal intervention in 
southern life. Eleanor Roosevelt, however, lent the 
NAACP her open support and consulted regularly 
with Walter White about strategies in the Capital. 
She urged her husband and his White House advis- 
ers to back the cause, but the administration gave 
only tacit encouragement rather than offend south- 
ern Democrats who largely controlled both houses 
of Congress through committee chairmanships. 



The NAACP bill passed the House in 1937 and in 
1940, but the customary alliance of northern con- 
servative Republicans and southern segregationist 
Democrats stopped its progress in the Senate. They 
protested that a federal law would violate states 
rights prerogatives, but they really worried that ex- 
pansions of federal authority would undermine the 
economic and social controls that their various sup- 
porters had long enjoyed. 

NAACP anti-lynching bills suffered the same 
obstructions after World War II, despite being part 
of President Harry S. Truman's civil rights packages 
from 1947 to 1952. Nevertheless, the threat of a fed- 
eral law had put the South on notice and helped to 



52 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A N T I 



S E M I T I S M 



hasten lynching's decline after the mid-1930s. In 
the expansive social justice climate of the 1960s, 
Congress enacted a section of the 1968 Civil Rights 
Law that established some federal protections 
against lynching. 

See Also: AMES, JESSE DANIEL; LYNCHINGS; 
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE 
ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE 
(NAACP). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Chadbourn, James Harmon. Lynching and the Law. 1933. 

Huthmacher, J. Joseph. Senator Robert F. Wagner and the 
Rise of Urban Liberalism. 1968. 

Lash, Joseph P. Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their 
Relationship, Based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Pa- 
pers. 1971. 

Levy, Eugene. ]ames Weldon Johnson: Black Leader, Black 
Voice. 1973. 

White, Walter. A Man Called White. 1948. 

White, Walter. Rope and Faggot: A Biography of Judge 
Lynch. 1929. 

Zangrando, Robert L. The NAACP Crusade against Lynch- 
ing, 1909-1950. 1980. 

Robert L. Zangrando 



ANTI-SEMITISM 



Anti-Semitism during the Depression and into 
World War II reached levels that had not been seen 
before in the United States and have not been seen 
since. The fear and insecurity that accompanied the 
severe economic downturn exposed and fueled a 
hostility and distrust of Jews that escalated as the 
economy tumbled. Moreover, the hatred in the 
United States was intensified by Adolf Hitler's as- 
sumption of power in Germany in 1933. The vi- 
ciousness of hate mongering on both sides of the 
Atlantic grew throughout the 1930s, only to abate 
in the United States well after the fall of Hitler and 
the end of the World War II. 

Anti-Semitism in the United States was not a 
new phenomenon. Immigrant Americans had not 
been immune to the prejudices of Christian Europe 



that saw the Jews as perverse and stubborn in their 
rejection of Christ and ultimately responsible for his 
death. These notions had led over the generations 
to all manner of discrimination, persecution, and 
outright violence. Yet the United States was differ- 
ent. Ancient prejudices had been submerged in the 
business of nation building. Although negative reli- 
gious images had persisted, the promise of Ameri- 
can democracy and opportunity had lured Jews and 
so many other immigrants to its shores. However, 
the levels of anti-Semitism escalated in the last two 
decades of the nineteenth century and the early 
decades of the twentieth century as several million 
Jews from Eastern Europe came to the United 
States fleeing Russian persecution. Americans of 
various stripes, including Henry Ford, had raised 
their voices against Jews, who were increasingly 
seen as unassimilable and even a threat to the Unit- 
ed States. 

Yet the anti-Semitism of the 1920s was to pale 
in comparison to its shrillness in the 1930s. The De- 
pression set the stage for the search for scapegoats 
and for extensive Jew baiting by a variety of dema- 
gogues, such as William Pelley, the leader of the 
Silver Shirts, who fancied himself the American 
counterpart of Hitler. Gerald B. Winrod headed up 
the Defenders of the Christian Faith, another of 
more than one hundred anti-Semitic organizations 
formed mostly after 1933. One of these organiza- 
tions, the German American Bund, was directly fi- 
nanced by the Nazis. An expose by Look magazine 
in 1939 indicated that there were sixty-two offices 
in the United States that were distributing material 
coming from Hitler's propaganda ministry in Ger- 
many. 

The most popular anti-Jewish preacher of the 
era however, was a homegrown product, Father 
Charles Coughlin. Through his weekly radio pro- 
gram and his publication Social Justice, Coughlin 
reached millions of people. By 1938 he was attack- 
ing Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, and 
claiming that the United States and Christianity 
were being threatened by a vast conspiracy of 
bankers and Communists whom he increasingly 
identified as Jews. His Christian Front organization 
urged sympathizers to "buy Christian," and his fol- 
lowers on occasion attacked Jews on the streets of 



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Marchers parade through Cleveland, Ohio, on May 16, 1933, to protest Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany. National Archives 
and Records Administration, Courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archives 



several cities and desecrated synagogues. Since 
Coughlin was not silenced by his Church superiors 
until after the war started, his words carried weight, 
particularly among many Catholics. 

Jew baiting was not just a phenomenon of the 
streets; it was a practice in upper-class circles, in the 
halls of Congress, and in American political dis- 
course in general. Anti-Roosevelt partisans, in their 
attack on the New Deal, blasted it as the "Jew 
Deal." Moreover, in what they deemed a smear on 
Roosevelt, they claimed he was of Jewish origin 
(which he was not). The 1936 presidential election 
and particularly the 1940 election were rife with al- 
legations of a Jewish conspiracy and untold Jewish 



power endangering the United States. Charles 
Lindbergh and other members of the America First 
organization accused Jews, along with the British 
and the Roosevelt administration, of trying to push 
the United States into an unnecessary and ill- 
advised war against Hitler. 

Although card carrying anti-Semites numbered 
in the thousands rather than in the millions, their 
hate literature was widely disseminated in the Unit- 
ed States. Jews were likened to octopuses control- 
ling much of American government, industry, and 
public opinion. They were seen as Communist con- 
spirators bent on takeover. The so-called "Jewish 
problem" became a topic in the general press. The 



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level of anti-Semitism reached such proportions 
that Fortune magazine in 1936 investigated the ex- 
tent of "Jewish control." They found that, to the 
contrary, Jews had virtually no control in major 
manufacturing and banking sectors, and they rep- 
resented no more than 15 percent of the members 
of the Communist Party. In fact, Jews faced dis- 
crimination in getting jobs in corporate America 
and there were quotas limiting the number of Jews 
in many institutions of higher learning. 

But despite the reality of American Jewish life, 
suspicions persisted. In a public opinion poll in 
March 1938, 41 percent of Americans believed that 
Jews had too much power in the United States. 
When asked what to do about it, 18 percent were 
in favor of restricting Jews in business, 24 percent 
believed Jews should be kept out of government 
and politics, and 20 percent were ready to drive 
Jews out of the United States. By April 1940, the 
percentage of those in favor of restricting Jews in 
business had risen to 31 percent. In August 1940 
the question was "what nationality, religious, or ra- 
cial groups in this country are a menace to Ameri- 
ca?" Jews were cited by 17 percent of the respon- 
dents, whereas Germans were cited by 14 percent 
and the Japanese by 6 percent. Ironically even at the 
end of the war, after six million European Jews had 
been brutally murdered, 20 percent of Americans 
still believed that Jews in the United States had too 
much power. 

For the 4.5 million American Jews, many of 
whom were immigrants or second-generation 
Americans struggling like other Americans to earn 
a living during hard times, the anti-Semitism that 
accompanied the Depression and the rise of the 
Nazis in Germany provoked profound anxiety. 
How different was the United States after all? 
Could the persecution evidenced in Europe take 
hold here? What did the future hold? How much 
would pushing for the cause of Jews overseas sub- 
ject American Jews to charges of disloyalty and pro- 
voke an even greater anti-Semitic backlash in the 
United States? 

The Jewish community in the United States 
faced serious challenges as it sought not only to re- 
spond to anti-Semitism at home, but to events 
overseas as the number of Jewish refugees desper- 




A Nazi storm trooper stands at the entrance of the Jewish- 
owned Tietz department store in Berlin, Germany, in April 
1933. The sign beside him urges German citizens to boycott 
Jewish stores. National Archives and Records Administration, 
Courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo 
Archives 



ately trying to escape Hitler and find a new home 
dramatically escalated. Over a decade earlier, in re- 
sponse to what was perceived as unwanted hordes 
of Jews and Catholics coming in from Southern and 
Eastern Europe, Congress had passed the Johnson- 
Reed Immigration Act, which not only had sharply 
curtailed the total numbers of immigrants allowed 
into to the United States, but had specified where 
they had to come from. Countries from Eastern Eu- 
rope were only allotted several thousand immi- 
grants each, while the total German-Austria quota 
was about 27,000 places. There was no special al- 
lowance for refugees fleeing persecution. During 
the 1930s, when refugee advocates wanted to urge 



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Congress to liberalize the immigration law, they 
were warned that if anything, an unsympathetic 
Congress would act to cut the numbers, not in- 
crease them. Neither Congress nor the American 
public had an interest in increasing immigration 
into the United States, particularly if some of those 
immigrants would be Jews. Thus, the indifference, 
suspicion, and outright anti-Semitism palpable to 
so many American Jews in the 1930s had an impact 
on the country's response to Hitler and the Holo- 
caust. Ultimately, American Jews were stymied in 
this cause by their own fears and impotence, and by 
the determined opposition of the American public 
to offering any more Jews a refuge in the United 
States. 

See Also: CASTE AND CLASS; COUGHLIN, CHARLES; 
RACE AND ETHNIC RELATIONS. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Dinnerstein, Leonard. Antisemitism in America. 1994. 

"Jews in America." Fortune (February 1936): 79-144. 

Mueller, William A. "Hitler Speaks and the Bund 
Obeys." Look (October 10, 1939). 

Scholnick, Myron I. The New Deal and Anti-Semitism in 
America. 1990. 

Shapiro, Edward S. "The Approach of War: Congressio- 
nal Isolationism and Anti-Semitism, 1939-1941. 
American Jewish History 74, no. 1 (1984): 45-65. 

Strong, Donald S. Organized Anti-Semitism in America: 
The Rise of Group Prejudice During the Decade, 
1930-40. 1941. Reprint, 1979. 

Barbara S. Burstin 



APPALACHIA, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON 

The Great Depression came early in Appalachia, a 
mountainous region of the southeastern United 
States. The lumber industry faded soon after World 
War I, and two other major regional employers — 
textiles and coal — struggled with overproduction, 
low wages, and rising unemployment throughout 
the 1920s when most industries were enjoying 
prosperity. Moreover, subsistence-oriented moun- 
tain agriculture ceased to provide a viable livelihood 



for large numbers of people well before the stock 
market crash of 1929. Fifty years of industrial abuse 
of the environment and the lack of a scientific ap- 
proach to agriculture and forestry had left much 
Appalachian land exhausted. 

Mountain farm families struggled to survive on 
subsistence family farms that produced food but lit- 
tle cash. Often the burdens of tending the farm fell 
upon women and children as men worked else- 
where to earn needed cash. By the 1920s, many 
families had abandoned the farms for work in coal 
or textiles (in mills both within Appalachia and be- 
yond the southeastern periphery). The coal industry 
excluded women but employed African Americans 
and immigrants, broadening the racial and ethnic 
mix in the region. The textile industry employed 
white men and women, but excluded African 
Americans. Both industries faced bitter interregion- 
al competition, and management in both insisted 
that survival required non-union operations. Sym- 
pathetic state and local governments supported the 
anti-union efforts. 

As industrial employment both inside and out- 
side the region collapsed in the late 1920s, workers 
who had earlier abandoned farming returned, in- 
creasing pressure on land already unproductive and 
overpopulated. The great southern drought of 1930 
hit Appalachia especially hard, adding to the woes 
of mountain farmers and stranded refugees from 
the region's faltering industries. 

In 1929, violent strikes erupted in mill towns of 
the Appalachian foothills like Gastonia, Elizabeth- 
ton, Marion, and Danville. Young mountain 
women emerged as prominent leaders among the 
strikers. Embittered by the low wages, long hours, 
poor working conditions, and demanding produc- 
tion goals (the "stretch-out"), many workers wel- 
comed organizers of the American Federation of 
Labor's United Textile Workers (UTW) and the 
Communist-led National Textile Workers. The coal 
fields also stirred as the National Miners Union and 
the West Virginia Mineworkers Union sought to 
steal the march on the United Mine Workers of 
America (UMW), which was left virtually moribund 
by its falling membership and failed organization 
drives of the 1920s. 

The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 
and the coming of the New Deal had immediate 



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A family pose with their hoes on the porch of their farmhouse in Knox county, Kentucky, in 1940. Library of Congress, Prints & 
Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



political consequences as Democrats ousted an en- 
trenched Republican regime in West Virginia, and 
Democrats generally prevailed in other parts of the 
traditionally Republican region. While congressio- 
nal Democrats usually supported the New Deal, 
such conservative state governors as Guy Kump of 
West Virginia and Ruby Laffoon of Kentucky 
clashed bitterly with federal relief administrators. 

Before 1933, organizing efforts in both coal and 
textiles failed. The New Deal's National Industrial 
Recovery Act affirmed labor's right to organize and 
to bargain collectively. Soon after passage, the 
UMW conducted a successful organizing drive 
throughout the region. On September 21, 1933, 
union and industry representatives signed an 
agreement that set the eight-hour workday as stan- 



dard and ended mandatory payment in scrip and 
the requirements that employees live in company 
houses and trade at company stores. Soon thereaf- 
ter, West Virginia ended its practice of deputizing 
mine guards. 

Coal operators in Bell, Harlan, and Whitley 
counties in eastern Kentucky remained defiant of 
public opinion and pressures from the state and 
federal government. Violent clashes characterized 
labor-management relations as operators crushed 
organizing drives of both the National Miners 
Union and the UMW. Not until 1941 did the coal 
operators of "Bloody Harlan" accept UMW con- 
tracts. Despite a vigorous effort in 1934, neither the 
UTW nor, later, the Congress of Industrial Organi- 
zation's Textile Workers Organizing Committee 



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This young son of a poor Appalachian miner steals coal from rail cars for use at his family's home in Chaplin, West Virginia, in 
1938. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



had much enduring success in breaking the anti- 
union tradition in textiles. 

By 1930 both agricultural and industrial coun- 
ties reported growing unemployment and distress. 
Local governments and community agencies 
sought to fill their traditional roles as relief provid- 
ers, but agents of President Herbert Hoover's un- 
employment committee found the efforts inade- 
quate. Hoover, hoping to avoid direct federal 
action, enlisted the Red Cross and the American 
Friends Service Committee to provide emergency 
relief, especially food for children, in the hardest-hit 
Appalachian counties. In 1932, federal loans 
through the Reconstruction Finance Corporation 
moved the states to establish relief agencies for the 
first time. 

Relief workers were shocked to discover the ex- 
tent of need in Appalachia. Unemployment rates in 



some counties reached as high as 80 percent. Even 
with moderate economic recovery, welfare depen- 
dence became an intractable problem. New Deal 
programs provided much needed help through 
both work relief and direct payments, and, with So- 
cial Security, these programs sounded the death 
knells of the orphanage and the poor house. In 
generating work relief, the federal government also 
invested heavily to help upgrade roads, bridges, 
and public buildings. In addition, relief agencies 
took care to see to work relief for women. African 
Americans, although suffering discrimination from 
some agencies, received desperately needed work 
relief from the Works Projects Administration. The 
effort to build a modern welfare system, however, 
was compromised by the persistence of spoils poli- 
tics and the reluctance of states to adequately fund 
welfare agencies. 



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This farmer living near Barbourville, Kentucky, built this new barn in 1940 with assistance from the Farm Security 
Administration and the Southern Appalachian Project. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



New Deal policy toward Appalachian agricul- 
ture reflected New Deal economic ambivalence, 
tending at first to favor planning ideas, and later 
seeking a suitable setting for capitalist enterprise to 
flourish. Some tobacco growers benefited, but most 
Appalachian farmers found the early New Deal's 
main agricultural legislation, the Agricultural Ad- 
justment Act, irrelevant to their needs. Resettle- 
ment ideas flourished for a time, but subsistence 
community experiments, such as Sublimity Farms 
in Kentucky, which relocated farmers from poor 
lands, and Arthurdale in West Virginia, which relo- 
cated stranded miners, aroused much conservative 
opposition. Beginning in 1937 with the Farm Secur- 
ity Administration, the focus shifted to rehabilitat- 
ing poor farms rather than moving farmers. The 



planning concept reemerged in the later New Deal 
years in combination with the idea of organizing 
farmers for land-use planning and the removal of 
land with excessive slopes from agricultural uses. 
Federal and state parks absorbed some lands 
judged agriculturally submarginal. New Deal poli- 
cies helped some mountain farmers and promoted 
erosion prevention and soil conservation, but the 
long-term decline of mountain agriculture contin- 
ued. 

Another New Deal program that profoundly 
affected a large part of Appalachia was the Tennes- 
see Valley Authority (TV A), authorized by Congress 
in the early days of the New Deal. TVA built dams 
to control floods, encouraged farmers to combat 
soil erosion, promoted reforestation, and sought to 



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remove submarginal lands from agriculture. Most 
important, the TVA provided hydroelectric power, 
despite the philosophical opposition of some in 
Congress and the opposition of private utility com- 
panies. TVA's many useful improvements came 
with a substantial cost. Thousands of rural residents 
were compelled to sell and relocate as TVA dams 
inundated their homes and farms. Paradoxically, 
TVA, whose purpose was largely conservation, also 
became in time a major consumer of strip-mined 
coal to generate power, contributing to the princi- 
pal source of environmental degradation in the re- 
gion. 

The Depression years brought great trials to the 
people of Appalachia. The New Deal provided re- 
lief, but only the coming of World War II brought 
a business recovery. Mountain agriculture contin- 
ued to fade, however, and for many, migration to 
wartime industrial plants outside the region provid- 
ed the best hope of a better future. 

See Also: ARTHURDALE, WEST VIRGINIA; GUFFEY- 
SNYDER ACT OF 1935; GUFFEY -VINSON ACT OF 
1937; HARLAN COUNTY; LEWIS, JOHN L.; RURAL 
LIFE; TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY (TVA); 
UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA (UMWA). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Blakey, George T. Hard Times and New Deal in Kentucky, 
1929-1939. 1986. 

Eller, Ronald D. Miners, Millhands and Mountaineers: In- 
dustrialization of the Appalachian South, 1880-1930. 
1982. 

Hall, Jaquelyn Dowd. "Disorderly Women: Gender and 
Labor Militancy in the Appalachian South." Journal 
of American History 73 (1986): 354-382. 

Heavener, John W. Which Side Are You On: The Harlan 
County Coal Miners, 1931-1939. 1978. 

Kirby, Jack Temple. Rural Worlds Lost: The American 
South, 1920-1960. 1987. 

Lewis, Ronald L. Black Coal Miners in America: Race, Class 
and Community Conflict, 1780-1980. 1987. 

McDonald, Michael J., and John Muldowny. TVA and the 
Dispossessed: The Resettlement of Population in the 
Norris Dam Area. 1982. 

Salstrom, Paul. Appalachia's Path to Dependency: Rethink- 
ing a Region's Economic History, 1730-1940. 1994. 

Taylor, Paul F. Bloody Harlan: The United Mine Workers 
of America in Harlan County, Kentucky, 1931-1941. 
1990. 



Thomas, Jerry Bruce. An Appalachian New Deal: West Vir- 
ginia in the Great Depression. 1998. 

Trotter, Joe William, Jr. Coal, Class, and Color: Blacks in 
Southern West Virginia, 1915-32. 1990. 

Walker, Melissa. All We Knew Was to Tarm: Rural Women 
in the Upcountry South, 1919-1941. 2000. 

Jerry Bruce Thomas 



ARCHITECTURE 

The economic crisis in the 1930s upstaged but did 
not alleviate the upheaval within the architectural 
profession. A new austere, ahistoric architectural 
language, imported from Europe, won fiery adher- 
ents who proclaimed that tradition had no place in 
the production of contemporary architecture. The 
term modernism is used to denote this new style. 
Despite the zeal of the converts, others, with equal 
passion, rejected the new vocabulary. The debate 
over modernism polarized the architectural com- 
munity as a new generation of architects not only 
rebelled against historic styles but also challenged 
the privileged place held by prominent and estab- 
lished practitioners. Patronage patterns also shifted 
as the federal government, responding to the eco- 
nomic distress, commissioned an unprecedented 
body of work. While the production of architecture 
for the private sector did not entirely cease, the fed- 
eral government gave new prominence to specific 
building types and activities. Federal and civic 
buildings, as well as regional planning and its at- 
tendant architecture, constituted important arenas 
for New Deal design. The 1930s reshaped American 
architecture and the national landscape. By the end 
of World War II, modernism had triumphed, a new 
elite occupied the pinnacle of the architectural pro- 
fession, and the federal government had blanketed 
the country with emblems of the federal presence. 

STYLES AND THE ARCHITECTURAL 
PROFESSION 

Formally, the most striking characteristic of the 
architecture of the period was the diversity of ex- 
pressions competing for the label modern. Three 
styles dominated. Classicism remained a viable ar- 
chitectural language throughout the decade. John 



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Russell Pope's National Gallery of Art (1935-1941), 
on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., reaf- 
firmed the time-honored notion that American 
public architecture should be classical. Pope's clas- 
sicism, however, was restrained and sober rather 
than lavish and opulent. He simplified and reduced 
the classical apparatus. Orders were suggested by 
slightly projecting planes, and the whole was 
bound together by sleek horizontals and delicately 
scaled moldings. Despite the austerity of Pope's 
classicism, proponents of modernism labeled his 
continued commitment to the past as reactionary. 
The style most often associated with the period was 
an even more restrained, spartan interpretation de- 
scribed as modernized classicism. Paul Cret's Folger 
Shakespeare Library (1928-1932), also in the na- 
tional capital, was a seminal work. The library was 
a simple rectangular mass of taut, thin planes. The 
orders, reduced to a series of fluted piers, were de- 
tailed in a stripped, simplified manner. Twin entry 
pavilions flank the screen of piers, which distill to 
a minimal essence the image of a classical colon- 
nade. Cret's modernized classicism served as the 
model for many federal buildings in the New Deal 
period. 

In the commercial realm, the comparatively re- 
served streamlined moderne tempered and replaced 
the flamboyant Art Deco of the 1920s. Exuberant 
flourishes, such as the telescoping spire of semicir- 
cular aluminum panels articulated with radiating 
lines and punched triangular openings of William 
Van Alen's Chrysler Building (1926-1930) in New 
York City, seemed out of place in the bleak eco- 
nomic climate. Streamlined moderne originated in 
the work of industrial designers such as Norman 
Bel Geddes and Walter Dorwin Teague. For design- 
ers of the period, the characteristic flat planar wall 
surfaces, rounded corners, banded windows, thin 
decorative horizontal stripes, and flat roofs gave 
built form to the idea of speed. Streamlined mod- 
erne appeared on buildings ranging from vernacu- 
lar roadside diners to Frank Lloyd Wright's high- 
style Johnson Wax Building (1936-1939) in Racine, 
Wisconsin. Like Art Deco, streamlined moderne 
represented an attempt to create a language appro- 
priate for the machine age. 

Unlike the promoters of revival architecture or 
Art Deco, proponents of modernism insisted that 



all connections to the past be broken. As a style, 
modernism burst onto the architectural scene in the 
United States through Henry-Russell Hitchcock 
and Philip Johnson's exhibition on "Modern Archi- 
tecture" at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 
1932. Photographs, models, and drawings of recent 
buildings, primarily by European architects, sup- 
ported Hitchcock and Johnson's claim that a new 
language, which they named the International Style, 
had emerged. The new vocabulary, characterized 
by exposed structural framing, non-load-bearing 
walls, and absence of applied ornament, constitut- 
ed a self-conscious rejection of tradition. In addi- 
tion to the architecture of the Europeans, the two 
curators identified George Howe and William Les- 
caze's Philadelphia Savings Fund Society Building 
(1929-1932) in Philadelphia as a seminal work. The 
first American skyscraper inspired by European 
modernism pointedly turned its back on the aes- 
thetics that had guided the design of the relatively 
new building type. The architects gave the Philadel- 
phia Savings Fund Society Building's functional 
components distinct expressions on the exterior. 
The base, containing shops and the banking hall, 
the shaft for the offices, and the service tower were 
each distinguished by different materials and win- 
dow treatments. The building was defiantly asym- 
metrical. The presence of the structural frame was 
clearly expressed on the exterior. There was no tra- 
ditional ornament or detailing at door and window 
openings. The building and others included in the 
exhibition redirected American architecture in the 
subsequent decades. The influence of modernism 
was broad as well as deep. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (1936-1937) 
at Bear Run, Pennsylvania, was an idiosyncratic 
blend of romantic rusticity and influences from the 
International Style. Eliel and Eero Saarinen and 
Robert F. Swanson's 1939 competition-winning but 
ultimately unrealized design for the Smithsonian 
Gallery would have defiantly placed a fully modern 
building directly opposite Pope's National Gallery 
on the Mall in the federal capital. Supplanting the 
stylistic diversity of the 1930s, modernism tri- 
umphed as the appropriate language for high-style 
buildings following World War II. 

Within the architectural profession, the ascen- 
dance of modernism represented more than the tri- 



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umph of a novel architectural language. Aesthetic 
allegiances polarized the profession along genera- 
tional lines. The economic distress of the 1930s ex- 
acerbated the breach, as architects, like much of the 
country's workforce, faced the bleak lack of em- 
ployment opportunities. Older, established archi- 
tects, who were also most likely to receive commis- 
sions for prominent buildings, clung to traditional 
modes of expression. Aspiring architects, eager to 
make a mark in the field, championed modernism 
as they also challenged the privileged place that 
their established colleagues held. At the convention 
of the American Institute of Architects held in 
Washington, D.C., in 1939, the Smithsonian Gal- 
lery design served as the rallying point for the 
younger architects eager to overturn professional as 
well as aesthetic hierarchies. At stake was the de- 
sign of buildings not only in the private sector but 
also for the architecturally activist federal govern- 
ment. 

PATRONAGE AND BUILDING TYPES 

To stimulate the depressed economy, the feder- 
al government emerged as the primary architectural 
patron of the period. Government agencies com- 
missioned and produced a staggering body of work 
during the Depression decade. The most well- 
known fruit of government patronage was the fed- 
eral building program that placed thousands of post 
offices and courthouses in cities and towns across 
the country. The Office of the Supervising Architect 
of the Treasury Department oversaw the vast build- 
ing program. The style most often associated with 
the Supervising Architect in the 1930s was modern- 
ized classicism. Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon's post 
office (1931-1932) for Chattanooga, Tennessee, 
was one of many reinterpretations of Cret's facade 
composition for the Folger. However, the Office of 
the Supervising Architect produced federal build- 
ings in a range of revival styles. Reginald Johnson's 
post office (1936-1937) for Santa Barbara, Califor- 
nia, was a moderne Spanish colonial revival. Don- 
ald G. Anderson's Petersburg, Virginia, post office 
(1934-1936) was a federal reinterpretation of a fan- 
ciful, contemporary reconstruction. The facade 
drew heavily from the rebuilding of the colonial 
capitol (1928-1934) at nearby Williamsburg, Virgin- 
ia. Federal architects and their collaborators made 



revival architecture the language of New Deal fed- 
eral buildings. 

Where Hitchcock and Johnson's International 
Style was a purely aesthetic language divorced from 
ideology and social purpose, a Utopian tradition 
that extended from the English garden city move- 
ment to twentieth-century Radburn, New Jersey, 
inspired the New Deal's suburban town program. 
The project brought together a talented group of 
landscape architects, planners, and architects, in- 
cluding Henry Wright, Clarence Stein, and Cather- 
ine Bauer. The goal was to use architecture as a tool 
of both economic and social reform. While the work 
did provide models for city design, ultimately, the 
numbers diminished the influence of the idealistic 
experiment. Of the several satellite cities planned, 
only Greenbelt, Maryland; Greendale, Wisconsin; 
and Greenhills, Ohio, were built. 

The boldest act of New Deal planning was the 
creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TV A) in 
1933. Treating the entire 900-mile river valley that 
cuts through seven states as a single unit, the gov- 
ernment corporation planned and erected a string 
of dams to control flooding, create inexpensive 
electricity, repair adjacent damaged forest and agri- 
cultural lands, and stimulate industry. The goals of 
the ambitious and visionary project were to bring 
the backward and blighted region into the twenti- 
eth century and to demonstrate the power and ben- 
efits of coordinated regional planning. At Norris 
Dam, Roland Wank, the authority's first chief archi- 
tect, played off architecture treated as severe rec- 
tangular masses against the dynamism of water in 
the massive spillway beyond. Wank's grave, simple 
buildings of textured concrete ornamented only 
with crisply cut rectangular openings containing 
bands of windows or integral sans-serif lettering 
created an architectural image that vividly ex- 
pressed strength, efficiency, and faith in the power 
of technology to produce change. 

The period of the Great Depression witnessed 
the transformation of the architectural profession. 
On the other side of the decade, modernism 
emerged as the style of choice for high-style Ameri- 
can buildings. A new group of talented designers, 
promoters of modernism, replaced the masters of 
academic architecture as the new leaders of the 



62 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



ARMSTRONG 



LOUIS 



profession. The Depression-driven Roosevelt ad- 
ministration had commissioned an extensive body 
of architecture that also attested to the expanded 
presence of the federal government in the daily 
lives of its citizens. 

See Also: ART; PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION 
(PWA); TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY (TV A). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bedford, Steven McLeod. John Russell Pope: Architect of 
Empire. 1998. 

Butler, Sara Amelia. "Constructing New Deal America: 
Public Art and Architecture and Institutional Legiti- 
macy." Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 2001. 

Craig, Lois, and the staff of the Federal Architecture Proj- 
ect. The Federal Presence: Architecture, Politics, and 
National Design. 1984. 

Cutler, Phoebe. The Public Landscape of the New Deal. 
1985. 

Grossman, Elizabeth Greenwell. The Civic Architecture of 
Paul Cret. 1996. 

Hitchcock, Henry-Russell, and Philip Johnson. The Inter- 
national Style: Architecture since 1922. 1932. 

Lee, Antoinette J. Architects to the Nation: The Rise and 
Decline of the Supervising Architect's Office. 2000. 

Reitzes, Lisa Beth. "Moderately Modern: Interpreting the 
Architecture of the Public Works Administration." 
Ph.D. diss., University of Delaware, 1989. 

Short, C. W., and R. Stanley-Brown. Public Buildings: A 
Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal 
and Other Governmental Bodies between the Years 1933 
and 1939 with the Assistance of the Public Works Ad- 
ministration. 1939. Reprint, Public Buildings: Architec- 
ture under the Public Works Administration 1933-39, 
Vol. 1. 1986. 

Weber, Eva. Art Deco in America. 1985. 

Wilson, Richard Guy, Dianne H. Pilgrim, and Dickran 
Tashjian. The Machine Age in America, 1918-1941. 
1986. 

Wilson, Richard Guy. "Modernized Classicism and 
Washington, D.C." In American Public Architecture: 
European Roots and Native Expressions, edited by 
Craig Zabel and Susan Scott Munshower. 1989. 

Sara A. Butler 



ARMSTRONG, LOUIS 

Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901-July 6, 1971), also 
known as Pops and Satchmo, pioneered jazz music 



as both a trumpet player and vocalist. Armstrong 
created a musical style and image that reflected his 
times and served as a catalyst for cultural change. 
His early life was characterized by a struggle to 
overcome poverty and racism. Growing up penni- 
less in New Orleans' red light district, Armstrong 
received his first formal musical training at the Col- 
ored Waifs' Home. By 1918, he was playing cornet 
in the Ory Creole Orchestra, replacing King Oliver, 
who had moved to Chicago. Before long, Arm- 
strong began playing on steamboats that sailed 
north up the Mississippi River. He followed Oliver 
to Chicago in 1922 and played second trumpet in 
his band. Armstrong made his recording debut dur- 
ing his tenure with Oliver. Legend has it that Arm- 
strong was instructed to stand twenty feet behind 
the band during recording sessions because of the 
magnitude of his sound. 

Armstrong developed an unerring sense of 
swing and a virtuoso range. By 1925, he was leading 
his own groups, which showcased his melodious- 
ness, edgy rhythms, and breathtaking harmonic 
leaps. These influential smaller ensembles became 
known as the Hot Fives and the Hot Sevens. In 
1929 Armstrong traveled to New York, where he 
began to experiment with singing. His vocal work 
included a rendition of Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbe- 
havin'" that was featured in the 1929 Broadway 
revue Hot Chocolates. 

During the Great Depression, jazz helped to lift 
the spirits of the country and created a popular cul- 
ture that broke down many social barriers. At the 
beginning of this era, Armstrong faced one of the 
problems that threatened the nation — warring 
gangster factions. Now a hot musical commodity, 
Armstrong was courted by several potential man- 
agers, including representatives from key crime 
families in New York and Chicago. In order to avoid 
the conflict, and guarantee his own safety, Arm- 
strong toured the United States in 1930, carefully 
side-stepping New York and Chicago. In 1933 he 
embarked on the first of what would be many Euro- 
pean tours. By 1935, the dispute was resolved when 
he began a long association with manager Joe Gla- 
ser. But Armstrong's challenges were far from over. 
Years of touring had injured his lip and hampered 
his recording career, leaving him without a record- 
ing contract. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



63 



ARNOLD 



T H U R M 



Under the management of Glaser, a nightclub 
manager associated with the gangster Al Capone, 
Armstrong began to brand himself as an entertain- 
er. Armstrong's musical style changed as he began 
leading larger bands, which would back him on 
popular songs. In 1936 he became the first jazz mu- 
sician regularly featured in Hollywood movies, ap- 
pearing with Bing Crosby in Pennies from Heaven. 
Although he often performed for segregated audi- 
ences and played movie roles that perpetuated ra- 
cial stereotypes, his music transcended racism and 
appealed to audiences of all races. Armstrong's hit 
1932 version of "All of Me" became closely associ- 
ated with the trials and losses that Americans faced 
during the Great Depression, and his noble spirit 
and dignity became a model for facing these chal- 
lenges. 

Critic Stanley Crouch argues that Armstrong 
intensified the "central ethos of American cul- 
ture" — be yourself and do it well. After the Depres- 
sion, Armstrong expanded his audience through 
world tours, and he served as a spokesperson for 
racial equality during the civil rights era. His popu- 
larity was such that in 1964 he even replaced the 
Beatles atop the Billboard charts with a recording of 
the song "Hello Dolly." By the time of Armstrong's 
death in 1971, he had served as musical innovator, 
cultural ambassador, and entertainer. 

See Also: JAZZ; MUSIC. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Armstrong, Louis, and Richard Meryman. Louis Arm- 
strong: A Self-Portrait. 1996. 

Armstrong, Louis. The Complete RCA Victor Recordings 
(sound recording). 1997. 

Armstrong, Louis. The Complete Hot Tive and Hot Seven 
Recordings (sound recording). 2000. 

Collier, James Lincoln. Louis Armstrong: An American Ge- 
nius. 1983. 

Giddins, Gary. Satchmo: The Genius of Louis Armstrong. 
2001. 

Miller, March H., ed. Louis Armstrong: A Cultural Legacy. 
1994. 

William R. Bettler 



ARNOLD, THURMAN 



Thurman Wesley Arnold (June 2, 1891-November 
7, 1969), lawyer, social theorist, and government of- 
ficial, was born in Laramie, Wyoming. After earning 
a bachelor's degree from Princeton in 1911 and a 
law degree from Harvard in 1914, Arnold took up 
the practice of law in Chicago. Following military 
service in Europe, he returned to Laramie and en- 
tered local politics. He won election to the Wyo- 
ming House of Representatives in 1921, and served 
as its sole Democratic member. He later served as 
the mayor of Laramie. In 1927, he was appointed 
Dean of the University of West Virginia Law 
School. From this post, he launched an ambitious 
program of procedural reforms in the state's courts. 
Arnold was called to a professorship at the Yale 
Law School in 1930. His activities there included 
the publication of two books — Symbols of Govern- 
ment (1935) and The Folklore of Capitalism (1937) — 
that gained a national audience. 

Arnold emerged on the Washington scene in 
1938 when he was appointed to head the antitrust 
division at the Department of Justice. His qualifica- 
tions for this post were not immediately evident; in 
The Folklore of Capitalism he had ridiculed antitrust 
laws as largely symbolic exercises in "economic 
meaninglessness" that enabled politicians to 
mount "crusades, which were utterly futile but 
enormously picturesque, and which paid big divi- 
dends in personal prestige." Once in office, howev- 
er, he embarked on a vigorous campaign of anti- 
trust enforcement. During his five-year tenure, he 
initiated nearly half of the proceedings brought 
under the Sherman Act during the first fifty-three 
years of its existence and he increased the division's 
professional staff nearly five-fold. Far more than 
had any of his predecessors, Arnold brought crimi- 
nal indictments against perceived antitrust viola- 
tors, but was prepared to drop them in favor of con- 
sent decrees when alleged offenders agreed to 
change their behavior. Arnold was convinced that 
his attacks on market power in price-making con- 
tributed to increased production and employment. 
In 1941, when economic mobilization for war was 
pending, he maintained that antitrust enforcement 
was essential "to prevent restrictions of production, 



64 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A R T 



particularly conspiracies which are blocking the de- 
fense effort." 

Arnold was never part of President Roosevelt's 
inner circle of policy advisers. He was brought to 
Washington when the Temporary National Eco- 
nomic Committee's investigations into business 
practices were underway, and senior members of 
Roosevelt's economic team were uncertain about 
the future direction of industrial policy. For a time, 
Arnold was allowed to operate with a relatively free 
hand. However, longstanding veterans of the New 
Deal's economic bureaucracy, such as Leon Hen- 
derson, became increasingly dissatisfied with Ar- 
nold's publicity-seeking and with the economic 
perspective that informed his decisions. After the 
Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, 
when policy makers were attempting to promote 
business-government cooperation, little welcome 
was left for Arnold's approach. In 1943, he was ef- 
fectively kicked upstairs with an appointment to the 
U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 
a position from which he resigned in 1945. 

Arnold then returned to the private practice of 
law. In the early 1950s, he again came into national 
prominence when representing a number of per- 
sons whose loyalty had been challenged during the 
McCarthy period. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Arnold, Thurman. The Bottlenecks of Business. 1940. 

Arnold, Thurman. Fair Fights and Foul: A Dissenting Law- 
yer's Life. 1965. 

Hawley, Ellis W. The New Deal and the Problem of Monop- 
oly: A Study in Economic Ambivalence. 1966. 

Kearney, Edward M. Thurman Arnold, Social Critic: The 
Satirical Challenge to Orthodoxy. 1970. 

William J. Barber 



ART 

The character and value of art produced in the Unit- 
ed States during the 1930s has been the subject of 
continuing controversy within the discipline of art 
history since the 1960s. Though it is true that all art 
is necessarily accounted for retrospectively, in par- 



tial and selective histories, it is especially significant 
that art from the Depression continues to present 
a range of intellectual, political, ideological, and 
aesthetic problems for historians and critics. 

In orthodox survey histories, 1930s U. S. art is 
represented as realist or documentary in form and 
intention, highly parochial in relation to develop- 
ments in European modern art, and mostly con- 
taminated by left-wing political motivations. The 
artists Andrew Wyeth, Ben Shahn, and Edward 
Hopper are claimed to be the most significant in the 
period, producing paintings, drawings and photo- 
graphs that supposedly transcend the specific so- 
ciopolitical circumstances of their production. But 
many others who worked in various neoabstract, 
expressionist, naturalist, realist, social-realist, or so- 
cialist-realist styles, motivated by an equally wide 
set of artistic and sociopolitical interests and values, 
have little, if any, presence in post-1945 art-history 
accounts of the so-called "dirty decade." William 
Gropper, Lucienne Bloch, Jerome Klein, William 
Zorach, Raphael Soyer, and Berenice Abbott, for 
example, were all artists with reputations already 
established by the mid-1930s, and their exhibitions 
and views were discussed and advertised in con- 
temporary mainstream art magazines such as The 
American Magazine of Art and Art Digest, but they 
virtually dropped out of history as work of the 1930s 
was repressed or villified in the Cold War climate 
of the later 1940s and 1950s. 

By the mid-1960s there was a reappraisal, for a 
variety of complex and interrelated reasons. Presi- 
dent Lyndon B. Johnson's creation of the National 
Endowment for the Arts evoked Franklin D. Roose- 
velt's subvention of the arts in the United States as 
part of the New Deal. The emergence of the New 
Left, organized around civil rights for minorities 
and women and opposition to U. S. involvement in 
the Vietnam War, sparked interest again in the left 
politics and debates of the 1930s in which artists, 
through such organizations as the Artists' Union 
(AU) and the American Artists' Committee Against 
Racism and Fascism (AACARF), played an impor- 
tant part. The high modernism of U. S. art in the 
1950s, symbolized by abstract expressionism, had 
begun to give way to a wide range of styles and an 
interpenetration of art forms and practices that, in 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



65 



R T 




31 in 



I 




Tfo's Arf Center in Gold Beach, Oregon, was established during the 1930s by the WPA. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library 



turn, led to a less, or at least differently, prejudicial 
reassessment of 1930s art and art debates. 

Unsurprisingly, when scholars turned back to 
the 1930s they found aspects that linked art practice 
then to developments in the post-World War II pe- 
riod. These included the art of the proto-abstract 
expressionists, many of whom had used relatively 
realist styles during the Depression, often as em- 
ployees of the WPA's Federal Art Project (for exam- 
ple, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de 
Kooning). Other 1930s artists who produced rela- 
tively abstract paintings, prints, and drawings, such 
as Stuart Davis, Balcombe Greene, Hans Hofmann, 
and Georgia O'Keeffe, also found their latter-day 
champions, though for Stuart Davis the cost of this 
revival in his artistic reputation was substantial ne- 
glect of his pivotal role in left-wing art politics in 
New York in the late 1930s. Francis V. O'Connor's 
research into art in the Depression, conducted in 
the later 1960s and published in the early 1970s, 



highlighted the sociology and demography of U. S. 
artists, and reconfirmed the significance of New 
York City as the home and inspiration of perhaps 
a third of all professional or aspiring professional 
artists in the country. Study of black and women 
artists active in the 1930s, including Vertis Hayes, 
Aaron Douglas, Marion Greenwood, and Minna 
Citron, reflected the growth of 1960s civil rights and 
feminism as political and scholarly movements for 
radical social change. What the 1930s meant in art- 
historical terms had changed dramatically by the 
end of the 1970s, though the determinants within 
this process of reassessment were broadly social 
and political. 

No other decade in the last century attracts 
such questions or analytic problems, nor com- 
mands such putative coherence. To be called a 
1930s artist is no mere chronological label: The 
term implies that artist and his or her paintings or 
sculptures somehow reflect or embody the combi- 



66 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A R T 




The New Deal, a mural in the auditorium of the Leonardo Da Vinci Art School in New York City, was painted as a WPA 
project in the mid 1930s by Conrad Albrizio, who dedicated the work to President Roosevelt. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library 



nation of realist intent, style, and socialist or Marx- 
ist political motivation associated with the Depres- 
sion and the New Deal. Edward Hopper, then, 
though active in the 1930s, is not a 1930s artist and 
his painting Early Sunday Morning (1930) is not in 
any significant way a piece of art of the 1930s. 
Georgia O'Keeffe, similarly, though productive in 
the decade, created works such as Ram's Skull with 
Brown Leaves (1936) whose value escapes the ideo- 
logical posturings and political machinations of the 



1930s. In contrast, Stuart Davis, socialist chairman 
of both the AU and the AACARF (but always highly 
skeptical of the U. S. Communist Party doctrine on 
art and political matters), will never escape his as- 
sociation with the 1930s. His Swing Landscape (c. 
1938), for instance, is far more in debt to Piet Mon- 
drian and Fernand Leger than to any indigenous 
social art influence, but it remains a permanent 
prisoner, too, of the "art of the 1930s." The 1930s, 
then, means the Great Depression, the optimism 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



67 



R T 




" 






This relief at the Forest Hills Station post office in New York 
was completed by Sten Jacobsson in 1937 as part of the 
Federal Art Project. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library 



(or naivete, depending on one's perspective) of the 
New Deal, the moral disaster of the U. S. left's 
alignment with Soviet communism, and the early 
moves toward disengagement from ideological 
commitment toward what Arthur Schlesinger 
influentially called "the vital center" (Schlesinger 
1962). 

Roosevelt's reorganization and direction of the 
Democratic Party and the federal government in 
the 1930s shaped significant aspects of both artistic 
production and major art institutions and agencies. 
The Federal Art Project (FAP, 1935-1943) and the 
Public Works of Art Project (1933-1934), run by two 
faithful New Dealers, Holger Cahill and Edward 
Bruce, respectively, are examples of sui generis New 
Deal activity. Bruce purchased art works for the na- 
tion throughout the decade within United States 
Treasury-funded programs, though he always 
claimed that acquiring masterpieces was his goal, 



rather than developing what more radical New 
Dealers called the "democratization of culture." 
The progressive and populist image of the New 
Deal attracted Thomas Hart Benton, one of the re- 
gionalist painters of the period (along with Grant 
Wood and John Steuart Curry). Benton's mural 
cycle America Today (1930-1931) describes and cel- 
ebrates small town American life. The Museum of 
Modern Art in New York City, though indebted to 
European artists and styles for its major exhibitions 
from the decade, supported aspects of New Deal 
arts policy with its 1936 show of federal art, New 
Horizons in American Art. The Whitney Museum of 
American Art was much more programmatic in its 
support of contemporary artists in the United 
States, and had initiated economic support for De- 
pression-hit artists before the federal government 
intervened in 1933. 

The FAP and other agencies that employed art- 
ists, designers, and photographers in the 1930s had 
considerable autonomy from federal government 
policy, perhaps because, on the whole, New Deal 
administrators had little or no interest in culture 
initiatives, which only ever received a minute pro- 
portion of federal money. Even this support was 
often cut off for a variety of political and budgetary 
reasons, undermining the efforts of artists and peo- 
ple in arts management who wished to see culture 
become a central element in what they believed 
was a genuine New Deal revolution. But this auton- 
omy/lack of interest meant that, for the most part, 
art created by federal employees was free of any re- 
quired propagandistic meaning. If anything, federal 
art was accused of left-wing bias. This was the case 
with August Henkel's Mural (1938) at Floyd Ben- 
nett Field in Brooklyn, New York, which was cen- 
sored by the FAP on the doubtful grounds that it 
contained communist symbolism, and with Diego 
Rivera's Man at the Crossroads (1933-1934) at 
Rockefeller Center in New York City, which also 
was embroiled in ideological controversy. 

By 1940, the network of organizations (over- 
whelmingly based in New York City) set up by art- 
ists to lobby for the extension of federal aid, or to 
support socialist and communist activities against 
fascism in Europe and capitalism in the United 
States, had begun to unravel under the weight of 



68 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A R T 




The Federal Art Project sponsored free art classes for children and adults in many cities, including these underway in 1941 at the 
WPA Art Center in Oklahoma City. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library 



state-supported anticommunism. But throughout 
the 1930s, the thriving of complex and intellectually 
rich debates formed what was arguably the most 
significant activity of these groups. This vitalization 
had never been entirely, or even mostly, dominated 
by the U. S. Communist Party; it involved indepen- 
dent thinkers and artists such as Meyer Schapiro 
and Stuart Davis, and it supported and sponsored 
diverse art forms, ranging from the highly abstract 
to the doctrinally socialist-realist. This creative plu- 
rality is the real legacy of the art of the 1930s. 



See Also: AMERICAN SCENE, THE; FEDERAL ART 
PROJECT (FAP). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Brown, Milton. The Modern Spirit: American Painting, 
1908-1935. 1977. 

Doss, Erika. Benton, Pollock, and the Politics of Modernism: 
From Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism. 1991. 

Harris, Jonathan. Federal Art and National Culture: The 
Politics of Identity in New Deal America. 1995. 

Hills, Patricia. Social Concern and Urban Realism: Ameri- 
can Painting of the 1930s. 1983. 

Marling, Karal A., and Helen A. Harrison. Seven Ameri- 
can Women: The Depression Decade. 1982. 

Mathey, Francois. American Realism: A Pictorial Survey 
from the Early Eighteenth Century to the Nineteen Sev- 
enties. 1976. 

O'Connor, Francis V. Federal Support for the Visual Arts: 
The New Deal and Now. 1969. 

Rose, Barbara. Readings in American Art since 1900. 1968. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



69 



A R T 



R D 



L E 



WEST V I R G I N I 




This homestead in West Virginia was built during the mid-1950s as -part of the Farm Security Administration's Arthurdale 
project. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



Schlesinger, Arthur. The Vital Center: The Politics of Free- 
dom. 1962. 

Schwartz, Lawrence. Marxism and Culture: The CPUSA 
and Aesthetics in the 1930s. 1980. 

Whiting, Cecile. Antifascism in American Art. 1989. 

Jonathan Harris 



ARTHURDALE, WEST VIRGINIA 

The groundbreaking for the small new town of Ar- 
thurdale, West Virginia, in late 1933 inaugurated 
one of the New Deal's most ambitious and eventu- 
ally most notorious projects in economic and social 
engineering. The project began with efforts led by 
Eleanor Roosevelt to expand American Friends Ser- 



vice Committee relief work in Scott's Run, a long- 
depressed coal mining area near Morgantown, 
West Virginia. Mrs. Roosevelt helped turn Arthur- 
dale into the showcase effort of the recently estab- 
lished Division of Subsistence Homesteads. Ar- 
thurdale was a prototype for a rural-urban 
synthesis in which destitute farmers and miners 
from the area were resettled into new homes with 
enough land to maintain a household subsistence, 
while planners also sought to provide homestead- 
ing families with newly decentralized industrial 
jobs. 

Beyond such economic schemes, Mrs. Roose- 
velt herself saw the new town as a "human experi- 
ment station." She led a coterie of social and cultur- 
al reformers aiming to build "community" among 
residents, particularly by enlisting them in an array 



70 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A R T H U R D A L E , WEST VIRGINIA 




Some Arthurdale residents, including these employees in a vacuum cleaner factory in 1937, were given the opportunity to combine 
farming with part-time work in local industries. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



of cooperative ventures that eventually included a 
health clinic, a general store, a cemetery, an inter- 
denominational church, a forge, a weaving room, 
and a furniture factory, along with various agricul- 
tural projects. But at the heart of the community's 
experimental first years lay the school, designed by 
educator Elsie Clapp around philosopher John 
Dewey's pragmatic pedagogy. The school mirrored 
the project by seeking to integrate a progressive so- 
cial and economic agenda with revivals of residents' 
"folkways," presumed lost over decades of industri- 
al expansion. This emphasis on cultural rehabilita- 
tion was abetted when planners acceded to local 
pressures to select families of largely Scotch-Irish 
descent, despite intense interest on the part of local 
non-native and African -American applicants. 

During the 1930s, Arthurdale's political reputa- 
tion, and to some extent its residents, suffered from 



confused and over-optimistic planning during the 
ongoing Depression. Clapp's experimental school 
closed in 1936 due to lack of private funding. 
Worse, homesteaders endured years without 
steady wage work after Congress denied plans to 
give federal manufacturing contracts to homestead- 
ers, citing unfair competition with private industry. 
Through the 1930s, Resettlement Administration 
and later Farm Security Administration officials 
struggled to maintain employment at Arthurdale, 
until the coming of the war effort brought lasting 
jobs. By then, the government had begun selling off 
the 165 homes and other properties built there, at 
a significant loss against its total outlay. 

In following decades, Arthurdale's families 
prospered in relative anonymity. Following its fifti- 
eth anniversary in 1984, however, residents created 
Arthurdale Heritage, Inc., a small nonprofit organi- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



71 



ASIA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN 



zation that maintains the town's remaining com- 
munity structures and offers a look back on its sto- 
ried past. 

See Also: APPALACHIA, IMPACT OF THE GREAT 
DEPRESSION ON; ROOSEVELT, ELEANOR; 
SUBSISTENCE HOMESTEADS DIVISION. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Arthurdale Heritage, Inc. Homepage at: www 
.arthurdaleheritage.org 

Cook, Blanche Weisen. Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 2: 
1933-1938. 1992. 

Haid, Stephen Edward. "Arthurdale: An Experiment in 
Community Planning, 1933-1947." Ph.D. diss., 
West Virginia University, 1975. 

Ward, Bryan, ed. A New Deal for America (proceedings 
from the National Conference on 1930s, Arthurdale, 
and New Deal Homesteads, July 1994). 1995. 

Stuart Keith Patterson 



ASIA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN 

All Asian countries were deeply affected by the 
steep fall of agrarian prices that began in 1930 and 
reached its lowest point around 1933. There was a 
slight upward trend in subsequent years, but in 
general, prices stagnated at a low level until they 
rose again during World War II. Wheat and cotton, 
which were widely traded in the world market, led 
the downward trend, and they were soon followed 
by other types of produce, such as millets, which 
were grown only for local consumption. Normally, 
prices reflect supply and demand; in the Depression 
years there were no major changes in this respect 
in Asia, but the prices were halved nevertheless. 
The contraction of credit was the main cause of this 
catastrophic decline. It upset forward trading, 
which otherwise served to stabilize prices. Panic 
sales spread like wildfire. Rural marketing was dis- 
rupted and it took years to overcome this upheaval. 

Economic historians have hardly taken note of 
this Asian crisis of the 1930s. Theoretical assump- 
tions caused this neglect: If a country did not expe- 
rience industrial unemployment and a balance of 
payments crisis, it was supposedly not affected by 



the Depression. Most Asian countries were only 
marginally industrialized at that time and the bal- 
ance of payments was settled by an outflow of gold, 
so on these two counts there was no depression in 
Asia. 

The fate of the Asian peasant has been disre- 
garded, too. If the peasants had only practiced sub- 
sistence agriculture, prices would have been irrele- 
vant, but most Asian peasants were forced to 
market much of their produce because they were 
indebted and had to pay taxes. Debt service and 
taxation were not adjusted to their reduced income 
There was widespread agrarian distress in Asia, but 
governments faced serious peasant revolts only in 
a few areas. Long-term political effects that were 
not immediately evident turned out to be more im- 
portant than these incidents of violent revolt. 



GOLD AND SILVER: THE FATE OF ASIAN 
CURRENCIES 

Before World War I the international gold stan- 
dard had maintained an automatic equilibrium in 
the world market, due to the powerful position of 
London, which controlled the flow of gold world- 
wide. After the war the United States emerged as 
the arbiter of the flow of gold, but instead of letting 
it flow, it hoarded it in the interest of internal price 
stability. In spite of this, there was a concerted ef- 
fort, led by London, to restore the international 
gold standard. Great Britain returned to it at the 
prewar parity in 1925 and had to abandon it again 
in 1931. Japan returned to it as late as 1930, only to 
abandon it again in 1932; its currency then experi- 
enced a dramatic devaluation. 

British India was completely at the mercy of the 
currency policy made by the secretary of state for 
India in London. India's silver currency had served 
its colonial rulers very well, because it absorbed a 
large amount of the silver that became redundant 
in Europe when most countries demonetized it and 
shifted to the gold standard. But the colonial gov- 
ernment of India collected taxes in depreciating sil- 
ver while it had to pay its "home charges" (such as 
debt service) in gold. When it could not make both 
ends meet any longer, the Indian mints were closed 
to the free coinage of silver in 1893. The silver rupee 
became a token currency that was managed by the 



7Z 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



ASIA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN 



secretary of state. In 1927 a currency act was passed 
that pegged the rupee to the gold standard at a rate 
above the prewar parity. This feat had been accom- 
plished by a slow and steady deflation. Used silver 
coins were not replaced by new ones but melted 
down. The silver was quietly sold abroad by the 
British. When the Depression hit India, the ex- 
change rate of the overvalued rupee was defended 
by further deflationary measures. This finally led to 
an enormous outflow of "distress gold" (mostly 
gold coins and ornaments) that indebted peasants 
turned over to the moneylenders. Since the respec- 
tive colonial governments did not impose gold ex- 
port embargoes, this gold flowed freely to London 
and other centers. This export filled the gap caused 
by the decline of the value of commodity exports 
and thus cured India's balance of payments prob- 
lem with a vengeance. 

In the meantime, China was shielded against 
the initial impact of the Depression by its silver cur- 
rency, because the price of silver fell like that of all 
other commodities. Whereas some countries that 
were in full control of their respective currencies re- 
sorted to competitive devaluation, China's currency 
was devalued automatically. Overseas Chinese 
then converted their savings (in gold) into silver, 
which they invested in China in a big way. But this 
spree did not last long. President Roosevelt helped 
the U. S. silver interests by means of a silver pur- 
chasing policy that dramatically increased the price 
of silver in the world market. The silver that had 
poured into China around 1930 left it again in 1934, 
and the Depression hit China in a delayed but very 
dramatic action. 

Other Asian countries that were colonies of dif- 
ferent European powers were affected by the pecu- 
liarities of the currency policies of their respective 
masters. France had joined the gold standard only 
in 1928 — and at one-fifth of the prewar parity. It 
was thus in a more comfortable position than other 
countries and could stay on the gold standard until 
1936. In Indochina, the French maintained a colo- 
nial currency, the piastre, which they pegged to the 
French franc in 1931 in order to protect French in- 
vestments. This aggravated the impact of the De- 
pression on Indochina. In the Netherlands East In- 
dies (now Indonesia) there was no colonial 



currency. The Dutch currency circulated in the colo- 
ny, but here, too, a deflationary policy led to an out- 
flow of gold that benefited the colonial power. 

Most Asian countries suffered from the com- 
bined impact of deflationary policies and credit 
contraction. Both were caused by creditors in the 
central places of the world market who wanted to 
prevent the depreciation of Asian currencies so as 
to protect their investments, but also did not want 
to provide fresh credit. This depressed prices, and 
also subverted the old argument that access to colo- 
nial raw materials was essential for the European 
powers, and could only be secured by political con- 
trol. In a world where raw materials were available 
at very low prices, colonialism did not pay any lon- 
ger. Colonial control was required only to keep 
under control debtors who might cancel their debts. 
The deflationary policy was an integral part of this 
control of debtors. Its immediate effect was the 
sharp decline of prices of agricultural produce. 



WHEAT, RICE, AND SUGAR: THE FALL OF 
AGRARIAN PRICES 

All Asian crops were affected by the fall in 
prices in the 1930s, but wheat, rice, and sugar were 
by far the most important. Wheat was grown and 
traded globally. Its overproduction in the United 
States was one of the chief causes of the Depres- 
sion. For some time the storage of wheat in the 
United States had helped to keep prices at a com- 
fortable level, but when credit contracted in the 
United States due to the monetary policy of the 
Federal Reserve Board, wheat poured out of the 
storage houses in an avalanche of panic sales. Cred- 
it signals then reached India, Australia, and other 
wheat-producing regions very quickly. 

Rice was not immediately affected by these 
events. Wheat could not be easily substituted for 
Rice: This was not just a matter of taste, but also of 
the skills and implements required for preparing 
the respective foods. Thus the rice price remained 
high everywhere in Asia in the summer of 1930. 
Moreover, rice was only marginally traded in the 
world market. It was almost exclusively an Asian 
crop, produced and consumed locally. Japan was a 
crucial exception, and it played a decisive role in 
triggering the global fall of the rice price. After 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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ASIA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN 



World War I, Japan was a rice-deficit country. Rice 
riots had shaken the government and arrange- 
ments were made for a timely import of rice. In 
Japan rice is harvested at the end of summer, 
whereas in monsoon Asia (South and Southeast 
Asia) the main harvest reaches the market in Janu- 
ary. Rice from Burma (now Myanmar) and, to a 
lesser extent, from Thailand and Indochina, would 
reach Japan in March when it was needed most. But 
by 1928 Japan had achieved self-sufficiency and im- 
posed an import embargo on rice. In 1930 Japan 
had a very plentiful rice harvest. At that time the 
Japanese government was pursuing a deflationary 
policy in order to support the yen, which had just 
been pegged to the gold standard. The double im- 
pact of deflation and the rich harvest caused the rice 
price to fall by about one-third in October 1930. 
This should have been a purely domestic concern 
since Japan did not export or import rice, but grain 
traders all over the world interpreted this as a signal 
that the rice price would now share the fate of the 
wheat price. In November 1930 the rice price in 
Liverpool was reduced by half, and Calcutta fol- 
lowed the Liverpool precedent in January 1931. At 
that point, the rice price experienced a free fall, and 
by 1933 rice was cheaper than wheat in India. Actu- 
ally, the production, consumption, and export vol- 
ume of rice did not decline very much in this peri- 
od — only the price remained low, and so did the 
income of the producers. 

In 1930 in lower Burma, the world's major rice 
export region at that time, the peasants rose in a vi- 
olent revolt led by the charismatic Saya San. Bur- 
mese peasants had to pay both poll tax and land 
revenue. The poll tax was collected before the win- 
ter harvest, forcing the peasants to market their 
rice. Moneylenders and grain dealers usually eager- 
ly provided credit for the tax payment against the 
coming harvest, but in late 1930 they knew that the 
price of rice would fall in January and thus they did 
not provide any credit when the tax collector 
pounced on the peasants. In response, Saya San, 
who had earlier petitioned the government on be- 
half of the peasants, led the peasants in a violent re- 
bellion that took the British two years to suppress. 
Other rice-growing provinces of British India re- 
mained quiet during the period because peasants 
did not have to pay poll tax or even land revenue, 



but only rent to landlords. A peasant could get 
away with paying no rent for some time, but then 
the landlord could sue him and he would forfeit his 
occupancy right. This produced an atmosphere of 
smoldering discontent but no immediate revolt. 
Unrest was more pronounced in India's wheat- 
growing region, where peasants were in more di- 
rect contact with the revenue authorities. The Na- 
tional Congress, an Indian political party, had 
sponsored agrarian campaigns in this region in 
1930, and this contributed to the subsequent emer- 
gence of the Congress as a peasant party. 

Sugarcane was a major cash crop in several 
Asian countries, particularly in India, the Nether- 
lands East Indies, and the Philippines. Before the 
Depression, the Netherlands East Indies was the 
major exporter of refined white sugar. Much of this 
white sugar was exported to India, where sugarcane 
was mostly converted into brown sugar for rural 
consumption, and imported refined sugar was in 
demand in urban areas. In 1931 the British Indian 
government imposed a prohibitive tariff on sugar, 
thus greatly encouraging Indian sugar production. 
By 1937 India was ready to export sugar, but the In- 
ternational Sugar Agreement of that year classified 
India as a sugar importing country, so India was de- 
nied an export quota. The protective tariff of 1931 
did not affect British imperial interests. But if India 
had been permitted to export sugar in 1937, the 
(British) Caribbean sugar planters would have faced 
Indian competition. Thus the year 1937 marked a 
setback for India. On the other hand, sugar produc- 
tion expanded in the Philippines because of its free 
access to the U. S. market. 

ASIAN INDUSTRIES: LIMITED POSSIBILITIES 
OF IMPORT SUBSTITUTION 

Some scholars of Asian history have tried to 
prove that the Depression was a boon in disguise 
for Asian countries because they benefited from im- 
port substitution (the replacement of imported in- 
dustrial products such as cotton textiles by indige- 
nous production). Actually, the scope of import 
substitution was severely limited by the reduced 
buying power of the rural masses. The textile indus- 
try was the only major industry in Asia in the early 
twentieth century. Japan did make a major advance 
in the Depression years by buying cheap Indian 



U 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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cotton and using the cheap labor of Japanese peas- 
ant girls to produce textiles. The devaluation of the 
Japanese yen by about 60 percent in 1932 gave Jap- 
anese products an enormous competitive advan- 
tage. The British in India responded to this by insti- 
tuting protective tariffs and securing preferential 
access to the Indian market for their own products. 
Under these arrangements the Indian textile indus- 
try progressed somewhat in the 1930s, but the main 
beneficiaries were the handloom weavers who got 
cheap food and cheap cotton and competed with 
the mills, which could not cut their costs easily. Ac- 
tually, the Depression remains the only period in 
which the real wages of labor increased in India. 
China experienced similar developments. The in- 
vestment spree of the early 1930s encouraged in- 
dustrial growth. Even the Japanese invested in Chi- 
nese mills. But all this was soon engulfed by the 
delayed impact of the Depression, and then by the 
ravages of war after the Japanese invasion of China. 
Other Asian countries had hardly any industry that 
could have profited from import substitution. 

See Also: AGRICULTURE; GOLD STANDARD; 
INTERNATIONAL IMPACT OF THE GREAT 
DEPRESSION. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Albert, Bill, and Adrian Graves, eds. The World Sugar In- 
dustry in War and Depression. 1988. 

Boomgaard, Peter, and Ian Brown, eds. Weathering the 
Storm: The Economies of Southeast Asia in the 1930s 
Depression. 2000. 

Brown, Ian, ed. The Economies of Asia and Africa in the 
Inter-War Depression. 1989. 

Feuerwerker, Albert. The Chinese Economy, 1912-1949. 
1968. 

Rothermund, Dietmar. India in the Great Depression, 
1929-1931. 1992. 

Rothermund, Dietmar. The Global Impact of the Great De- 
pression, 1929-1939. 1996. 

Rothermund, Dietmar. "Currencies, Taxes and Credit: 
Asian Peasants in the Great Depression, 
"1930-1939." In The Interwar Depression in an Inter- 
national Context, edited by Harold lames. 2001. 

Dietmar Rothermund 



ASIAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF 
THE GREAT DEPRESSION ON 

The Great Depression had important political, eco- 
nomic, and cultural implications for "Asian- 
American" communities. In the United States, the 
ethnic label Asian American encompasses groups of 
people with diverse geographical, cultural, and his- 
torical backgrounds, and ancestral roots in a num- 
ber of different countries. The earliest Asian immi- 
grants arrived in the United States from China, with 
the first massive wave coming in the mid- 
nineteenth century. As with other ethnic minori- 
ties, the Chinese — and later the Japanese, Filipinos, 
Asian Indians, Koreans, and a host of other 
groups — emigrated to the United States to serve 
primarily as a source of cheap labor. These migra- 
tion patterns were related to larger global transfor- 
mations initiated by industrial capitalism and Euro- 
American colonialism. By the beginning of the 
Great Depression, these groups formed the largest 
Asian populations in the country. According to U.S. 
census data and other published reports, there were 
close to 75,000 Chinese, 140,000 Japanese, 56,000 
Filipinos, and several thousand Asian Indians and 
Koreans living in America in 1930, most residing on 
the West Coast. 

Like most other Americans, Asian Americans 
endured hardships related to and caused by the 
economic fallout of the late 1920s, with its effects 
lasting well into the 1930s. Stories of massive un- 
employment, housing evictions, lost savings, star- 
vations, and in some cases suicide, were reported 
throughout Asian-American communities in the 
United States. In her autobiography, Quiet Odyssey: 
A Pioneer Korean Woman in America (1990), Mary 
Paik Lee, a Korean immigrant, describes the devas- 
tating impact of the Depression on her and her 
family. She recalls how her family's savings, gener- 
ated from over a decade of operating a fruit stand 
in southern California, were completely wiped out 
during those years, forcing the family to move from 
place to place in search of available land to support 
a minimal level of subsistence. Preexisting levels of 
racial hostility in most industries in California led 
many Asian immigrants, such as the family of Mary 
Paik Lee, to be disproportionately represented in 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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IMPACT 



f 



T H E 



GREAT DEPRESSION 



N 




3^§m^S^ : " " ^m^^^^^ 



Japanese-American agricultural workers, photographed by Dorothea Lange in 1937, pack broccoli near Guadalupe, California. 
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



agriculture as laborers, farmers, and small entrepre- 
neurs. Unfortunately, as the Depression dramati- 
cally reduced the demand for specialized agri- 
cultural goods (agricultural profits in California 
dropped by more than 50 percent from 1929 to 
1932), the economic fallout of the Depression led 
to particularly harsh consequences for Asian 
Americans in the region. The economic effects of 
the Depression were also felt by Asian Ameri- 
cans on the East Coast. Chinese hand laundry- 
men, operating more than three thousand such 
businesses in New York City, saw their earnings 
and wages decline by about one-half during the 
Depression. 



As the economic crisis of the early 1930s deep- 
ened, its impact, at least for Asian-American com- 
munities, was felt beyond the boundaries of Ameri- 
ca's borders. Many Asian immigrants, despite being 
separated by long distances and long periods be- 
tween visits, maintained close ties to their families 
and villages in their homelands. In particular, the 
Chinese, as a result of international migration, de- 
veloped what some historians have called "transna- 
tional communities." The combination of exclu- 
sionary immigration laws, cultural norms in China, 
and the prohibitive costs involved in the immigra- 
tion process created an immigration population 
overwhelmingly male, leading some observers to 



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mistakenly characterize the Chinese communities 
in America as "bachelor societies." Familial ties 
across vast physical spaces were sustained by let- 
ters, occasional visits, and scheduled remittances. 
These remittances went to building new homes, 
schools, hospitals, and orphanages for families and 
villages back in China. However, the Depression 
substantially reduced the funds that Chinese immi- 
grants were able to send home, undoubtedly wors- 
ening conditions for their families and villages in 
China, which had come increasingly to rely on 
these remittances. In short, for Asian immigrants, 
the impact of the Great Depression was experi- 
enced on both sides of the Pacific. 



THE IMPACT OF RACISM 

For Asian Americans, the debilitating effects of 
the economic crisis were compounded by the his- 
torical legacy of racism. During the latter half of the 
nineteenth century, the American public increas- 
ingly charged Asian immigrants, beginning with 
the Chinese, with being "unassimilable," "racially 
inferior," and a threat to the "American" way of life. 
These anti-Asiatic sentiments were eventually en- 
coded into American law. In 1882, the U.S. Con- 
gress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, making 
Chinese immigration to the United States illegal. By 
1924, Asians, which by law included peoples from 
countries stretching from Afghanistan to the South 
Pacific, were effectively excluded from the United 
States as immigrants (with the exception of Filipi- 
nos and certain exempt classes including mer- 
chants, diplomats and students), were deprived of 
the right to own land, and were denied the legal 
right to citizenship. This history of exclusion and 
oppression by racial and national proscription pro- 
foundly effected the way Asians Americans and 
their children experienced and responded to the 
Depression. For example, Asian Americans, along 
with other ethnic minorities, occupied the bottom 
of a racially stratified labor market, making them 
especially vulnerable during times of economic cri- 
sis. Community histories describing, for instance, 
New York City's Chinatown, have shown that the 
unemployment rate among the Chinese population 
was considerably higher than state and national av- 
erages during the peak years of the Depression. 
Furthermore, racist employment practices preclud- 




This Filipino -American man found work in the lettuce fields of 
California's Imperial Valley in 1939. Library of Congress, 
Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



ed many university educated Asian Americans from 
entering the professional and white-collar ranks. 
The comments of a certain college educated Nisei 
(the American-born children of Japanese immi- 
grants) reflected the frustrations of a generation of 
educated Asian Americans: "They go to college, 
learn a heterogeneous body of facts relating to any- 
thing from art to architecture and end their days in 
a fruit stand." 

As with previous periods of economic crisis in 
American history, racial antipathies toward Asian 
Americans were expressed more frequently and 
with greater intensity during the Depression. In the 
face of an ever-diminishing labor market, white 
Americans throughout the West Coast systemati- 
cally and violently drove out Asian-American la- 
borers, with Filipinos being the most frequent tar- 
gets. As colonial subjects, Filipinos were given the 
juridical status of U.S. nationals, which allowed 
them, unlike other Asian groups, to move freely 
back and forth from the Philippines to the United 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



11 



ASIAN A M E R I C 



N S 



IMPACT 



f 



T H E 



GREAT DEPRESSION 



N 




. *>» 






"•f 









1: ff..*! 

Many Asian Americans earned a living as itinerant field hands during the Great Depression. This Chinese -American laborer 
worked in a -potato field near Walla Walla, Washington, in 1936. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI 
Collection 



States. However, Filipinos did not began to arrive 
on American shores in significant numbers until the 
1920s and 1930s. During this period, Filipinos expe- 
rienced the same pattern of treatment as previous 
generations of Asian immigrants; initially, they 
were frequent victims of physical violence, and 
eventually, they were excluded through govern- 
mental legislation. During the Depression, the U.S. 
government offered to repatriate Filipinos with the 
stipulation that they forfeit the right to reentry into 
the United States; not surprisingly, few Filipinos 
took up the offer, though there were reported cases 
of coerced repatriation. In 1935, Filipino immigra- 
tion to the United States was all but halted with the 



passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act. Economic 
uncertainty also produced similar efforts to discrim- 
inate against Asian Americans on the East Coast. 
For example, in 1933, a group of businessmen in 
New York City, in an attempt to eliminate Chinese 
competition from the industry, unsuccessfully ad- 
vocated for a city ordinance that would require U.S. 
citizenship to obtain a laundry license. 



ASIAN-AMERICAN RESPONSE TO THE 
DEPRESSION 

Asian-American communities responded to 
these difficult times in a variety of ways. Like many 
Mexican Americans, some Asian immigrants sim- 



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ply decided to return to their homelands; some re- 
turned with the hope of finding better prospects, 
and others returned as a temporary strategy, at least 
until the situation improved in the United States. A 
small number of Asian immigrants and their chil- 
dren relocated to Central and South America. The 
vast majority of Asian Americans, however, looked 
to ethnic institutions and organizations to survive 
the Depression. Long before the 1930s, mutual aid 
societies, welfare agencies, and business organiza- 
tions provided resources and services, such as relief, 
job placement services, and legal counsel. Such or- 
ganizations were generally located in ethnic en- 
claves in large cities — the most notable being in San 
Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle — 
where, due in part to racism in the housing and em- 
ployment markets, the highest concentration of 
Asian Americans resided. In addition, there were 
informal community networks through which fam- 
ilies and friends could mutually assist one another 
in times of emergency. These institutions and net- 
works worked to shelter Asian-American commu- 
nities from the most debilitating effects of the De- 
pression. In San Francisco's Chinatown, for 
example, the expanding tourist industry (which was 
facilitated by the repeal of prohibition laws in 1933), 
together with New Deal federal assistance, helped 
dramatically reduce Chinese unemployment in the 
city by the late 1930s. Growing numbers of Chinese 
men and women began finding jobs in newly reno- 
vated restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. Similarly, 
in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, Japanese merchants 
and community leaders organized the "buy in Lil' 
Tokio" campaign, through which they hoped to re- 
vive slumping Japanese-American businesses by 
appealing to the community's sense of ethnic 
loyalty. 

However, the depth of the Depression crisis se- 
verely tested the limits of ethnic institutions and 
networks, leaving them, in many instances, unable 
to adequately address the unprecedented levels of 
need to be found in their respective communities. 
As a result, Asian Americans, many for the first 
time, turned to the federal government for assis- 
tance. Government reports indicate that the rate at 
which Asian Americans participated in public assis- 
tance varied widely from city to city. For example, 
San Francisco's Chinatown had the highest per- 



centage of Chinese receiving relief benefits, nearly 
approaching the national average. On the other 
hand, in Chicago and New York, only 2 to 5 percent 
of the Chinese population was on relief. In general, 
Asian Americans were less likely to seek relief as- 
sistance for a number of reasons. First, as frequent 
victims of state powers in the past, Asian Americans 
understandably feared government authorities. 
Moreover, discriminatory federal policies excluded 
them from certain government programs and bene- 
fits. One clear example of this was the statutory re- 
quirement that an individual must be an American 
citizen to be eligible for a job through the Works 
Progress Administration (WPA). Consequently, 
Asian Americans, many of whom by law were ineli- 
gible for citizenship, composed a disproportionate- 
ly small percentage of people on WPA employment 
rolls. Based on the calculations of one historian, 
among the three largest Asian-American groups in 
California in 1940, less than 14 percent of their un- 
employed had jobs with the WPA as compared to 
more than 60 percent of unemployed black Ameri- 
cans. In addition to all of this, many Asian Ameri- 
cans were simply unaware that they were entitled 
to relief assistance, which also helps to explain their 
lower participation rates. 

Despite these shortcomings, the federal gov- 
ernment did make positive contributions to Asian- 
American communities during the Depression, and 
in doing so, may have helped to bring about a 
change in these groups' attitudes and perceptions 
of the state. In San Francisco's Chinatown, for ex- 
ample, New Deal legislation improved housing 
conditions, established public health clinics, and 
expanded educational and job-training programs, 
in addition to traditional public relief allowances. 
Furthermore, many of these federal programs pro- 
vided professional opportunities for Asian- 
American women in the fields of education and so- 
cial work in a time when few professional occupa- 
tions were considered suitable for women. 

The growing emergence of women profession- 
als was part of a larger trend in which Asian- 
American women were gradually to become more 
visible in the workplace and in the public more gen- 
erally. As a result of the Depression, many Asian- 
American women were forced to find employment 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



79 



ASSOCIATION 



GAINST 



PROHIBITION 



A M E N D M T N T 



A A P A 



outside of the home, mainly in low-wage, service- 
oriented industries. For some, this development 
only created additional work — wage labor during 
the day and household chores in the evening. 
Asian-American women, like many women across 
the country, had to work increasingly hard to keep 
the family together in these trying times. Yet, for 
other women, some of whom became household 
breadwinners, the Depression presented opportu- 
nities to challenge traditional gender roles. Indeed, 
some Asian-American women, albeit a limited 
number, actively participated in public affairs such 
as local politics, union organizing, and community 
reform. 

As all this suggests, Asian Americans were ac- 
tive participants in the unfolding drama that was 
the Great Depression. Certain everyday scenar- 
ios — Japanese-American families applying and re- 
ceiving federal aid, Chinese-American women 
walking to the garment factory to begin their work- 
day, and Filipino-American workers organizing in 
California's strawberry fields — reflected important 
social and cultural changes taking place within 
Asian-American communities at this time. Yet 
these developments, prompted by the Great De- 
pression, were only a prelude to even larger 
changes and struggles that lay ahead for Asian 
Americans. Nevertheless, the crisis of the 1930s 
prepared them for a future that included World War 
II, wartime internment, and the postwar struggle 
for equality. 

See Also: ASIA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN; MIGRATORY 
WORKERS; RACE AND ETHNIC RELATIONS. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Daniels, Roger. Asian America: Chinese and Japanese in the 
United States since 1850. 1988. 

Friday, Chris. Organizing Asian American Labor: The Pacif- 
ic Coast Canned-Salmon Industry, 1870-1942. 1994. 

Fugita-Rony, Dorothy B. American Workers, Colonial 
Power: Philippine Seattle and the Transpacific West, 
1919-1941. 2003. 

Haney-Lopez, Ian. White by Law: The Legal Construction 
of Race. 1996. 

Hsu, Madeline Yuan-yin. Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of 
Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the 
United States and South China, 1882-1943. 2000. 

Ichioka, Yugi. Thelssei: The World of First Generation Japa- 
nese Immigrants, 1885-1924. 1988. 



Kurashige, Ron. Japanese American Celebration and Con- 
flict: A History of Ethnic Identity and Festival, 
1934-1990. 2002. 

Kwong, Peter. Chinatown, New York: Labor and Politics, 
1930-1950, rev. edition. 2001. 

Lee, Mary Paik. Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman 
in America. 1990. 

Matsumoto, Valerie J. Farming the Home Place: A Japanese 
American Community in California, 1919-1982. 1993. 

McKeown, Adam. Chinese Migrant Networks and Cultural 
Change: Peru, Chicago, Hawaii, 1900-1936. 2001. 

Saxton, Alexander. The Indispensable Enemy: Labor and the 
Anti-Chinese Movement in California, rev. edition. 
1995. 

Sayler, Lucy E. Laws Harsh as Tigers: Chinese Immigrants 
and the Shaping of Modern Immigration Law. 1995. 

Shah, Nayan. Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in 
San Francisco's Chinatown. 2001. 

Yoo, David K. Growing Up Nisei: Race, Generation, and 
Culture among Japanese Americans of California, 
1924-49. 2000. 

Yu, Renqui. To Save China, To Save Ourselves: The Chinese 
Hand Laundry Alliance of New York. 1992. 

Yung, Judy. Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese 
Women in San Francisco. 1995. 

Kornel S. Chang 



ASSOCIATION AGAINST THE 
PROHIBITION AMENDMENT 
(AAPA) 

The Association Against the Prohibition Amend- 
ment (AAPA) was the leading political pressure 
group helping to secure repeal of the Eighteenth 
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Historians 
credit the AAPA with fostering Republican- 
Democratic polarization on the issue, giving repeal 
greater respectability, and greatly speeding up the 
repeal process. 

Founded in 1918, the AAPA became the first 
anti-prohibition organization operating outside the 
affected industry. Its founder, William H. Stayton, 
was a former naval captain concerned about cen- 
tralized encroachment on state and local rights. Al- 
though unable to block the Eighteenth Amend- 
ment, he kept the organization alive, had it 



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incorporated, and by 1926 was claiming 700,000 
members. Initially, Stayton worked to secure voter 
pledges, but he soon began stressing quality over 
quantity and seeking members whose stature and 
resources could sway public opinion and enhance 
respectability. Among such recruits were John J. 
Raskob, James W. Wadsworth, Henry H. Curran, 
and Lammot, Pierre, and Irenee du Pont; in 1928 
these men restructured Stayton's association. Stay- 
ton became chair of a showcase board, while Cur- 
ran became president, and operating power went to 
a small committee headed by Pierre du Pont. 

Following its reorganization, AAPA influence 
grew, in part because Raskob became national 
chairman of the Democratic Party and worked to 
link the party with repeal. An outpouring of publici- 
ty, stressing prohibition's costs and tying repeal to 
economic recovery, also helped to change public 
opinion. In addition, cooperation with upper-class 
women, particularly the new Women's Organiza- 
tion for National Prohibition Reform, produced 
positive images of repeal's supporters. In 1932 the 
AAPA succeeded in getting repeal into the Demo- 
cratic platform, and subsequently Jouett Shouse, 
having moved from Democratic headquarters to 
become president of the AAPA, worked to make 
repeal a central campaign issue and took encour- 
agement from the sweeping Democratic victories. 
Lawyers associated with the AAPA helped to shape 
the Twenty-First Amendment and get it through 
Congress; state ratification, completed in December 
1933, proceeded largely according to AAPA guide- 
lines. 

Its mission achieved, the AAPA disbanded. Its 
leaders, however, later became the core of the 
American Liberty League, dedicated to fighting 
New Deal centralization. This time they soon be- 
came discredited, lending support to charges that 
repeal had come through undemocratic manipula- 
tion by selfish plutocrats. For a time this became the 
standard historical interpretation, but further study 
of the AAPA has brought greater appreciation of its 
anti-centralist philosophy and its effectiveness and 
influence in the context of changes being wrought 
by the Great Depression. 

See Also: AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE; 
PROHIBITION; RASKOB, JOHN J. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Burk, Robert F. The Corporate State and the Broker State: 
The Du Fonts and American National Politics, 
1925-1940. 1990. 

Dobyns, Fletcher. The Amazing Story of Repeal: An Expose 
of the Power of Propaganda. 1940. 

Kyvig, David E. "Raskob, Roosevelt, and Repeal." Histo- 
rian 37 (1975): 469-487. 

Kyvig, David E. Repealing National Prohibition, 2nd edi- 
tion, 2000. 

Ellis W. Hawley 



AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND, 
GREAT DEPRESSION IN 

The Great Depression began in Australia and New 
Zealand with a collapse in demand for their primary 
products, which caused export prices to fall 40 per- 
cent from 1929 to 1932. The loss of earnings caused 
a severe liquidity crisis from mid-1929 in two coun- 
tries that relied heavily on foreign borrowing to fi- 
nance economic development, while disequilibri- 
um in the balance of payments forced a reduction 
of imports in 1930 to half their pre-Depression 
level. The gross domestic product, measured in 
constant prices, fell by nearly 10 percent between 
1929 and 1932 in Australia and 20 percent in New 
Zealand. 

Both countries had enjoyed prosperity as enter- 
prising and progressive colonies of British settle- 
ment. The United Kingdom was the principal mar- 
ket for Australian wheat, wool, and agricultural 
products, as well as for New Zealand meat, wool, 
and dairy products; these rural exports accounted 
for over 20 percent of their nations' production. Yet 
both countries were highly urbanized: The majority 
of wage earners lived in the four principal cities of 
New Zealand, while Sydney and Melbourne both 
had more than one million inhabitants. Australia, 
with a population of 6.5 million in 1930 (when the 
New Zealand population was 1.7 million) was the 
more ambitious in promotion of secondary industry 
by tariff protection and government assistance. 
Both sought to guarantee living standards through 
national tribunals that determined minimum wage 
levels. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



S T R A L I A AND NEW ZEALAND 



GREAT 



DEPRESSION 



I N 



A Labor government took office in Australia at 
the onset of the Depression and responded to the 
crisis by encouraging greater production of rural ex- 
ports and raising tariff levels to reduce imports. But 
the serious deterioration in the balance of payments 
caused difficulties in servicing the foreign debt, and 
the Bank of England sent Sir Otto Niemeyer to ad- 
vise on appropriate remedies. With the support of 
the Australian banks, he made the federal and state 
governments agree to reduce expenditures, balance 
their budgets, and curtail borrowing. The Arbitra- 
tion Court cut the minimum wage by 10 percent in 
January 1931, and the Australian currency was si- 
multaneously devalued against sterling by 30 per- 
cent. The federal Labor government suffered defec- 
tions and lost office at the end of 1931 to a 



reconstituted United Australia Party, which main- 
tained the retrenchments. The Labor premier of 
New South Wales, Jack Lang, who defied the finan- 
cial arrangements, was dismissed from office in 
1932. 

In New Zealand, two non-Labor parties with 
rural and urban bases of support, the United and 
the Reform parties, dominated the parliament and 
came together in a coalition in 1931, leaving Labor 
in opposition. The government followed deflation- 
ary policies similar to those in Australia, though 
New Zealand resisted devaluation until January 
1933, when a 25 percent cut in the exchange rate 
with sterling was made. The New Zealand Court of 
Arbitration imposed a 10 percent wage cut in May 
1931. 



82 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



S T R A L I A 



N D 



NEW ZEALAND 



GREAT 



DEPRESSION 



I N 



Recovery began in Australia and New Zealand 
by 1933, assisted by the increase in the volume of 
exports. The Ottawa Agreement of 1932, which 
gave preferential trade arrangements to the British 
Dominions, probably assisted Australian and New 
Zealand producers. Their Depression was less se- 
vere than in the United States. Estimates of unem- 
ployment vary, ranging from 20 to more than 30 
percent of the workforce in Australia; the New Zea- 
land economy had a smaller proportion of employ- 
ees, so its rate of unemployment was lower. There 
was less work rationing than in the United States 
and a high incidence of long-term unemployment. 
Relief measures in Australia were initially in the 
hands of local government and charities, and took 
the form of food handouts. From 1930 state govern- 
ments levied emergency income taxes to finance 
sustenance payments and enlist unemployed men 
in public works. The New Zealand government fol- 



lowed similar policies, with a strong emphasis on 
working for the "dole." 

These measures were barely sufficient. Eviction 
and homelessness became common. Shanty towns 
sprang up on the outskirts of cities, while many un- 
employed resorted to an itinerant existence in the 
rural interiors. Protest demonstrations erupted oc- 
casionally into violent city riots in 1931 and 1932, 
and encouraged governments to provide public 
works. The requirement that married men work for 
the dole on such projects, often far from home, im- 
posed strains on marriages, and younger men were 
especially vulnerable to the social dislocation of 
prolonged hardship. Marriages were deferred, and 
the birthrate fell to an unprecedented low. Those 
indigenous peoples of the two countries, the Ab- 
originals and Maori, who were in the paid work- 
force were mostly rural, casual workers, and were 
hit hard. There were some cases of antagonism to 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



83 



S T R A L I A AND NEW ZEALAND 



GREAT 



DEPRESSION 



I N 



foreign workers, mostly southern Europeans em- 
ployed in mining and agriculture, though the cessa- 
tion of migration during the Depression defused 
such animosities. In societies that had valorized the 
male breadwinner, there was also criticism of the 
displacement of men by female workers, but the 
trade unions were powerless to prevent such 
changes in employment policy. 

Several regional studies of the Depression sug- 
gest that the unequal sacrifices it imposed on differ- 
ent classes strained social cohesion and dented the 
egalitarian ethos of these new-world nations. Oral 
history and fictional treatments attest to the humili- 
ations the Depression inflicted as well as the re- 
sourcefulness of its victims. The failure of the Aus- 
tralian Labor Party allowed the previously 
ineffective Communist Party to channel discontent 
into its Unemployed Workers Movement. Commu- 
nism and the defiant radical populism of the pre- 
mier of New South Wales alarmed conservatives, 
who formed secret armies to defend God, king, and 
empire. That was unnecessary in New Zealand, 
where the Labour Party first gained office in 1935. 
Its extensive program of economic management 



and social welfare was heavily influenced by the 
lessons of the Depression. 

See Also: CANADA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN; 
INTERNATIONAL IMPACT OF THE GREAT 
DEPRESSION. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bolton, G. C. A Fine Country to Starve In. 1972. 

Broomhill, Ray. Unemployed Workers: A Social History of 
the Depression in Adelaide. 1978. 

Gregory, R. G., and N. G. Butlin, eds. Recovery from the 
Depression: Australia and the World Economy in the 
1930s. 1988. 

Hawke, G. R. The Making of New Zealand: An Economic 
History. 1985. 

Lowenstein, Wendy, ed. Weevils in the Flour: An Oral Re- 
cord of the 1930s Depression in Australia, rev. edition. 
1989. 

Mackinolty, Tudy, ed. The Wasted Years?: Australia's Great 
Depression. 1981. 

Schedvin, C. B. Australia and the Great Depression. 1970. 

Simpson, Tony. The Slump: The Thirties Depression, Its Or- 
igins and Aftermath. 1990. 

Stuart Macintyre 



U 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 




BACK-TO-THE-LAND MOVEMENT 

The back-to-the-land, or back-to-the-soil, move- 
ment of the 1930s was a collection of relief and re- 
form projects that sought agrarian solutions to the 
decade's social and economic crises. A single basic 
goal united the various groups and schemes associ- 
ated with the movement: to open the nation's un- 
used lands to a new class of small producers. But 
this common theme found expression through ini- 
tiatives ranging greatly in practical scope and intel- 
lectual sophistication. 

In the broadest sense, movement back to the 
land in the United States began soon after the stock 
market crash of 1929, when the country saw a tem- 
porary but significant reversal of decades of urban- 
ward migration as city jobs dried up and millions 
sought what seemed simpler, cheaper living on old 
family farms or bits of unused, marginal land. The 
popular press fueled this widespread but largely 
unorganized upwelling of interest in subsistence 
gardening and small farming through a drumbeat 
of articles from such leading figures as longtime 
physical culture advocate Bernarr Macfadden. 

A more organized movement took shape as a 
variety of public and private initiatives to resettle 
and retrain families for small production on both 
individual and collective small farms. A number of 



such programs were mainly ad hoc efforts by states 
and municipalities to reduce relief rolls, reprising 
similar efforts during previous depressions to use 
open lands as a safely valve for urban overcrowding 
and unemployment. But some leaders envisioned 
more concerted, long-term land use planning, often 
seeking to combine industrial decentralization with 
workers' gardens in small new towns. Franklin 
Roosevelt proposed such a plan as governor of New 
York, as had industrialist Henry Ford in his 1926 
book Today and Tomorrow. 

Indeed, much of 1930s back-to-the-land activi- 
ty predated the Depression, though the crisis lent 
it new impetus. Sectarian groups like the American 
Friends Service Committee, the rural life sections of 
the Catholic church and various Protestant church- 
es, and the Jewish Agricultural Society brought an 
emphasis on economic and social cooperatives to 
their own long-standing efforts at communal rural 
rehabilitation. Newly mobilized county agricultural 
and domestic agents revived a program for rural 
improvements codified in 1908 by Theodore Roose- 
velt's Country Life Commission. But all of the fore- 
going strands of the movement had their culminat- 
ing expression in a series of resettlement colonies 
built by the New Deal's Division of Subsistence 
Homesteads beginning in late 1933, which joined 
plans for regional and cultural rehabilitation to a 



85 



K K E 



WIGHT 



new rural-urban synthesis of part-time farming and 
factory work in localized, cooperative settings. 

Beyond rural resettlement and rehabilitation 
projects, the movement offered intellectual updates 
to the tradition of Jeffersonian agrarianism. The 
movement's unifying ideological positions included 
ambitious calls for a general redistribution of prop- 
erty and a return to localized production and gov- 
ernment. These common themes found their most 
forceful expression through the Southern Agrari- 
ans, a group of intellectuals at Vanderbilt University 
in Nashville who argued for a return to the institu- 
tions and traditions of the landed Old South in their 
volume I'll Take My Stand (1930), and Ralph Bor- 
sodi, who had begun in the early 1920s to preach 
and practice household production as an alternative 
to unhealthy, wasteful mass consumerism. 

See Also: AGRICULTURE; SOUTHERN AGRARIANS. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Borsodi, Ralph. Flight from the City: An Experiment in Cre- 
ative Living on the Land. 1933. 

Carlson, Allan. The New Agrarian Mind: The Movement to- 
ward Decentralist Thought in Twentieth-Century 
America. 2000. 

Conkin, Paul K. Tomorrow a New World: The New Deal 
Community Program. 1959. 

Lord, Russell, and Paul H. Johnstone. A Place on Earth: 
A Critical Appraisal of Subsistence Homesteads. 1942. 

Stuart Keith Patterson 



BAKKE, E. WIGHT 

Edward Wight Bakke (November 18, 1903-Novem- 
ber 22, 1971) was a sociologist and professor of eco- 
nomics at Yale University. Bakke is best known for 
his investigations of long-term unemployment in 
the Great Depression, published in the two-volume 
1940 study The Unemployed Worker and Citizens 
without Work. He played an important role in shap- 
ing the fields of industrial relations, human re- 
source management, and labor economics as they 
were emerging in the 1930s through the post World 
War II decades. As director of Yale's Labor and 
Management Center, Bakke strove to bring an em- 



pirically grounded, "real world" perspective to 
union-management relations and labor market 
policy. Bakke held key advisory positions on the 
New Deal Social Security Board, the National War 
Labor Board, and in the Department of Labor, 
among other government appointments. Amidst 
this distinguished record, Bakke's study of Depres- 
sion-era unemployment remains his most influen- 
tial and far-reaching work. 

Conducted while he was director of Unemploy- 
ment Studies at Yale's interdisciplinary Institute for 
Human Relations, Bakke's eight-year study ex- 
plored the social psychological, cultural, and eco- 
nomic impact of joblessness on unemployed men 
in New Haven, Connecticut. The study combined 
methods of survey research, case study, ethno- 
graphic observation, and personal interview, 
through which Bakke tracked how workers who 
fully embraced broader cultural values of work and 
self-reliance coped with "the task of making a living 
without a job." While capturing their frustration, 
loss of dignity, fear, and, eventually, despair as the 
Depression lingered on, Bakke also emphasized the 
resourcefulness with which workers and their fami- 
lies made "adjustments" to long-term joblessness. 
Especially striking to contemporary readers was the 
degree to which traditionally male providers would 
exhaust every possible alternative — turning to sav- 
ings, credit, cutting back on necessities, and finally 
to the earnings of their wives and children — before 
accepting public assistance, or "the dole." While 
frequently invoked to shatter the stereotyped imag- 
ery of the unemployed "welfare chiseller," for 
Bakke this pattern was also a sign of something 
more troubling: the unemployed worker's tendency 
to blame himself for a situation over which he had 
little control. 

In its time and for future generations, Bakke's 
study stood as a powerful statement of the impor- 
tance of stable, adequately-paying work opportuni- 
ties for individual well-being, as well as broader so- 
cial well-being. For Bakke himself, it was also a 
statement of the need for a strong and lasting pub- 
lic sector commitment to making those opportuni- 
ties available and protecting workers' rights to 
achieve them. 



86 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



BANK 



E A D 



JONES 



f A R M 



TENANT 



C T 



f 



19 3 7 



See Also: SOCIAL SCIENCE; UNEMPLOYMENT, 
LEVELS OF. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bakke, E. Wight. The Unemployed Worker: A Study of the 
Task of Making a Living without a fob. 1940. 

Bakke, E. Wight. Citizens without Work: A Study of the Ef- 
fects of Unemployment upon the Workers' Social Rela- 
tions and Practices. 1940. 

Alice O'Connor 



"BALLAD OF PRETTY BOY FLOYD" 

Dust Bowl balladeer Woody Guthrie wrote the 
"Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd" in March of 1939. 
Guthrie, best known for singing and composing 
songs about the plight of people dislocated from 
their homes by poverty and the Dust Bowl, wrote 
a series of ballads about outlaws, celebrating them 
as populist heroes, poor people who preyed on the 
rich. He composed songs about the Dalton gang, 
the brazen female outlaw Belle Starr, and most fa- 
mously, Charles Arthur Floyd, a bank robber and 
killer known as Pretty Boy Floyd. 

Born in Bartow County, Georgia, in 1904, Floyd 
began his life of crime in the 1920s as a bootlegger 
and petty gambler, but his criminal activities had 
escalated to armed robbery and murder by the 
1930s. During the Great Depression, poor individu- 
als frequently lost their homes and property to 
banks, and criminals like Pretty Boy Floyd, who 
robbed the banks that foreclosed on their homes 
and farms, became popular figures of the era. Even 
before Guthrie immortalized Floyd in song, he was 
already known as "the Sagebush Robin Hood." 

When Guthrie first composed the "Ballad of 
Pretty Boy Floyd," the song was intended to mock 
the government, banks, and wealthy people. Guth- 
rie's Pretty Boy was transformed into a heroic fig- 
ure, a victim of circumstance who killed a deputy 
sheriff in a fair fight, and then had to seek refuge 
in the backwoods and live as an outcast because 
"every crime in Oklahoma was added to his name." 
Although the police considered Pretty Boy Floyd to 
be a criminal, he was a hero to the poor farmers, 



who gave him food and shelter and, in return for 
their hospitality, often discovered, according to the 
song, that their mortgage had been paid off or a 
thousand- dollar bill had been left on the dinner 
table. 

Guthrie's song describes a hero who, like an 
American Robin Hood, sent a truckload of groceries 
to provide Christmas dinner for all the families on 
relief in Oklahoma City. The last lines of the song 
made Guthrie's message clear: "And as through 
your life you travel/Yes, as through your life you 
roam/You won't never see an outlaw/Drive a family 
from their home." Songs such as the "Ballad of 
Pretty Boy Floyd" helped victims of the Great De- 
pression vocalize their anger against banks, while 
reinforcing growing class tensions. In a time of ab- 
ject poverty, this song offered hope, as well as a ca- 
thartic release of indignation. 

See Also: GUTHRIE, WOODY; HEROES. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Guthrie, Woody. Dust Bowl Ballads (sound recording). 
1940. 

Klein, Joe. Woody Guthrie: A Life. 1981. 

Wallis, Michael. Pretty Boy: The Life and Times of Charles 
Arthur Floyd. 1992. 

Mary L. Nash 



BANKHEAD-JONES FARM TENANT 
ACT OF 1937 

The Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act was passed 
by Congress on July 22, 1937. It authorized a mod- 
est credit program to assist tenant farmers to pur- 
chase land, and it was the culmination of a long ef- 
fort to secure legislation for their benefit. The law 
was one part of the New Deal's program to address 
the massive problems of rural poverty and landless- 
ness, but its impact proved to be so limited that its 
importance was mainly symbolic. 

Federal financing of farm purchases by tenants 
was first considered in Congress as the Bankhead 
bill of 1935. That measure proposed a billion-dollar 
bond issue to enable the government to purchase 



ENCYCLOPEDIA T THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



87 



A N K I N G ACT 



F 



19 3 3 



land, evaluate its suitability for cultivation, and re- 
sell it on easy terms to tenants and sharecroppers 
whose loans would be secured by mortgages and 
supervision of their farming. Although promotion 
of small farm ownership was hardly a radical con- 
cept, the bill received strong conservative opposi- 
tion. The Senate passed it in June 1935, but it died 
in the House of Representatives. 

By 1936 farm purchase lending was an admin- 
istration objective, advocated by the Resettlement 
Administration (RA) and supported by the presi- 
dent. But the Bankhead-Jones Act of 1937 was far 
short of what the RA desired. Instead of a large 
bond issue, it appropriated a token $10 million for 
loans for fiscal 1938, rising to a maximum of $50 
million per year by fiscal 1940. Provision for gov- 
ernment purchase and resale of land, regarded as 
crucial by the RA, was eliminated; instead, all loans 
and farms being financed required approval by 
committees of local farmers. No farms could be fi- 
nanced unless they were deemed viable family 
units by local standards. Credit preference went to 
an upper stratum of tenants who owned imple- 
ments and who could make down payments. Al- 
though not satisfied with such limited legislation, 
RA leaders considered it the best that could be ob- 
tained at the time. The new lending program was 
assigned to the RA, which was renamed the Farm 
Security Administration (FSA). 

The Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act was 
passed near the end of the New Deal, as conserva- 
tive opposition increased in Congress. Beginning in 
1941, Congress tied loans to average farm values in 
each county, a restriction that shut down the pro- 
gram in hundreds of poor counties. From 1938 until 
Congress terminated the FSA in 1946, the agency 
made only 44,300 purchase loans. Moreover, ana- 
lyzing the program in 1949, economist Edward 
Banfield concluded that many of the farms financed 
by the FSA had proved to be inadequate units as re- 
quirements for successful farming rapidly in- 
creased. 

See Also: FARM POLICY; FARM SECURITY 

ADMINISTRATION (FSA); RESETTLEMENT 
ADMINISTRATION (RA). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Baldwin, Sidney. Poverty and Politics: The Rise and Decline 
of the Farm Security Administration. 1968. 

Banfield, Edward C. "Ten Years of the Farm Tenant Pur- 
chase Program." journal of Farm Economics 31 (1949): 
469-486. 

Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act. U.S. Statutes at Large, 
50, Part 1(1937): 522-33. 

Dykeman, Wilma, and James Stokely. Seeds of Southern 
Change: The Life of Will Alexander. 1962. 

Maddox, James G. "The Farm Security Administration." 
Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1950. 

Mertz, Paul E. New Deal Policy and Southern Rural Pover- 
ty. 1978. 

Paul E. Mertz 



BANKING ACT OF 1933. See 

GLASS-STEAGALL ACT OF 1933. 



BANKING PANICS (1930-1933) 

More than nine thousand banks failed in the United 
States between 1930 and 1933, equal to some 30 
percent of the total number of banks in existence at 
the end of 1929. This statistic clearly represents the 
highest concentration of bank suspensions in the 
nation's history. The data reveal at least four sepa- 
rate intervals when there was a marked acceleration 
and deceleration in the number of bank failures: 
November 1930 to January 1931, April to August 
1931, September and October 1931, and February 
and March 1933. Milton Friedman and Anna 
Schwartz designated these four episodes as bank- 
ing panics, only one of which had causal macroeco- 
nomic significance. If the 3,400 banks that were not 
licensed by the Secretary of the Treasury to reopen 
in March 1933 are excluded, only two out of five 
bank suspensions occurred during banking panics. 
It is well to bear in mind that 60 percent of bank 
closings between 1930 and 1932 were not panic in- 
duced and that the problem of understanding why 
so many banks failed during the Great Depression 
goes beyond simply explaining what happened 
during banking panics. For example, one of the 
causes of the nonpanic-induced failures during the 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



N K I N G PANICS (1930-1933) 



Great Depression may have been related in part to 
the over expansion of small, rural banks in the 
twenties as well as to the distressed state of Ameri- 
can agriculture following World War I. These fac- 
tors may have operated during banking panics as 
well but would have by no means been confined to 
panic episodes. 

Unlike previous banking panics of the national 
banking era, the banking panics of the Great De- 
pression occurred during the same cyclical contrac- 
tion from 1929 to 1933, each compounding the ef- 
fects generated in the previous panic. 



Table 1 

Number of Bank Suspensions, Domestic Hoarding, and 
Panic Severity 



(in Millions of Dollars) 












Domestic 


Panic 


Panic Dates 


Suspensions 


Hoarding 


Severity 


Nov. 1930-Jan. 1931 


806 


164 


3.4 


April -Aug. 1931 


573 


348 


2.95 


Sept.-Oct 1931 


827 


270 


4.27 


Feb.-Mar. 1933 


Bank Holidays 


1502 





DEFINITION AND CHARACTERISTICS OF 

BANKING PANICS 

A banking panic may be defined as a class of fi- 
nancial shocks whose origin can be found in any 
sudden and unanticipated revision of expectations 
of deposit loss and during which there is an at- 
tempt, usually unsuccessful, to convert checkable 
deposits into currency. There are two principal 
characteristics of banking panics: an increased 
number of bank runs and bank suspensions and 
currency hoarding as measured by the amount of 
Federal Reserve notes in circulation seasonally ad- 
justed. Table 1 shows the number of bank suspen- 
sions, amount of hoarding, and panic severity in 
each of the panics of the Great Depression, 1933 ex- 
cepted. Panic severity is measured by the number 
of bank suspensions in each panic divided by the 
total number of banks in existence. 



BANKING PANIC OF 1930 

During the banking panic of 1930, over eight 
hundred banks closed their doors between Novem- 
ber 1930 and January 1931, and Federal Reserve 
notes in circulation seasonally adjusted increased 
by $164 million, or 12 percent (see table). The larg- 
est number of bank closings was concentrated in 
the St. Louis Federal Reserve District with approxi- 
mately two suspensions out of every five banks. 
These closings were related to the failure of the 
largest regional investment banking house in the 
South, Caldwell and Co. of Nashville, Tennessee. 
The firm controlled the largest chain of banks in the 
South with assets in excess of $200 million and also 
the largest insurance group in the region with as- 



sets of $240 million. The failure of Caldwell and Co. 
had immediate repercussions in four states: Ten- 
nessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and North Carolina. 
The collapse of Caldwell's financial empire raised 
expectations of deposit loss throughout the sur- 
rounding region. The 1930 panic was region specif- 
ic, inasmuch as at least one-half of the twelve Fed- 
eral Reserve Districts had fewer than 10 percent of 
bank suspensions. Four Districts accounted for 80 
percent of total bank suspensions and slightly over 
one-half of the deposits of suspended banks. The 
consensus view in the early twenty-first century 
was that the 1930 banking crisis was a region spe- 
cific crisis without perceptible national economic 
effects. 



THE TWO BANKING PANICS OF 1931 

No more than two months elapsed between 
the end of the first banking crisis in January 1931 
and the onset of the second in April. The number 
of bank suspensions was lower (573), but the 
amount of hoarding doubled. One-third of the 
bank suspensions were in the Chicago Federal Re- 
serve District; there was a mini panic in Chicago in 
June and a full scale panic in Toledo, Ohio, in Au- 
gust. The Cleveland Federal Reserve District had 
two-thirds of the deposits of suspended banks. 
Nevertheless, in six Districts there was little or no 
change in currency hoarding. 

The onset of the third banking panic coincided 
with Britain's departure from the gold standard in 
September 1931. Bank failures, deposits of failed 
banks, and hoarding rapidly accelerated after the 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



89 



A N K I N G PANICS (1930-1933 




Police stand guard outside the entrance to the closed World Exchange Bank in New York in March 1931. Herbert Hoover Library 



British announcement. The immediate response of 
the Federal Reserve was to raise the discount rate 
in October 1931; this action was followed by an in- 
crease in interest rates. The harmful effects of the 
increase may have been exaggerated since in- 
creased bank suspensions and hoarding had pre- 
ceded the increase. Mini panics in Pittsburgh, Phil- 
adelphia, and Chicago with their reverberating 
effects occurred between September 21 and Octo- 
ber 9, before the discount rate was increased. Sixty 
percent of the increase in hoarding occurred before 
the rate increase. The discount rate increase played 
no causal role in precipitating the panic. Nor did the 
Fed's failure to offset the decline in the money stock 
represent ineptitude. Knowledge of the role of the 



currency- deposit ratio as a determinant of the 
money stock was simply unavailable. In sum, 60 
percent of the 2,291 bank closings in 1931 occurred 
during the two separate banking panics. 



THE BANKING PANIC OF 1933 

The 1933 panic was idiosyncratic. In no other 
financial panic was there such a widespread use of 
the legal device of the "bank holiday," whereby a 
state official, usually the governor, closed all of the 
banks for a short time. In March 1933 one of the 
first acts of Franklin Roosevelt, the incoming presi- 
dent, was to announce a nationwide banking holi- 
day, an event without precedent in U.S. history. 
Prior to Roosevelt's action many states had de- 



90 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



N K I N G PANICS (1930-1933 




Worried depositors gather outside the Bank of the United States in New York after its failure in 1931. Library of Congress, Prints 
& Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection 



clared their own bank holidays. Such action was the 
mechanism through which depositor confidence 
was further eroded and was spread to contiguous 
states. Officials in the individual states panicked. 
Uncoordinated state initiatives led to a nationwide 
banking debacle. The use of statewide moratoria 
was not new. Five states had declared banking holi- 
days during the 1907 panic. What was new was its 
use by the president. 

The timing of the national banking holiday was 
dictated by two considerations simultaneously. 
First, a banking system had virtually collapsed 
without any prospects for recovery in the absence 
of national leadership. The outgoing president, 



Herbert Hoover, and the Federal Reserve had abdi- 
cated their responsibility for what was happening. 
Second, an external drain of gold allegedly threat- 
ened gold convertibility of the dollar. 



CAUSES OF BANKING PANICS 

The importance of banking panics for under- 
standing the Great Depression resides in determin- 
ing their causal significance. Did bank failures cause 
the decline in income and interest rates or did the 
decline in income and interest rates cause bank fail- 
ures? To have exerted a causal role, panic-induced 
bank suspensions would have had to be indepen- 
dent of interest rate and income changes. Friedman 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



91 



A N K I N 6 



PANICS 



(19 3 0-1933) 




Like many banks around the country that closed during the Great Depression, this small bank in Haverhill, Iowa, remained 
deserted when it was photographed by Arthur Rothstein in 1939. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI 
Collection 



and Schwartz assigned a causal role to bank sus- 
pensions in order to explain why the money stock 
fell; an autonomous increase in the currency- 
deposit ratio, a money stock determinant, provoked 
a rash of bank suspensions that caused the money 
stock to contract, income to decline, and the con- 
version of a mild recession into a major depression. 
James Boughton and Elmus Wicker, in 1979 and 
1984, showed that interest rates and income were, 
in fact, important determinants of the money stock. 
Their finding that the currency-deposit ratio was 
sensitive to interest rate and income changes is 
consistent with Peter Temin's view that causation 
went from income and interest rates to the money 



stock and not vice versa. As of the early twenty-first 
century, a consensus was slowly emerging that 
panic-induced bank suspensions were not causally 
significant. 

Why, people may ask, were there any banking 
panics at all? Had not the Federal Reserve been es- 
tablished to eliminate banking panics? Yet the 
worst banking panics in U.S. history occurred 
thereafter. How was that possible? Did the fault lie 
in imperfect legislation creating the Fed or was Fed 
leadership culpable? Friedman and Schwartz attri- 
buted panics to inept Fed leadership. But they re- 
jected a compelling alternative explanation that 



9Z 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A R U C 



E R N A R D 



deserves serious reconsideration. Structural weak- 
nesses in the original Federal Reserve Act can ex- 
plain equally well, if not better, why the Fed failed 
to prevent the panics of the Great Depression. 
There were at least three important structural 
weaknesses in the original Federal Reserve Act: 1) 
membership was not compulsory for state bank and 
trust companies, 2) paper eligible for discount by 
member banks was too narrowly defined and re- 
stricted access to the Fed, and 3) power was so de- 
centralized between the twelve Federal Reserve 
Banks and the Board in Washington that leadership 
was weak and ineffective. These combined struc- 
tural weaknesses contributed to the Fed's poor per- 
formance. 

EMERGENCY BANKING ACT OF 1933 

The Emergency Banking Act of March 9, 1933, 
granted the government the necessary powers to 
reopen the banks and to resolve the immediate 
banking crisis. Only one-half of the nation's banks 
with 90 percent of the total U.S. banking resources 
were judged capable of doing business on March 
15; these banks were presumably safe, meaning 
that they were solvent. The other half remained un- 
licensed. Forty-five percent of those were placed 
under the direction of "conservators" whose func- 
tion it was to reorganize the banks for the purpose 
of eventually returning to solvency. The remaining 
5 percent (about 1,000) would be closed perma- 
nently. The reopening of the banks on March 13 
witnessed a return flow of currency into the banks 
for first time since the banking panic of 1930. By 
April 12, some 12,817 banks had been licensed to 
open with $31 billion of deposits. 

See Also: FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM; GLASS- 

STEAGALL ACT OF 1933; MONETARY POLICY. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Boughton, James, and Elmus Wicker. "The Behavior of 
the Currency-Deposit Ratio during the Great De- 
pression." Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. L 1 
(1979): 405-418. 

Boughton, James, and Elmus Wicker. "A Reply to Tre- 
scott." Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. 16 
(1984): 336-337. 

Friedman, Milton, and Anna Schwartz. A Monetary His- 
tory of the United States 1867-1960. 1963. 



Temin, Peter. Did Monetary Forces Cause the Great Depres- 
sion? 1976. 

Wicker, Elmus. The Banking Panics of the Great Depression. 
1996. 

Elmus Wicker 



BARUCH, BERNARD 

Bernard Mannes Baruch (August 19, 1870-June 20, 
1965) was a Wall Street financier and adviser to nu- 
merous presidents. He was born in 1870 in Cam- 
den, South Carolina, but moved to New York in 
1881. After graduating from the City College of 
New York, he began working on Wall Street as an 
office boy. By 1900 Baruch had become a millionaire 
through speculation and stock trading. 

Baruch financially supported Woodrow Wil- 
son's presidential campaign in 1912. During World 
War I, Baruch's developing relationship with Wil- 
son led to his becoming a member and, in 1918, 
chairman of the War Industries Board (WIB), the 
principal government agency involved in the war- 
time economic mobilization effort. Adept at self 
promotion, Baruch gained a lasting reputation as an 
effective public servant, though historians have 
raised questions about the WIB's performance. Ba- 
ruch advised Wilson on economic matters at the 
Paris Peace Conference in 1919. 

During the twenties, Baruch contributed heavi- 
ly to Democratic congressional candidates, gaining 
significant influence with such party leaders as Sen- 
ator Joseph Robinson. In response to the Great De- 
pression, Baruch quickly called for the establish- 
ment of a government agency modeled on the WIB 
to spearhead recovery efforts. He initially opposed 
Franklin Roosevelt for the Democratic presidential 
nomination in 1932, but when Roosevelt initiated 
the New Deal, two men closely associated with Ba- 
ruch, Hugh Johnson and George Peek, were ap- 
pointed to head the National Recovery Administra- 
tion and Agricultural Adjustment Administration, 
respectively. Both men had worked on the WIB and 
had business ties to Baruch during the 1920s, but 
Baruch had little to do with either man's appoint- 
ment and did not approve many of their actions in 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



93 



S I E 



COUNT" 



office. Although Baruch's position in the Democrat- 
ic Party made him too important for Roosevelt to 
ignore, the two men never had a close relationship 
and Baruch's influence over the New Deal was 
often exaggerated in press accounts. 

After 1938, Baruch hoped to play a central role 
in the nation's mobilization for war. He had influ- 
ence in the War Department and in the various mo- 
bilization agencies that were established, but the 
only official position he held during World War II 
was as head of a 1942 committee to make recom- 
mendations for dealing with a critical rubber short- 
age. Following the war, President Harry Truman 
entrusted Baruch with developing a plan to present 
to the United Nations for controlling all forms of 
atomic energy. Failure to reach agreement with the 
Soviet Union over the Baruch Plan contributed to 
the emergence of the Cold War. Baruch retained 
the status of elder statesman until his death in 1965, 
but his influence in Washington was minimal dur- 
ing the last fifteen years of his life. 

See Also: BUSINESSMEN; JOHNSON, HUGH; NEW 
DEAL. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Baruch, Bernard M. Papers. Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript 
Library, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jer- 
sey. 

Baruch, Bernard M. Baruch: My Own Story. 1957. 

Baruch, Bernard M. Baruch: The Public Years. 1960. 

Grant, lames. Bernard M. Baruch: The Adventures of a 
Wall Street Legend. 1983. 

Schwarz, lordan A. The Speculator: Bernard M. Baruch in 
Washington, 1917-1965. 1981. 

Larry G. Gerber 



BASIE, "COUNT." See BIG BAND MUSIC. 



BAUER, CATHERINE 



Author of the acclaimed Modern Housing (1934), a 
renowned "Houser" and urban planner, during the 
mid-1930s Catherine Bauer (May 11, 1905- 



November 22, 1964) served as the activist executive 
secretary of the Labor Housing Conference. She 
was the driving force behind passage of the 1937 
Wagner- St eagall Housing Act, which established 
public housing in America. 

Born in 1905 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Bauer 
traveled extensively in Europe after graduating 
from Vassar in 1926, writing articles for Vogue, La- 
dies Home Journal, and the New York Times. Her fas- 
cination with Europe's modern housing drew her 
abroad again in 1930 and 1932, the second time 
with author-intellectual Lewis Mumford (then her 
lover), whom she met while working at the pub- 
lishing company Harcourt-Brace and who enlisted 
her in the Regional Planning Association of Ameri- 
ca (RPAA). Bauer's 1934 book Modern Housing ex- 
tolled Europe's experiment with government-aided 
shelter, much of which, like Romerstadt in Frank- 
furt, Germany, and Vienna's Karl Marx Hoff, fea- 
tured the streamlined, functionalist Bauhaus archi- 
tecture of the period. The United States, exhorted 
Bauer, must, like Europe, make housing a right and 
a "public utility." 

Mass evictions and mortgage foreclosures dur- 
ing the early Great Depression vindicated Bauer's 
fears about the inadequacy of American housing. 
Although President Herbert Hoover's 1931 Recon- 
struction Finance Corporation (RFC) and President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1933 Public Works Admin- 
istration (PWA) Housing Division both included 
monies for low-income housing, Bauer believed 
that impetus for a real modern housing program 
must come from workers themselves. Her model 
became Philadelphia's 184-unit Carl Mackley 
Homes, a hosiery-worker-sponsored RFC project 
completed in 1935 by the PWA. With Bauhaus de- 
sign, it epitomized her ideal of "modern housing," 
although few hosiery workers could afford the 
rents. 

In 1934 Bauer took the executive secretary post 
of the Labor Housing Conference and toured the 
United States promoting a permanent, state-aided 
low-cost housing program modeled on Mackley. 
But Bauer's plan, embodied in the 1935 Robert 
Wagner-Henry Ellenbogen bill, failed. The public 
housing legislation that emerged — and Bauer sup- 
ported — lacked the working-class stamp of the 



9 4 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



E R K E L E Y 



1935 bill. Introduced by Wagner but cosponsored 
instead by Alabama's hard-line conservative con- 
gressman Henry Steagall, it emphasized slum 
clearance for the very poor, not the working class. 
Bauer campaigned vigorously for Wagner- Steagall, 
and it was passed in 1937. The projects built by the 
new United States Housing Authority (USHA) 
evinced much of "modern housing," but stripped of 
frills, they bore a stark, institutional appearance. 
Bauer briefly (1938-1939) administered the USHA's 
Division of Research and Information, which as a 
New Deal insider she had founded to be the re- 
search and public relations arm of the new federal 
housing agency. 

After World War II she married the architect 
William Wurster and took a professorship at the 
University of California at Berkeley. She became ac- 
tive in regional planning and an incisive critic of 
1950s public housing policy. Bauer died in 1964 
while hiking the rugged hills near her home north 
of San Francisco. 

See Also: HOUSING; MUMFORD, LEWIS; REGIONAL 
PLANNING ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA (RPAA); 
UNITED STATES HOUSING AUTHORITY (USHA). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bauer, Catherine. Modern Housing. 1934. 

Oberlander, Peter H., and Eva Newbrun. Houser: The Life 
and Work of Catherine Bauer. 1999. 

Radford, Gail. Modern Housing for America: Policy Strug- 



ies in the New Deal Era. 1996. 



Iohn F. Bauman 



BENNY, JACK. See HUMOR; RADIO. 



BENTON, THOMAS HART. See AMERICAN 
SCENE, THE. 



BERKELEY, BUSBY 



Busby Berkeley (November 29, 1895-March 14, 
1976), innovative stage and film choreographer and 



director, was born William Berkeley Enos in Los 
Angeles into a theatrical family (his father was a di- 
rector; his mother an actress). After graduating in 
1914 from Mohegan Lake Military Academy, 
Berkeley worked at various jobs, and during World 
War I he became an "entertainment officer" with 
the U.S. military in France. During the 1920s he be- 
came a successful, well-known stage dance direc- 
tor, working on over twenty musicals. 

In 1930 Berkeley went to Hollywood at the be- 
hest of independent film producer Sam Goldwyn 
for whom he successfully choreographed various 
musicals. He also worked for other producers. Be- 
tween 1933 and 1939 Berkeley was employed by 
Warner Brothers, primarily as a dance director 
whose efforts were strikingly innovative and excit- 
ing, and in the main deservedly well received. He 
also directed various features, some of them not 
musicals, such as the melodrama They Made Me a 
Criminal (1938), for which he garnered a mixed re- 
ception. 

Berkeley, especially in his Warner's musicals, 
which benefited much from the studio's technical 
excellence, produced an exciting, intriguing blend 
of sophistication, precision, and vulgarity. For film 
critic David Thomson, Berkeley's dance sequences 
in films such as Footlight Parade (1933), Dames 
(1934), and Gold Diggers in Paris (1938) demonstrat- 
ed that he was "a lyricist of eroticism." Bevies of 
beautiful, scantily clad girls performing in military 
precision in lavish settings resulted in beguiling al- 
most shameless images. His work must be seen to 
be appreciated. Berkeley developed exciting new 
techniques of filming in order to achieve the effects 
that he wanted: his cameras operated directly above 
the action. What became known as "the Berkeley 
top shot" allowed daring angled shots and stunning 
rhythmic patterns. His films understandably ap- 
pealed to weary Depression-era audiences. He was 
also capable of injecting social realism into his 
dance fantasies as in the biting "Forgotten Men" 
sequence in Gold Diggers of 1933. 

Berkeley moved to MGM in 1939, his initial 
stay there ending in 1943 with the camp classic The 
Gang's All Here. Subsequently he picked up occa- 
sional feature film directing jobs, the last being 
MGM's Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949), and 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



95 



E R L E 



ADOLF 



J R 



continued to stage musical numbers until the mid- 
1950s. His last significant contributions were spec- 
tacular water ballets in two MGM films of Esther 
Williams, the swimmer/actress. He died in Palm 
Springs, California, in 1976. 

See Also: GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933; HOLLYWOOD 
AND THE FILM INDUSTRY. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Pike, Bob, and Dave Martin. The Genius of Busby Berkeley. 
1973. 

Thomas, Tony, and Jim Terry. The Busby Berkeley Book. 
1984. 

Thompson, David. Biographical Dictionary of Film. 1994. 

Daniel J. Leab 



BERLE, ADOLF A., JR. 



Adolf Augustus Berle, Jr., (January 29, 1895-Febru- 
ary 17, 1971) was a member of the "Brains Trust" 
that advised Franklin D. Roosevelt from March 
1932 until his inauguration. Berle was born in Bos- 
ton, Massachusetts, in 1895. His father was a cler- 
gyman and an educational reformer. Berle was a 
child prodigy, entering Harvard University at the 
age of fourteen and graduating at eighteen. A cor- 
poration lawyer and foreign policy specialist, Berle 
served in the Dominican Republic and in the Rus- 
sian section in Paris during his army service in 1918 
and 1919. While pursuing a career in law during the 
1920s, he developed an interest in social reform. He 
had connections with Lillian D. Wald's Henry 
Street Settlement in New York City and John Col- 
lier's American Indian Defense Association. In 1927 
Berle became a professor of law at Columbia Uni- 
versity in New York. 

In 1932, Berle and the economist Gardiner C. 
Means published The Modern Corporation and Pri- 
vate Property. The book had a major impact on con- 
temporary thinking about the structure and philos- 
ophy of American capitalism. Not only did Berle 
and Means reveal the separation between owner- 
ship and control of America's largest firms, but they 
documented the power and influence of large cor- 



porations in the modern economy. The book chal- 
lenged the assumption that competitive principles 
underlie economic activity and emphasized the 
power that corporate executives had gained as a re- 
sult of the diffusion of stock ownership. Berle asso- 
ciated scale with stability and public service, but he 
looked to corporate executives to develop a greater 
sense of social responsibility, and to the state to ex- 
ercise economic management. 

In 1932, when he joined the Brains Trust at the 
suggestion of Raymond Moley, Berle was commit- 
ted to vigorous federal intervention to initiate na- 
tional planning and, in particular, he favored the re- 
vision of antitrust law, the coordination and 
rationalization of transportation, and an expansion 
of credit. He supported Roosevelt's campaign by 
writing position papers, speeches, and articles. His 
most notable contribution was Roosevelt's Septem- 
ber 1932 Commonwealth Club address in San 
Francisco, which was based on a draft written by 
Berle. Unlike other Roosevelt advisors, Berle did not 
seek a permanent appointment after Roosevelt's 
election, but served as general counsel of the Re- 
construction Finance Corporation and advised the 
president on an ad hoc basis. In 1933, New York 
mayor Fiorello La Guardia appointed Berle to the 
post of city chamberlain. In 1938, Berle became as- 
sistant secretary of state, a post that he held until 
1944. In this capacity Berle supported hemispheric 
defense and economic development and attended 
the Pan-American conferences of the 1930s. Berle 
served as U.S. ambassador to Brazil in 1945 and 
1946. He also vigorously pursued American inter- 
ests in the development of postwar aviation agree- 
ments, and he chaired the International Conference 
on Civil Aviation in Chicago in 1944. 

Despite his support for Roosevelt, Berle re- 
mained politically independent. In 1947, he became 
chair of New York City's Liberal Party, which he 
had helped establish, and, beginning in 1951, he 
chaired the Board of Trustees of the Twentieth Cen- 
tury Fund. Berle was a strident critic of British impe- 
rialism and Soviet expansionism, a view he ex- 
pressed through his membership in the National 
Committee for a Free Europe during the 1950s and, 
later, through his support of America's involvement 
in Vietnam. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy ap- 



96 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF IDE GREAT DEPRESSION 



E E 



N E 



MARY 



MCLEOD 



pointed Berle chair of an interdepartmental task 
force on Latin America, which became associated 
with the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. 

See Also: BRAIN(S) TRUST; ROOSEVELT, 
FRANKLIN D. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Berle, Beatrice Bishop, and Travis Beal Jacobs. Navigating 

the Rapids, 1918-1971: From the Papers of Adolf A. 

Berle. 1973. 
Kirkendall, Richard S. "A. A. Berle, Jr.: Student of the 

Corporation, 1917-1932." Business History Review 

35, no. 1 (1961): 43-58. 
Moley, Raymond. After Seven Years: A Political Analysis 

of the New Deal. 1939. 
Rosen, Elliot A. Hoover, Roosevelt, and the Brains Trust: 

From Depression to New Deal. 1977. 
Schwarz, Jordan A. Liberal: Adolf A. Berle and the Vision 

of an American Era. 1987. 
Tugwell, Rexford G. The Brains Trust. 1968. 

Stuart Kidd 



BETHUNE, MARY MCLEOD 

Born to former slaves on a rice and cotton farm near 
Mayesville, South Carolina, Mary Jane McLeod 
(July 10, 1875-May 18, 1955) was the fifteenth of 
seventeen children. Instilled with the belief that 
God did not discriminate and that she could 
"achieve whatever was worth achieving," she prog- 
ressed through various Christian schools and, 
choosing to be a missionary, enrolled in Dwight 
Moody's Institute for Home and Foreign Missions, 
graduating in 1895. 

When her application for a missionary post was 
rejected, McLeod returned to the South to teach. In 
Sumter, South Carolina, in 1898, she met and mar- 
ried Albertus Bethune, and bore a son, Albert, in 
1899. Five years later, with "a dollar and a half, and 
faith in God," she started the Daytona Educational 
and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls in 
Florida. Stressing vocational education, the school 
grew gradually, and in 1923 Bethune agreed to 
merge her 315 students and twenty-five faculty and 
staff members with Cookman Institute, a Methodist 
school for African -American boys, creating the 
Bethune-Cookman College. 




Mary McLeod Bethune, photographed by Gordon Parks in her 
office at Bethune-Cookman College in 1943. Library of 
Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI 
Collection 



Bethune gained national acclaim as an educa- 
tor, and served on presidential commissions for 
Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. She also 
served two terms as president of the National Asso- 
ciation of Colored Women (1924-1928), and, in 
1935, founded and became president of the Nation- 
al Council of Negro Women — a broad coalition of 
organizations that she headed until 1949. Dedicat- 
ed to developing female black leaders and to the in- 
tegration of African Americans in all walks of life, 
the National Council of Negro Women campaigned 
against lynching and the poll tax, pushed for the in- 
clusion of African-American history in public 
school curriculums, and protested racial discrimi- 
nation in the armed forces and defense industry 
during World War II. Bethune made a special effort 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



97 



I D D L E 



FRANCIS 



to get African-American officers into the Women's 
Army Auxiliary Corps. 

A personal friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, who 
supported her reform agenda, Bethune was ap- 
pointed to the National Advisory Committee of the 
newly formed National Youth Administration 
(NYA) in 1935. The following year she became ad- 
ministrative assistant in charge of Negro affairs of 
the NYA, and in 1939 the director of the NYA's Di- 
vision of Negro Affairs. As such, she was the first 
African-American woman to head a federal agency. 
Her goal was to gain African Americans equal par- 
ticipation, and equal pay, in NYA programs. Only 
partially successful, Bethune did get the NYA to 
eventually enroll black youths in numbers approxi- 
mating their proportion of the national population, 
but not in proportion to their need for assistance. 

At the same time, Bethune helped organize the 
Federal Council on Negro Affairs, an informal 
group of African-American federal officials popu- 
larly known as the Black Cabinet. It sought to se- 
cure increased benefits for African Americans from 
the federal government, as well as to increase the 
number of blacks serving in New Deal agencies. 
While she publicly acknowledged the benefits that 
the New Deal brought to blacks, Bethune often met 
privately with President Franklin Roosevelt to criti- 
cize the administration for not doing enough to aid 
African Americans. 

After World War II, President Harry Truman 
appointed Bethune as a consultant to the U.S. dele- 
gation to the United Nations, and as his personal 
representative at the presidential inauguration of 
William Tubman in Liberia in 1952. Bethune died 
of a heart attack at her home in Daytona Beach, 
Florida, in 1955. The recipient of many awards and 
tributes, including a dozen honorary degrees and 
the Spingarn Medal of the National Association for 
the Advancement of Colored People, Bethune be- 
came the first woman and the first African Ameri- 
can to be honored with a statue in a public park in 
Washington, D.C. 

See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON; BLACK CABINET; 
NATIONAL YOUTH ADMINISTRATION (NYA). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Holt, Rackham. Mary McLeod Bethune: A Biography. 1964. 

Peare, Catherine Owens. Mary McLeod Bethune. 1951. 

Ross, B. loyce. "Mary McLeod Bethune and the National 
Youth Administration: A Case Study of Power Rela- 
tionships in the Black Cabinet of Franklin D. Roose- 
velt." In Black Leaders of the Twentieth Century, edited 
by John Hope Franklin and August Meier. 1982. 

Smith, Elaine M. "Mary McLeod Bethune." In Black 
Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, edited 
by Darlene Clark Hine. 1993. 

Harvard Sitkoff 



BIDDLE, FRANCIS 

Francis Biddle (May 9, 1886-October 4, 1968) was 
a leading New Deal lawyer and labor reform propo- 
nent who served during the 1940s as attorney gen- 
eral under Franklin Roosevelt. Biddle was descend- 
ed from the prominent Randolph family, with roots 
in seventeenth-century Virginia. He was educated 
at Groton School and Harvard University in Massa- 
chusetts. Like Roosevelt, Biddle was the model of 
a distinctive New Deal type: the son of privilege 
turned social reformer. Biddle's transformation was 
especially sharp. As a prominent Philadelphia at- 
torney in the 1910s and 1920s, he was a registered 
Republican and counsel to various corporate cli- 
ents. But the onset of the Depression led to his dis- 
illusionment with his earlier political commitments. 
Biddle was particularly frustrated with President 
Herbert Hoover's failure to support the cause of 
workers' rights, an issue to which Biddle would be- 
come increasingly committed in the coming years. 
Biddle's support for Roosevelt and labor advo- 
cacy led to his 1934 appointment as chairman of the 
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Working 
with tools ill-suited to the task, Biddle nonetheless 
did an admirable job of employing the limited pow- 
ers of the NLRB to establish critical federal labor 
law precedents. Although his tenure on the com- 
mittee was brief (he served for less than a year), 
Biddle was a consistent and forceful defender of the 
important role served by the Board. His testimony 
before Congress influenced the shaping of the Na- 
tional Labor Relations Act of 1935, which included 
a strengthened NLRB. 



98 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



B I G 



BAND 



MUSIC 



After leaving the NLRB, Biddle returned to pri- 
vate practice in Philadelphia, but by 1938 he was 
back in Washington, serving as chief counsel in 
congressional hearings investigating accusations of 
mismanagement of the Tennessee Valley Authority 
(TV A). The hearings cleared the TVA of wrongdo- 
ing, an accomplishment Biddle would later recall as 
one of his most satisfying of the New Deal era. Bid- 
dle went on to serve on the Federal Reserve Bank 
for a brief period before being appointed to the U.S. 
Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, based in 
Philadelphia. But almost as soon as he settled into 
his new job, he was again moving back to Washing- 
ton, this time to serve as the nation's solicitor gen- 
eral. In 1941 he became U.S. attorney general, a job 
he held until 1945. As attorney general, Biddle con- 
tinued to support New Deal reform, although he is 
most remembered for his role in coordinating the 
internment of Japanese Americans during World 
War II. Following his service in the Department of 
Justice, Biddle went on to serve on the international 
war crimes tribunal at Nuremberg and to author 
numerous books. 

See Also: NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT OF 
1935 (WAGNER ACT); NATIONAL LABOR 
RELATIONS BOARD (NLRB); TENNESSEE VALLEY 
AUTHORITY (TVA). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Biddle, Francis. A Casual Past. 1961. 

Biddle, Francis. In Brief Authority . 1962. 

Christopher W. Schmidt 



BIG BAND MUSIC 

The 1920s may have been the "Jazz Age," but the 
1930s was the era of "The Big Band." Big band jazz 
provided the soundtrack for a generation coming of 
age in hard times. And from the big bands came 
swing, a phenomenon that briefly made jazz the 
most popular music in America and the first to truly 
define a mass youth culture. 

Already popular by the late 1920s, big bands 
usually included at least ten musicians and empha- 



sized written arrangements with consistent melo- 
dies over spontaneous soloing and improvisation, 
although band leaders like Duke Ellington, the 
most innovative composer-arranger of his time, 
often constructed such arrangements around the 
strengths of soloists. While the stock market crash 
of 1929 precipitated a drastic fall in record sales and 
rising unemployment among musicians, the De- 
pression actually proved to be a catalyst for big 
band music. An excess of musicians looking for 
work brought down wages and made it easier for 
leaders to hire bands of a dozen or more. Increas- 
ingly accessible radio broadcasts from venues like 
the Cotton Club in Harlem helped to popularize the 
big band sound and made stars of bandleaders like 
Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Cab Calloway. 
Thousands of musicians spent the decade traveling 
by any means available to dance halls and clubs in 
virtually every city, town, and county in the nation. 

Jazz musicians used the term swing as early as 
the 1920s, and in 1932 Ellington's band had a hit 
with "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That 
Swing." But the birth of the popular swing era came 
on the night of August 21, 1935, when teenage fans 
at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles burst into 
dancing excitement during the performance of the 
band led by twenty-six -year-old clarinetist Benny 
Goodman. While the definition of swing itself re- 
mained elusive, performers and fans could recog- 
nize it when they heard it in the rhythm and when 
it moved them to the dance floor. From the loose 
jam-session-inspired performances of Count 
Basie's band in Kansas City to the polished pop 
sound of Glenn Miller's globetrotting orchestra, 
swing became the most popular music in America 
during the later Depression and World War II years. 

Swing appealed to both genders and across 
class lines. It transcended racial divisions, but failed 
to bridge them. The music introduced millions of 
young whites to African-American music and led 
them to appropriate the slang, or "jive talk," of 
black musicians. But segregation remained the rule 
in both the bands and the dance halls, although ex- 
ceptions did occur, such as Goodman's hiring of the 
black vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and Billie Holi- 
day's singing performances with the white Artie 
Shaw band. White bandleaders and musicians gen- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



99 



I L 



E D R E 



erally enjoyed better working conditions and great- 
er public acclaim than their black peers, who often 
found themselves playing to all-white audiences. 
And despite the deep roots of jazz in African- 
American culture, the public and press still crowned 
a white man, Benny Goodman, "the King of 
Swing." 

See Also: ELLINGTON, DUKE; GOODMAN, BENNY; 
HOLIDAY, BILLIE; JAZZ; MUSIC. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Firestone, Ross. Swing, Swing, Swing: The Life and Times 
of Benny Goodman. 1993. 

Schuller, Gunther. The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz, 
1930-1945. 1989. 

Stewart, Rex W. Jazz Masters of the Thirties. 1972. 

Stowe, David W. Swing Changes: Big Band Jazz in New 
Deal America. 1994. 

Tucker, Mark, ed. The Duke Ellington Reader. 1993. 

Bradford W. Wright 



BILBO, THEODORE 



Theodore G. Bilbo (October 13, 1877-August 21, 
1947), a major figure in twentieth-century Missis- 
sippi politics, was an ardent and notorious advocate 
of both white supremacy and white economic de- 
mocracy. A native of south Mississippi's Piney 
Woods, he rose to political prominence as the 
champion of the state's poor farmers and laborers. 
With white supremacy a settled issue, Bilbo consid- 
ered racial politics a sham that obscured the real 
struggle for power between his poor white constit- 
uency and the planter-business elite who had ruled 
the state since the overthrow of Reconstrution. 
Consciously subordinating race to economics, he 
sought to recast Mississippi politics as a battle be- 
tween "the classes and the masses." 

The youngest of ten children in a farm family 
of modest means, Bilbo graduated from Poplarville 
High School in Pearl River County, not far from 
New Orleans. He attended Peabody College and 
Vanderbilt University Law School, but earned a de- 
gree from neither. After several years of teaching 



school, he made a successful bid for the state legis- 
lature in 1907, beginning a spectacular political rise 
that carried him to the lieutenant governorship 
(1912-1916) and two terms as chief executive 
(1916-1920, 1928-1932). 

The dramatic difference between his two gu- 
bernatorial administrations underscores the impact 
of the Depression on Mississippi and its politics. 
Bilbo's first term was, as even his most severe critics 
conceded, a resounding success, the culmination of 
two decades of rising agrarian progressivism. His 
second administration was a disaster. Thwarted by 
a hostile legislature, he achieved none of his pro- 
gressive goals and bequeathed to his successor an 
empty treasury and a devastated economy. 

Local impotence in the face of economic disas- 
ter converted many Mississippians into advocates 
of what they had long considered anathema — 
federal intervention. Bilbo led the way, embracing 
a doctrine of New Deal liberalism that strained the 
sensibilities of some other southern progressives. 
Elected to the United States Senate in 1934, he be- 
came arguably the most dependable New Dealer 
among southern Democrats. He eagerly followed 
the president's lead, not only on agriculture, relief 
spending, and social security, but also on public 
housing and labor legislation. He was one of only 
twenty Democratic die-hards who backed Roose- 
velt's court-packing scheme to the bitter end, and 
in 1940 he became Mississippi's self-proclaimed 
"original third-termer" in favor of Roosevelt's un- 
precedented re-election. 

By the time of Bilbo's 1946 re-election cam- 
paign, however, Harry Truman was edging Roose- 
velt's refashioned Democratic Party inexorably to- 
ward civil rights for black Americans. The tension 
between Bilbo's commitment to economic equality 
for whites and his increasingly virulent opposition 
to political equality for blacks became unbearable. 
In the end Bilbo succumbed to the very racial poli- 
tics he had long sought to exorcise from public de- 
bate in Mississippi. He won his own third term not 
as an economic liberal but as the "archangel of 
white supremacy." His enduring infamy for racist 
bigotry ironically obscures a remarkably consistent 
record as a loyal, if undistinguished, New Dealer. 



100 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



LACK 



U G 



See Also: NEW DEAL; SOUTH, GREAT DEPRESSION 
IN THE. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Doler, Thurston E. "Theodore G. Bilbo's Rhetoric of Ra- 
cial Relations." Ph.D. diss., University of Oregon, 
1968. 

Fitzgerald, Michael W. '"We Have Found a Moses': The- 
odore Bilbo, Black Nationalism, and the Greater Li- 
beria Bill of 1939." The Journal of Southern History 63, 
no. 2 (May 1997): 293-320. 

Green, A. Wigfall. The Man Bilbo. 1963. 

Morgan, Chester M. Redneck Liberal: Theodore G. Bilbo 
and the New Deal. 1985. 

Smith, Charles Pope. "Theodore G. Bilbo's Senatorial 
Career: The Final Years, 1941-1947." Ph.D. diss., 
University of Southern Mississippi, 1983. 

Chester M. Morgan 



BLACK, HUGO 



Hugo Lafayette Black (February 27, 1886-Septem- 
ber 25, 1971) was a U.S. Senator from 1926 to 1937 
and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 
from 1937 to 1971. Raised in Alabama's hill country, 
Black handled personal injury suits and cases in- 
volving injuries to workers in his Birmingham law 
practice. He served briefly as a police court judge 
and county prosecutor. Black joined the Ku Klux 
Klan in 1923, resigning just before he began his 
1926 campaign for a seat in the U.S. Senate, which 
he won with support from many Klan members. 

Black became one of the Senate's most promi- 
nent and vociferous defenders of the New Deal 
after his reelection in 1932. His principal legislative 
proposal sought the adoption of the thirty-hour 
work week, which many in Roosevelt's circle re- 
garded as irresponsible and radical. The Senate ap- 
proved Black's bill, but the administration's Na- 
tional Industrial Recovery Act superseded it. Black 
chaired two Senate committees to investigate what 
he regarded as corrupt ties between business and 
the government in awarding government contracts 
and in more general business lobbying. Black's 
methods, which included extensive searches of the 
personal files and papers of business leaders, were 



intrusive, provoking outrage among those he inves- 
tigated. Civil libertarians, however, had little to say 
against Black's investigations. Black was one of the 
most ardent defenders of Roosevelt's court-packing 
plan. 

Black's support of the New Deal made him an 
ideal nominee for the Supreme Court from Presi- 
dent Roosevelt's point of view after the court- 
packing plan collapsed and Senate majority leader 
Joseph Robinson, Roosevelt's first choice for the 
Supreme Court, died unexpectedly. Black's perfor- 
mance in the Senate generated substantial opposi- 
tion from the business community, but the Senate 
approved his nomination by a vote of sixty-three to 
sixteen. Newspaper reports of Black's Klan mem- 
bership were published after the Senate had ap- 
proved his appointment, and the revelation pro- 
voked a flurry of controversy, which died down 
soon after Black gave a radio speech confirming his 
former membership and pledging his fidelity to the 
Constitution. 

Black became one of the intellectual leaders of 
the Roosevelt court. His guiding principle was that 
the Constitution should be interpreted in light of its 
words' plain meaning and its authors' understand- 
ings. Black sometimes had idiosyncratic views on 
what those original understandings were. Compat- 
ible with the New Deal's economic focus, Black be- 
lieved that the Constitution's grant of power to reg- 
ulate interstate commerce gave Congress 
essentially unlimited power to develop national 
economic policy. Reacting against Supreme Court 
decisions finding economic regulations unconstitu- 
tional because they violated a liberty of contract 
protected by the due process clause, Black became 
an adamant opponent of those who concluded that 
the Constitution protected other unenumerated 
rights more readily described as civil liberties. Nev- 
ertheless, Black vigorously defended civil liberties 
that were listed in the Constitution. His insistence 
that " 'no law' means 'no law' " in the First Amend- 
ment's provision that "Congress shall make no law 
. . . abridging the freedom of speech" led Black to 
a rigid stance on free expression, which came under 
pressure early in his court career in cases involving 
labor picketing. 

One of Black's early opinions as a justice 
seemed addressed to those who thought his Klan 



I N C Y C L P E D I A OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



101 



LACK 



C A 



I N E T 



membership demonstrated hostility towards civil 
rights and civil liberties. Reversing a conviction 
based on a confession beaten out of an African- 
American suspect, Black wrote, the courts "stand 
against any winds that blow as havens of refuge for 
those who might otherwise suffer because they are 
helpless, weak, outnumbered, or because they are 
non-conforming victims of prejudice and public ex- 
citement" (Chambers v. Florida, 1940). 

See Also: BLACK THIRTY-HOUR BILL; SUPREME 
COURT; SUPREME COURT "PACKING" 
CONTROVERSY. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Freyer, Tony. Hugo L. Black and the Dilemma of American 
Liberalism. 1990. 

Newman, Roger K. Hugo Black: A Biography. 1994. 

Williams, Charlotte. Hugo Black: A Study in the Judicial 
Process. 1950. 

Yarbrough, Tinsley E. Mr. Justice Black and His Critics. 
1988. 

Mark Tushnet 



BLACK CABINET 



Encouraged by African-American and interracial 
organizations at the start of the New Deal, the Roo- 
sevelt administration appointed over one hundred 
prominent blacks to race relations advisory posi- 
tions within federal departments and newly estab- 
lished agencies throughout the 1930s and the war 
years. Although some blacks had been given feder- 
al positions by Republican administrations follow- 
ing the Civil War, the Depression-era experience 
was unique. Although the increased importance of 
the black vote to the Democratic Party during the 
Roosevelt years certainly influenced the decision to 
bring racial advisers into the government, few 
blacks were actually chosen because of their in- 
volvement in partisan politics. An exception was 
the former Republican stalwart, Pittsburgh Courier 
editor and publisher Robert L. Vann, who became 
an assistant attorney general in the Department of 
Justice and whose selection was clearly aimed at 
producing a favorable political response. 



Most appointees, however, came from back- 
grounds that more closely resembled that of the 
black educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune 
or the Harvard educated economist Robert Clifton 
Weaver. Bethune, adviser to the National Youth 
Administration, and Weaver, first in the Depart- 
ment of Interior and Public Works Administration 
and later in the United States Housing Authority, 
were also key figures in the formation in 1936 of the 
Federal Council on Negro Affairs, also known as 
the Black Cabinet. An informal organization in 
which Bethune often served as chair and Weaver 
vice chair, the Black Cabinet met on an irregular 
basis, frequently at the home of individual mem- 
bers. Its primary purpose was to coordinate Afri- 
can-American opinion both in and outside the 
Roosevelt administration. Black advisers often 
shared information among themselves and kept 
close ties with certain black and interracial organi- 
zations. Some advisers, such as Forrester Washing- 
ton in the Federal Emergency Relief Administration 
and Eugene Kinckle Jones in the Department of 
Commerce, had held positions in the National 
Urban League. The majority of black advisers were 
middle -class and most were college graduates and 
trained professionals. The Black Cabinet provided 
them with the opportunity to communicate com- 
mon personal struggles in government as well as to 
develop strategies to ensure African-American par- 
ticipation in critical New Deal programs. 

The impact of these advisers on departmental 
and agency policies and in affecting conditions of 
black people during the 1930s depended upon a va- 
riety of factors. The ability to actually shape policy 
was determined frequently by whom they worked 
for and the willingness of their superiors to circum- 
vent bureaucratic restrictions and resist adverse 
public opinion. For many government administra- 
tors, the adviser's role was viewed simply as provid- 
ing information and serving as a public relations 
spokesperson for existing New Deal programs. 
Bethune's relationship to Aubrey Williams in the 
National Youth Administration and Weaver's with 
Clark Foreman and Harold Ickes in Interior were 
unique in terms of the support and authority that 
those white New Dealers gave to their black ap- 
pointees. In contrast, Attorney General Homer 
Cummings never even knew Robert Vann was in 



102 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



LACK LEGION 



the Justice Department, and Edgar Brown, who 
served with the Civilian Conservation Corps, 
worked out of a makeshift office at the end of a cor- 
ridor. Moreover, civil rights legislation and racial 
desegregation were never central to New Deal re- 
form in the 1930s. Instead, New Deal economic and 
class-oriented policies affirmed the ideal of equal 
opportunity through the inclusion of all groups and 
classes, and black advisers had to work within the 
restraints of that political and ideological frame- 
work. Few blacks were satisfied ultimately with 
those limits, and some left in frustration. Yet the 
Black Cabinet remained important as a symbol of 
the New Deal's special recognition of black needs, 
in the educating of white New Dealers on racial is- 
sues, and the precedent established for future black 
participation in the Democratic party and the na- 
tional government. 

See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON; BETHUNE, MARY 
MCLEOD; VANN, ROBERT; WEAVER ROBERT 
CLIFTON. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Green, Thomas Lee. "Black Cabinet Members in the 
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration." Ph.D. 
diss., University of Colorado, 1981. 

Kirby, John B. Black Americans in the Roosevelt Era: Liber- 
alism and Race. 1980. 

Motz, Jane R. "The Black Cabinet: Negroes in the Ad- 
ministration of Franklin D. Roosevelt." M.A. thesis, 
University of Delaware, 1964. 

Ross, B. Joyce. "Mary McLeod Bethune and the National 
Youth Administration: A Case Study of Power Rela- 
tionships in the Black Cabinet of Franklin D. Roose- 
velt." Journal of Negro History 60 (1975): 1-28. 



John B. Kirby 



BLACK LEGION 



Part of a native fascist movement that grew to men- 
acing proportions in the United States in the midst 
of the economic crisis occasioned by the Great De- 
pression, the Black Legion stood out as an Ameri- 
can counterpart to the rise of Nazism and fascism 



in Europe. Probably started in Ohio in 1931 by a 
group of former Ku Klux Klan members who dyed 
their robes black after their expulsion from that 
group, the organization experienced its greatest 
success in the industrialized regions of Ohio, Indi- 
ana, and Michigan. Its influence spread to a dozen 
or more other states. Though claiming as many as 
six million adherents, it is more likely that around 
forty thousand different individuals joined the 
Black Legion over time before legal investigations 
and prosecutions led to its collapse in 1939. 

Having attracted publicity for a series of flog- 
gings during 1935, the terrorist group became 
headline news after the ritual murder of a 32-year- 
old Detroit relief worker by a dozen of its members 
in May 1936. The Black Legion was an authoritari- 
an, quasi-military organization, which forced disci- 
pline upon its heavily-armed members by initiating 
them at the point of a gun and threatening death 
if they ever disclosed the secrets of the group to 
outsiders. To join the organization, a person had to 
swear that he was a white, native-born, Protestant 
American citizen and agree to take up arms, when 
called upon, against the group's enemies. 

Racial prejudice, religious bigotry, union- 
bashing, and red-baiting characterized the organi- 
zation. Murder, intimidation, and violence were its 
calling cards. Many of its members were former 
rural residents who felt alienated in unfamiliar con- 
ditions in northern cities. A typical member, ac- 
cording to one journalistic account, was a southern- 
born male, in his mid-thirties, and Anglo-Saxon in 
background. While composed mostly of poorer, 
marginalized, working-class whites, the Black Le- 
gion also attracted a considerable number of mid- 
dle-class businessmen and white-collar workers to 
its banner. Politicians and even law-enforcement 
officials sometimes became members. 

Like the Ku Klux Klan and other similar groups, 
which provided a fertile recruiting ground for the 
Black Legion, its members spouted anti-black, anti- 
Semitic, and anti-Catholic rhetoric. Religious sym- 
bolism stood out prominently, and members acted 
in authoritarian fashion to try to impose their mo- 
rality on others. Exposure of the organization in 
news articles, along with legal investigations and 
prosecutions, led to its precipitate decline during 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



103 



LACK 



METROPOLIS 



the late 1930s. The Black Legion's rapid demise re- 
sulted from its heavy dependence on violence, as 
opposed to voluntary support, to attract members. 
Afterwards, many of its adherents drifted into other 
similar native fascist groups. 

See Also: RACE AND ETHNIC RELATIONS; ANTI- 
SEMITISM. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Janowitz, Morris. "Black Legions on the March." In 
America in Crisis: Fourteen Crucial Episodes in Ameri- 
can History, edited by Daniel Aaron. 1952. 

Freedom of Information Act: Black Legion. Available at 
http://foia.fbi.gov/blackleg.htm 

John E. Miller 



BLACK METROPOLIS 

In 1945 social scientist St. Clair Drake and his re- 
search associate, Horace R. Cayton, published the 
two-volume Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life 
in a Northern City, which attempted to provide the 
empirical foundation for the notion of a "black me- 
tropolis." The term, as used by the public as well as 
by social scientists, referred to a large and diverse 
African-American social enclave composed princi- 
pally of professionals, small business owners, and 
a large working class of both unskilled and semi- 
skilled laborers. These enclaves emerged during the 
interwar years in large urban industrial areas in 
midwestern cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, 
Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee. The south side of Chi- 
cago, the site of Drake and Cayton's study, con- 
tained an elaborate institutional structure that rep- 
licated those of native-born whites, as well as those 
of recent immigrants from southern and eastern 
Europe, who occupied distinct ethnic enclaves in 
the city. 

Black metropolises were the direct product not 
only of residential segregation and other blatant 
forms of discrimination, but also of the hard work 
and ingenuity of their inhabitants. African Ameri- 
cans' overall prosperity during the 1920s was possi- 
ble primarily because of the dire need for their labor 
as unskilled workers in midwestern factories. 



With the onset of the Great Depression at the 
end of the 1920s, the notion of a black metropolis 
was transformed. In Chicago, for example, many 
working-class African Americans were discharged 
from unskilled jobs in factories in which many of 
them had been gainfully employed since World 
War I. Many African-American domestics also were 
fired, and banks in Chicago's south-side ghetto 
were closed. 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies pro- 
vided public relief programs, employment, and 
housing. Furthermore, presidential support for ini- 
tiatives in collective bargaining between manage- 
ment and labor benefited unskilled African- 
American workers who had been able to retain em- 
ployment. Additionally, many African Americans 
left both the rural and urban South during the 
1930s — a direct result not only of the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administration (AAA) crop reduction 
policies, but also because African Americans in 
southern cities received less than their proportion- 
ate share of allocations of relief and emergency em- 
ployment. In short, the notion of a black metropolis 
was transformed from that of a community with a 
solid working class that had the potential to make 
advances in the mass-production industries and 
narrow the income gap between themselves and 
whites to one in which most of its members were 
on the dole or dependent on their working spouses 
for support. 

See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON; NATIONAL URBAN 
LEAGUE. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Drake, St. Clair, and Horace R. Cayton. Black Metropolis: 
A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. 1945. 

Gottlieb, Peter. Making Their Own Way: Southern Blacks' 
Migration to Pittsburgh, 1916-30. 1987. 

Kusmer, Kenneth L. A Ghetto Takes Shape: Black Cleve- 
land, 1870-1930. 1976. 

Trotter, Joe William, Jr. Black Milwaukee: The Making of 
an Industrial Proletariat, 1915-45. 1985. 



Vernon J. Williams, Jr. 



104 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



N N I E AND CLYDE 



N N I E PARKER 



A N D 



CLYDE 



BARROW 



BLACK THIRTY-HOUR BILL 

The Black thirty-hour bill was introduced by Sena- 
tor Hugo L. Black, a Democrat from Alabama, in 
December 1932 to establish a thirty-hour maximum 
workweek. The bill had diverse origins. During the 
1920s some economists argued that the shorter 
workweek would improve the quality of life for 
working people and offset labor displacement re- 
sulting from technological change. The dramatic 
claims of the Technocracy movement, which 
emerged in 1932, reinforced concerns that technol- 
ogy contributed to unemployment. However, the 
shorter workweek was primarily viewed as a short- 
term expedient to ameliorate the Depression. Dur- 
ing the Hoover years, it was central to the strategies 
of the President's Emergency Committee for Em- 
ployment (1930-1931) and its successor, the Presi- 
dent's Organization for Unemployment Relief 
(1931-1932). These agencies popularized work- 
spreading on the basis of its voluntary implementa- 
tion by corporations to combat the unemployment 
emergency. 

Herbert Hoover's establishment of the Share- 
the-Work movement in September 1932 reflected 
the president's commitment to this strategy. While 
there were many dissenting voices who believed 
that work-sharing was tantamount to spreading 
misery rather than relieving it, others believed that 
to be effective, work-sharing would have to be 
mandatory. Black's bill would have prohibited the 
interstate or international shipment of products 
that had been manufactured in any establishment 
where workers were on the job more than five days 
per week or more than six hours per day. Black con- 
tended that the shorter workweek was an alterna- 
tive to public relief and a way of promoting eco- 
nomic recovery by spreading purchasing power. 

Despite widespread reservations, the Senate 
passed the Black bill on April 6, 1933. This action 
spurred the Roosevelt administration to formulate 
a more comprehensive industrial recovery bill. Roo- 
sevelt was particularly concerned that the hours 
provision was too rigid and he condemned the 
measure as a "one paragraph bill" that would not 
contribute to economic recovery. After the bill's 
passage by the Senate, Secretary of Labor Frances 



Perkins formulated a "substitute" bill that made 
provision for minimum wages, as well as maximum 
hours. Perkins's bill received widespread criticism 
from the business community, and business orga- 
nizations sought to further their own interests in 
antitrust reform and self-regulation through trade 
associations. In April Roosevelt established a plan- 
ning group that became the focus of intense lobby- 
ing by business groups seeking to promote in- 
dustrial self-regulation through cooperative agree- 
ments, subject to government approval in the pub- 
lic interest. Organized labor demanded a govern- 
ment guarantee of the right of workers to belong to 
unions and to bargain collectively through them. In 
addition, Roosevelt's planning group considered a 
number of schemes to "start up" the economy, in- 
cluding federal subsidies and public works. Ulti- 
mately, a comprehensive recovery program 
emerged out of the brainstorming and lobbying 
that the single-issue Black bill had provoked. Fed- 
eral regulation of working hours was one dimen- 
sion of the National Industrial Recovery Act signed 
by Roosevelt on June 16, 1933. 

See Also: BLACK, HUGO; NATLONAL INDUSTRLAL 
RECOVERY ACT (NIRA). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Farr, Grant N. The Origins of Recent Labor Policy. 1959. 

Himmelberg, Robert F. The Origins of the National Recov- 
ery Administration: Business, Government, and the 
Trade Association Issue, 1921-1933. 1976. 

Moley, Raymond. The First New Deal. 1966. 

Perkins, Frances. The Roosevelt I Knew, rev. edition, 1964. 

Stuart Kidd 



BONNIE AND CLYDE (BONNIE 
PARKER AND CLYDE BARROW) 

During an era when the exploits of gangsters such 
as Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, and the 
Karpis-Barker gang filled the pages of newspapers 
and provided plots for popular movies, Bonnie Par- 
ker (October 1, 1910-May 23, 1934) and Clyde Bar- 
row (March 24, 1909-May 23, 1934) stood out as 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



105 



N N I E 



N D 



CLYDE 



N N I E PARKER 



A N D 



CLYDE 



R R W 




Bonnie Parker jokingly points a shotgun at Clyde Barrow in 
1932. Bettmann/CORBIS 



icons. Between 1932 and 1934, when they drove 
through Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, 
Arkansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, commit- 
ting the crimes for which they became notorious — 
twelve murders, scores of robberies, and nearly a 
dozen incidents of hostage-taking — Bonnie and 
Clyde came to stand for a variety of sometimes con- 
flicting images. They were known as romantic lov- 
ers, and as a modern-day Robin Hood and Maid 
Marian who fought back against the predatory rich. 
Tabloid readers knew them as the "snake -eyed kill- 
er" and "cigar- smoking gun moll" (an image Bon- 
nie despised but helped create). The recipients of an 
enormous amount of publicity on the radio, in 
newspapers, and in crime magazines, they contrib- 
uted to their own legend through photographs they 
took of one another, poems written by Bonnie, sto- 
ries they sent to detective magazines, and even 
through a letter Clyde sent to the Ford Motor Com- 
pany, extolling the Ford as the car he always stole 
when he had the opportunity. 



Both Bonnie and Clyde came from poor fami- 
lies — Clyde, the son of tenant farmers, was born in 
Ellis County, Texas, and Bonnie was born in 
Rowena, Texas, and raised by a poor widow. They 
met in 1930, when Bonnie was working as a wait- 
ress in a Dallas cafe and Clyde was wanted by the 
police on burglary charges. During the time that 
they spent together, they became famous for their 
abilities as escape artists. They drove their stolen 
cars through the Texas countryside at speeds of up 
to seventy miles an hour, evading police traps while 
other gang members, including members of both 
their families, were caught. They even managed to 
smuggle weapons into the Texas prison system to 
free their confederates. 

Their crimes seemed to many emblematic both 
of the frontier spirit of the West, and of the new 
freedom made possible by the mass production of 
the automobile. Before meeting Bonnie, Clyde was 
just another two-bit crook — their romantic partner- 
ship elevated their criminal status. His love of his 
many guns, all of which he named, placed him 
squarely in the tradition of the western outlaw. 
However, as an armed woman during a period 
when marriage rates plummeted, male unemploy- 
ment rates were high, and pundits decried a crisis 
of masculinity, Bonnie Parker simultaneously in- 
habited the gun-toting role more familiar to men 
and played the role of the supportive girlfriend, 
highlighting the cultural contradictions of Ameri- 
can womanhood. 

Bonnie and Clyde were shot down by lawmen 
in an ambush on May 23, 1934, in rural northwest 
Louisiana. They died almost literally in one anoth- 
er's arms; their "death car," which was exhibited at 
public events for years thereafter, as well as their 
bodies, became targets for souvenir hunters. 
Clyde's funeral attracted thirty thousand spectators, 
and Bonnie's was mobbed, too — the largest wreath 
there was sent by an organization of Dallas news- 
paper boys, perhaps in thanks for the half million 
newspapers the account of the final ambush had 
helped them to sell. 

See Also: "BALLAD OF PRETTY BOY FLOYD"; CRIME; 
HEROES. 



106 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



ONUS 



A R M V / 



ONUS 



R C H 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Fortune, Jan. The Fugitives. 1934. 

Jones, W. D. "Riding with Bonnie and Clyde." Playboy 

15, no. 11 (November 1968): 151, 160-165. 
Milner, E. R. The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde. 

1996. 
Phillips, John Neal. Running with Bonnie and Clyde: The 

Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults. 1996. 
Treherne, John. The Strange History of Bonnie and Clyde. 

1984. 

Laura Browder 



There were those in Congress who wanted to 
do more. A growing bloc led by three House Dem- 
ocrats — William Connery of Massachusetts, John E. 
Rankin of Mississippi, and Wright Patman of 
Texas — campaigned for full and immediate cash 
payment. All had served as enlisted men during the 
war. Patman soon became the acknowledged lead- 
er of the bonus forces in Congress. The bills he and 
others introduced made the bonus a national issue 
and were a spur for most of those who came to 
Washington. 



BONUS ARMY/BONUS MARCH 

The veterans' bonus, more properly called "adjust- 
ed service compensation," was approved by Con- 
gress in both 1922 and 1924 and vetoed by presi- 
dents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. 
Harding's veto was upheld, but Coolidge's was 
overridden and the bonus bill became law. Its en- 
actment came after four years of agitation by veter- 
ans and veterans' groups. The law provided a cash 
payment equal to one dollar for each day of war- 
time military service, with an extra twenty-five 
cents for each day spent overseas. Certificates with 
varying face values were issued, but payment was 
deferred until 1945. An insurance provision provid- 
ed for full payment to heirs in case of death. The ac- 
crued interest made the maximum possible pay- 
ment some $1,800, a tidy sum at a time when the 
average annual earnings of non-farm workers came 
to just over $1,400. Other provisions allowed veter- 
ans to borrow limited amounts of the value of their 
bonus certificates at relatively high rates of interest. 

THE BONUS: A DEPRESSION ISSUE 

The payment deferral was widely accepted in 
1924, but the end of the prosperity of the 1920s and 
the onset of the Great Depression created wide- 
spread agitation for "immediate cash payment." 
The initial response of Congress during the Depres- 
sion winter of 1930 to 1931 was to pass a bill allow- 
ing veterans to borrow larger amounts on their cer- 
tificates at lower interest rates. President Herbert 
Hoover vetoed the bill, but a majority of the Repub- 
licans in each house joined almost all the Demo- 
crats to override Hoover's veto. 



MARCHING ON WASHINGTON 

As early as January 1931 a few veterans had 
demonstrated in the nation's capital for immediate 
cash payment, and a number of other demonstra- 
tions took place before May 1932, none of which 
had a significant impact. The one Washington 
demonstration that caused a stir was the "National 
Hunger March," a one-day affair on December 7, 
1931, which was sponsored by a Communist Party 
front, the Unemployed Councils. Early in May 1932 
the Communist press announced that another front 
organization, the Workers' Ex- Servicemen's 
League (WESL or Weasels), would lead a similar 
one -day March on June 8, 1932. But before that 
happened an unheralded group of veterans from 
Portland, Oregon, had crossed the nation in box- 
cars and trucks, captured national attention, and 
begun what would now be called a sit-in in the na- 
tion's capital. 

The Oregon veterans were led by an unem- 
ployed ex-sergeant, Walter W. Waters, who had 
spent almost eighteen months overseas with the 
medical detachment of the 146th Field Artillery 
until he was discharged in 1919. A handsome and 
glib six-footer who had drifted from job to job in the 
1920s, Waters inflated his resume in his 1933 mem- 
oir, B.E.F.: The Whole Story of the Bonus Army. Even 
there, however, he admitted that "my inability to 
take root in fertile soil may have been due to the 
unsettling effects of the war on me" and he referred 
to an unspecified post-discharge illness with the 
words "my health failed." 

Waters and fewer than three hundred other 
veterans set out riding in empty boxcars on March 
11 or 12, 1932. Their slow but peaceful passage east 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



107 



B N 



A R M Y / B N U S MARC 




Shacks built by members of the Bonus Army in Washington, D.C., burn after the battle with federal troops in 1932. National 
Archives and Records Administration 



was ignored by the national press until railroad offi- 
cials at Council Bluffs, Iowa, tried without success 
to stop them from reaching Saint Louis; the brief 
stand-off in the Iowa rail yards was news. Waters 
gave his first press conference on May 20 when the 
bonus seekers arrived in Saint Louis. He said that 
when they got to Washington they were going to 
stay until a bonus bill was passed "if it takes until 
1945." That statement, publicized nationally, acted 
as a signal for groups of veterans across the country 
to come to Washington. By the time the Orego- 
nians reached the capital on May 29, hundreds of 
other veterans were already there and thousands 
more were on their way. 

By mid-June some twenty thousand had come 
to participate in what the press called a "bonus 



march," although almost no one walked to Wash- 
ington. Some drove their own cars and trucks. The 
Washington, D.C., police force was commanded by 
Pelham D. Glassford, a West Point graduate who 
had been the youngest general in the American Ex- 
peditionary Force and had retired from the army in 
1931. Glassford sympathized with his fellow veter- 
ans but understood that their cause was all but 
hopeless. Interested in public order, he encouraged 
the men to organize as a Bonus Expeditionary Force 
(BEF), helped them obtain relief supplies, and got 
most of the veterans to set up an encampment on 
park land in Anacostia at the edge of the District of 
Columbia. Some also camped in partially demol- 
ished buildings on lower Pennsylvania Avenue 
near the Capitol. There were few arrests and no sig- 
nificant violence for almost two months. 



10! 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



ONUS 



A R M V / 



ONUS 



R C H 



Patman's bonus bill had been locked up in 
committee, but after the veterans arrived it was easy 
to pry it out. On June 15 it passed in the House, 211 
to 176. The Senate leadership agreed to a quick 
vote, hoping that the men would go home once it 
was defeated. On the evening of June 17, with sev- 
eral thousand veterans massed in front of the Capi- 
tol, the Senate defeated the bill. Only twenty-eight 
of ninety-six senators favored it. Some feared that 
the massed veterans would riot in response. Instead 
they sang "America the Beautiful" and returned to 
their encampments. But large numbers of them 
stayed in Washington and some reinforcements ar- 
rived. 



THE BATTLE OF WASHINGTON 

Before adjourning on July 16, Congress offered 
railroad fare home plus a seventy-five cent per diem 
allowance to any veteran who left by July 25. Some 
five thousand veterans took advantage of this offer. 
The Red Cross, which had refused any aid to the 
veterans, financed the travel of nearly five hundred 
accompanying wives and children. Once the July 25 
deadline had passed, the Hoover administration, 
acting through its appointees, the District Commis- 
sioners, issued orders to force the now fewer than 
ten thousand veterans to leave Washington. The 
first step was ordering the police to remove the vet- 
erans camped on Pennsylvania Avenue. Glassford 
and his police commenced that task on July 28; two 
violent outbursts occurred as some men resisted 
eviction. The first, in the morning, caused no fatali- 
ties, but resulted in the commissioners asking the 
president for federal troops. Hoover obliged, order- 
ing that the veterans be taken into custody. A few 
minutes later, another fracas broke out and a po- 
liceman who had been attacked drew his pistol and 
fired several shots, which killed two veterans. 
Glassford restored order and shortly thereafter 
learned that the Army had been called out. 

About six hundred soldiers — some two hun- 
dred cavalry, three hundred infantry, and five 
tanks — under the personal command of Chief of 
Staff Douglas MacArthur, formed on the Ellipse be- 
hind the White House, and at 4:30 P.M. they moved 
up Pennsylvania Avenue at the height of the eve- 
ning rush hour. The resulting "Battle of Washing- 



ton" was no battle at all: Not a shot was fired by the 
troops or the veterans, although the latter threw a 
few bricks and a lot of curses and the former used 
the points of sabers, bayonets, and tear gas. The 
troops then moved toward Anacostia, positioned 
three tanks on the bridge, and took a break for sup- 
per. Those in the Anacostia encampment were 
given notice, and then the soldiers advanced, driv- 
ing the veterans and whoever was with them out of 
the district and into Maryland like so many refu- 
gees. MacArthur deliberately disobeyed Hoover's 
order to take the veterans prisoner. 

The Hoover administration claimed that most 
of the expelled bonus marchers were Communists 
and not really veterans, but such changes did not 
sit well with the public. Rexford Guy Tugwell wrote 
in The Brains Trust (1968) that he had an appoint- 
ment with Franklin Roosevelt on the morning of 
July 29. Entering the governor's Hyde Park, New 
York, bedroom about 7:30 A.M., Tugwell found Roo- 
sevelt, characteristically, in bed with the papers 
spread around him. He told Tugwell that the pic- 
tures of the troops driving the veterans from the na- 
tion's capital were like "scenes from a nightmare." 
Tugwell believed that from that point on Roosevelt 
felt assured of his election, which almost certainly 
would have come in any event. 

In a letter written a few days before the 1932 
election, Roosevelt, who, like Hoover, opposed a 
bonus prepayment, told a correspondent that he 
would have handled things differently. Roosevelt 
got that opportunity when a smaller and more radi- 
cal group of veterans came to Washington in May 
1933. The president had Harry Hopkins arrange for 
billets at underused military facilities outside the 
district, sent his wife to meet with the veterans, and 
changed the rules so that those who wished could 
enroll in special veterans' units of the newly created 
Civilian Conservation Corps. 

In 1936 Congress passed a bill to pay the bonus 
at once; Roosevelt vetoed it, but did not strenuously 
attempt to stop Congress from overriding his veto. 
Although the imaginative World War II programs 
for veterans commonly known as the G. I. Bill of 
Rights might have come about in any event, the 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



109 



N D 6 6 L E 



bonus experience spurred planning for future veter- 
ans' benefits. 

See Also: HOOVER, HERBERT. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Best, Gary Dean. FDR 
1933-1935. 1992. 



and the Bonus Marchers, 



Daniels, Roger. The Bonus March: An Episode of the Great 
Depression. 1971. 

Glassford, Pelham D. Papers. University of California, 
Los Angeles. 

Hoover, Herbert C. The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, Vol. 
3: The Great Depression, 1929-1941. 1952. 

Lisio, Donald J. The President and Protest: Hoover, Conspir- 
acy, and the Bonus Riot. 1974. 

Lisio, Donald J. The President and Protest: Hoover, MacAr- 
thur, and the Bonus Riot, 2nd edition. 1994. 

MacArthur, Douglas. Reminiscences. 1964. 

Roger Daniels 



BOONDOGGLE 

During the years of the New Deal, its critics used 
the term "boondoggle" to refer to various work re- 
lief programs that fell under the aegis of the Works 
Progress Administration (WPA), a federal agency 
created in 1935 and run by Roosevelt's federal relief 
administrator, Harry Hopkins. The word implied a 
politically motivated, trivial, wasteful, or impractical 
government project funded to gain political favor. 

The word originally meant a braided cord worn 
by Boy Scouts as a neckerchief or ornament, that is, 
a handmade article of simple utility and practical 
use. It may have been used earlier to refer to a de- 
vice rigged by Daniel Boone to carry his equipment 
across rivers so that his hands would be free to 
swim. Thus, the term can be used to refer to any- 
thing people created for themselves to help them 
work more easily and effectively. 

During the 1930s, however, boondoggle be- 
came a politically charged word expressing disdain 
for government programs that provided various 
types of work for the unemployed during the Great 
Depression. Hopkins's WPA work relief programs 



were especially vulnerable to criticism as "make- 
work," especially those that had to do with the arts. 
Although most WPA projects consisted of building 
or repairing roads and public buildings, parks, hos- 
pitals, and highways, one of its components, the 
Federal Arts Project (known as Federal One), paid 
thousands of unemployed artists, musicians, actors, 
and writers for working at their craft. 

Artists suffered inordinately during the Great 
Depression because the market for art works virtu- 
ally disappeared. In desperation, some artists 
would barter their work for food and rent while 
others tried selling on the street. The hard fact that 
the unemployment rate for artists was even greater 
than for the general population led the government 
to create jobs for them. When critics accused Hop- 
kins of giving boondoggling jobs to people commit- 
ted to the creative impulse, he defended Federal 
One as a way to keep the talents of millions of 
Americans alive. Art patronage, in Hopkins's opin- 
ion, was healthy and defined the artists' relation- 
ship to their society as an ultimately useful one. 
Government patronage made art accessible to the 
public and insured that the artist would have a cre- 
ative role in American society that would be de- 
mocratizing and culturally enriching for the entire 
nation. 

See Also: FEDERAL ONE; HOPKINS, HARRY; WORKS 
PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION (WPA). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Hopkins, Harry L. "Boondoggling: It Is a Social Asset." 
The Christian Science Monitor (August 19, 1936): 4, 
14. 

Hopkins, June. Harry Hopkins: Sudden Hero, Brash Re- 
former. 1999. 

Mclimsey, George. Harry Hopkins: Ally of the Poor, De- 
fender of Democracy . 1987. 

Iune Hopkins 



BORAH, WILLIAM 



William Edgar Borah (June 29, 1865-January 19, 
1940) was a prominent Republican senator during 
the Great Depression. Known as the "Lion of 



110 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



U L D E R 



D A M 



Idaho," he defended Jeffersonian principles, upheld 
civil libertarian doctrines, espoused constitutional- 
ism, and safeguarded the special interests of his 
home state. Despite his lengthy service in the upper 
chamber, Borah lacked an understanding of power 
plays in American politics. He remained a political 
maverick whose oratorical skills outweighed a plan 
of action, a characteristic that curtailed his effective- 
ness as a leader. Essentially he remained a loner. 
Yet for all his shortcomings, Borah possessed the 
ability to arouse people on public issues. 

Born in Jasper Township, Wayne County, Illi- 
nois, Borah attended Tom's Prairie Public School 
and Southern Illinois Academy but never complet- 
ed high school. He matriculated at the University of 
Kansas for a time in the 1880s. Thereafter Borah 
studied law in his brother-in-law's office, relocated 
to Idaho in 1890, earned a reputation as a good 
criminal lawyer, became interested in politics, 
chaired the Republican State Central Committee, 
attacked the trusts, and supported William Jen- 
nings Bryan, a Democrat, for president in the free 
silver crusade of 1896. In 1902 Borah led the pro- 
gressive Republican faction that defeated Idaho's 
Old Guard candidates. Five years later state legisla- 
tors elected him to the U.S. Senate, where he re- 
mained until his death. 

Borah was a reformer and individualist. He em- 
braced Theodore Roosevelt but declined to follow 
him in the Bull Moose campaign of 1912. Borah en- 
dorsed legislation for labor revision and backed 
constitutional amendments for a graduated income 
tax, the direct election of U.S. senators, and nation- 
al prohibition. He also belonged to the irreconcil- 
able wing of senators who opposed any version of 
a League of Nations. After World War I, Borah sur- 
faced as a major voice for progressivism, isolation- 
ism, and the outlawry of war. Although he whole- 
heartedly championed Herbert Hoover for 
president in 1928, Borah assailed the president's 
farm and tariff policies and berated him for not pur- 
suing more aggressive action to relieve the suffering 
in the nation. Borah demanded relief for the needy 
and unemployed. In a blistering Senate speech in 
1931, he challenged the administration to respond 
to the crisis. Borah's crusading voice against Hoo- 
ver's economic philosophy helped prepare the way 
for the New Deal. 



The severity of the Great Depression in the 
1930s convinced Borah of the necessity for govern- 
ment intervention to combat the economic catas- 
trophe, monitor the nation's financial condition, 
and protect the general interest. He accepted much 
of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal do- 
mestic program, especially legislation that aided 
farmers and arranged for work remedies and allevi- 
ation. The senator favored the Tennessee Valley 
Authority, the Securities and Exchange Commis- 
sion, Social Security, the National Labor Relations 
Act of 1935, the Revenue Act of 1935, and the Pub- 
lic Utilities Holding Company Act of 1935, but he 
remained steadfastly against the National Recovery 
Administration with measures designed to benefit 
the industrial segments of American society. He 
suggested currency expansion as a means to ame- 
liorate the Depression. Although the expansion of 
federal bureaucratic agencies and the possible dan- 
gers to individual rights worried Borah, he focused 
attention on the activist role of government in the 
1930s. 

By the end of the 1930s, Borah devoted his time 
primarily to foreign affairs and endeavors to avoid 
United States entanglement in case of war. He died 
at his home in Washington, D. C, three days after 
a cerebral hemorrhage. 

See Also: NEW DEAL. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Borah, William E. Papers. Manuscripts Division, Library 
of Congress, Washington, D. C. 

Borah, William E. Bedrock: Views on Basic National Prob- 
lems. 1936. 

Johnson, Claudius O. Borah of Idaho. 1936. 

McKenna, Marian C. Borah. 1961. 

Leonard Schlup 



BOULDER DAM 

Located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River 
on the Arizona-Nevada state line, thirty-five miles 
southeast of Las Vegas, the Boulder Dam, known 
since 1947 as the Hoover Dam, stands as a monu- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



111 



U L D E R DAM 




Laborers install steel bar reinforcements at the mid-section of Boulder Dam during construction in 1934. Library of Congress, 
Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



ment to modern engineering. It is a concrete gravity 
arch dam that spans 1,244 feet across the canyon 
and rises to a height of 726 feet; its width ranges 
from 660 feet at the base to forty-five feet at the 
crest. By controlling unpredictable floods, providing 
water to drought-ridden areas, and generating 
electrical power, the dam transformed the West and 
encouraged settlement of the region. 

On December 21, 1928, following extensive de- 
bate over water rights and fiscal concerns, President 
Calvin Coolidge signed the Boulder Canyon Project 
bill, providing over $165 million to construct the 
dam. The Bureau of Reclamation awarded the con- 
tract to Six Companies, Inc., on March 11, 1931, en- 
suring employment for five thousand workers at 
the depths of the Depression. The government built 
Boulder City, complete with a school, a hospital, a 



general store, and a mess hall that served four thou- 
sand meals a day, to provide housing for single men 
and families. 

Work on the dam began in May 1931 with the 
excavation of two tunnels on each side of the can- 
yon to divert the river during construction. Workers 
then drained the site, stripped canyon walls of loose 
rock to provide a smooth surface for abutment, and 
drilled the canyon floor for the dam to rest on solid 
bedrock. In June 1933 workers started pouring con- 
crete blocks in a series of columns using bottom- 
drop buckets hoisted into position by a cableway 
that spanned the canyon. A U-shaped powerhouse, 
with two arms extending downstream on either 
side of the canyon and connected by an arm span- 
ning the face of the dam, housed generators that 
produced over 700,000 kilowatts of electricity, ren- 



112 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



U R K E - W H I T E 



R G A R E E 



dering Boulder Dam the largest hydroelectric facili- 
ty in the world until the Grand Coulee Dam in 
Washington exceeded that level in 1949. Twin sets 
of intake towers controlled the flow of water to the 
powerhouse and reservoir outlets. 

On February 1, 1935, workers sealed the diver- 
sion tunnels and allowed water to rise behind the 
dam, creating Lake Mead reservoir, named for El- 
wood Mead, the former commissioner of the Bu- 
reau of Reclamation. President Franklin Roosevelt 
dedicated the dam on September 30, 1935, pro- 
claiming it "a twentieth-century marvel" that trans- 
formed the Colorado River "into a great national 
possession." Congress renamed the structure Hoo- 
ver Dam in 1947, ending a controversy that began 
in 1930 when supporters proposed naming the dam 
after President Herbert Hoover for his contribution 
to the project. However, as more Americans began 
blaming Hoover for the Depression, Roosevelt's 
Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, rejected the 
proposal and named the project Boulder Dam in 
1933. Once public opinion of Hoover softened, 
Congress restored his name to the project that he 
helped to initiate. 

The Boulder Dam harnessed the power of the 
Colorado River for the public good. It encouraged 
settlement and development of the West by thou- 
sands of farmers and businessmen who required a 
stable water supply, power generation, and protec- 
tion from unpredictable floods. Combined with its 
contributions to municipal and recreational needs, 
Boulder Dam eventually benefited millions of 
Americans. 

See Also: GE^AND COULEE PROJECT; PUBLEC POWER; 
WEST, GREAT DEPRESSEON EN THE AMERECAN. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Dunar, Andrew J., and Dennis McBride. Building Hoover 
Dam: An Oral History of the Great Depression. 1993. 

Kleinsorge, Paul L. Boulder Canyon Project: Historical and 
Economic Aspects. 1941. 

Records of the Bureau of Reclamation. Record Group No. 
115: Project Histories, Boulder Canyon Project. Na- 
tional Archives and Records Administration. Rocky 
Mountain Region, Denver, Colo. 

Simonds, William loe. The Boulder Canyon Project: 
Hoover Dam. Available at: www.usbr.gov/history/ 
hoover.htm 



Stevens, loseph E. Hoover Dam, An American Adventure. 
1988. 

United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Rec- 
lamation. Boulder Canyon Project: Final Reports, 
Part IV— Design and Construction. 1941-1949. 

Todd J. Pfannestiel 



BOURKE-WHITE, MARGARET 

Margaret Bourke-White (June 14, 1904-August 27, 
1971) was born in the Bronx, New York, the daugh- 
ter of Joseph White and Minnie Bourke, and grew 
up in New Jersey. She acquired a fascination for 
photography from her father and from a teacher, 
Clarence H. White, a member of Alfred Stieglitz's 
Photo- Secession movement. After briefly attending 
two colleges, and getting married and divorced, she 
enrolled in Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, 
and supported herself by selling photographs of the 
campus to students and alumni. She graduated in 
1927 with a degree in biology. Bourke-White then 
opened a photography studio in Cleveland, where 
her dramatic industrial photographs of foundries 
gained the attention of Henry Luce in 1929. Luce 
brought her to New York to become a photogra- 
pher for his new magazine, Fortune. Bourke- 
White's assignment to take pictures of industrial- 
ization in the Soviet Union in 1930 led to her first 
book, Eyes on Russia (1931). After completing cele- 
brated picture essays on the meatpacking plants of 
Chicago, glass blowing in upstate New York, and 
Indiana stone quarries, Bourke-White's emphasis 
changed from industry to the human condition 
while she photographed the Dust Bowl conditions 
of the Plains states in 1934. She collaborated with 
writer Erskine Caldwell, whom she would later 
marry and divorce, on a photo-documentary of the 
life of poor southern sharecroppers, You Have Seen 
Their Faces (1937). In 1936 she signed on as one of 
four photographers for Luce's new pictorial maga- 
zine, Life. Her photographs of the construction of 
Fort Peck Dam in Montana were chosen for the first 
cover illustration and lead article of Luce's new 
venture. 

As a Life correspondent during World War II, 
she was the only foreign photojournalist to be in 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E E H E 6 R E A E DEPRESSION 



113 



or AN 



6 I H L 



TRAMPS Of A M f H I C A 



the Soviet Union when the Germans invaded, the 
only woman to be accredited by the U. S. armed 
forces as a war photographer, the first female to ac- 
company and record an Army Air Force bombing 
mission, and the first to document the horrors of 
the German concentration camp at Buchenwald. 
After the war, she covered the Korean War, the 
miners of South Africa, and the independence of, 
and strife between, India and Pakistan. Discovering 
that she had Parkinson's disease in 1956, Bourke- 
White gradually turned from photography to writ- 
ing, producing an autobiography, Portrait of Myself 
(1963). She died in 1971 at the age of sixty-seven. 
A pioneer in photojournalism who thrived on ad- 
venture and craved a crisis, tirelessly and ruthlessly 
doing whatever it took to get the photograph she 
wanted, Bourke-White was widely hailed as a 
woman doing a man's job in a man's world. 

See Also: CALDWELL, ERSKINE; LANGE, DOROTHEA; 
PHOTOGRAPHY; SHAHN, BEN. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Brown, Theodore M. Margaret Bourke-White: Photojour- 
nalist. 1972. 

Callahan, Sean, ed. The Photographs of Margaret Bourke- 
White. 1972. 

Goldberg, Vicki. Margaret Bourke-White: A Biography. 
1986. 

Silverman, Jonathan. For the World to See: The Life of Mar- 
garet Bourke-White. 1983. 

Harvard Sitkoff 



BOY AND GIRL TRAMPS OF 
AMERICA 

In 1933 and 1934, Thomas Minehan, a young soci- 
ologist at the University of Minnesota, disguised 
himself in old clothes and hopped freight trains 
crisscrossing six midwestern states. He joined the 
bands of boys, and more than a few girls, who 
formed the ranks of a roving army of 250,000 chil- 
dren torn from their homes in the Great Depres- 
sion. Over a two-year period, Minehan associated 
on terms of intimacy and equality with several 
thousand transients, collecting five hundred life 




During the Depression, some 250,000 young people took to the 
road, often with the blessing of parents at their wits end to 
feed and care for them. These boys were photographed 
hopping a freight car in California in 1940. National Archives 
and Records Administration 



histories of the young migrants. The result was a 
vivid portrayal of their harrowing existence, Boy and 
Girl Tramps of America, a work unique in its ability 
to reach beyond statistics and reveal the opinions, 
ideas, and attitudes of the boxcar boys and girls. 

Grinding poverty, shattered family relation- 
ships, and financially strapped schools that locked 
their doors were among the reasons most kids went 
on the road. They usually did so with the blessing 
of parents at their wits end to feed and care for 
them. The first weeks away from home could be eu- 
phoric, filled with a sense of romance and adven- 
ture. Minehan observed that after six months on the 
road, however, the boys and girls lost their fresh 
outlook and eagerness. Trips across the country 
were no longer educational, but were quests for 
bread. "There comes a day when the boys are alone 
and hungry, and their clothes are ragged and torn," 
wrote Minehan; "breadlines have just denied them 



IK 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



B R A I N ( S ) TRUST 



food, relief stations an opportunity to work for 
clothes. Abrakie [brakeman] has chased them from 
the yards. An old vagrant shares his mulligan with 
them and they listen." 

Riding with the road kids, Minehan estimated 
that 10 percent of those he met were girls, dressed 
in overalls or army breeches and boys' coats. They 
traveled in pairs, sometimes with a boyfriend, 
sometimes with a tribe of ten or twelve boys. Mine- 
han described "Kay," who was fifteen: "Her black 
eyes, fair hair, and pale cheeks are girlish and deli- 
cate. Cinders, wind and frost have irritated but not 
toughened that tender skin. Sickly and suffering 
from chronic undernourishment, she appears to 
subsist almost entirely upon her fingernails, which 
she gnaws habitually." 

For African-American youths, the road was 
even rockier. They were often turned away from a 
door where a white hobo would get a handout; on 
occasion, too, black youths riding the rails in the 
South were threatened with a lynching. 

Danger was a constant companion that could 
turn deadly in an instant. Railroad detectives, called 
"bulls," handled illegal riders savagely. By 1932, the 
Southern Pacific Company reported 683,457 tres- 
passers on its property, 75 percent of these estimat- 
ed to be from sixteen to twenty-five years old. In the 
first ten months of 1932, the Interstate Commerce 
Commission recorded 1,508 trespassers under 
twenty-one killed or injured. 

Minehan completed his research even as the 
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was being es- 
tablished by the Roosevelt administration, the sin- 
gle most vital program to meet the needs of the rov- 
ing army. By July 1933, a quarter of a million young 
men were serving in the CCC in 1,468 forest and 
park camps. The National Youth Administration 
later provided fifty camps that offered job training 
and education for girls. 

Minehan found that desperate as their lives 
were, the child tramps remained defiant: "I can't 
get a job anywhere," said a boy called Texas. "I 
can't get into the CCC because I have no depen- 
dents. I can't remain in any state unless I go to a 
slave camp. What chance have I got? Less chance 
than a man with two wooden legs in a forest fire. 



I've seen a lot of the country in the last year and I'm 
glad I've seen it but if a guy travels too much he be- 
comes a bum, and I don't want to be a bum." 

See Also: CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS, IMPACT 
OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION ON; CIVILIAN 
CONSERVATION CORPS (CCC). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Abbot, Grace. Children's Bureau, Washington, D.C. State- 
ment on Relief for Unemployed Transients. Hearing be- 
fore a Subcommittee of the Committee on Manufac- 
tures on S. 5121, United States Senate, 72nd Cong., 
2nd sess. 

Anderson, Nels. "The luvenile and the Tramp." Journal 
of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Crimi- 
nology. (August 1, 1923): 290-312. 

Carstens, C. C. Child Welfare League of America. State- 
ment on Federal Aid for Unemployment Relief. Hearings 
before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Manufac- 
tures on S5125. United States Senate, 72nd Cong., 
2nd sess. 

Lacy, Alexander. The Soil Soldiers: The Conservation Corps 
in the Great Depression. 1976. 

McMillen, A. Wayne. "An Army of Boys on the Loose." 
The Survey Graphic (September 1933): 389-392. 

Minehan, Thomas. Boy and Girl Tramps of America. 1934. 

Uys, Errol Lincoln. Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move 
During the Great Depression. 1999. 

Errol Lincoln Uys 



BRAIN(S) TRUST 



The Brains Trust was a small group of academics se- 
lected by Franklin D. Roosevelt and his political ad- 
visors to help the Democratic candidate in 1932 in 
his presidential bid. The term was originally coined 
by Louis Howe, a long-time associate of Roosevelt. 
It was later shortened to Brain Trust and made pop- 
ular by New York Times reporter James Kieran. 

Given the complexities of the modern Ameri- 
can economy and the enormity of the Great De- 
pression and its effects, Roosevelt's law partner, 
Sam Rosenman, suggested to the Democratic can- 
didate that he seek the advice of academics in at- 
tempting to deal with the economic issues of the 



I N C Y C L P E D I A OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



115 



B R A I N ( S ) TRUST 



day, a practice Roosevelt had used previously dur- 
ing his governorship of New York. Rosenman re- 
cruited Raymond Moley, a political science profes- 
sor at Columbia University in New York, to help 
Roosevelt organize this academic group. 

Raymond Moley had already worked with Roo- 
sevelt during the Seabury investigation into corrup- 
tion in the New York City government. An expert 
in criminal justice, Moley was to help the candidate 
in political matters and introduce him to other aca- 
demics. After another Roosevelt law partner, Doc 
O'Connor, joined the small group, Moley recruited 
two more Columbia professors: Rexford G. Tugwell 
and Adolf Berle. 

Tugwell was a professor of economics at Co- 
lumbia and a highly prolific author who had written 
on the causes of the Great Depression and Herbert 
Hoover's failure to address the crisis. Tugwell was 
also familiar with the novel approaches being sug- 
gested to resolve America's agricultural problems. 
Adolf Berle was a well known legal expert who 
published with the economist Gardiner Means an 
important work on the modern corporation, The 
Modern Corporation and Private Property (1933). 
Moley, Tugwell, and Berle served as Roosevelt's 
Brains Trust throughout the 1932 campaign. 

The purpose of the Brains Trust was to educate 
Roosevelt on current economic issues, assist in 
speechwriting, and help the candidate formulate 
his own ideas on how to approach and resolve the 
Depression. Although the three academics would 
later follow their own distinctive beliefs and career 
paths, in 1932 they all agreed that big business was 
inevitable, that the Wilsonian approach of breaking 
up corporations into small units was unacceptable, 
that regulation was the key to dealing with big 
business, and that some form of planning in the 
economic sector was necessary. 

Throughout the 1932 campaign, the Brains 
Trust met frequently with Roosevelt. They often re- 
searched topics the candidate needed to know 
about or was embracing, and they helped him draft 
speeches, although Roosevelt typically put his own 
imprint on any speech, sometimes changing the 
wording and content as he delivered it. Moley 
worked with Roosevelt on the "forgotten man" 
speech in April 1932. Moley also helped Roosevelt 



draft a speech delivered in Saint Paul, often referred 
to as the "concert of interest" speech, in which the 
term New Deal was first used. Berle helped Roose- 
velt write the San Francisco Commonwealth Club 
speech, which called for economic planning in the 
future. Tugwell worked on a number of speeches, 
usually writing parts of the draft, especially if the 
speech dealt with agriculture and the domestic al- 
lotment proposal. 

In addition to speech writing, Moley tutored 
Roosevelt on political issues, Tugwell on agricultur- 
al matters, and Berle on finance and corporations. 
Tugwell, for example, worked hard to educate Roo- 
sevelt on domestic allotment, a plan to control farm 
overproduction by paying farmers to not plant 
crops. Although some Democratic leaders disliked 
the idea of professors advising their candidate, 
there was little they could do about it. Roosevelt re- 
lied on his Brains Trust and listened to what they 
had to say, whether or not he incorporated what 
they told him into his speeches or, later, into his 
New Deal programs. Election day marked the offi- 
cial end of the Brains Trust, but not the end of the 
role each member of the group played in Roose- 
velt's administration. 

Of the three, Berle was the only one who chose 
not to accept an official appointment in 1933. Rath- 
er, Berle returned to New York where he advised 
Fiorello La Guardia in his mayoral campaign and 
helped the newly elected mayor address New 
York's financial crisis. Berle continued to help the 
president in a variety of ways, however. For exam- 
ple, he advised Roosevelt on the banking crisis, the 
railroads, and foreign policy, especially concerning 
Latin America and Cuba. 

Raymond Moley was appointed assistant secre- 
tary of state in 1933. Working under Cordell Hull, 
Moley was closely associated with the president. 
Moley advised Roosevelt for the 1933 London Con- 
ference, but Roosevelt seemed to endorse Hull's 
views, rather than Moley's, when he sent his fa- 
mous "bombshell" message to the conference an- 
nouncing his decision to promote American eco- 
nomic nationalism to resolve the economic crisis. 
This announcement so undermined Moley's posi- 
tion that he gradually drifted away from the presi- 
dent. He eventually left the administration and be- 



116 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



R A N D E I S 



LOUIS 



came a magazine editor. Moley's disappointment 
with Roosevelt deepened as time went on, and he 
finally broke openly with the president during the 
1940 campaign. Thereafter, Moley became a consis- 
tent critic of the Roosevelt presidency. 

Rexford Tugwell fared much better. He re- 
mained with Roosevelt after the election, serving as 
an advisor until the inauguration, after which Tug- 
well was officially appointed assistant secretary of 
agriculture under Henry Wallace. Tugwell worked 
diligently in the Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
to implement domestic allotment under the provi- 
sions of the Agricultural Adjustment Act. His clash 
with the director of the Agricultural Adjustment 
Administration, George Peek, and Peek's eventual 
resignation, was seen as a victory for Tugwell, how- 
ever short-lived. Although Peek's replacement, 
Chester Davis, was committed to domestic allot- 
ment, he was also a determined administrator who 
did not tolerate disagreement from subordinates. 
His famous "purge" of liberals in the USDA over 
Southern sharecropping agreements was a direct 
attack on Tugwell. Tugwell was so livid about 
Davis's actions that he threatened to resign from 
the New Deal. Roosevelt convinced him to stay, 
and Tugwell became director of the Resettlement 
Administration (RA) in 1935. Despite his good in- 
tentions and administrative capabilities, Tugwell 
was targeted by the press as a radical and as a threat 
to America. He resigned from the RA in 1936, only 
to return to the administration in 1941 when Roo- 
sevelt appointed him governor of Puerto Rico. For 
the rest of his life and career, Tugwell remained 
loyal to Roosevelt, despite the disappointments he 
felt with Roosevelt and the New Deal after 1936. 

With Tugwell's departure from the administra- 
tion in 1936, all three original members of the 
Brains Trust were gone. Other advisers with aca- 
demic backgrounds and business expertise joined 
the administration, and the term associate member 
of the Brains Trust is sometimes applied to such in- 
dividuals as Hugh Johnson of the National Recov- 
ery Administration (NRA) and Donald Richberg of 
the NRA and the National Economic Council. Later 
advisers like Benjamin Cohen and Thomas Corco- 
ran are also sometimes referred to as Brains Trust- 
ers. In the end, though, the Brains Trust remained 



what it had started out to be — a small advisory 
group of academics who helped Roosevelt in his 
1932 bid for the presidency. 

See Also: BERLE, ADOLF A. JR.; ELECTION OF 1932; 
MOLEY, RAYMOND; TUGWELL, REXFORD G. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Berle, Beatrice Bishop, and Travis B. Jacobs, eds. Navigat- 
ing the Rapids, 1918-1971: From the Papers of Adolf 
Berle. 1973. 

Namorato, Michael V. Rexford G. Tugwell: A Biography. 
1988. 

Rosen, Elliot. Hoover, Roosevelt, and the Brains Trust: From 
Depression to New Deal. 1977. 

Schwartz, Jordan A. The New Dealers: Power Politics in the 
Age of Roosevelt. 1993. 

Michael V. Namorato 



BRANDEIS, LOUIS D. 



In November 1931, as the American economy was 
sinking into frightening decline, U.S. Supreme 
Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis (November 
13, 1856-October 5, 1941) turned seventy-five. Be- 
hind him was an illustrious career as a prominent 
Boston attorney, a leading reformer active in a 
dozen progressive crusades, a close adviser to 
Woodrow Wilson, and, after 1914, the leader of the 
American Zionist movement. He had been on the 
Supreme Court since 1916, and had earned a repu- 
tation as an eloquent defender of civil liberties, a 
champion of the rights of labor, a supporter of state 
and local prerogatives against centralized federal 
authority, and a bitter foe of "the curse of bigness," 
both in business and in government. By the time of 
the Great Depression he had transcended much of 
the controversy that had characterized his turbulent 
years as a social activist, and he enjoyed nearly uni- 
versal respect and admiration as a wise elder states- 
man. Franklin D. Roosevelt occasionally referred to 
him as "Isaiah." 

His activities during the 1930s centered in three 
general areas. First, he maintained his interest in 
the Zionist project of establishing a Jewish home- 
land in Palestine. He paid close attention to Jewish 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



117 



R E A D L I N E S 



affairs, assiduously studied Palestine develop- 
ments, and grew increasingly worried about British 
policy there. He was one of the earliest to see the 
dangers to Jews in the rise of Adolf Hitler. Second, 
of course, he continued his work on the Supreme 
Court until his resignation in February 1939. Al- 
though he joined in declaring some key New Deal 
measures unconstitutional, he was numbered 
among the Court's liberal wing. One of his most 
significant opinions in this period was in Erie v. 
Tompkins (1938), which limited the authority of fed- 
eral courts and enhanced the judicial authority of 
the states. Although Brandeis admired Roosevelt 
personally, he was opposed to the president's at- 
tempt, in 1937, to "pack" the Supreme Court. 

Finally, Brandeis played an extremely impor- 
tant role in the spirited debates raging around the 
formation of New Deal policy. He did this, in part, 
by utilizing extensive informal channels of influ- 
ence — through Felix Frankfurter and Frankfurter's 
many disciples, through numerous private conver- 
sations with major and minor New Deal officials, 
and even, occasionally, through direct and indirect 
contacts with President Roosevelt himself. Soon 
Brandeis came to be regarded as the symbolic lead- 
er of that wing of New Deal thought that believed 
in imposing limitations on federal authority, avoid- 
ing centralization at the expense of local autonomy, 
and enhancing free market competition rather than 
relying upon federal measures that assumed and 
accepted the inevitability of large-scale production. 
Many historians of this period refer to those in 
Washington who held these views as Brandeisians 
or neo-Brandeisians. 

See Also: BLACK, HUGO; DOUGLAS, WILLIAM O.; 
FRANKFURTER, FELIX; HUGHES, CHARLES 
EVANS; SUPREME COURT. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Dawson, Nelson Lloyd. Louis D. Brandeis, Felix Frankfurt- 
er, and the New Deal. 1980. 

Purcell, Edward A., Jr. Brandeis and the Progressive Consti- 
tution: Erie, the Judicial Power, and the Politics of the 
Federal Courts in Twentieth-Century America. 2000. 

Strum, Philippa. Louis D. Brandeis: Justice for the People. 
1984. 



Urofsky, Melvin I., and David W. Levy, eds., The Letters 
of Louis D. Brandeis, Vol. 5: Elder Statesman, 
1921-1941. 1978. 

David W. Levy 



BREADLINES 

Breadlines, in which poverty-stricken and hungry 
Americans queued for free food, were representa- 
tive of the increasing unemployment and conse- 
quent hunger caused by the Depression. Breadlines 
became common in many cities during the 1930s, 
and the sheer numbers of homeless and unem- 
ployed people often overwhelmed the charities that 
were giving out food. Rexford G. Tugwell, a New 
Deal administrator and advisor to Franklin Roose- 
velt, commented in his diary about the pervasive- 
ness of hunger during the Depression: "Never in 
modern times . . . has there been so widespread 
unemployment and such moving distress from cold 
and hunger." 

With the onset of the Great Depression, com- 
panies were forced to cut production and to lay off 
many of their employees. By 1932 there were some 
thirteen million Americans out of work, or one- 
fourth of all workers. Even those who remained 
employed often found their wages and hours 
sharply reduced, and providing adequate food for 
oneself and one's family became a daily struggle for 
many Americans. One oft-repeated story tells of a 
teacher in West Virginia who directed a young girl 
to go home and eat. The girl replied, "I can't. This 
is my sister's day to eat." In New York City one out 
of five children attending school was reported to be 
suffering from malnutrition. And in other areas, 
such as the coal-mining regions of Illinois, Ken- 
tucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, 
thousands of children went hungry. 

Breadlines were thus a necessity during the 
1930s. They were run by private charities, such as 
the Red Cross; private individuals — the gangster Al 
Capone opened a breadline in Chicago; and gov- 
ernment agencies. Breadlines became associated 
with shame and humiliation because many Ameri- 
cans felt responsible for their own downfall. As one 



II! 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



R E A D L I N E S 




A long line of people wait for free food in February 1932 in New York City. Because government relief programs were 
inadequate during the early years of the Depression, private organizations and benefactors often provided the food. Franklin 
Delano Roosevelt Library 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



119 



RIDGES 



A R R Y 



distressed man during the Depression put it: 
"Shame? You tellin' me? I would go stand in the re- 
lief line [and] bend my head low so nobody would 
recognize me." 

See Also: CHARITY; SOUP KITCHENS; UNEM- 
PLOYMENT, LEVELS OF. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bird, Caroline. The Invisible Scar. 1966. 

Garraty, John Arthur. Unemployment in History: Economic 
Thought and Public Policy. 1978. 

Komarovsky, Mirra. The Unemployed Man and His Family: 
The Effect of Unemployment Upon the Status of the Man 
in Fifty-Nine Families. 1940. 

McElvaine, Robert S. The Great Depression: America, 
1929-1941, rev. edition. 1993. 

Kim Richardson 



BRIDGES, HARRY 

One of the most successful and radical labor leaders 
in the United States, Harry Bridges (July 28, 
1901-March 30, 1990) was integral to the formation 
of the International Longshoremen's and Ware- 
housemen's Union (ILWU) and a strong voice for 
the left in American labor throughout the Depres- 
sion years and after. 

Born in Australia to middle-class parents, Brid- 
ges became a sailor in his teens, and emigrated to 
San Francisco in 1920, eventually finding work as 
a longshoreman. He had already been exposed to 
the radicalism of the Industrial Workers of the 
World (IWW) while working in Australia, and he 
soon was involved in labor organizing on the San 
Francisco docks. In 1933, Bridges, along with Com- 
munists and other radicals, was at the forefront of 
efforts to rebuild the faded International Long- 
shoremen's Association (ILA). He and other labor 
activists sought to unite all unions in the industry 
into one federation. They proposed changes from 
the top-down leadership structure of previous 
unions, calling for regular union meetings, financial 
accountability for union officers, and a democratic 
constitution that would recognize the voices of 
rank-and-file members. 



In 1934, the newly revived ILA sought to nego- 
tiate a contract that would organize West Coast 
docks. Even after the intervention of President 
Franklin Roosevelt and in the face of opposition 
from the ILA's own president, the union voted to 
strike, shutting down West Coast docks beginning 
on May 9. Tensions during the strike also led to vio- 
lent clashes between protesting workers and police, 
most notably in San Francisco, where a general 
strike ensued. During the strike, Bridges gained a 
reputation as a dedicated organizer and successful 
leader, particularly after employers were forced to 
arbitrate with the union to end the strike. This no- 
toriety also made him a target for anti-labor forces 
who claimed Bridges was a Communist agitator, a 
charge he would deny. Evidence from Soviet ar- 
chives suggests that Bridges was a member of the 
Communist Party in the 1930s. 

After another large strike in 1936, Bridges was 
elected president of the Pacific Coast District of the 
ILA, but the district soon came into conflict with the 
more conservative union leadership. In 1937, the 
district's members voted to join the newly formed 
Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), and 
they renamed themselves the International Long- 
shoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. With 
Bridges as president, the ILWU was one of the most 
radical unions in the country, engaging in hundreds 
of job actions to improve working conditions and 
retaining a large faction of Communist members. 
With the rise of fascism in the late 1930s, Bridges 
led the ILWU's boycott of Italian and German 
ships, and the union later adopted a "no-strike" 
pledge during World War II in order to support the 
U.S. war effort. 

Bridges's continued radicalism made him the 
target of deportation hearings in the late 1930s, yet 
he remained defiant, even after the ILWU was ex- 
pelled from the CIO in 1950 for supporting its 
Communist membership. Bridges continued as 
president of the ILWU until 1977, remaining politi- 
cally outspoken and ensuring his legacy as one of 
America's most important labor leaders. 

See Also: CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL 

ORGANIZATIONS (CIO); INTERNATIONAL 
LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION (ILA); SAN 
FRANCISCO GENERAL STRIKE (1934); STRIKES. 



120 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



R T H E R H D OF SLEEPING CAR PORTERS ( B S ( P ) 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

The Harry Bridges Project. Available at: www 
.theharrybridgesproject.org 

Kimmeldorf, Howard. Reds or Rackets? The Making of 
Radical and Conservative Unions on the Waterfront. 
1989. 

Larrowe, Charles P. Harry Bridges: The Rise and Tall of 
Radical Labor in the United States. 1972. 

Nelson, Bruce. Workers on the Waterfront: Seamen, Long- 
shoremen, and Unionism in the 1930s. 1988. 

Robert Francis Saxe 



more military ("buddy" is a military term for a fel- 
low-soldier) and militant, "Buddy, can you spare a 
dime?" The clear implication is that this powerful, 
embittered man — and "half a million" like him — 
could easily rise up against the political system that 
betrayed them with its "Yankee-Doodle-de-dum." 

After Americana opened on Broadway on Oc- 
tober 5, 1932, a month before the presidential elec- 
tion, reviewers singled out "Brother, Can You Spare 
a Dime?" for praise, and recordings by Bing Crosby 
and other singers made it a hit despite the fact that 
some radio stations downplayed or even banned 
the song. 



"BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A 
DIME?" 

The popular song "Brother, Can You Spare a 
Dime?," which became an anthem of the Great De- 
pression, was written in 1932 by composer Jay 
Gorney and lyricist E. Y. "Yip" Harburg as part of 
a musical score for the satirical revue Americana. 
The revue took its theme from Roosevelt's "Forgot- 
ten Man" speech that launched his first presidential 
campaign by reminding Americans of the men who 
had fought our wars and worked in our factories 
but now were out of work. "Brother, Can You Spare 
a Dime?" was written for a scene in which men in 
soldiers' uniforms form a breadline. 

Gorney's melody starts out in a plaintive minor 
key — an unusual beginning for a Broadway theater 
song — and Harburg's lyric portrays a man who is 
not a pitiful panhandler, but a strong man bewil- 
dered to find himself in a breadline. In the past, he 
says, he has built a railroad and fought bravely in 
war, but now he is outraged to find that he must 
beg for a dime. In the opening verse, he expresses 
his bitterness, "They used to tell me I was building 
a dream," and in the chorus, the main body of the 
song, he recalls how jauntily he and other men 
went off to war, only to find themselves later "slog- 
ging through hell." 

By the end of the song, as the music soars up- 
ward in a crescendo, the singer's request becomes 
ominously threatening as he confronts his listener 
and repeats his request for money, but this time, in- 
stead of addressing him as "brother," he uses the 



See Also: BREADLINES; MUSIC. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Furia, Philip. The Poets of Tin Pan Alley : A History of Amer- 
ica's Great Lyricists. 1990. 

Meyerson, Harold, and Ernie Harburg. Who Put the Rain- 
bow in the Wizard of Oz? Yip Harburg, Lyricist. 1993. 

Wilk, Max. They're Playing Our Song. 1973. 

Philip Furia 



BROTHERHOOD OF SLEEPING 
CAR PORTERS (BSCP) 

Pullman porters worked exclusively on railroad cars 
called Pullman sleeping cars, the brain-child of 
George Mortimer Pullman and the major means of 
transportation used by the wealthy to travel long 
distances before the era of air travel. George Pull- 
man chose recently freed black men for the position 
of porter on his sleeping cars in order to evoke the 
comfort and style slaves had provided for the gentry 
in the antebellum South. By the 1920s, the Pullman 
porter was perhaps the most recognized African 
American in white America, and the Pullman Com- 
pany employed approximately twelve thousand Af- 
rican Americans, making it the largest private em- 
ployer of black men in the United States. In 1925 a 
group of porters, fed up with long hours, low pay, 
and the servile demeanor demanded by the Pull- 
man Company, formed the Brotherhood of Sleep- 
ing Car Porters (BSCP) in New York City, where it 
enjoyed a measure of success. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA 01 THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



121 



R T 



E R H D 



OF SLEEPING 



C A R 



PORTERS 



S C P 



The BSCP's campaign came to a halt when it 
reached Chicago, headquarters of the powerful, 
anti-union Pullman Company and home to more 
than a third of Pullman porters. Through the years 
Pullman executives had cultivated close relation- 
ships with black leaders by pouring money into in- 
stitutions in black Chicago and promoting the 
image of Pullman as a friend not just of workers, 
but the entire community. As a result, the majority 
of black leaders opposed the BSCP. Utilizing a 
community-based strategy, the BSCP set out to win 
the hearts and minds of ministers, the press, and 
politicians who did not appreciate the role labor 
unions could play in the larger black freedom strug- 
gle. By 1929, as significant numbers of black leaders 
began supporting the BSCP and its organizing net- 
works, a pro-labor perspective was taking shape in 
black Chicago. The pro-labor stance increased the 
union's credibility in the eyes of the community and 
increased membership in the union. Shortly there- 
after, fallout from the Depression, which included 
a severe decline in travelers, fewer jobs for porters, 
fewer tips for working porters, and fear associated 
with joining a union during hard times, contributed 
to a decline in BSCP membership. From a high of 
7,300 members in 1927, BSCP membership had 
dropped to 658 by 1933. While some observers de- 
creed that the BSCP had died, union porters 
dubbed the 1929 to 1933 period as the "dark days." 

The union's fate changed through its relation- 
ship with the American Federation of Labor (AFL) 
and the coming of New Deal labor laws. The AFL, 
which granted federal charters to thirteen BSCP lo- 
cals in 1929, provided very little financial assistance, 
but gave the BSCP a platform from which to ad- 
vance its call for greater economic opportunity for 
all black workers. Though the BSCP was reduced to 
a skeleton crew, the Brotherhood carried the gospel 
of unionism deep into the black community during 
the dark days by forging cross-class alliances with 
other groups challenging the racial status quo. Si- 
multaneously, the AFL continued to support racist 
unions while hundreds of thousands of black work- 
ers in steel, meatpacking, and autos were poised for 
organization. 

Questions related to organizing black industrial 
workers erupted at the 1935 AFL convention when 



its leadership, refusing to endorse industrial union- 
ism, set the stage for the emergence of the Con- 
gress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Although 
the BSCP never left the AFL, the strength it had 
gained within the black community by 1935 pushed 
the AFL to grant the BSCP an international charter, 
even as the AFL voted to sustain union color bars 
against thousands of other black workers. 

The BSCP's destiny was also altered by favor- 
able legislation promoted by the federal govern- 
ment. The Amended Railway Labor Act of 1934 
guaranteed railroad workers the legal right of col- 
lective bargaining, placing the National Mediation 
Board at the service of the union during elections. 
Finally, the Brotherhood gained recognition at the 
national level as the voice of all black workers when 
A. Philip Randolph, head of the BSCP, became 
president of the National Negro Congress in 1936. 
In 1937, the BSCP signed a historic labor contract 
with the giant Pullman Company, marking the first 
time representatives from a major American corpo- 
ration negotiated a labor contract with a union of 
black workers. But the larger significance of the 
BSCP's community organizing during the Great 
Depression lay in popularizing unions, thus provid- 
ing an important foundation for widespread union- 
ization of black workers. 

See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON; AMERICAN 
FEDERATION OF LABOR (AFL); NATIONAL 
NEGRO CONGRESS; ORGANIZED LABOR; 
RANDOLPH, A. PHILIP. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Anderson, lervis. A. Philip Randolph: A Biographical Por- 
trait. 1973. 

Arnesen, Eric. Brotherhoods of Color: Black Railroad Work- 
ers and the Struggle for Equality. 2001. 

Bates, Beth Tompkins. "A New Crowd Challenges the 
Agenda of the Old Guard in the NAACP, 
1933-1945." American Historical Review 102, no. 2 
(1997): 340-377. 

Bates, Beth Tompkins. Pullman Porters and the Rise of Pro- 
test Politics in Black America, 1925-1945. 2001. 

Brazeal, Brailsford Reese. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car 
Porters: Its Origin and Development. 1946. 



122 



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R W D E R 



EARL 



Harris, William H. Keeping the Faith: A. Philip Randolph, 
Milton P. Webster, and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car 
Porters, 1925-1937. 1977. 

Beth Tompkins Bates 



BROWDER, EARL 



Earl Russell Browder (May 20, 1891-June 27, 1973) 
led the American Communist Party (CPUSA) to its 
greatest size and influence during the Great De- 
pression and World War II. Meanwhile, he was re- 
cruiting and directing, with a degree of autonomy, 
spies for the Russian secret police and Soviet mili- 
tary intelligence. 

Browder, the eighth of ten children, was born 
to Kansas parents who had lost their homestead to 
drought, disease, and debt. Earl's disabled father, 
William, and his homemaker mother, Margaret, 
taught populism, socialism, and anticlericalism to 
their offspring. Poverty forced the boys to leave ele- 
mentary school. Earl drifted through left-wing 
movements, most notably the Kansas City book- 
keepers and accountants' union and the Socialist 
Party. His opposition to World War I caused him to 
be imprisoned for a time in Leavenworth Peniten- 
tiary. There he read about the Russian Revolution, 
and became a dedicated Marxist-Leninist. He en- 
tered the Communist Party at mid-level, organizing 
an American delegation to the first Congress of the 
Red International of Labor Unions, held in Moscow 
in 1921. Known by its Russian abbreviation, Profin- 
tern, and subordinate to the Communist Interna- 
tional (Comintern), it had its own staff, funds, and 
networks in foreign countries. In mid-decade, 
Browder became intimate with Raissa Lu- 
ganovskaya, a Profintern attorney and former com- 
missar of justice in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov 
during the Russian Civil War. She helped him land 
a position organizing illegal trade unions to resist 
China's right-wing government. The post gave 
Browder undercover experience that served him 
well. After Soviet leader Joseph Stalin removed 
CPUSA head Jay Lovestone in 1930, Browder be- 
came part of a three-person leadership that also in- 
cluded William Z. Foster and William W. Wein- 



stone. There Browder proved a vicious infighter; 
after Foster was debilitated by a heart attack in 
1932, Browder won firm control of the CPUSA. 

Browder soon championed the Popular Front 
policy, directed by Moscow. Between 1933 and 
1939, his CPUSA called for antifascist unity and 
supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New 
Deal. Browder painted the Communists as heirs to 
American radical traditions, at the very time when 
the CPUSA was changing from a sect of immigrants 
to a party of ethnic and black Americans. It includ- 
ed 82,000 members and influenced many times that 
number. Browder even achieved a degree of auton- 
omy in domestic politics, with Soviet approval. Yet 
as early as 1933, he had begun building an espio- 
nage network among federal employees. 

The 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact killed the Popular 
Front and left the CPUSA morally bankrupt. When 
Germany invaded the USSR on June 22, 1941, 
Browder led the charge back to vigorous antifas- 
cism. The CPUSA regained members and Browder 
came to see himself as an independent Communist 
leader. After Stalin dissolved the Comintern to pla- 
cate the West, Browder propounded his Teheran 
Thesis, arguing that the wartime conference of 
United States, British, and Soviet leaders in Iran 
signified the acceptance of Communism as a per- 
manent force in the world. At home, big business 
could play a role in defeating fascism and extending 
prosperity into the postwar era. He also reconstitut- 
ed the CPUSA as the Communist Political Associa- 
tion, a nonpartisan leftist lobby. This action consti- 
tuted a grave heresy because it violated V.I. Lenin's 
concept of the vanguard role of the Communist 
Party set forth in 1903. Once victory in Europe be- 
came certain, the Soviets engineered Browder's re- 
moval and took his espionage agents. When he 
died not one Communist newspaper in the world 
printed his obituary. 

See Also: COMMUNIST PARTY; FOSTER, WILLIAM Z. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Haynes, John Earl, and Harvey Klehr. Venona: Decoding 
Soviet Espionage in America. 1999. 

Isserman, Maurice. Which Side Were You On? The Ameri- 
can Communist Party during the Second World War. 
1982. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



123 



S C P 



Klehr, Harvey. The Heyday of American Communism: The 
Depression Decade. 1984. 

Ryan, James G. Earl Browder: The Tailure of American 
Communism. 1997. 

Weinstein, Allen, and Alexander Vassiliev. The Haunted 
Wood: Soviet Espionage in America — the Stalin Era. 
1999. 

James G. Ryan 



BSCP. See BROTHERHOOD OF SLEEPING CAR 
PORTERS. 



BUNCHE, RALPH 



Ralph Bunche (August 7, 1904-December 9, 1971) 
was the first black to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He 
received the honor in 1950 for his efforts on behalf 
of the United Nations (UN) in negotiating a truce 
between Egypt and Israel. He eventually became 
undersecretary-general of the UN. In the late 
1960s, radical activists accused Bunche of ignoring 
domestic civil rights concerns, but in the 1930s 
Bunche had been a leading intellectual radical who 
attempted to steer civil rights groups in a new, ac- 
tivist direction that directly addressed black and 
white working class needs. 

Bunche received his B.A. degree from the Uni- 
versity of California, Los Angeles, and his M.A. and 
Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before he had com- 
pleted his doctorate, Howard University hired 
Bunche as an instructor, and he organized and 
chaired the school's political science department. In 
1934, when Bunche completed his dissertation on 
colonial governance in Africa, he became the first 
black American to earn the Ph.D. in political sci- 
ence. 

When Bunche started working at Howard Uni- 
versity his liberal political views became more radi- 
cal and pronounced. He called upon the National 
Association for the Advancement of Colored Peo- 
ple (NAACP) to abandon its legalistic civil rights re- 
form strategy for one that was dedicated to building 
an interracial workers' alliance. He argued that sup- 
porting class politics and instituting dramatic eco- 



nomic reform were the keys to solving blacks' sec- 
ond-class status. He publicly claimed the New Deal 
was a "raw deal" for blacks, and he openly worked 
with communists and socialists in organizing the 
National Negro Congress (NNC). The NNC, estab- 
lished in 1936, sought to build a coalition of organi- 
zations dedicated to solving the "Negro problem" 
through a new class politics. The same year, Bunche 
published A World View of Race, an aggressive cri- 
tique of the imperialist and capitalist roots of rac- 
ism. 

Bunche's public political stances began to soft- 
en as fascism spread across Europe and as the Unit- 
ed States became increasingly involved in the Allied 
war effort. He broke from the NNC when he con- 
cluded that it had become a tool of the Soviet 
Union. Due to his expertise in African affairs, the 
federal government hired Bunche as an African and 
Far East affairs analyst for what would become the 
Office of Strategic Services. He would later work for 
the State Department and then the UN. 

Before he moved into the government, howev- 
er, Bunche played a central role in the production 
of one of the most important social science surveys 
of black life in the United States: An American Di- 
lemma: The Negro Problem and American Democracy 
(1944). This study, directed by Swedish economist 
Gunnar Myrdal, became the cornerstone of liberal 
ideology on race issues for much of the civil rights 
era. As Myrdal's assistant, Bunche supervised nu- 
merous other researchers and produced several 
thousand pages (collected in four long "memos") of 
analysis of black political development in the 
South, black betterment organizations, and black 
leadership. One of these memoranda, The Political 
Status of the Negro in the Age of FDR, was published 
posthumously in 1973. 

See Also: HOWARD UNIVERSITY; NATIONAL 

ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF 
COLORED PEOPLE (NAACP); SOCIAL SCIENCE. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Henry, Charles P. Ralph J. Bunche: Model Negro or Ameri- 
can Other? 1999. 

Holloway, Jonathan Scott. Confronting the Veil: Abram 
Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 
1919-1941. 2002. 



IZ*. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



S I N E S S M E N 



Urquhart, Brian. Ralph Bundle: An American Life. 1993. 

Jonathan Scott Holloway 

BURNS AND ALLEN. See HUMOR; RADIO. 

BUSINESSMEN 

Businessmen reached new levels of unpopularity 
during the 1930s. Following the prosperity of the 
1920s, the stock market crash of 1929 punctuated 
the end of the "New Era" in dramatic fashion. By 
1932, the nation's gross national product had 
dropped 33 percent, nearly 25 percent of workers 
had been thrown out of work, and the prices of 
most goods were cut in half. Business executives 
who had been seen as enlightened captains of in- 
dustry, responsible for much of capitalism's ad- 
vances during the years following the end of World 
War I, were soon perceived as responsible for capi- 
talism's collapse. Some, such as utility magnate 
Samuel Insull, fled the country as their corporate 
empires collapsed around them. In 1933 and 1934, 
the Senate Banking and Currency Committee, led 
by chief counsel Ferdinand Pecora, questioned 
leading businessmen and financiers, including J. P. 
Morgan, Charles Mitchell, Winthrop Aldrich, and 
Thomas W. Lamont, about their practices. Morgan 
acknowledged that he had (legally) avoided paying 
any income tax in 1930, 1931, and 1932, while oth- 
ers, such as Mitchell, eventually faced criminal 
charges for their actions. The legitimacy of capital- 
ism, itself, was increasingly called into question. 

Businessmen reacted to this social, political, 
and economic crisis, and to subsequent New Deal 
policy measures, in different ways and in ways that 
changed over time. To speak of "businessmen" as 
an unchanging monolith does injustice to the com- 
plexity of the historical record. It is, however, possi- 
ble to make some generalizations. In reacting to the 
Great Depression and the coming of the New Deal, 
businessmen drew on the intellectual currents that 
had been popular during the 1920s and earlier. 
They at first welcomed the election of President 
Franklin Roosevelt, and cautiously looked to the 



federal government to provide stability and legiti- 
mize the "associational" activities that antitrust 
laws had long prevented. By 1935, however, many 
businessmen were frustrated with the New Deal. 
Although there were exceptions, businessmen gen- 
erally opposed New Deal measures designed to in- 
crease the bargaining power of organized labor, 
provide public works projects, create unemploy- 
ment insurance and old-age insurance, and regu- 
late wages and hours. Businessmen could usually 
be counted as reliable supporters of a balanced fed- 
eral budget, and as vociferous opponents of mea- 
sures designed to increase federal revenues, such as 
Roosevelt's call to "soak the rich" with income tax 
increases. Efforts to regulate the nation's banks and 
financial markets, such as the 1933 Glass-Steagall 
Banking Act and the creation of the Securities and 
Exchange Commission, were also greeted with dis- 
dain by most businessmen. With the coming of 
World War II, though, New Dealers and business- 
men achieved a rapprochement of sorts. 

THE EARLY NEW DEAL AND THE NATIONAL 
RECOVERY ADMINISTRATION 

During the 1920s, a number of businessmen 
and politicians, including such figures as George 
Perkins, Frank Munsey, and Herbert Hoover, 
championed the idea of business cooperation. 
Through voluntary organizations, such as trade as- 
sociations, businesses could attempt to plan pro- 
duction, develop and implement codes of conduct, 
and avoid competing on price. These anticompeti- 
tive practices grew in part out of measures devel- 
oped in World War I to regulate wartime produc- 
tion, but they also expanded on the popular notion 
of the "business commonwealth." Thanks to en- 
lightened planning, supporters of the business 
commonwealth assumed, business could coordi- 
nate the economy and capitalism in such a way as 
to ensure prosperity and stability for all firms. 
Greater efficiencies would smooth out the business 
cycle's oscillations, minimizing unemployment and 
delivering a wider selection of goods to consumers. 

In developing the National Industrial Recovery 
Act (NIRA) in 1933, New Dealers explicitly drew on 
associational activities in their effort to end the eco- 
nomic depression. Businessmen welcomed Title I of 
the NIRA, which suspended the nation's antitrust 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



125 



S I N E S S M E N 



laws and called for business to participate in draft- 
ing codes of conduct that would govern competitive 
practices. Organizations such as the American Bar 
Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce 
supported this idea, and even the National Associa- 
tion of Manufacturers offered a lukewarm endorse- 
ment of the policy. Bernard Baruch and Hugh John- 
son, both of whom had served on the War 
Industries Board during World War I, backed the 
NIRA, as did such leading businessmen as Gerard 
Swope, Henry Dennison, and Charles Abbot. Many 
of these individuals helped participate in the actual 
drafting of the legislation, and Hugh Johnson was 
placed in charge of the National Recovery Adminis- 
tration (NRA), which emerged from this work. The 
NRA not only reflected ideas about efficiency, plan- 
ning, and competition that dated back to thinkers 
such as Thornstein Veblen and Frederick W. Taylor, 
it also found favor with such New Dealers as Rex- 
ford Tugwell. Although reluctant to trust business- 
men, New Dealers saw in the NRA the possibility 
for the state to counter business's power by cham- 
pioning the interests of consumers, farmers, and 
labor. In practice, however, the codes of competi- 
tion that were drafted under the NRA reflected the 
power and interests of larger businesses. In sectors 
as diverse as cotton textiles, steel, lumber, petrole- 
um, and automobiles, for example, the NRA codes 
served to put in place government-sanctioned car- 
tels, largely achieving big business's goals while 
minimizing the influence of consumers and labor. 
As time passed, the NRA's popularity waned. By 
the time the Supreme Court declared Title I of the 
NIRA an unconstitutional use of federal power in 
Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States, the 
NRA had few remaining supporters. 

BUSINESS AND THE NEW DEAL, 1935-1939 

While businessmen initially looked to the New 
Deal to provide economic stability, they found most 
of Roosevelt's political agenda unpalatable. They 
were particularly upset by the New Deal's commit- 
ment to organized labor. Section 7(a) of NIRA's 
Title I, though, which enshrined the right of orga- 
nized labor to collectively bargain with employers, 
was initially met with guarded acceptance by the 
business community. Businesses located in north- 
ern, higher-wage environments generally assumed 



that it would improve their competitiveness relative 
to their southern counterparts, or simply accepted 
its inclusion as a price to be paid for the suspension 
of antitrust laws. When NIRA's Title I was struck 
down in Schechter, stronger protections for workers' 
rights to organize were incorporated into the lan- 
guage of the National Labor Relations Act, which 
became law in 1935 despite vigorous opposition 
from many business organizations. Business oppo- 
sition to the Social Security Act of 1935, while no- 
ticeable, was somewhat less intense, in part be- 
cause a number of firms characterized by welfare 
capitalism saw Social Security as a way to, in effect, 
transfer these sorts of programs to the federal gov- 
ernment. 

Measures such as the Fair Labor Standards Act 
of 1938 were also passed by Congress despite ob- 
jections from businessmen and firms concerned 
about further government encroachment into what 
they declared was their right to manage labor rela- 
tions as they saw fit. These issues were particularly 
salient in the steel, auto, and mining industries, 
where such businessmen as Myron Taylor of U.S. 
Steel and Alfred Sloan of General Motors confront- 
ed labor leaders like John L. Lewis and Walter Reu- 
ther. Such events as the 1936 to 1937 Flint sit-down 
strike and the 1937 Memorial Day massacre outside 
of Republic Steel in Chicago graphically demon- 
strated the high stakes of the conflict between labor 
and business, driving home to businessmen the im- 
portance of trying to shape public policy and public 
opinion. This effort had taken a number of forms 
throughout the Great Depression, but one of the 
most prominent organizations to emerge was the 
American Liberty League, founded in 1934 with fi- 
nancial backing from the DuPont family. Along 
with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, the National 
Association of Manufacturers, and a number of 
other organizations, the American Liberty League 
led the public relations effort against President 
Roosevelt and the New Deal. It opposed deficit 
spending by the federal government, objected to 
Roosevelt's court-packing plan, and tried to influ- 
ence the rewriting of the federal tax code. 

Although businessmen had little success in re- 
habilitating their public image during the 1930s, 
with the coming of war they found a new chance 



1Z6 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



Y R D 



A R R Y 



to recapture the public's trust and respect. Many 
businessmen took a leave of absence from their pri- 
vate-sector employment in order to work for such 
new government bodies as the War Production 
Board, becoming "dollar-a-year men" (so named 
because, while retaining their private salaries, they 
took only minimal compensation from the govern- 
ment). While working for the government, they 
drew upon their expertise to advance the war effort. 
Investment banker Ferdinand Eberstadt, for exam- 
ple, developed and implemented the Controlled 
Materials Plan, which solved many of America's 
wartime production problems by controlling the al- 
location of copper, aluminum, and steel. After con- 
verting automobile production facilities to the 
building of airplanes, the United States managed to 
produce nearly 300,000 aircraft during the war, eas- 
ily trumping the productivity of the other comba- 
tant nations. By the time the war ended, business- 
men had made some strides in changing public 
opinion. By 1953, for example, David Lilienthal, a 
staunch New Dealer, published Big Business: A New 
Era, a glowing account of big business and its place 
in American society. 

See Also: AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE; BANKING 
PANICS (1930-1933); BARUCH, BERNARD; 
CAUSES OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION; 
JOHNSON, HUGH; MORGAN, J.P., JR.; 
NATIONAL RECOVERY ADMINISTRATION (NRA). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Gordon, Colin. New Deals: Business, Labor, and Politics in 
America, 1920-1935. 1994. 

Hawley, Ellis W. The New Deal and the Problem of Monop- 
oly: A Study in Economic Ambivalence. 1966. Reprint, 
1995. 

Leff, Mark H. The Limits of Symbolic Reform: The New Deal 
and Taxation, 1933-1939. 1984. 

McCraw, Thomas K. American Business, 1920-2000: How 
It Worked. 2000. 

Jason Scott Smith 



BYRD, HARRY 

Senator Harry Flood Byrd (June 10, 1887-October 
20, 1966) led the Democratic Party political ma- 



chine in Virginia. According to historian James T. 
Patterson, Byrd was one of the "irreconcilable 
Democrats," who voted against the New Deal be- 
ginning as early as 1935. He opposed the Franklin 
Roosevelt administration 65 percent of the time; 
only Senator Carter Glass, also from Virginia, op- 
posed the New Deal more. Byrd became a signifi- 
cant member of the Republican-Democratic con- 
gressional coalition that emerged to oppose the 
New Deal by 1938. 

Born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and raised 
in Winchester, Virginia, Byrd was the scion of 
prominent Virginia families. He traced his lineage 
to the William Byrds, who had helped to settle colo- 
nial Virginia. Harry Byrd, however, downplayed his 
distinguished ancestry and preferred to think of 
himself as a "self-made" man. He left school at age 
fifteen to take over his father's bankrupt newspa- 
per, the Winchester Evening Star. Byrd also began 
to invest in apple orchards, eventually becoming 
one of the largest apple producers in the country. 

Both his father, Richard, and his maternal 
uncle, Henry Flood, were active in state politics, 
and they encouraged Byrd to run for office. Byrd's 
uncle was one of the key architects and leaders of 
the Democratic Party political machine, known 
simply as the "Organization." As his uncle's pro- 
tege, Byrd served in the state legislature from 1916 
to 1925, and became chairman of the state Demo- 
cratic Party upon his uncle's death. By the mid- 
19203, Byrd had risen to lead the Organization. Effi- 
cient management and a restricted electorate as- 
sured the political success of Byrd and his favored 
candidates for state offices. Elected governor in 
1926, Byrd reorganized the state government in an 
effort to eliminate waste and inefficiency. A fiscal 
conservative, Byrd earned a reputation for himself 
as a progressive. He focused on maintaining a bal- 
anced state budget, keeping state taxes low, and 
providing few social services. 

In 1933, Byrd was appointed to the Senate 
when Claude Swanson joined Roosevelt's cabinet. 
Facing reelection in 1934, Byrd supported President 
Roosevelt and the New Deal programs. Yet, as a fis- 
cal conservative, he voiced his concerns about the 
rapid expansion and reckless spending of the feder- 
al government. A champion of self-help, Byrd as- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



127 



Y R N E S 



AMES 



serted that government work relief programs un- 
dermined individual character. Moreover, the New 
Deal, popular with both blacks and whites in Vir- 
ginia, threatened to disrupt the political and social 
control of the Byrd machine. By 1935, Byrd openly 
opposed Roosevelt's policies, voting against the 
Wagner Labor Relations Act and Social Security. 
He secured an amendment to the Social Security 
Act that allowed states to determine how much aid 
they would contribute to the program. Through his 
influence, Virginia was the last state to join the pro- 
gram in 1938. Moreover, in 1936, at Byrd's urging, 
the Senate created a Select Committee to Investi- 
gate Executive Agencies of the Government and 
appointed Byrd chair. Throughout his career in the 
Senate, which lasted until his retirement in 1965, 
Byrd consistently criticized federal government ex- 
pansion, large federal expenditures, and deficit 
spending. 

See Also: CONSERVATIVE COALITION; DEMOCRATIC 
PARTY; GLASS, CARTER; NEW DEAL. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Heinemann, Ronald L. Depression and New Deal in Vir- 
ginia: The Enduring Dominion. 1983. 

Heinemann, Ronald L. Harry Byrd of Virginia. 1996. 

Patterson, James L. Congressional Conservatism and the 
New Deal: The Growth of the Conservative Coalition in 
Congress, 1933-1939. 1967. 

Larissa M. Smith 



BYRNES, JAMES F. 

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, of Irish Catho- 
lic parents, James Francis Byrnes (May 2, 
1879-April 9, 1972) matured into the most influen- 
tial southerner in the Depression-era Senate. 
Raised by his mother, a dress maker, and his mater- 
nal grandmother, the young Byrnes received a pa- 
rochial school education and became a full-time 
clerk for a Charleston law firm at the age of four- 
teen. He studied law independently, and was ad- 
mitted to the South Carolina bar in 1904. In 1910 
Byrnes won South Carolina's second district by 
fifty-seven votes and entered the U.S. House of 



Representatives. Dark haired and sharp featured, 
the young politician possessed an encompassing 
public persona that shielded a skillful, sly mind and 
an industrious spirit. 

Intent on maintaining white supremacy, South 
Carolina's minority of Protestant white males con- 
trolled Byrnes' electoral base, which had suffered 
since 1876 from corrosive race baiting. Although 
Byrnes could have appeal to racial prejudices, he 
preferred to campaign on economic and social im- 
provement platforms. He supported Woodrow Wil- 
son's World War I administration and the forma- 
tion of the League of Nations. He met Franklin 
Roosevelt at the 1912 Democratic convention, and 
during the Wilson years Byrnes benefited from 
Roosevelt's friendship. Byrnes refused to join the 
Ku Klux Klan and, in 1924, ran unsuccessfully for 
the Senate against the demagogic Coleman L. 
"Coley" Blease. Six years later, with the help of a 
new friend, Bernard Baruch, and the growing eco- 
nomic crisis, Byrnes defeated Blease. 

Upon his nomination for president, Franklin 
Roosevelt drew politically shrewd Byrnes into the 
"Brains Trust," and the two men sustained a warm 
relationship throughout the 1930s. Possessing such 
confidants as Carter Glass, Joseph Robinson, and 
Byron "Pat" Harrison, Byrnes emerged as a key leg- 
islative leader for much New Deal legislation. Con- 
vinced that the Depression's origins lay at home, 
Byrnes opted for a planned economy. He partici- 
pated as a calculating compromiser to help create 
the Emergency Banking Act, the Farm Credit Act, 
the Homeowners' Loan Act, the 1933 Economy 
Act, and such agencies as the Agriculture Adjust- 
ment Administration, the Civilian Conservation 
Corps, and the National Recovery Administration. 
As a member of the Senate conference committee 
Byrnes also forged understandings that facilitated 
the establishment of the Securities and Exchange 
Commission in 1934. 

Byrnes used work relief funds from the Public 
Works and the Works Progress Administrations 
(WPA) to alter the face of South Carolina. He sided 
with veterans to override a presidential veto of a 
bonus bill. Driven by the race-based politics of his 
constituency, he fought in 1935 the Wagner- 
Costigan proposal, a federal anti-lynching bill. Al- 



128 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



V R N E S 



JAMES 




James Francis Byrnes, 1943. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FS A/OWI Collection 



though Byrnes was ill during passage of such 1935 
reforms as the National Labor Relations Act, the 
Eccles Banking Act, the Revenue Act, the Public 
Utilities Holding Company Act, and the Social Se- 
curity Act, he nonetheless endorsed them on the 
basis that these new laws would benefit South Car- 
olinians. In 1936 he easily won reelection to the 
Senate. 

In 1937 Byrnes joined Roosevelt's attempt to 
reorganize the court system. Despite the alarm of 
many wealthy South Carolinians, Byrnes under- 
stood that the average voter preferred reform. 
When the reform effort failed, Byrnes bemoaned 
the political errors that prevented passage. Byrnes' 
votes against the Fair Labor Standards and Child 
Labor Acts also had their roots in the South Caroli- 



na electorate and the increasingly urban tilt of the 
New Deal. Concurrently, his resistance to extension 
of the WPA was also rooted in the concerns of rural 
precincts where the agency's wage scales drew 
away labor and earned cotton growers' wrath. 
Byrnes actions were further shaped by his belief 
that the Depression was by this time lifting. After 
telling Roosevelt that he would stand with his 
friends, he supported conservative senators Walter 
George, Millard Tydings, Guy Gillette, and Ellison 
D. Smith when Roosevelt attempted to purge them 
from the Congress in 1938. Yet, Byrnes also helped 
reelect such New Dealers as Florida's Claude Pep- 
per and Alabama's Lister Hill. While pundits 
claimed these actions marked a break with Roose- 
velt, the South Carolinian had refused to sign the 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



1Z9 



Y R N E S 



AMES 



southern Conservative Manifesto authored by Josi- 
ah Bailey, who touted a conservative opposition to 
the course of the New Deal. Byrnes endorsed the 

1938 Agricultural Adjustment Act, composed the 

1939 Administrative Reorganization Law, and 
managed the refunding of the WPA. 

After trips to Japan and Germany in the mid- 
1930s, Byrnes feared future aggression. In 1938 he 
urged the Roosevelt administration to accept Jew- 
ish emigres from Nazi persecution, and, as chair of 
the Navy appropriations subcommittee, he sup- 
ported the expansion and increased preparedness 
of the U.S. Navy. Byrnes was appointed an asso- 
ciate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1941, but 
he resigned that post in 1942 to serve as Roosevelt's 
director of the economic stability. He later served as 
secretary of state from 1945 to 1947 during the Tru- 
man administration and as governor of South Car- 
olina from 1951 to 1955. 



See Also: BRAIN(S) TRUST; ISOLATIONISM; SOUTH, 
GREAT DEPRESSION IN THE. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Byrnes, James Francis. All in One Lifetime. 1958. 

Byrnes, James Francis. Papers. Clemson University Spe- 
cial Collections. Clemson, South Carolina. 

Byrnes, James Francis. Speaking Frankly. 1947. 
Hayes, Jack Irby, Jr. South Carolina and the New Deal. 
2001. 

Moore, Winfred B., Jr. "New South Statesman: Lhe Polit- 
ical Career of James Francis Byrnes, 1911-1941." 
Ph.D. diss., Duke University, 1976. 

More, Winfred B., Jr. "'Soul of the South': James F. 
Byrnes and the Racial Issues in American Politics, 
1911-1941." The Proceedings of the South Carolina 
Historical Association (1978): 42-52. 

Morgan, Lhomas S. "James F. Byrnes and the Politics of 
Segregation." Historian 56 (summer 1994): 645-654. 

Robertson, David. Sly and Able: A Political Biography of 
James F. Byrnes. 1994. 

Henry C. Ferrell, Jr. 



130 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 




CAGNEY, JAMES 



Born in New York City, James Cagney (July 17, 
1899-March 30, 1986) was the son of an Irish bar- 
tender and his Norwegian wife. After graduating 
from Stuyvesant High School, Jimmy Cagney at- 
tended Columbia University. His show business ca- 
reer began in 1918 when he appeared in local 
vaudeville revues. This work led to his first role in 
a major Broadway show Fitter Fatter in 1920. After 
an unsuccessful visit to Hollywood in 1922, Cagney 
danced with his wife, Frances Willard "Billie" Ver- 
non, on the vaudeville circuit in New York. Cagney 
won critical notice for small stage roles and by 1929 
he was a star on Broadway. 

Cagney's movie career began with the Warner 
Brothers musical Sinner's Holiday (1930). The cocky 
redhead from the Lower East Side and Yorkville 
neighborhoods quickly became a movie star in the 
1930s, often playing a fast-talking Irish-American 
tough guy. His roles in Public Enemy (1931) and 
Smart Money (1931) helped establish the gangster 
movie genre. Cagney was handsome, athletic, and 
versatile; his experience as a dancer was evident in 
his unique body movement and dynamic screen 
presence. But his ironic wit and comic talent led to 
a wide variety of roles, including those in Blonde 
Crazy (1931) and Taxi (1932). 



Discontented with the Hollywood studio sys- 
tem, the independent New Yorker left Los Angeles 
for six months while renegotiating his contract in 
1931. With his salary doubled, Cagney was one of 
the first Irish-American actors to achieve megastar 
status playing urban antiheroes. He had leading 
roles in nineteen films in the next four years. De- 
pression-era audiences were charmed by the feisty 
big city wise guy in such hit movies as Winner Take 
All (1932), Hard to Handle (1933), Lady Killer (1933), 
and Jimmy the Gent (1934). His performance in Foot- 
light Parade (1933) was among his most memorable. 
In this movie he played a light-footed Broadway 
stage director confronting the competition of talk- 
ing motion pictures. Cagney danced and sang in 
three Busby Berkeley production numbers and was 
featured in the film's tribute to the National Recov- 
ery Administration, reminding Depression-weary 
viewers how much they depended on President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its lavish budget and strong 
supporting cast distinguished Footlight Parade from 
most of the Hollywood dream factory movies 
Cagney made in the 1930s. 

Cagney's performance in Comes the Navy (1934) 
helped that picture earn an Academy Award nomi- 
nation for best picture, but many of his movies in 
the 1930s were less memorable. When Cagney 
teamed with his friend Pat O'Brien in nine movies, 
however, the Irish-American pair delighted audi- 



131 



C A G N E Y 



AMES 




James Cagney (second from right) as the gangster Tom Powers in the 1931 William Wellman film The Public Enemy. John 
Springer Collection/CORBIS 



ences with their wit and energy. The restless 
Cagney left Warner Brothers in 1935 to work with 
independent film companies but returned to earn 
his first nomination as best actor in Angels with 
Dirty Faces (1938). Among the best roles he played 
in the 1930s was his part as a Prohibition racketeer 
in The Roaring Twenties (1939). 

While Cagney was often described as cocky or 
pugnacious, his movie star qualities were more dif- 
ficult to define. Perfectly suited for the hard times 
of the thirties, he possessed a gritty character with 
clipped speech and restless body language that mo- 
viegoers found irresistible. His political conscious- 
ness, as a founder of the Screen Actors Guild, his 



criticism of Jack Warner's studio system, and his 
being a subject of a HUAC investigation in the late 
1930s and 1940s, also suited the times. 

James Cagney made more than ninety movies 
in his long and productive career, but he is best re- 
membered for his tough guy roles in the fifty mov- 
ies he made from 1930 to 1940. He retired to Mar- 
tha's Vineyard in 1961 and received the American 
Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1974. He 
died on March 30, 1986, at his farm in Stanfordville, 
New York. 

See Also: BERKELEY, BUSBY; HOLLYWOOD AND THE 
FILM INDUSTRY. 



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BIBLIOGRAPHY 

McCabe, John. Cagney. 1997. 

Schickel, Richard. James Cagney: A Celebration. 1985. 
Sklar, Robert. City Boys: Cagney, Bogart, Garfield. 1992. 

Peter C. Holloran 



CAHILL, HOLGER 

Holger Cahill (January 13, 1887-July 8, 1960) was 
national director of the Federal Art Project of the 
Works Project Administration (WPA) from its in- 
ception in 1935 to its termination in 1943. Born 
Sveinn Kristjan Bjarnarsson, Cahill was the child of 
parents who immigrated to North Dakota from Ice- 
land. He spent most his adolescence in a variety of 
manual jobs from Winnipeg to Shanghai before 
settling in New York City, where his connections 
with the arts community led him into journalism. 
He began taking courses at Columbia University 
and, from 1922, working for the Newark Museum 
in New Jersey, where he organized major exhibi- 
tions of American folk art. In 1932 Cahill became 
acting director of the New York City's Museum of 
Modern Art, for which he arranged an exhibition 
entitled "American Folk Art: The Art of the Com- 
mon Man in America, 1750-1900." A prolific author 
and a respected authority on art, Cahill rejected 
conventional distinctions between "fine" and 
"folk" art, and he idealized the antebellum period 
when, he believed, the arts and society had been to- 
tally integrated through universal practice. Federal 
service provided Cahill with the opportunity to re- 
store the arts to "the people," both as producers 
and consumers. 

While the provision of relief for destitute artists 
was the Federal Art Project's principal function, 
Cahill sought to recover the "American culture pat- 
tern" in both the scope and diversity of its pro- 
grams. This involved the promotion and dispersion 
of art throughout the nation. Art projects were es- 
tablished in thirty-eight states and the Federal Art 
Project employed some ten thousand artists who 
produced 128,000 murals, easel paintings, and 
sculptures and 240,000 prints that decorated 
schools, libraries, and other public buildings. The 



sheer scale of the project was complemented by its 
variety. There were four dimensions to the Federal 
Art Project's work involving the promotion of cre- 
ative art, art education, community service, and re- 
search. Almost 50 percent of its personnel were en- 
gaged in creative art, and the Federal Art Project 
assisted painters who would later become interna- 
tionally renowned, including Jackson Pollock, Mark 
Rothko, and Willem de Kooning. Approximately, 
25 percent of the Federal Art Project's workforce 
was involved in establishing 103 art centers that of- 
fered art classes in twenty-three subjects. Travelling 
exhibits and "Art Weeks" brought art to a wider 
public. 

Cahill also oversaw the recording of an Ameri- 
can vernacular tradition. The Index of American 
Design employed five hundred workers in thirty- 
five states and compiled 22,000 plates of textiles, 
furniture, ceramics, and other artifacts. For Cahill, 
the masses were crucial to the nation's art re- 
sources, and in 1939 he organized the "Contempo- 
rary Unknown American Painters" exhibition at the 
Museum of Modern Art. In contrast to his counter- 
part, Edward Bruce, who headed the Treasury De- 
partment's Section of Fine Arts, Cahill did not dis- 
criminate against the avant-garde, and major 
commissions were given to artists such as Stuart 
Davis and Arshile Gorky. 

The WPA was a complex organization, and 
much of Cahill's work as director was consumed by 
administrative matters, such as liaison with state 
authorities, negotiations with unions, and political 
lobbying. Dependent upon annual congressional 
appropriations, the existence of the Federal Art 
Project was precarious and liable to the kind of 
swingeing budget cuts that occurred in 1936 and 
1937. Cahill understood that the Federal Art Project 
was vulnerable because its per capita costs were 70 
percent higher than for manual workers in the 
WPA, and his efforts to maintain the project in the 
face of widespread criticism required him, at times, 
to work a nineteen-hour day. When Congress abol- 
ished Federal One in 1939 and turned responsibility 
for the remaining arts projects to states, Cahill re- 
mained in a coordinating role, although he became 
less influential. If his vision for the integration of 
the arts and society was not fully realized, his efforts 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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CALDWELL 



E R S K I N E 



provided relief for thousands of artists and nurtured 
those artists who would form the vanguard of ab- 
stract expressionism in the postwar era. After the 
termination of the federal art project in 1943, Cahill 
returned to New York City to concentrate on writ- 
ing fiction. 

See Also: ART; FEDERAL ART PROJECT (FAP); 
FEDERAL ONE; WORKS PROGRESS 
ADMINISTRATION (WPA). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Cahill, Holger, and Alfred Barr, Jr., eds. Art in America: 

A Complete Survey. 1935. 
Contreras, Belisario R. Tradition and Innovation in New 

Deal Art. 1983. 
Mavigliano, George J., and Richard A. Lawson. The Ted- 

eral Art Project in Illinois, 1935-1943. 1990. 
McDonald, William F. Tederal Relief Administration and 

the Arts: The Origins and Administrative History of the 

Arts Projects of the Works Progress Administration. 

1969. 
McKinzie, Richard D. The New Deal for Artists. 1973. 
O'Connor, Francis V., ed. Art for the Millions: Essays from 

the 1930s by Artists and Administrators of the WPA 

Tederal Art Project. 1973. 

Stuart Kidd 



CALDWELL, ERSKINE 

Erskine Preston Caldwell (December 17, 1903- 
April 11, 1987) was a prolific writer whose novels, 
stories, and nonfiction about the American South 
combined burlesque humor, social criticism, brutal 
violence, and graphic sexuality. He was one of the 
Depression-era's most prominent and controversial 
literary figures. 

The son of a reform-minded itinerant minister, 
Caldwell lived in seven southern states by the time 
he was twelve. Although he never received a high 
school diploma, he attended the University of Vir- 
ginia, which he left without a degree in 1925 to 
work as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal. Dedicated 
to becoming a professional fiction writer, Caldwell 
quit the paper in 1926 and moved to Maine, where 
he lived in dire poverty and obscurity, gradually 
gaining notice for stories published in several of the 
era's little magazines. 



The central theme of Caldwell's Depression- 
era writing is the agony of rural impoverishment. 
His first two novels, Poor Fool (1929) and The Bas- 
tard (1930), hard-boiled tales of amoral loners, at- 
tracted little critical or popular notice. Caldwell 
came to literary prominence with the publication of 
Tobacco Road (1932), the story of a family of desti- 
tute Georgia sharecroppers, the Lesters, stubbornly 
clinging to farmland that has been ruined by soil 
erosion. Lazy, licentious, and morally depraved, the 
Lesters' brutal, often obscene behavior culminates 
when one of the family's sons, Dude, backs his au- 
tomobile over his grandmother, who is left unat- 
tended for hours until she is thrown, still alive, into 
an open grave. God's Little Acre (1933) narrates the 
story of the Waldens, another indigent farm family 
that has been digging futilely for gold on their bar- 
ren land. The plot, noteworthy for the pornographic 
rendering of an adulterous sex scene, also includes 
the proletarian tale of a temporary takeover of a 
closed mill by the locked-out workers. 

The 1933 theatrical adaptation of Tobacco Road, 
which became the decade's longest-running 
Broadway play and toured the country, brought 
Caldwell fame and financial security. The play's 
popularity outside the South, however, stemmed in 
part from the fact that the story was often played for 
comedy rather than social critique, and quite likely 
reinforced stereotypes about the degeneracy of 
southerners. 

In addition to writing two other novels during 
the thirties, Journeyman (1935) and Trouble in July 
(1940), Caldwell also published hundreds of short 
stories, many about poverty, sex, and racism, in 
magazines and in five collections, including the 
critically-acclaimed Kneel to the Rising Sun (1935). In 
later decades, many of Caldwell's Depression-era 
novels were released as mass-market paperbacks, 
with astonishing results. By the early 1960s, he had 
sold over sixty million books and was being adver- 
tised as "the best-selling novelist in the world." 

A committed, if idiosyncratic, leftist, Caldwell 
also wrote journalism designed to expose the hor- 
rors of American poverty. A 1935 series for the New 
York Post described the dire malnutrition suffered 
by several Georgia families, claiming that "men are 
so hungry that they eat snakes and cow dung." In 



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GREAT DEPRESSION IN 



1937, Caldwell collaborated with celebrated photo- 
journalist Margaret Bourke-White, whom he would 
marry in 1939, on the decade's first major photo- 
essay book, You Have Seen Their Faces, which of- 
fered a pointed critique of economic exploitation in 
the rural South. However, some liberals, including 
James Agee, contended that Bourke-White's pho- 
tographs were manipulative and that the book's de- 
piction of the poor was sentimental and conde- 
scending. 

Throughout his work, Caldwell sought to chal- 
lenge romantic misconceptions of his native South 
by exposing the human costs of soil erosion and 
economic exploitation. However, the exceedingly 
debased nature of his characters often reinforced 
stereotypes of poor whites, African Americans, and 
women, and seemed to place blame on the very 
people Caldwell saw as victims, rather than on larg- 
er social structures. Moreover, the pornographic 
quality of his writing generated virulent protest, in- 
cluding campaigns to have his work banned in sev- 
eral cities. 

Caldwell's work, a volatile blend of social pro- 
test, ribald humor, sexual frankness, and shocking 
violence, defies conventional aesthetic and political 
categories. He remains one of the Depression era's 
most enigmatic authors. 

See Also: BOURKE-WHITE, MARGARET; LITERATURE; 
SOUTH, GREAT DEPRESSION IN THE. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Burke, Kenneth. "Erskine Caldwell: Maker of Gro- 
tesques." In The Philosophy of Literary Form: Studies 
in Symbolic Action, 3rd edition. 1973. 

Caldwell, Erskine. The Bastard. 1929. 

Caldwell, Erskine. Poor Fool. 1930. 

Caldwell, Erskine. Tobacco Road. 1932. 

Caldwell, Erskine. God's Little Acre. 1933. 

Caldwell, Erskine. Journeyman. 1935. 

Caldwell, Erskine. Kneel to the Rising Sun. 1935. 

Caldwell, Erskine. Trouble in July. 1940. 

Caldwell, Erskine. The Complete Stories of Erskine Cald- 
well. 1953. 

Caldwell, Erskine, and Margaret Bourke-White. You 
Have Seen Their Faces. 1937. 

MacDonald, Scott. Critical Essays on Erskine Caldwell. 
1981. 



McDonald, Robert L. The Critical Response to Erskine 
Caldwell. 1997. 

Miller, Dan B. Erskine Caldwell: The Journey from Tobacco 
Road, a Biography. 1995. 

Joseph Entin 



CANADA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN 

Like most of the industrialized world in the 1920s, 
Canada enjoyed an uneven prosperity during the 
latter years of that decade. Internal economic 
growth was based on speculation (in real estate and 
on the stock market) and a great wave of consumer 
spending on houses, automobiles, and household 
appliances, all financed on credit and promoted by 
a newly-developed advertising industry. When 
Wall Street led the way in a collapse of stock prices 
in October 1929, Bay Street in Toronto was only a 
heartbeat behind. Canadian businessmen did not 
initially see Black Tuesday as more than a tempo- 
rary setback, but it was soon associated with a gen- 
eral economic collapse that was more serious and 
protracted in Canada than in almost any other "ad- 
vanced" nation of the world. 



THE CANADIAN ECONOMY 

The Great Depression was hardly a uniquely 
Canadian phenomenon. It was the downward part 
of a periodic international economic cycle that af- 
fected all nations, although the industrialized suf- 
fered more. On the other hand, the Depression was 
arguably more severe in Canada than in almost any 
other nation except the United States. Officially re- 
corded unemployment reached almost one-fifth of 
the labor force in Canada in 1933, but such statistics 
were only the tip of the iceberg. In Montreal, in 
1934, almost 30 percent of the population was liv- 
ing on official assistance, and the figure for French- 
Canadians was almost 40 percent. The relief alloca- 
tion in Montreal — $21.88 per month — was well 
below the estimated cost of a "restricted diet for 
emergency use." 

The government did not count independent 
farmers as unemployed, although many had nega- 
tive incomes in the early 1930s. The prairie farm 



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community, especially, suffered through drought 
and bad harvests in these years, which meant that 
farm families did not always have their own har- 
vests to eat. Omnipresent dust became the symbol 
for the Depression in western Canada. The govern- 
ment did not count independent fishermen or tim- 
berers as unemployed either, and most significantly 
of all, it did not count women. In the worst years, 
therefore, fewer than half of those Canadians who 
wanted a paying job were able to find one. 

Two major factors made the Canadian eco- 
nomic situation so serious. One was proximity to 
and involvement in the American economy because 
the United States was even more hard-hit by the 
depression than Canada. The other was the extent 
of Canadian reliance on the production and sale 
abroad of raw materials ranging from grain to lum- 



ber to minerals. The bottom dropped out of the in- 
ternational market for such goods in 1929, and it 
did not recover until much later in the 1930s. Cana- 
dian manufacturing production also dropped by 
one-third between 1929 and 1933. But Canada had 
other problems as well, including political and con- 
stitutional arrangements that militated against ac- 
tive policies of social assistance and social insurance 
to those Canadians who were suffering. 



CONSTITUTIONAL PROBLEMS 

Canada was a federal state, and sections nine- 
ty-one and ninety- two of the British North America 
Act — the largest part of the Canadian constitution 
created by act of the British Parliament in 1867 — 
carefully distinguished between the powers of the 
federal government and the powers of the prov- 



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GREAT DEPRESSION 



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inces. Provincial powers included almost all of the 
powers relevant to social conditions. But the prov- 
inces were not given commensurate powers of tax- 
ation and revenue -raising, largely because the 
nineteenth-century Fathers of Confederation had 
never anticipated vast amounts of expenditure on 
health, welfare, and unemployment. Moreover, the 
Canadian constitution made absolutely no mention 
of cities or municipalities, which bore much of the 
burden for urban unemployment but had little tax 
base except real property. The municipalities dis- 
pensed much-needed relief on a cheeseparing basis 
that made no effort to maintain the dignity of the 
recipients. 

During the early 1930s, constant political strug- 
gle occurred between the federal government and 
the provincial governments, but also between the 



provincial governments and the municipalities. The 
federal government refused to expend money on 
relieving unemployment because of "constitutional 
limitations." Not until the 1935 election did the 
government in power pay much attention to the 
cries of the destitute. As for the provinces, they 
blamed their failure to act on the "feds." In the 
midst of the finger-pointing, a federal Employment 
and Social Insurance Act of 1935 was declared un- 
constitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada be- 
cause it violated provincial authority. 

Ideological constraints were probably as impor- 
tant as constitutional limitations in hamstringing 
federal action during the Depression. R. B. Bennett, 
the Canadian prime minister from 1930 to 1935, 
lacked imagination and a willingness to experiment 
in active government. A typical Conservative, for 



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most of his administration he balanced his budget 
and sought international economic improvement 
chiefly through a "Canada First" protectionist poli- 
cy combined with imperial preference. In 1935 he 
announced a sudden conversion to activism, how- 
ever, telling a national radio audience, "I am for re- 
form. I nail the flag of progress to the mast. I sum- 
mon the power of the state to its reform." Most 
Canadian voters did not believe that Bennett's new 
policy was anything but opportunism though, and 
voted instead for Mackenzie King's Liberals, who 
had promised very little but had the solid backing 
of the electorate in Quebec. What Bennett's "con- 
version" did represent, however, was a growing re- 
alization by large segments of the Canadian busi- 
ness and professional community that only a 
stabilized economy could stave off a major political 
and social upheaval. 



SOCIAL CONDITIONS 

Given the extent of unemployment, especially 
in the resource sector of the economy, and the lim- 
ited forms of social assistance, life was extremely 
hard for large numbers of Canadians during the 
Depression. In many regions, particularly those 
outside Ontario and Quebec, virtually the entire 
population was on the dole or thrown entirely on 
their own resources. Conditions were particularly 
hard on women, upon whose shoulders as house- 
wives and mothers was thrown the burden of 
maintaining the coherence and integrity of the fam- 
ily in the midst of economic crisis. Perhaps the most 
publicized wife and mother was Elzire Dionne, who 
gave birth to identical quintuplets in May of 1934. 
The Dionnes were classic examples of impover- 
ished farmers, living in a northern Ontario home 
without plumbing and electricity. The province of 



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GREAT DEPRESSION 



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Ontario swiftly removed the photogenic quints 
from the control of their parents, declaring them 
wards of the Crown, on the grounds that the Dion- 
nes could not possibly bring them up appropriately. 

For the half of the population that had employ- 
ment, life during the thirties was often quite a 
pleasant experience. Food, housing, and consumer 
goods were relatively cheap, and servants and ser- 
vices were readily available at bargain rates. In 
Montreal, laundresses who washed and ironed by 
hand in their own homes earned $2 per day. Eco- 
nomic conditions certainly improved dramatically 
in the late part of the decade, especially in the urban 
areas of Ontario and Quebec. 

For Canada's First Nations, especially the 
Metis, there was a general sharing in the drought 



conditions on the Prairies and the overall Depres- 
sion markets and employment opportunities. At 
the same time, the Department of Indian Affairs ex- 
perienced administrative cutbacks leading to much 
inactivity and confusion, and the 1930s actually saw 
a considerable growth of organization among ab- 
original peoples. The Metis organized 1' Association 
des Metis d' Alberta in 1930, while on the West 
Coast the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia 
was founded in 1931, and the Pacific Coast Native 
Fisherman's Association in 1936. 

One of the major social effects of the Depres- 
sion was to widen the gap in Canada between the 
nation's poor — like the Dionnes — and a well-to-do 
and well-educated elite. Contrary to predictions, 
universities maintained or even added to their en- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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rollments during the decade, increasing the propor- 
tion of females among their student bodies in the 
process. Despite administrative belt-tightening, for 
students and faculty alike, life within the ivory 
tower was good. Canadians who spent the Depres- 
sion on the wrong side of the economic divide 
would be understandably extremely eager, after the 
end of World War II, to ensure that they were al- 
lowed to participate in the postwar era of pros- 
perity. 

MOVEMENTS OF POLITICAL PROTEST 

Organized parties of protest and radical reform 
abounded in the "Dirty Thirties." During the early 
years of the Depression, however, only the Com- 
munist Party of Canada offered a national voice for 
Canadian popular discontent, creating in 1930 a 
National Unemployed Workers' Association that 
within a year had 22,000 members across the coun- 
try. The Communists could be charged with follow- 



ing the commands of the Communist International, 
and were quickly repressed by section 98 of the 
Criminal Code, introduced in 1919 during the earli- 
er "red scare" to outlaw the advocacy of revolution- 
ary agitation. Eight Communist leaders were arrest- 
ed in August 1931, and although they were 
subsequently released, the party had lost its mo- 
mentum and never recovered it. A few Fascists 
were to be found over the decade, but they were 
never taken seriously. 

The League for Social Reconstruction (LSR), 
which held its first convention in Toronto in Janu- 
ary 1932, sought a "planned and socialized econo- 
my." The LSR was proudly non-Marxist and non- 
revolutionary, and considered itself merely an elitist 
educational organization. Not until 1933 did the 
LSR participate in the formation of a new political 
party, formed by representatives of farmers' and 
labor organizations at Regina, Saskatchewan. The 
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (or CCF, 



U0 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



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GREAT DEPRESSION IN 



as it was usually called), emphasized economic 
planning and a series of universal welfare measures 
that would be introduced after necessary amend- 
ments had been made to the British North America 
Act. The CCF attracted over 300,000 votes in the 
1933 British Columbia provincial election, and won 
8.9 percent of the popular vote nationally (seven 
parliamentary seats). The new MPs were led into 
the House of Commons by J. S. Woodsworth and 
T. C. Douglas. But the CCF would subsequently 
enjoy strong support in only a few provinces (nota- 
bly British Columbia and Saskatchewan) and would 
make no inroads east of Ontario. 

Other newly-organized movements of protest 
existed on mainly a provincial or regional basis. 
Most had populist roots. Perhaps the most influen- 
tial of the new creations was the Social Credit Party 
of Alberta, which emerged out of the travails of 
farmers in that province. Social Credit was devel- 
oped by a Calgary schoolmaster and radio preacher, 
William Aberhart (1878-1943), who had broadcast 
for the Prophetic Bible Institute over the West's 
most powerful radio station, CFCN, since 1924. In 
1932, Aberhart was converted to the economic the- 
ories of a Scottish engineer named C. H. Douglas, 
a monetary theorist who believed that capitalism 
was incapable of distributing purchasing power to 
the masses of people. Douglas advocated the distri- 
bution of money, in the form of "social credit," to 
enable people to buy the goods and services they 
produced. Aberhart took over these theories, which 
he did not fully understand, and converted them 
into a practical platform overlaid with fundamen- 
talist evangelicalism. He emphasized state inter- 
vention in the economy and the issuance of a social 
dividend (eventually set at $25 per month) to all cit- 
izens as part of their cultural heritage. The new 
party swept to victory at the polls in 1935. Over the 
next few years, much of its economic program 
would be disallowed by the federal courts as un- 
constitutional. But the party remained in power in 
Alberta until 1972. Versions of Social Credit sprang 
up all over the western provinces, and a British Co- 
lumbia variant would govern British Columbia for 
over twenty years beginning in 1952. 

In Quebec, a popular leader with tendencies to- 
ward demagoguery emerged in 1933 in the person 



of Maurice Duplessis (1890-1959). Duplessis rode 
to power in 1935 on the backs of the Catholic social 
action movement and a Quebec nationalism associ- 
ated with the Action Liberal e Nationale (ALN). 
These two movements merged to create a powerful 
force for attacking the capitalist system. Duplessis 
insisted that Quebec was owned by foreigners. 
What was needed was "l'achat chez nous" ["buying 
at home"] and the destruction of the great financial 
establishments. When in power, Duplessis quickly 
abandoned the reform program that brought him 
into office, retaining mainly only a concern for pro- 
vincial autonomy, a fervent anti- Communism — the 
"Padlock Act" of 1937 closed any place suspected 
of disseminating Communist propaganda — and a 
paternalist program of grants and handouts for the 
disadvantaged. Like Social Credit, the program of 
Duplessis's Union Nationale Party was far different 
from its campaign promises, but the party remained 
in power until well after World War II. 

Perhaps the most effective movement of Cath- 
olic social action occurred in the Maritime region, 
peopled by farmer-fishers who had no control over 
marketing and distribution. The Antigonish move- 
ment gained its impetus from two Roman Catholic 
priests at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigon- 
ish, Nova Scotia — Father James Tompkins and Fa- 
ther Moses Coady — who advocated that small pro- 
ducers regain power over their own production and 
consumption through economic cooperation in the 
forms of cooperative banks, stores, and marketing 
agencies. The Antigonish ideology, like most popu- 
list movements of the Depression in Canada, was 
a curious mixture of radical rhetoric and conserva- 
tive attitudes, well designed to appeal to small pro- 
ducers. 

From a political and constitutional perspective, 
the most extreme action of the 1930s occurred not 
in Canada but in its neighboring Dominion of 
Newfoundland. The economy of Newfoundland 
was so dependent on fish and other extractive re- 
sources that failed to find markets in the early 1930s 
that the government was not only forced to declare 
bankruptcy but to place itself under the tutelage of 
Great Britain, which administered Newfoundland 
through appointed trustees. The trusteeship re- 
mained until, by a series of contorted steps, New- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



HI 



CANADA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN 



foundland finally joined the Canadian Confedera- 
tion in 1949. 

PUBLIC VIOLENCE 

The thirties in Canada were periodically punc- 
tuated by outbreaks of public discontent that often 
turned to violence. Some of the violence occurred 
when spontaneous demonstrations were broken up 
by authorities apprehensive of the threat to social 
order. This was the case in both a famous riot in 
Vancouver in 1935 and in a subsequent riot in Regi- 
na that occurred when police armed with baseball 
bats moved to disperse a group of unemployed Ca- 
nadians travelling to Ottawa to protest their situa- 
tion. Much of the violence resulted from confronta- 
tions between organized labor and the authorities. 
On the whole, labor unions did not flourish during 
the hard times of the 1930s, but many workers 
fought desperately to maintain their position. Po- 
lice and even the militia were often called upon in 
strike situations. Some strikes were gestures of des- 
peration, such as that by coalminers in Saskatche- 
wan in 1931, which ended in a riot in Estevan. Later 
in the decade, when economic conditions were bet- 
ter and workers attempted to organize industrial 
unions in the factories, both management and gov- 
ernments desperately opposed such actions. A no- 
table strike occurred in 1937 in a General Motors 
plant in Oshawa, which resulted in a victory by the 
newly formed Committee of Industrial Organiza- 
tion (CIO, later called the Congress of Industrial 
Organizations). What is perhaps the outstanding 
feature of public discontent in Canada was how sel- 
dom it led to violence and how little damage was 
done to life and property. 

RISE OF SOCIAL WELFARE 

As in most jurisdictions, the length and intensi- 
ty of the Depression in Canada dramatized the in- 
adequacy of the existing arrangements for social 
justice, thus giving a substantial boost to debate 
over schemes of social protection, especially in the 
public sector. Contrary to much popular mythology, 
a fair amount of social insurance was in existence 
in Canada before the Depression and was extended 
during the 1930s, almost entirely on a provincial 
basis. Little reform occurred on a national or federal 
level, however, leading critics to argue that Canada 



lagged behind other nations in its social welfare 
provisions, although by the early 1940s, all national 
political parties were committed to reform. 

A general old-age pension scheme had been 
introduced by the federal government in 1927, 
jointly financed by both levels of government and 
administered by the provinces. It paid a maximum 
of $20 per month to British subjects over the age of 
seventy. Despite other constitutional limitations, 
the federal government was clearly responsible for 
veterans, and various health and pension schemes 
for those who had fought in World War I took up 
a substantial proportion of the federal budget in the 
1930s. Several provinces attempted to introduce 
public health-care insurance during the Depres- 
sion, but were opposed by the medical profession. 
On the other hand, the doctors in some provinces 
did introduce their own schemes of health-care in- 
surance, which became the basis of Blue Cross cov- 
erage. Compulsory national unemployment insur- 
ance was introduced in 1940 following a 
constitutional amendment. However, most nation- 
al Canadian social insurance schemes were intro- 
duced on a piecemeal basis well after the Depres- 
sion was over. 



INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 

Canada had achieved world recognition as an 
independent nation as a result of World War I, and 
became a dominion, an autonomous community 
within the British Empire, as a result of the West- 
minster Conference of 1930. Throughout the De- 
pression, Canada was an active member of the 
League of Nations and during the decade devel- 
oped a small but highly skilled Department of Ex- 
ternal Affairs, with an extremely limited social view 
of the world. In 1935 the nation executed a major 
change of international policy by negotiating a 
most-favored nation treaty with the United States. 
This treaty signaled a new emphasis on the Canadi- 
an-American relationship, as Canada began to dis- 
engage from the British Empire and adopted a con- 
tinentalist position. Like most of the participants in 
World War I, Canada was slow to rearm. Indeed, 
during most of the 1930s it spent less than $1 per 
capita annually on its military establishment. Cana- 
da was for obvious reasons reluctant to come out of 



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its isolationist shell, although events in Europe and 
elsewhere around the world gradually forced its en- 
gagement. The Canadian government fully sup- 
ported the British policy of "appeasement" in the 
later 1930s, and was hardly prepared for World War 
II. 

One of the consequences of events in Europe 
was the emergence of a large number of refugees 
from Nazi persecution, most of them Jews. Canadi- 
an authorities showed little interest in assisting 
these people, and in 1938 actually began limiting 
Jewish immigration, despite desperate pleas from 
its Jewish community, which offered to finance ref- 
ugees at no cost to the government. A general Ca- 
nadian suspicion of Jews was even more virulent in 
Quebec, and the government of William Lyon Mac- 
kenzie King was — like previous Canadian govern- 
ments — obsessed by the need for assimilable new- 
comers. Canada continued to drag its feet on 
refugee policy, and never accepted more than a few 
thousand Jewish refugees. Since the nation was 
desperately short of scientific, intellectual, and cul- 
tural talent, in even the crassest of non- 
humanitarian terms its refugee policy was a disas- 
ter. In moral terms, the Canadian attitude — 
summed up by one of its mandarins as "None is too 
many" — was unconscionable, particularly since the 
country constantly lectured the world from a high 
moral pedestal. 



CANADIAN CULTURE 

Perhaps paradoxically, the period of the De- 
pression was in some ways a very positive one for 
the development of a distinctive Canadian culture, 
although most popular culture remained depen- 
dent on the United States. Many of the unem- 
ployed found solace in their local public libraries, 
and more than one radical political critic and writer 
first found his or her voice in the library stacks. The 
federal government, which was publicly responsi- 
ble for regulating the airwaves, had received a re- 
port from a royal commission in 1929 calling for the 
nationalization of radio, as in Great Britain, instead 
of allowing private broadcasters, as in the United 
States. The government eventually decided on a 
dual system — both public and commercial — 
establishing by the Broadcasting Act of 1932 the 



Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, which 
in 1936 became the publicly-operated Canadian 
Broadcasting Corporation, with extensive English 
and French language networks. Over the years, the 
CBC has been the principal patron of Canadian cul- 
tural content in the nation, and during the late 
1930s it served as the Canadian equivalent of the 
writers' branch of the Works Progress Administra- 
tion. 

On a less public level, the governor-general of 
Canada, the Earl of Bessborough, spearheaded the 
creation of the Dominion Drama Festival in 1932, 
which served to promote amateur regional theater 
throughout Canada. The Dominion Drama Festival 
was able to take advantage of a strong upsurge of 
interest in the theater during the Depression, which 
came about partly because so many Canadians had 
free time on their hands and partly because radical 
intellectuals found drama, poetry, and art to be 
ideal mediums for expressing their discontent with 
the status quo. Much of the most original creative 
work done in the 1930s in Canada came from the 
radicals, who were neither part of the university es- 
tablishment nor of Americanized popular culture. 

CONCLUSION 

Somehow Canada managed to survive the De- 
pression with its social fabric relatively intact, only 
to lurch unexpectedly into World War II. Many Ca- 
nadians were forced to defer their expectations of 
a better life for nearly an entire generation. They 
were as a result eager both to participate in the 
postwar prosperity and to insure through the grad- 
ual elaboration of a network of social welfare provi- 
sions that the people of Canada would never again 
experience such privations. 

See Also: AFRICA, GREAT DEPRESSION IN; ASIA, 
GREAT DEPRESSION IN; AUSTRALIA AND NEW 
ZEALAND, GREAT DEPRESSION IN; EUROPE, 
GREAT DEPRESSION IN; INTERNATIONAL 
IMPACT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION; MEXICO, 
GREAT DEPRESSION IN. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Baillargeon, Denyse. Making Do: Women, Family, and 
Home in Montreal During the Great Depression. 1999. 

Baum, Gregory. Catholics and Canadian Socialism: Politi- 
cal Thought in the Thirties and Forties. 1980. 



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Finkel, Alvin. Business and Social Reform in the Thirties. 
1979. 

Gray, James H. The Winter Years: The Depression on the 
Prairies. 1966. 

Horn, Michiel. The League for Social Reconstruction: Intel- 
lectual Origins of the Democratic Left in Canada, 
1930-1942. 1980. 

Neatby, H. Blair. The Politics of Chaos: Canada in the Thir- 
ties. 1972. 

Peers, Frank W. The Politics of Canadian Broadcasting, 
1920-1951. 1969. 

Ryan, Toby Gordon. Stage Left: Canadian Theatre in the 
Thirties. 1981. 

Safarian, A. E. The Canadian Economy in the Great Depres- 
sion. 1970. 

Smiley, Donald S., ed. The Rowell-Sirois Report: An 
Abridgement of Book One of the Rowell-Sirois Report on 
Dominion-Provincial Relations. 1963. 

Struthers, James. No Fault of Their Own: Unemployment 
and the Canadian Welfare State 1914-1941. 1983. 

Thompson, John Herd, with Allan Seager. Canada 
1922-1939: Decades of Discord. 1985. 

J. M. BUMSTED 



CAPONE, AL 

A child of Brooklyn, New York, Alphonse Capone 
(January 17, 1899-January 25, 1947) found notori- 
ety and wealth in Chicago through organized 
crime. Capone was born to an Italian immigrant 
family in 1899. Though a promising student, he left 
school in the sixth grade, and from then it was a life 
in the streets. Capone was probably twenty when 
he killed his first victim. Three years later, he fol- 
lowed Johnny Torrio, his mentor in crime, to Chica- 
go. Together, they built a model criminal organiza- 
tion. 

Torrio was a modernizer who did for gambling, 
prostitution, and the Prohibition-era sale of liquor 
what John D. Rockefeller had for the oil business. 
The automobile and telephone — as well as the 
Thompson submachine gun — were some of the 
modern tools Torrio employed. When a 1925 assas- 
sination attempt left him wounded, Torrio retired 
and left the business to his protege. 

Like Torrio (and Rockefeller, Sr.), Capone ra- 
tionalized the marketplace with a pool arrange- 



ment, where different gangs were allowed control 
of different sections of the city. Anyone dissatisfied 
with their share met a bloody end. The seven vic- 
tims of the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre were 
but one example. 

Perhaps Capone's true genius lay in his crafting 
a public image. "They call Capone a bootlegger," he 
once complained. "Yes. It's bootleg while it's on the 
trucks, but when your host at the club, in the locker 
room or on the Gold Coast hands it to you on a sil- 
ver platter, it's hospitality" (Bergreen, p. 268). Such 
comments always served Capone well with the 
public. So did his reputation for generosity: When 
the Depression struck Chicago with nearly 50 per- 
cent unemployment, Capone opened up soup 
kitchens to feed the needy. The public did not care 
that Capone "encouraged" others to pay the cost of 
his project — Big Al lent a helping hand at a time 
when government did not. "Capone has become 
almost a mythical being in Chicago," (Bergreen, p. 
402) one critic lamented in 1930. Hollywood gave 
the story form a year later with Edward G. Robin- 
son as Little Caesar, who was Capone by any other 
name. The press had already made much of Capone 
as a kind of street philanthropist. 

Capone was grossing some $100 million annu- 
ally by the late 1920s. This wealth proved his undo- 
ing, or at least his failure to report it did — he was 
convicted of income tax evasion in 1931 and spent 
eight years in federal prisons, including Alcatraz. By 
then, Capone had fashioned a myth for the Depres- 
sion and beyond. He was the gangster as antihero. 
Capone died from the ravages of syphilis in 1947. 

See Also: CRIME; LAW ENFORCEMENT; 
PROHIBITION. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bergreen, Laurence. Capone: The Man and the Era. 1994. 
Kobler, John. Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone. 
1971. 

Douglas Bukowski 



CAPRA, FRANK 

Frank Capra (May 18, 1897-September3, 1991) was 
a motion picture director, producer, and writer who 



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FRANK 




Clark Gable as reporter Peter Warne and Claudette Colbert as heiress Ellie Andrews in Frank Copra's 1934 romantic comedy It 
Happened One Night. The Kobal Collection 



won three Academy Awards for best director in the 
1930s. Born in Bisacquino, Sicily, Capra emigrated 
at the age of six with his family to Los Angeles, 
where he grew up. In the early 1920s, after graduat- 
ing from Throop College of Technology (now Cal- 
tech), he wrote gags for movie producers Hal Roach 
and Matt Sennett. After writing material for screen 
comic Harry Langdon, Capra directed three films 
starring Langdon in 1926 and 1927 before the two 
had a falling- out. 

In 1928, Capra was hired by Harry Cohn, head 
of Columbia Pictures. Between 1928 and 1933, 
Capra would direct nineteen features for Columbia, 
including American Madness (1932), a film about the 
collapse of a bank, which anticipated many of the 
themes of Capra's later social films. In 1931, Capra 



began working with screenwriter Robert Riskin, 
who would go on to write most of Capra's major 
films of the 1930s. 

Although Capra had begun to make a name for 
himself during the early 1930s, his first huge hit 
came with It Happened One Night (1934). The film 
concerns an heiress (Claudette Colbert) who is se- 
cretly traveling from Miami to New York to escape 
her father. She is discovered by an out-of-work 
newsman (Clark Gable), who senses that her tale 
might make a good scoop. Naturally, the two fall for 
each other. It Happened One Night helped to create 
the screwball comedy, one of Hollywood's most 
important subgenres during the 1930s. It also es- 
tablished Capra as one of Tinseltown's most popu- 
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swept the Oscars, garnering the awards for best 
picture, director, writer, actor, and actress. 

With the exception of Lost Horizon (1937), a 
box-office disappointment that led to a bitter rift 
with Cohn and tensions with Riskin, Capra's suc- 
cess continued unabated over the next several 
years. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) earned Capra 
his second best director Oscar. A third arrived with 
You Can't Take It with You (1938). Mr. Smith Goes to 
Washington (1939) and Meet John Doe (1941) capital- 
ized on the success of Mr. Deeds with similar plots 
about a little man taking on corrupt and powerful 
interests. The darkly comic Arsenic and Old Lace 
(produced 1941-1942; released 1944) was just 
wrapping production when the Japanese bombed 
Pearl Harbor. Shortly thereafter, Capra became an 
officer in the Army Signal Corps, where he super- 
vised the Why We Fight series of propaganda films 
during World War II. 

After the war, Capra directed two more signifi- 
cant films: It's A Wonderful Life (1946), which de- 
spite later becoming his most watched film never 
found an audience at the time of its release, and 
State of the Union (1948). Thereafter, Capra's career 
experienced a rapid decline. 

Critics and audiences have sometimes seen 
Capra's 1930s films, especially the social trilogy of 
Mr. Deeds, Mr. Smith, and John Doe, as cinematic 
embodiments of the spirit of the New Deal. On 
closer inspection they are less clearly liberal. 
Capra's own politics were far from Rooseveltian: 
He was a lifelong conservative Republican. While 
Capra's most important screenwriter, Riskin, was a 
New Deal liberal, another important writer on his 
pictures, Myles Connolly, was a reactionary anti- 
Communist. Out of this political stew emerged 
films that, perhaps unintentionally, illuminate the 
ambiguities of American populism during the Great 
Depression. Although Capra's films centered on 
tribunes of the little man, often their heroes' most 
implacable foe was the people themselves: the pan- 
icked crowd trying to withdraw their money from 
the bank in American Madness; the thousands of let- 
ters calling for Senator Smith's resignation in Mr. 
Smith; or the angry throng at the stadium in John 
Doe. 



See Also: HOLLYWOOD AND THE FILM INDUSTRY; 
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Capra, Frank. The Name above the Title: An Autobiography. 
1971. 

Carney, Raymond. American Vision: The Tilms of Frank 
Capra. 1986. 

Maland, Charles. Frank Capra. 1980. 

McBride, Joseph. Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success. 
1992. 

Poague, Leland A. Another Frank Capra. 1994. 

Sklar, Robert, and Vito Zagarrio, eds. Frank Capra: Au- 
thorship and the Studio System. 1998. 

Wolfe, Charles. Frank Capra: A Guide to References and Re- 
sources. 1987. 

Benjamin L. Alpers 



CARDOZO, BENJAMIN N. 

Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (May 24, 1870-July 9, 
1938) served as an associate justice of the U.S. Su- 
preme Court from 1932 until 1938. Cardozo was 
born in New York City and earned his law degree 
at Columbia University. He was admitted to the 
New York bar in 1891 and gained a reputation for 
his scholarly approach to law and his belief that the 
law should be adapted to modern conditions. Car- 
dozo was appointed to the New York Court of Ap- 
peals in 1914 and was elevated to its chief judgeship 
in 1926. He served on this state court until Presi- 
dent Herbert Hoover appointed him to replace re- 
tiring Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell 
Holmes, Jr., in 1932. 

Like Holmes and Louis Brandeis, Cardozo was 
a legal realist and a pre-New Deal progressive who 
believed that the Constitution, especially as it af- 
fected state governments, should be flexible, and 
that states should have broad discretion to make 
laws to solve or alleviate social and economic prob- 
lems resulting from industrialization and urbaniza- 
tion, such as child labor, unsafe working conditions, 
and abusive business practices. In such cases as 
MacPherson v. Buick (1916) and Ultramares Corpora- 
tion v. Touche (1931), Cardozo wrote decisions for 



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POLITICAL 



New York that respectively expanded the legal re- 
sponsibilities of businesses in product liability and 
fraud cases. A series of lectures that Cardozo gave 
at Yale Law School reflected these ideas and opin- 
ions and was published as a book, The Nature of the 
Judicial Process, in 1921. 

Cardozo, like other pre-New Deal progressives, 
was more willing to grant the states, rather than the 
federal government, broader powers to enact labor, 
social welfare, and regulatory reforms. Since the 
early New Deal emphasized economic planning 
and the regulation of prices, wages, and production 
through codes made and enforced by the executive 
branch, Cardozo joined the majority of the Su- 
preme Court in striking down the National Indus- 
trial Recovery Act in the Schechter decision of 1935. 
Cardozo dissented, however, in the Supreme 
Court's anti-New Deal decisions in the Butler and 
Carter cases of 1936. In Butler, he and Brandeis 
joined Harlan Stone's dissenting opinion. Harlan 
claimed that the Agricultural Adjustment Act 
should be upheld since because Congress had the 
constitutional authority to regulate agricultural pro- 
duction through excise taxes. In Carter, Cardozo 
wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that the Guffey 
Coal Act should be upheld since the commerce 
clause gave Congress the authority to regulate the 
prices, wages, and trade practices of the interstate 
coal industry. 

By 1937, he belonged to the pro-New Deal ma- 
jority on the court. After Cardozo's death in 1938, 
he was replaced on the Supreme Court by Felix 
Frankfurter. 

See Also: BRANDEIS, LOUIS D.; FRANKFURTER, 
FELIX; HOLMES, OLIVER WENDELL, JR.; 
SUPREME COURT. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Cardozo, Benjamin N. The Nature of the judicial Process. 
1921. 

Kaufman, Andrew L. Cardozo. 1998. 

Polenberg, Richard. The World of Benjamin Cardozo: Per- 
sonal Values and the judicial Process. 1997. 

Sean J. Savage 



CARTOONS, POLITICAL 

Political cartoons, or editorial cartoons, serve as a 
commentary on current events. From the first use 
of such cartoons in newspapers and periodicals in 
the early nineteenth century to the Great Depres- 
sion in the 1930s and thereafter, political cartoons 
have played a major role in shaping public percep- 
tions and opinions. By using satire rather than mere 
humor, political cartoons communicate the views of 
the cartoonist and add depth to an editorial in a 
newspaper or magazine. 



FAMOUS POLITICAL CARTOONISTS OF THE 
1930s 

Several political cartoonists gained fame for 
their work during the Great Depression, including 
Clifford Berryman, Herb Block, J. N. "Ding" Dar- 
ling, Jerry Doyle, Rollin Kirby, and Fred O. Seibel. 

/. N. "Ding" Darling. Jay Norwood Darling 
(1876-1962) received the Pulitzer Prize twice for his 
editorial cartooning (1924 and 1943) and was 
named the best cartoonist by the nation's top edi- 
tors in 1934. From 1906 until his retirement in 1949, 
Darling chronicled the thoughts, ideas, trends, and 
politics of the United States primarily for the Des 
Moines Register, although his cartoons appeared in 
newspapers throughout the United States. He was 
particularly noted for his wit and his use of political 
satire, especially in relation to conservation policy. 
Darling's interest in conservation led in 1933 to his 
being appointed chief of the Bureau of Biological 
Survey by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Al- 
though Darling was a strong Republican and not a 
supporter of Roosevelt's New Deal policies, he nev- 
ertheless was an energetic promoter of conserva- 
tion projects and his cartoons often emphasized the 
value of governmental regulations that could bene- 
fit the environment. The J. N. "Ding" Darling Na- 
tional Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island in Florida 
is named after him. 

Herb Block. Another popular Depression-era car- 
toonist was Herbert L. Block (1909-2001). Block 
published his first editorial cartoon, titled "This is 
the forest primeval — ", six months before the 1929 
New York Stock Exchange crash that marked the 



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POLITICAL 




A 1938 cartoon by Clifford Berryman depicting President Roosevelt encircled by playful children, each symbolizing a New Deal 
program. CORBIS 



onset of the Great Depression. Like Darling, Block 
was interested in protecting nature and the envi- 
ronment, especially the cutting of America's virgin 
forests, and he addressed these concerns in his car- 
toons. Block's interest in nature later broadened 
into concern for the economic and international en- 
vironment that developed in the 1930s. 

Block started his career as a cartoonist for the 
Chicago Daily News in 1929. In 1933, he started 
working as a syndicated cartoonist under the name 
HerBlock for the Newspaper Enterprise Associa- 
tion, a feature service headquartered in Cleveland. 



He joined the Washington Post in 1946, and stayed 
there for the rest of his career. During the Depres- 
sion he provided superb commentary about unem- 
ployment and poverty in the United States and the 
rise of fascism in Europe. One cartoon, titled "Well 
everything helps," depicts Hoover fishing at Rapi- 
dan River with members of Congress and his ad- 
ministration. Block comments on the deepening 
Depression by showing Hoover reviewing his "eco- 
nomic program" with his fishing line in the water, 
and later selling his catch of fresh fish on a street 
in Washington, D.C. 



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Block's cartoons addressed many aspects of the 
Great Depression and his editorial comments were 
a rallying call for reform. Though Block was sup- 
portive of New Deal policies, he nonetheless ques- 
tioned Roosevelt's efforts in some areas, notably 
the president's unsuccessful attempt in 1937 to 
pack the U.S. Supreme Court. Block was awarded 
the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1942, 
1954, and 1979, honors that confirmed his reputa- 
tion as one of the country's leading political car- 
toonists. 

jerry Doyle and Fred O. Seibel. Gerald "Jerry" Doyle 
(1898-1986) and Fred O. Seibel (1886-1968) were 
two of the more popular political cartoonists of the 
New Deal era. They were especially noted for their 
distinctive depictions of Roosevelt. Seibel was an 
editorial cartoonist from 1926 to 1968 for the Rich- 
mond Times-Dispatch, while Doyle spent most of his 
career at The Philadelphia Record and Philadelphia 
Daily News. Doyle's sophisticated drawings gener- 
ally expressed support for Roosevelt, whom he de- 
picted as tall, imposing, powerful, and larger-than- 
life. Doyle usually showed Roosevelt smiling, gave 
him titles such as "skipper" to show that he was in 
charge, and sometimes depicted him as a quarter- 
back in football games. Seibel, whose drawings 
were less realistic in style, generally depicted Roo- 
sevelt as struggling and lacking control, with a pro- 
truding chin and a body like a penguin. Seibel's car- 
toons sometimes included an image of a magician 
pulling a rabbit out of a hat, which was meant to in- 
dicate that Roosevelt's policies would only succeed 
by magic. Neither Doyle nor Seibel, however, 
would hesitate to reverse his usual depiction of 
Roosevelt when, in the cartoonist's opinion, the 
subject matter warranted it. One of Doyle's most 
famous cartoons showed Roosevelt holding a pic- 
ture of Hitler with Hitler's arms in a position of sur- 
render and Roosevelt's elongated arms forming a V 
for victory. 



DRAWING PRESIDENTS 

Hoover and Roosevelt were regular subjects of 
political cartoons during the 1930s. In the first hun- 
dred days of Roosevelt's administration in 1933, 
cartoonists tended to show Roosevelt as a confi- 
dent, strong, and energetic leader whose intentions 



for the nation were good. These cartoons suggested 
that Americans sensed that the new president had 
faith in the future and could lead the nation out of 
hard times. The February 1934 issue of Vanity Fair, 
for example, includes a rugged-looking Roosevelt 
riding a bucking horse in the shape of the United 
States. By 1935, however, the country had only 
achieved a modest degree of recovery, and some 
political cartoonists began to express opposition to 
Roosevelt and his programs. 

See Also: COMMUNICATIONS AND THE PRESS; 
HUMOR. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Fred O. Seibel (1886-1968), Editorial Cartoonist, Richmond 
Times-Dispatch. Virginia Commonwealth Univer- 
sity. Available at: www.library.vcu.edu/jbc/speccoll/ 
exhibit/seibell .html 

Herblock's History: Political Cartoons from the Crash to the 
Millennium. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 
Available at: www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/herblock 

/. N. "Ding" Darling Foundation. Homepage at: 
www.dingdarling.org/cartoons.html 

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. 
1994. 

Robinson, Erik. Political Cartooning in Florida, 1901-1987. 
1987. 

William Arthur Atkins 



CASTE AND CLASS 

The terms caste and class are associated with an in- 
terpretation of American race relations that came to 
prominence in the late 1930s and was widely influ- 
ential in both social scientific and applied social in- 
quiry. Part of an older, historically-rooted trend to- 
ward more social scientific understandings of racial 
inequality, the caste and class school was neverthe- 
less a product of Depression-era social thought and 
investigation. At a time rightly associated with 
deepening economic division and looming fear of 
"class warfare," the caste and class concept offered 
a powerful, if flawed, analysis of the depths and the 
consequences of racism in the United States. 

The caste and class concept was first laid out in 
a brief 1936 essay by social anthropologist W. Lloyd 



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Warner, and it was more fully developed in a series 
of community studies conducted in the Depres- 
sion-era South. Warner, who started his anthropo- 
logical career studying aboriginal tribes in Australia, 
was among the leaders of a broader trend towards 
applying anthropological techniques honed in ob- 
serving "primitive" cultures to "typical" American 
communities. It was in this type of study that he 
and others developed the caste and class concept. 
Indeed, in important ways the concept emerged out 
of the contrast between industrial New England 
and the post-plantation agricultural South. While 
still engaged in an ambitious study of the substan- 
tially ethnic but predominantly white city of New- 
buryport, Massachusetts, Warner launched a paral- 
lel study in Natchez, Mississippi. In Newburyport, 
as Warner reported in his famous Yankee City series, 
social relations were organized around an elaborate 
status hierarchy based on class, upheld not only by 
differences of wealth and income, but even more 
importantly by class-coded behavior, attitudes, and 
cultural traits. In Natchez, however, the picture was 
more complicated. In Natchez, there was not one, 
but two separate class hierarchies, one black and 
one white. They in turn existed within a rigid and 
pervasive caste system — an all-encompassing eco- 
nomic, political, social, and cultural system of racial 
subordination that was aimed at maintaining white 
supremacy. While at times caste and class worked 
in tension with one another, the overwhelming 
weight of the system was devoted to keeping Afri- 
can Americans — and especially the small black 
middle- and upper-classes — "in their place." Con- 
versely, no matter how low they were on the class 
hierarchy, whites always had the social, cultural, 
and psychological advantage over African Ameri- 
cans. 

Although he was by no means the first to de- 
scribe black/white relations as a caste system, War- 
ner's framework proved more widely influential — 
reflecting his own status as a prominent white so- 
cial scientist, as well as the landmark empirical 
studies conducted using the caste and class con- 
cept. Studies such as John Dollard's Caste and Class 
in a Southern Town (1937), Hortense Powder- 
maker's After Freedom (1939), and Deep South (1941) 
by Warner students Allison Davis, Burleigh Gard- 
ner, and Mary Gardner elaborated the interlocking 



mechanisms of caste and class subordination in 
empirical detail. A series of studies commissioned 
by the American Council on Education investigated 
the impact of caste and class on black adolescent 
personality development. Important though they 
were in illuminating the structural and institutional 
dimensions of southern racism, what these studies 
shared — again reflecting a broader trend in con- 
temporary social science — was a fascination with 
the cultural and psychological scars it left. African 
Americans in the South, or so the deeply flawed 
portrait that emerged from these studies suggested, 
had become "accommodated" to racial subordina- 
tion in what threatened to become a self- 
perpetuating complex of repressed frustration, self- 
hatred, and, for the lower classes in particular, cul- 
tural "pathology." 

Criticized at the time for its basically static, pes- 
simistic vision of American race relations, the caste 
and class framework was nevertheless important 
for drawing attention to the enduring reality of rac- 
ism as a key factor in the persistence of African- 
American poverty and economic subordination — 
during and beyond the depths of the Great Depres- 
sion. Its central analysis, however, left an ambigu- 
ous legacy that also endures: on the one hand, an 
argument for attacking the roots of white racism; on 
the other, a distorted cultural and psychological im- 
agery of the African -American lower class. 

See Also: CLASS; RACE AND ETHNIC RELATIONS; 
SOCIAL SCIENCE. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Davis, Allison; Burleigh B. Gardner; and Mary R. Gard- 
ner. Deep South: A Social Anthropological Study of 
Caste and Class. 1941. 

Davis, Allison, and John Dollard. Children of Bondage: The 
Personality Development of Negro Youth in the Urban 
South. 1940. 

Dollard, John. Caste and Class in a Southern Town. 1937. 

Powdermaker, Hortense. After Freedom: A Cultural Study 
in the Deep South. 1939. 

Scott, Daryl Michael. Contempt and Pity: Social Policy and 
the Image of the Damaged Black Psyche, 1880-1996. 
1997. 

Warner, W. Lloyd. "American Caste and Class." Ameri- 
can Journal of Sociology 42 (September 1936): 
234-237. 

Alice O'Connor 



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CAUSES OF THE GREAT 
DEPRESSION 

Disagreement over the causes of the Great Depres- 
sion began before the economic collapse that com- 
menced in 1929 had even been given that name, 
and the disagreement has persisted ever since. Nor 
does the debate show any signs of imminent reso- 
lution in the early twenty-first century. Arguments 
over what caused the Great Depression are deeply 
entwined with economic, social, and political phi- 
losophy. 

A major reason for the controversy is that the 
Depression seemingly disproved the efficacy of the 
unregulated free market. Defenders of the faith of 
classical free market economics are, therefore, 
obliged to seek elsewhere for the causes of the col- 
lapse of the economy following a decade of lower- 
ing taxes and lifting restrictions on business by suc- 
cessive Republican administrations. It is an article 
of dogma to them that an unfettered marketplace 
is self-correcting. Accordingly, devotees of Adam 
Smith's worldview must find fetters — some sort of 
government interference or regulation — on which 
to lay the blame. 

WORLD WAR I AND THE ORIGINS OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION 

Although it was in many ways eclipsed by the 
second installment of the twentieth century's world 
conflict, World War I (or "the Great War" as it was 
still known at the time of the Depression) was a 
major source of much of what happened in the 
world for most of the remainder of the century, in- 
cluding World War II and the Cold War. The role 
played by the Great War in helping to produce the 
Great Depression was also significant. Although 
the death toll from World War I was relatively small 
for the United States, the war was catastrophic for 
many European nations. 

The war's economic impact was similarly pro- 
found. The war stimulated and distorted the econo- 
mies not only of the belligerent nations, but those 
of many nonbelligerents as well. Wartime inflation 
was followed by postwar deflation in most coun- 
tries. During the war and for several months after 
the armistice, demand for American farm products, 



especially grains, soared, as did prices. Such profit- 
able conditions led American farmers to go deeply 
into debt to buy additional land and machinery. 
These happy circumstances for American farmers 
were, however, an artificial consequence of the war, 
which severely disrupted European agriculture. 
When the latter recovered rapidly after the war, the 
demand for the expanded production of American 
farms plummeted, helping (along with a sharp con- 
traction in the money supply) to carry the economy 
into a sharp recession in 1920 and 1921. Agriculture 
was to remain in depressed conditions throughout 
the period of more general prosperity from 1923 to 
1929. 

The war also radically altered international fi- 
nance. It transformed the United States for the first 
time from a net debtor nation into the world's larg- 
est creditor. Massive war debts owed by the British 
and French to American creditors were part of the 
economic landscape of the 1920s, as were the huge 
reparation payments the European victors de- 
manded from Germany. The problem of war debts 
and reparations was a continuing irritant to the in- 
ternational economy in the twenties. 

Perhaps more significant in its adverse effects 
on the world economy was the war's establishment 
of the United States in the role previously held by 
Great Britain as the world's banker or creditor-in- 
chief. This position carried with it responsibilities 
for which the Americans were ill prepared and that 
they were disinclined to shoulder. In particular, 
American political leaders of the twenties were 
committed to maintaining a favorable balance of 
trade, meaning that they wanted the nation to ex- 
port more than it imported. This posture was, in the 
long term, incompatible with America's assump- 
tion of the position of the world's leading lender, 
because other countries had to sell more to the 
United States than they bought from it if they were 
to have the funds to repay the debts they owed to 
American creditors. 



THE STOCK MARKET CRASH 

This much can be stated categorically: Popular 
perceptions to the contrary notwithstanding, the 
stock market crash of October 1929 did not cause 
the Great Depression. Although hardly anyone re- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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GREAT DEPRESSION 



alized it at the time, the economic contraction that 
became the Depression had already begun in the 
summer of 1929, when the economy started to slow 
considerably. 

"You know," Herbert Hoover once remarked to 
journalist Mark Sullivan, "the only trouble with 
capitalism is the capitalists; they're too damn 
greedy." This is a truism that has been proven re- 
peatedly, but it is also true that greed is a highly 
contagious disease against which few people's im- 
mune systems provide much protection. This is 
particularly the case when those already infected 
are actively working to spread the contagion, as 
many of them were in the 1920s. (Du Pont execu- 
tive and Democratic National Chairman John J. 
Raskob, for example, wrote a 1929 article entitled, 
"Everybody Ought to be Rich.") The result was an 
epidemic of greed in the United States in the mid 
and late 1920s. 

The first major outbreak of the disease in the 
decade occurred in Florida, where it took the form 
of real estate speculation. It began with the reality 
of the growing value of beachfront property in a 
place with warm winters that had been made acces- 
sible to well-to-do northeastern and midwestern 
residents by the development of the automobile 
and the construction of highways. Quickly, howev- 
er, Florida real estate became a classic bubble in 
which prices rose far beyond realistic values, simply 
because they were rising. That is, speculators were 
willing to pay ever higher prices for land because 
they expected someone else to be willing to pay 
even more for it a week or a month later. The Flori- 
da bubble burst, as all bubbles that keep expanding 
ultimately must, following a severe hurricane in 
1926, but the greed virus had already infected a dif- 
ferent area: Wall Street (which was, in any case, its 
natural habitat). 

The Great Bull Market of the late twenties was 
fueled by easy credit in the form of margin buying 
(buying stock by putting up a small percentage of 
its cost in cash and borrowing the rest "on margin," 
using the stock itself as collateral for the loan). In 
a rapidly rising market, the "leverage" provided by 
margin buying made the possibilities for huge prof- 
its extraordinary. By the time the Federal Reserve 
sought to dampen the speculative fever in 1928 and 



1929 by raising interest rates, the mania had taken 
on a life of its own. "Nothing matters as long as 
stocks keep going up," the New York World said as 
1929 began. "The market is now its own law. The 
force behind its advance are now irresistible." 

Historian Maury Klein sums up the situation 
well in his book Rainbow's End (2001): "Put simply, 
too many people held too much stock on borrowed 
money." When the economy began to slow in the 
summer of 1929, it sent signals to Wall Street that 
were disregarded by most investors, but heeded by 
many of the richest insiders. Among those who 
quietly got largely out of the market before the bot- 
tom fell out were Raskob (who apparently thought 
that he ought to remain rich while "everybody" lost 
their shirts), Bernard Baruch, Joseph P. Kennedy, 
and President Hoover himself. 

The crash was a response to an already begun, 
but as yet invisible to most observers, Depression. 
It amounted to a spectacular funeral for the "New 
Era" of eternal prosperity that had been proclaimed 
a few years earlier. Funerals, it is worth remember- 
ing, do not cause death; they recognize the dece- 
dent's passing, which has already occurred. Such 
was the relationship between the crash and the de- 
mise of prosperity. 

The crash did, however, accelerate the down- 
ward spiral of the economy by wiping out much of 
the paper wealth of investors and by altering the 
previously euphoric outlook of so many people into 
one of pessimism, which led them to be much more 
cautious in their spending and investment. Both of 
these consequences of the crash further eroded de- 
mand. 



MONETARY POLICY AND THE GOLD 
STANDARD 

There is no question that the money supply can 
have profound effects on the economy. In the sim- 
plest terms, if the money supply is insufficient, 
prices must fall, which can lead to the sort of serious 
deflation that contributed to the Panic of 1893, the 
worst economic depression in American history 
prior to the Great Depression. If, on the other hand, 
the money supply grows faster than the demand for 
money, prices will rise, causing inflation. In the late 
1920s and early 1930s, the most notable and recent 



152 



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6 R E A E DEPRESSION 



example of the potentially catastrophic conse- 
quences of runaway price increases was the hy- 
perinflation that had gripped Germany in 1922 and 
1923, when the exchange rate between the German 
and American currencies went in less than two 
years from 192 marks to the dollar to 4.2 trillion 
marks to the dollar. Annualized for the two years, 
this was an inflation rate in excess of a trillion per- 
cent a year. By November 1923, German money 
was essentially worthless. 

Germany's horrible experience with hyperin- 
flation contributed to the coming of the Depression 
in two important ways. First, it wreaked havoc on 
the German economy and those of several other 
central European countries, and they never fully re- 
covered from the effects for the remainder of the 
decade. Second, the German disaster caused other 
nations to be unduly concerned with avoiding infla- 
tion when the more dangerous economic predator 
lurking in the shadows of late twenties prosperity 
was actually deflation. In their efforts to defend 
their nations against inflation, political and eco- 
nomic leaders inadvertently strengthened the 
building forces of deflation. 

In the decades prior to World War I, most major 
countries had been on the gold standard, meaning 
that their currencies were convertible to a set 
amount of gold. This meant that the value of all cur- 
rencies on the gold standard had a stable exchange 
rate with other currencies that were tied to gold. 
The gold standard was abandoned by most of the 
belligerents during World War I (the United States, 
a late entrant into the war, remained on the gold 
standard), but there was a concerted effort to re- 
store it after the war. Because of the major disrup- 
tions of the war, exchange rates were allowed to 
float from 1919 to well into the 1920s. Such floating 
rates provided some protection against the prob- 
lems in one or a few countries spreading to other 
countries, but most nations' governments were 
committed to returning to the gold standard with 
fixed rates of exchange as rapidly as possible. Great 
Britain did so in 1925 and France followed in 1928. 
By 1929, forty-five nations were on the gold stan- 
dard. 

By 1929, much of the world's gold was rapidly 
flowing into the United States and France. At- 



tempts by various countries to keep their currencies 
at prewar exchange rates led them into deflationary 
policies, intended to cheapen the prices of their 
products on the international market and so bring 
gold back into their countries to support their cur- 
rencies. These deflationary actions contributed to a 
worldwide contraction in economic activity. 

TECHNOLOGY AND THE DEPRESSION 

Technology was in three major respects a sig- 
nificant factor in creating the conditions that pro- 
duced the Great Depression. 

First, new technologies provided much of the 
impetus for the unprecedented prosperity of the 
1920s. The development of important new products 
that large numbers of people can be persuaded to 
buy is often the driving force in periods of economic 
boom, as appears to have been the case with per- 
sonal computers and the Internet in the boom of 
the 1990s. The development of such new consumer 
products encourages investment in new plants and 
equipment and provides employment for large 
numbers of workers. This was plainly the case with 
the automobile in the 1920s. The motor car was not 
new in the twenties; nor was its method of mass 
production, which had been perfected prior to 
World War I. What was new in the decade follow- 
ing that war was the enormous expansion of the 
market for cars and the rapid development of nu- 
merous industries that were stimulated by the mass 
ownership of automobiles. Among these booming 
industries of the prosperity decade that preceded 
the Depression were petroleum (exploration, drill- 
ing, refining, and retailing); steel production; road 
and highway construction (which pulled along the 
cement industry); and motels, diners, and tourist 
attractions. 

Nor was the automobile alone among new 
technologies that had been developed by the early 
1920s in providing fuel for the economy of the de- 
cade. Radio, little more than a promising curiosity 
at the decade's start, had spread across the nation 
and into the homes of a majority of Americans by 
1929. Along with the automobile and, to a lesser ex- 
tent, a variety of new household appliances, the 
swift rise of radio to the status of "necessity" for 
middle-class life provided an enormous stimulus to 
the economy. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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GREAT DEPRESSION 



It should be noted that while the potential mar- 
ket for radios and electrical appliances was huge, it 
was limited to areas where electricity was available. 
Although all densely populated parts of the United 
States were electrified, large expanses of rural 
America were not, so rural Americans were not part 
of the potential market for electrical devices. Addi- 
tionally, while there was no such access barrier to 
farmers buying automobiles (and many did buy 
them), the fact that agriculture remained economi- 
cally depressed throughout the decade also reduced 
the potential market for automobiles among the 
nation's farmers. 

A rapid economic expansion induced by the 
products of new technology can be great while it 
lasts, but it is, almost by definition, limited in its du- 
ration. Once most consumers have purchased the 
new products, demand for them must decline. 
Businesses involved in the industries can try to less- 
en the effects of a saturation of the market for their 
products by trying to expand the potential number 
of consumers through lower prices and installment 
purchase plans. They can also use the introduction 
of new models and planned obsolescence to churn 
the market with repeat customers. Both of these 
strategies were employed to considerable effect in 
the second half of the 1920s. Even so, the trajectory 
of new sales of a new technology will almost always 
be downward as the market for the product ap- 
proaches saturation. 

If an economic boom that has been stoked by 
one or more new technologies is to continue after 
the market for it or them has been largely supplied, 
new technologies that can be made to appear to be 
necessities for consumers must be introduced. The 
lack of such additional new products in the second 
half of the 1920s is the second way in which tech- 
nology played a significant part in causing the De- 
pression. In terms of the development of new or 
significantly improved products, the ten-year peri- 
od beginning in 1925 was probably the least pro- 
ductive time in the twentieth century. The only 
major new product introduced during those years, 
as the economy moved from extraordinary boom to 
unprecedented bust, was the electric refrigerator. 

If technological innovation failed to introduce 
much in the way of new products during the late 



1920s and early 1930s, that did not mean that there 
was a hiatus in technological advance. On the con- 
trary, there was great technological advance in the 
methods for producing the products that had al- 
ready been developed. During the 1920s, produc- 
tivity of industrial workers increased by 50 percent 
or more. And, even while huge numbers of workers 
were jobless in the 1930s and wages were very low, 
technological advances in manufacturing processes 
continued, resulting in another 25 percent increase 
in productivity in that decade. 

The effects of this sort of technological advance 
on the economy tend to be the opposite of those of 
the development of new products, and the rapid in- 
novation in productive processes in the 1920s was 
the third major contribution of technology in laying 
the groundwork for the Great Depression. 

Certainly process innovation requires some 
new investment, but it is usually on a much smaller 
scale than that required for manufacturing new 
products. Furthermore, improvements in the tech- 
nology of production usually lead to the number of 
machines and buildings used to make products 
being decreased. Most important, the whole point 
of such innovations in process is to increase pro- 
ductivity, so they almost invariably result in fewer 
workers being employed to manufacture a given 
quantity of the ultimate consumer product. In the 
six years from 1923 to 1929, output per person-hour 
of labor in manufacturing in the United States in- 
creased by nearly 32 percent. 

To summarize the role of technology in the De- 
pression: Technological advances that introduced 
new products greatly stimulated the economy of 
the 1920s, but the lack of new products in the late 
1920s placed a drag on the economy when the mar- 
ket for the earlier innovations became largely satu- 
rated. Continuing advances in the technology of 
producing already existing goods contributed to an 
increase in unemployment and to a lessening of de- 
mand, both because of the unemployment itself 
and because increased productivity without corre- 
sponding wage increases reduced the share of na- 
tional income going to potential consumers (i.e., 
workers who remained employed). 



15*. 



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f 



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6 R E A E DEPRESSION 



INCOME DISTRIBUTION AND "UNDER- 
CONSUMPTION" 

Both types of technological advance — new 
products and new processes to make them — 
contributed to a fundamental shift in the economy. 
Put simply, mass production necessitates mass con- 
sumption. In this new economy, therefore, it was 
essential that a large portion of the population have 
both the desire and the means to buy products that 
were not, by any standards of the past, necessary 
for them to have. "Now you have taken over the job 
of creating desire," Hoover told advertisers in 1925. 
This meant that such traditional values as frugality 
and deferred gratification had to be undermined. 
Advertising served this objective by keeping "the 
customer dissatisfied," as a 1929 article by a Gener- 
al Motors executive put it. 

The whole idea of the new consumption-driven 
economy seemed odd to some observers. "It still 
escapes me why a prosperity founded on forcing 
people to consume what they do not need, and 
often do not want," social critic Stuart Chase wrote 
in 1929, "is, or can be, a healthy and permanent 
growth." 

Persuading people that they should buy what 
they had not even known they wanted was, howev- 
er, only the first step in achieving the level of mass 
consumption needed to soak up the products of 
mass production. Effective demand requires money 
as well as motivation to buy. For this reason, as an 
economy becomes more dependent on mass con- 
sumption, it should move toward a less concentrat- 
ed distribution of income. In the 1920s, just the op- 
posite was happening. The slice of the national 
income pie going to the richest one percent of 
Americans grew from 12 percent in 1920 to 19 per- 
cent in 1929. This increasing maldistribution of in- 
come posed a serious threat to prosperity. 

If a sufficient number of customers with desire 
and money to buy what the nation's industry was 
producing could not be found at home, a possible 
solution would be to sell the excess abroad. But sev- 
eral obstacles blocked this route: First, as the 
world's principal lender, the United States could 
not continually export more than it imported; sec- 
ond, tariff barriers constrained international trade; 
third, other industrial countries were facing similar 



problems of overproduction and so they, too, 
sought to export more than they imported. 

In the absence of some means of transferring a 
larger share of income to those who would buy the 
products coming off assembly lines — through taxa- 
tion, higher wages, or deficit spending by the gov- 
ernment, all of which went against the grain of 
popular thinking and the dominant political and 
economic philosophy of the era (indeed, tax cuts on 
upper income brackets in the Coolidge years helped 
to increase the maldistribution) — the only way to 
keep the economy going seemed to be to allow 
people who did not have enough money to buy 
products to buy them anyway. Advertising led peo- 
ple to hunger for products; credit let them, however 
briefly, satisfy that hunger. Selling products on 
credit became ever more popular as the twenties 
wore on. This process kept demand within shout- 
ing distance of supply for a few years beyond when 
the imbalance would otherwise have hit. But in 
postponing the day of reckoning, the rising burden 
of debt made the eventual fall much harder. 

As he left a post-crash meeting of industrialists 
called by President Hoover on November 21, 1929, 
Henry Ford succinctly stated a major cause of the 
Great Depression then underway: "American pro- 
duction has come to equal and even surpass not our 
people's power to consume, but their power to pur- 
chase." 



TARIFFS AND THE DECLINE OF 
INTERNATIONAL TRADE 

Once the Depression had begun, the policies 
and actions of various governments around the 
world in reaction to it worsened the situation. Tariff 
barriers — led by the Hawley-Smoot Tariff in the 
United States, passed in 1930 — were erected to 
protect domestic markets. These impediments to 
international trade added to the deflationary forces 
already at work, and the world economy slipped 
ever deeper into depression. 



CONCLUSION 

"One cannot recall when a new year was ush- 
ered in with business conditions sounder than they 
are today," the Wall Street Journal gushed on Janu- 
ary 4, 1929. Exactly two months later, Herbert Hoo- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



155 



c c c 



ver proclaimed in his inaugural address that he had 
"no fears for the future of our country. It is bright 
with hope." Following the stock market crash less 
than eight months later, President Hoover reas- 
sured the nation in the same terms the Journal had 
used at the year's outset, saying that the economy 
was "fundamentally sound." 

The most comprehensive answer to the ques- 
tion of what caused the Great Depression is that 
conditions by the last year of the 1920s were quite 
the opposite of these optimistic pronouncements. 
Had the economy in fact been "fundamentally 
sound," the stock market crash would surely have 
produced some deleterious economic fallout, but 
the decline would not have been nearly as steep, 
deep, or prolonged as it turned out to be. The un- 
fortunate truth was that, in a variety of ways out- 
lined in this entry — from international banking, 
war debts, and reparations, through the effects of 
the gold standard on money supply, the wild spec- 
ulation of the decade's orgy of greed, the lack of 
major new products combined with rapid increases 
in productivity, the economy's new dependence on 
mass consumption, and widespread consumer 
debt, to the growing maldistribution of income, the 
economy was fundamentally unsound in 1929. That 
many-faceted unsoundness caused the Great De- 
pression. 

See Also: EUROPE, GREAT DEPRESSION IN; 
INTERNATIONAL IMPACT OF THE GREAT 
DEPRESSION; KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS; 
LAISSEZ-FAIRE; MONETARY POLICY; SCIENCE 
AND TECHNOLOGY; STOCK MARKET CRASH 
(1929). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Chandler, Lester V. America's Greatest Depression, 
1928-1941. 1970. 

Eichengreen, Barry. Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and 
the Great Depression, 1919-1939. 1992. 

Fearon, Peter. War, Prosperity, and Depression: The U.S. 
Economy, 1917-1945. 1987. 

Friedman, Milton, and Anna lacobson Schwartz. A Mon- 
etary History of the United States, 1867-1960. 1963. 

Galbraith, Lohn Kenneth. The Great Crash: 1929. 1955. 

Hall, Thomas E., and J. David Ferguson. The Great De- 
pression: An International Disaster of Perverse Econom- 
ic Policies. 1998. 



Kindleberger, Charles P. The World in Depression, 
1929-1939, rev. edition. 1986. 

Klein, Maury. Rainbow's End: The Crash of 1929. 2001. 

McElvaine, Robert S. The Great Depression: America, 
1929-1941, rev. edition. 1993. 

Smiley, Gene. Rethinking the Great Depression. 2002. 

Temin, Peter. Did Monetary Forces Cause the Great Depres- 
sion? 1976. 

Temin, Peter. Lessons from the Great Depression. 1989. 

Robert S. McElvaine 



CCC. See CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS; 
COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION. 



CERMAK, ANTON 



Before there was a Roosevelt coalition of reformers, 
organized labor, and ethnics, there was a Cermak 
coalition. This one elected a mayor of Chicago and 
might have accomplished more had Anton Cermak 
(May 9, 1873-March 6, 1933) not been assassinated 
while meeting with president-elect Franklin Roose- 
velt. 

Cermak was born in Kladno, Bohemia, now 
part of the Czech Republic. Cermak came with his 
family to the United States as an infant, and grew 
up in Braidwood, a coal-mining community south- 
west of Chicago. He made his way to Chicago as a 
teenager with limited education but great ambition. 

Like other newcomers, Cermak naturally gravi- 
tated to the Democratic Party, but with a differ- 
ence — this regular politician never saw a need to 
fear or war on reformers. His tolerance for diverse 
viewpoints served Cermak in a career that saw his 
election as alderman, bailiff of the municipal court, 
president of the Cook County Board, and state rep- 
resentative. 

Cermak's politics combined advocacy for immi- 
grants with opposition to Prohibition. For years be- 
fore passage of the Eighteenth Amendment, Cer- 
mak led the United Societies, an umbrella group 
that fought to keep legal the sale and consumption 
of liquor. While his standing as a "wet" on the issue 
of Prohibition made enemies, it also had advan- 
tages: By the mid-1920s, when voters later turned 
against the Amendment, Cermak was vindicated. 



156 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A N D L E R 



RAYMOND 



Cermak spent the 1920s courting other ethnic 
groups so that in 1931 he was ready to run for 
mayor of Chicago. Opposing him was Republican 
William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson. The three-term 
incumbent derided Cermak as "Pushcart Tony," a 
reference to Cermak's first real job in Chicago. Cer- 
mak's reply could have been a motto for Democrats 
in the Age of Roosevelt: "It's true I didn't come over 
on the Mayflower, but I came over as soon as I 
could." Cermak even reached out, in a way, to Afri- 
can Americans. In the 1927 mayor's race, Demo- 
crats circulated the rumor that a Republican win 
would lead to a black takeover of the city, but Cer- 
mak refused to engage in such demagogy. The Chi- 
cago electorate picked Cermak by nearly 200,000 
votes, and no Republican mayoral candidate has 
won Chicago since. Unfortunately for the victor, 
vote totals did not translate into the money neces- 
sary to keep government running. The city ran on 
funds generated mostly by real estate taxes, and 
with nearly half the working population unem- 
ployed, Chicagoans had stopped paying their taxes. 
Cermak soon was forced to slash budgets and lay 
off workers. At one point, the city owed its employ- 
ees some $40 million in back wages. Cermak went 
to Washington, D.C., requesting assistance from 
the federal Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 
only to have the Republican-controlled RFC turn 
him down. 

Because Cermak was a committed "wet" who 
favored the speedy repeal of Prohibition, he favored 
Al Smith over Franklin Roosevelt as Democratic 
nominee for president in 1932. It was a decision 
that ultimately cost Cermak his life. In February 
1933 Cermak traveled to Miami to repair his rela- 
tionship with the president-elect. Aiming at the 
next president, assassin Joseph Zangara instead 
shot Chicago's mayor, who was sitting alongside 
Roosevelt in an open car. Cermak died of his 
wounds three weeks later. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bukowski, Douglas. Big Bill Thompson, Chicago, and the 
Politics of Image. 1998. 

Gottfried, Alex. Boss Cermak of Chicago: A Study of Politi- 
cal Leadership. 1962. 

Douglas Bukowski 



CHANDLER, RAYMOND 

American writer of hard-boiled detective novels, 
Raymond Chandler (July 23, 1888-March 26, 1959) 
helped develop the genre and stretch its limitations. 
Born in Chicago, Chandler was seven years old 
when his parents divorced and his mother took him 
to England to live. He attended Dulwich College, a 
preparatory school, from 1896 to 1905. In 1907 he 
became a British subject. After working as a civil 
servant and a reporter, and after publishing poems, 
literary essays, and fiction without achieving much 
success, Chandler returned to the United States in 
1912. In World War I he served at the western front 
with the Canadian army. After the war Chandler 
worked as a reporter and bookkeeper in California. 
He married Cissy Pascal, a woman seventeen years 
his senior, in 1924. In 1932, after ten years with the 
Dabney Oil Syndicate, he was fired for drinking, 
absenteeism, and involvement with women who 
worked for him. 

Out of work, he began writing "hard-boiled de- 
tective stories," which were published in Black Mask 
and other detective magazines. His first novel, The 
Big Sleep (1939), introduced Philip Marlowe as 
Chandler's detective and narrator. Marlowe's sar- 
donic wisecracks and idealistic outlook gave The Big 
Sleep and the novels that followed a style and sub- 
stance that moved them beyond the limitations of 
the detective novel towards the techniques and 
concerns of the serious novel, particularly those 
concerns raised by the Depression. Marlowe, as 
Chandler's spokesman in the novels, pointedly 
comments on class and wealth as corrupting influ- 
ences on American society. Chandler's large cast of 
characters provides a cross section of American life, 
and his tangled plots and the atmosphere of the 
urban jungle suggest the complexities of the mod- 
ern world. Marlowe's idealism leads him to seek 
meaning, order, and justice in the increasingly 
meaningless, chaotic, and corrupt world, and Mar- 
lowe's inevitable failure and disillusionment at the 
end of the novels make him a particularly modern 
antihero. Chandler's most highly regarded novels 
besides The Big Sleep are Farewell, My Lovely (1940), 
The High Window (1942), Lady in the Lake (1943), 
The Little Sister (1949), and The LongGoodbye (1954). 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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A P L I N 



A R L I E 



Chandler also was a successful screenwriter, most 
notably for such movies as Double Indemnity (1944), 
The Blue Dahlia (1946), and Strangers on a Train 
(1951). Devastated by his wife's death in 1954, 
Chandler attempted suicide and was hospitalized 
several times for depression and alcohol-related 
health problems before he died on March 26, 1959. 

See Also: HARD-BOILED DETECTIVES; HOLLYWOOD 
AND THE FILM INDUSTRY; LITERATURE. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Gardiner, Dorothy, and Kathrine Sorley Walker, eds. 
Raymond Chandler Speaking. 1977. 

Hiney, Tom. Raymond Chandler: A Biography. 1997. 

MacShane, Frank. The Life of Raymond Chandler. 1976. 

Speir, Jerry. Raymond Chandler. 1981. 

Austin Wilson 



CHAPLIN, CHARLIE 

Charles Spencer ("Charlie") Chaplin (April 16, 
1889-December 25, 1977), motion-picture actor, 
director, producer, and writer, was born in London, 
England, to two music-hall singers who separated 
soon after his birth. Chaplin experienced a difficult 
and often unstable childhood. A talented mimic, he 
began acting early, and by 1913 the successful 
music-hall performer signed a movie contract to 
work for Keystone's Mack Sennett. Chaplin quickly 
developed a comic persona, the Tramp, which 
launched him to stardom, and began to write and 
direct his short comedies. By 1919 he had built his 
own movie studio and cofounded United Artists 
with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. 
Griffith. During the 1920s Chaplin shifted from 
two-reel shorts to feature-length films, most nota- 
bly The Gold Rush (1925). 

During the Depression Chaplin completed one 
film, City Lights (1931), and made two more, Mod- 
ern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (1940). City 
Lights was planned before the stock market crash of 
1929 and is best considered Chaplin's farewell to 
the 1920s, particularly for its satirical portrayal of an 
urban millionaire who is generous when drunk but 
suicidal when sober. 



The Depression left its imprint on both Modern 
Times and The Great Dictator. In 1931 and 1932 
Chaplin took a fifteen-month world tour, which 
demonstrated his global fame and confronted him 
with the suffering of the Depression. Responding to 
calls for socially relevant works, Chaplin began 
work in 1933 on a project, The Masses, that was re- 
leased in 1936 as Modern Times. Although it resem- 
bled earlier Chaplin features with its visual comedy, 
romance, and pathos, Modern Times was more topi- 
cal than his previous films, alluding to the Depres- 
sion in images of frantic assembly lines, closed fac- 
tories, and street clashes between protesters and 
the police. Ideologically progressive, the film sym- 
pathized with common people like his Tramp and 
the gamin, and criticized authority figures like the 
factory owner or the policeman who kills the 
gamin's father. Critics and moviegoers were divid- 
ed in their response to this new and more socially 
aware Chaplin. 

Chaplin's next film, The Great Dictator, aligned 
itself with another progressive cause of the later 
Depression years: antifascism. A pointed satirical 
attack on fascism, the film starred Chaplin in two 
roles — a gentle Jewish barber and the dictator of 
Tomania, Adenoid Hynkel. Chaplin conceived the 
film in the late 1930s, halted production on it briefly 
when World War II erupted in 1939, then decided 
that even during wartime, it was important to use 
humor to combat what he considered to be cruel 
totalitarianism. The Great Dictator was Chaplin's 
biggest box-office success in its initial domestic re- 
lease. Recognizing its popularity, Franklin D. Roo- 
sevelt asked Chaplin to read the film's final speech 
at a presidential inaugural ball in 1941. By the end 
of the Depression, Chaplin was developing the rep- 
utation of a politically aware and progressive film- 
maker; that reputation would later cause him prob- 
lems after the Cold War set in, when he faced 
accusations that he was a Communist. 

See Also: FASCISM; HOLLYWOOD AND THE FILM 
INDUSTRY. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Gehring, Wes D. Charlie Chaplin, a Bio-Bibliography. 
1983. 

Lynn, Kenneth Schuyler. Charlie Chaplin and His Times. 
1997. 



158 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A R I T Y 




The Salvation Army's charitable services during the Great Depression included meals and lodging for transients. This 1938 
photograph by Ben Shahn shows the organization's Newark, Ohio, offices. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, 
FSA/OWI Collection 



Lyons, Timothy J. Charles Chaplin, a Guide to References 
and Resources. 1979. 

Maland, Charles J. Chaplin and American Culture the Evo- 
lution of a Star Image. 1989. 

Robinson, David. Chaplin, His Life and Art. 1989. 

Charles J. Maland 



CHARITY 

Prior to the Great Depression, private charity 
played a critical, if supplemental, role in the na- 
tion's patchwork relief system. Although public and 
private charities grew considerably between 1910 
and 1929, private charity constituted barely one 
quarter of all aid in 1929. But because private agen- 



cies administered most relief funds, their values 
shaped virtually all public programs that emerged 
before and during the 1930s. 

Between 1929 and 1931 most politicians and 
professionals believed that the expansion of private 
charity would help the nation overcome its devas- 
tating economic problems. Through emergency ap- 
peals, private charity quadrupled to $170 million in 
two years — 34 percent of all relief funds. As its pri- 
mary funders, the community chests remained 
strong proponents of private charity, as did the 
Herbert Hoover administration, which extolled its 
virtues despite clear evidence that private charities 
lacked adequate resources to cope with rising un- 
employment. 

The economic crisis quickly exhausted even the 
best efforts of private charities. For example, the 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



159 



CHARITY 




Police officers in New York City augment civilian charity efforts by distributing eggs and bread to the needy in 1930. Library of 
Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection 



number of families on relief in Detroit increased 
from four thousand to forty-five thousand between 
October 1930 and January 1931. In Cleveland, near- 
ly ten times as many families received charily in 
mid-1932 than had received it in 1929. 

In 1930, the community chests raised $84.8 mil- 
lion in 386 cities. This was only an $8 million in- 
crease over the 1929 total and it had to be distribut- 
ed among 33 more cities. Even a model city such as 
Philadelphia, which was spending about $1 million 
each month on private charity, could not cope with 
the increasing need. Funds were stretched so thin 
that 57,000 families received between $1.50 and $2 
per person per week, plus a little coal, some food, 



and used clothing. By November 1931, Philadelphia 
had exhausted its charitable funds. 

Although private charities feared that an ex- 
panded public welfare system would hurt their abil- 
ity to raise funds, by late 1931 they recognized that 
existing networks of relief could not adequately re- 
spond to increased demands for assistance, espe- 
cially in major cities. Conflicts emerged, however, 
between city officials, who faced growing pressure 
to act, and business leaders, who argued that such 
actions would stifle economic recovery. 

Private charities also could not raise new re- 
sources because their primary donors — working 
and middle-class people — lacked the income to 



160 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



A V E Z 



DENNIS 



contribute. By late 1931 their national organizations 
reluctantly conceded that federal intervention was 
imperative. The 1932 Republican platform, howev- 
er, affirmed the parly's position that relief was pri- 
marily a private responsibility. 

As relief programs expanded during the De- 
pression, traditional distinctions between the "wor- 
thy" and "unworthy" poor persisted. In New York, 
private charities classified the newly unemployed 
separately and assigned their cases to unpaid junior 
staff. Throughout the 1930s, racial discrimination 
continued to create barriers for the receipt of charity 
among African Americans, although they were 
twice as likely as whites to be certified as eligible. 

The policies of the Franklin Roosevelt adminis- 
tration continued such practices even as they dra- 
matically expanded public relief. In January 1935 
Roosevelt spoke of the differences between the 
"productive" and "unproductive" poor, and, at the 
height of the New Deal, the government continued 
to assume that private charity was best suited to ad- 
dress the needs of the "old poor." Public relief pro- 
grams maintained a central feature of private chari- 
ties — their emphasis on investigation, which 
persisted long after the Depression. 

See Also: BREADLINES; PHILANTHROPY; SOUP 
KITCHENS. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Axinn, lune, and Mark Stern. Social Welfare: A History of 
the American Response to Need, 5th edition. 2001. 

Katz, Michael B. The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the 
American Welfare State. 2001. 

Margolin, Leslie. Under the Cover of Kindness: The Inven- 
tion of Social Work. 1997. 

Patterson, James. America's Struggle against Poverty in the 
Twentieth Century. 2000. 

Watkins, T. H. The Great Depression: America in the 1930s. 
1993. 

Wenocur, Stanley, and Michael Reisch. From Charity to 
Enterprise: The Development of American Social Work 
in a Market Economy. 1989. 

Michael Reisch 



CHAVEZ, DENNIS 



Dennis Chavez (April 8, 1888-November 18, 1962) 
was a U.S. Senator from New Mexico. One of only 
a handful of Mexican Americans ever elected to the 
Senate, Chavez ardently supported the New Deal 
to bring jobs and educational opportunities to his 
constituents. 

Born Dionisio Chavez in Los Chaves, New 
Mexico, the future New Dealer entered school for 
the first time in 1895 when his family moved to Al- 
buquerque. He quit after the seventh grade to help 
support his parents and eight siblings. While work- 
ing full time as a delivery boy, Chavez continued his 
education by reading extensively. In 1917, he re- 
ceived a Senate clerkship and eventually parlayed 
this opportunity into admission at Georgetown 
University Law School in Washington, D.C. At this 
time, the only requirement to enter law school was 
satisfactory completion of entrance examinations. 
Chavez received his degree at the age of thirty-two 
and returned to Albuquerque to practice law. 

Although his father had served as a Republican 
precinct captain, Republican neglect of his Mexi- 
can-American neighborhood led Chavez to register 
as a Democrat. In 1922, he won his first political 
seat in the New Mexico House of Representatives. 
Eight years later, he entered the U.S. House of Rep- 
resentatives, receiving much of his support from the 
large Hispanic electorate in the state. In 1934, Cha- 
vez ran for the U.S. Senate but narrowly lost to in- 
cumbent Bronson Cutting and then charged fraud. 
Cutting's sudden death ended the dispute, and 
Chavez received an appointment to the vacant seat. 
He would remain in the Senate until his death in 
1962. 

In the 1930s, Chavez firmly backed the New 
Deal, advocated neutrality, and sought to improve 
relations with Latin America. Mostly associated 
with the Works Progress Administration, Chavez 
pushed the agency to provide jobs to New Mexico's 
poor and to use its funds to construct schools to en- 
able others to follow his footsteps out of poverty. 
He supported the Good Neighbor policy of Frank- 
lin Roosevelt that ended U.S. intervention in Latin 
America and, in 1939, he advocated recognition of 
Francisco Franco's Spain as a further means of im- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



161 



CHILDREN 



N D ADOLESCENTS 



proving relations with the countries to the south of 
the U.S. border. 

Still, Chavez did not become a national figure 
until 1944, when he introduced a bill prohibiting 
discrimination in employment on the basis of race, 
creed, color, national origin, or ancestry. The legis- 
lation died, but Chavez claimed a notable place in 
history by laying the groundwork for subsequent 
civil rights legislation. 

See Also: LATINO AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON; MEXICO, GREAT 
DEPRESSION IN; RACE AND ETHNIC 
RELATIONS. 



The economic Depression of the 1930s led many 
couples to have even fewer children, and a growing 
number of young men who were unable to find em- 
ployment postponed marriage. By 1940, individuals 
under twenty years of age made up only 36 percent 
of the nation's total population, and the country's 
median age had risen to 29. Interestingly, as chil- 
dren and adolescents became a smaller proportion 
of the nation's total population, they became a 
more visible part of public policy and American cul- 
ture. Changes in public policy and culture that took 
place during the 1930s established a universal defi- 
nition of American childhood for the balance of the 
twentieth century. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Lujan, Roy. "Dennis Chavez and the National Agenda." 
New Mexico Historical Review 74, no. 1 (1999): 55-74. 

Nance, Arden R. "Partisan Politics and Progress: Roose- 
velt's New Deal in New Mexico." Password 45, no. 
1 (2000): 32-40. 

Caryn E. Neumann 



CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS, 
IMPACT OF THE GREAT 
DEPRESSION ON 

The 1930s marked a seminal decade in the history 
of American childhood. The onset of the Great De- 
pression hit children and adolescents hard, but at 
the same time new policies and changing public at- 
titudes signaled positive changes for America's 
youngest citizens. Since the mid-nineteenth centu- 
ry, Americans had been moving toward a new defi- 
nition of childhood and adolescence. Modern 
childhood was viewed as a period distinct from 
adulthood and separate from adult responsibilities. 
For over one hundred years, longer life expectancy 
and declining birth rates had lowered children's 
proportion of the total U.S. population. In 1830, in- 
dividuals nineteen years of age and under (the U.S. 
Census Bureau's definition of children) constituted 
56 percent of the country's population with a na- 
tional median age of 16.7. In 1930, children's pro- 
portion of the total population had declined to 38 
percent, and the nation's median age rose to 26.4. 



MODERN CHILDHOOD AND THE ONSET OF 
THE GREAT DEPRESSION 

Before the onset of the Great Depression, chil- 
dren's diminished share of the total population par- 
alleled a general improvement in their lives. An es- 
timated U.S. infant mortality rate of 130 deaths per 
1,000 live births in 1900 fell to 85.8 deaths in 1920 
and to 64.6 in 1930. By 1930 most states had passed 
compulsory school attendance laws for those under 
sixteen, established public high schools (although 
many were segregated), and placed restrictions on 
the industrial employment of young people under 
fourteen years of age. In addition, medical science 
had made great strides in treating and preventing 
childhood diseases such as diarrhea, rickets, and 
diphtheria. 

Child welfare experts attending President Her- 
bert Hoover's 1930 White House Conference on 
Child Health and Protection pointed to the prog- 
ress that had been made for American children. In 
his opening address, Hoover waxed sympathetic 
about the value of children, but there were few pos- 
itive results from the 1930 conference. The Hoover 
administration seemed to turn a blind eye to the 
worsening economic conditions for youngsters and 
their families. Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman 
Wilbur, a medical doctor, argued in 1932 that the 
economic Depression could actually be good for 
children. Families with less money to spend, Wilbur 
concluded, would be forced to depend upon each 
other and live a more wholesome home life. 

It was obvious to many others that a growing 
number of American children and their families 



16Z 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



CHILDREN 



A N D 



ADOLESCENTS 



were living in miserable conditions during the 
worsening economic crisis. By the time Franklin D. 
Roosevelt took office in March 1933 it was clear that 
children were experiencing some of the Depres- 
sion's worst consequences. While the national di- 
vorce rate did not rise, desertion became more 
common. Although infant mortality rates had con- 
tinued to fall during 1931 and 1932, they were 
climbing again by 1933 for the first time since such 
data had been collected in the United States. With 
unemployment rates at 25 percent, many families 
that had been middle-class during the 1920s 
slipped into poverty, contributing to rising inci- 
dence of hunger and malnutrition among children 
and adolescents. Psychological stress on adults re- 
sulted in domestic violence and child abuse. School 
districts ran out of money, classrooms became more 
crowded, school years were shortened, and many 
young people dropped out of school to seek work. 
Cash strapped business owners and parents ig- 
nored or intentionally violated existing child labor 
laws. Franklin Roosevelt noted that one-third of 
America's citizens were ill-housed, ill-clothed, and 
ill-fed. Of those, the majority were children. 



A NEW DEAL FOR CHILDREN 

Child welfare advocates attending the U.S. 
Children's Bureau's Child Health Recovery Confer- 
ence on October 6, 1933, called for emergency food 
relief, school lunch programs, funds to pay the sala- 
ries of public nurses, and reimbursement plans to 
pay private physicians to care for needy children. 
Government officials from the U.S. Children's Bu- 
reau and the Federal Emergency Relief Administra- 
tion (FERA) told attendees that more than six mil- 
lion children lived in families on federal and state 
relief. Responding to conference recommendations, 
the FERA and Children's Bureau quickly imple- 
mented the Child Health Recovery Program 
(CHRP). This two-year effort concentrated on pro- 
viding emergency food and medical care to Ameri- 
ca's poorest children, especially those living in rural 
areas. In the end CHRP did not live up to advo- 
cates' ambitious expectations, but it marked the 
first New Deal relief program directed at children 
and the first established at the federal level to help 
the nation's youngest citizens. 



-'i^ 




, 












The children of struggling sharecroppers, like this child in 
Alabama in 1936, often worked long hours in the fields. 
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI 
Collection 



The 1935 Social Security Act was the New 
Deal's next generation of programs and its most 
ambitious. Besides the better known old-age pen- 
sion plan, the 1935 Social Security Act included 
three specific programs for children: Titles IV, V, 
and VII. Title IV, the Aid to Dependent Children 
program (ADC, later renamed Aid to Families with 
Dependent Children), replaced the widely varied 
state-based mothers' pension systems. As state 
governments ran out of money for mothers' pen- 
sions, families turned to FERA welfare funds. This 
circumstance ran contrary to the U.S. Children's 
Bureau's established argument that mothers' pen- 
sion recipients were entitled to long-term aid, not 
simply emergency unemployment relief. Pension 
advocates wanted to keep mothers at home with 
their children and out of the wage-labor force. The 
federal ADC program was founded on this philoso- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



163 



I L D R E N 



N D ADOLESCENTS 




Like many children during the Great Depression, these sons of unemployed miners at Miller Hill, West Virginia, in 1937 faced 
poverty when their parents lost their jobs. National Archives and Records Administration 



phy. It initially defined those eligible for aid as any 
child under sixteen who lived with a parent or close 
relative as caregiver, but had no breadwinner in the 
home. Amendments to Title IV in 1939 expanded 
the program to sixteen and seventeen year olds. 
ADC established the idea that in the absence of pa- 
rental support, the federal government was ulti- 
mately responsible for needy children. States pro- 
vided additional allotments to match federal ADC 
funds, but payments were meager and caregivers 
(mostly single mothers) received no stipend for 
their own support. This situation left ADC families 
in perpetual poverty. Furthermore, at the state level 
many blacks and minorities, as well as youngsters' 
whose mothers were judged as "immoral," found 
themselves denied aid. Over time the debate con- 



cerning who "deserved" ADC made it the most 
controversial part of the Social Security Act. 

Title V of the Social Security Act provided fed- 
eral money for maternal and child health care for 
needy women and children. Title V was the only 
health care program included in the 1935 act, mak- 
ing poor children and pregnant mothers the only 
recipients of federally subsidized health care until 
passage of the 1965 Medicare Act. 

Title VII focused on young people with "special 
needs." The Children's Bureau estimated that there 
were approximately 300,000 orphaned, abandoned, 
or physically and/or mentally handicapped children 
living in the United States who were dependent on 
the state for their support. By 1935, only one-fourth 



161. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS 



of the states had established county welfare boards 
to look after the needs of such children. Title VII 
made the health and well-being of dependent chil- 
dren a joint federal-state responsibility. 

The Great Depression also focused attention on 
adolescents. In 1933, the Children's Bureau esti- 
mated that 23,000 adolescents traveled the country 
riding the rails and hitchhiking along highways in 
search of work. While some were females, most ad- 
olescent "hobos" were males. Many felt they were 
a burden on their already strapped families and hit 
the road to find work. The unemployment rate for 
American boys sixteen to twenty years of age was 
twice that of adults. Many people were sympathetic 
to the plight of unemployed youth, but some also 
charged that homeless boys were dangerous juve- 
nile delinquents. The infamous Scottsboro Boys' 
case, in which nine black youths were accused of 
raping two white women in Alabama in 1931, and 
other high-profile criminal trials fueled such fears. 
In March 1933 Congress established the Civilian 
Conservation Corps (CCC). For the next nine years 
the CCC employed more than 2.5 million males 
aged seventeen through twenty-three. Enrollees 
built recreational facilities and engaged in land con- 
servation work. Life in the CCC was regimented 
and many officials enforced Jim Crow rules within 
the camps. CCC participants sometimes served as 
scapegoats for local community problems, but 
overall, the CCC was one of the New Deal's most 
popular relief efforts, ending only after U.S. en- 
trance into World War II. 

Like the CCC, the National Youth Administra- 
tion (NYA, 1935-1943) was also a popular New 
Deal program directed at American youth. As a di- 
vision of the Works Progress Administration 
(WPA), the NYA provided part-time work-relief for 
high school and college-aged students, as well as 
full-time jobs for unemployed young people no 
longer in school. The NYA was open to both males 
and females and had a Division of Negro Affairs 
headed by Mary McLeod Bethune. Like the CCC, 
it was a popular program that ended only after the 
United States entered World War II. Another WPA 
program, day nursery schools, actually expanded 
during World War II. Organized to provide jobs for 
unemployed teachers, these high quality pre- 



schools opened to children of all races and set the 
standard for preschool education throughout the 
United States. 

Another side of the New Deal focused on get- 
ting young people out of the wage-labor force. The 
1938 Fair Labor Standards Act successfully wrote 
child labor restrictions into federal law for the first 
time. It outlawed the employment of individuals 
under sixteen in the manufacture of goods shipped 
across state lines. It also set regulations for the em- 
ployment of sixteen and seventeen year olds, and 
prohibited all minors from working in specific in- 
dustries. The law ignored young people who 
worked in agriculture or domestic service, but the 
economic crisis of the 1930s increased pressure on 
politicians to end child labor. For the first time in 
history, American children were expected to spend 
more of their time in school than on the job. 



YOUTH CULTURE AND THE LEGACY OF 
THE GREAT DEPRESSION 

This fact underscores the new status of child- 
hood by the 1930s. Popular radio shows appealed 
to young consumers, even during dire economic 
times. Films featuring the "Our Gang" kids, and 
child stars such as Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, 
and Shirley Temple depicted an idealized child- 
hood absent from adult responsibilities. Children's 
lives on the big screen were filled with activities ex- 
perienced with peers, not adults. By the late 1930s 
a majority of seventeen year olds attended high 
school for the first time in the nation's history. The 
quality of schools varied widely, but communities 
accepted the notion that education through high 
school was a public responsibility. 

The shift to high schools as a universal experi- 
ence for American adolescents reinforced the de- 
velopment of a distinct youth culture. Dating 
moved adolescent boys and girls far from the 
watchful eyes of parents. Clubs such as the Boy 
Scouts, Girl Scouts, Young Men's Christian Associ- 
ation, Young Women's Christian Association, 
Young Men's Hebrew Association, and the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture's 4-H Clubs gained new mem- 
bers. Racial and ethnic segregation persisted, but 
comic books and other "kid" centered aspects of 
popular culture crossed social divisions. Highlight- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



165 



I L D R E N 



N D 



ADOLESCENTS 




Several New Deal programs offered sports and recreation opportunities to children around the country. This group of boys 
exercises under the direction of a National Youth Administration counselor at a recreation center in Nampa, Idaho, in 1936. 
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library 



ing the significance of youth culture, a 1941 article 
in Popular Science introduced the word teenager into 
the American print vocabulary. The important mat- 
ter of growing up became the focus for most chil- 
dren and teens. The economic crisis somewhat hin- 
dered the development of a commercialized youth 
culture dancing to the rhythm of swing music, but 
the concentration of most young people into high 
schools strengthened the trend. 

The dramatic crisis that engaged Americans 
during the 1930s clearly shaped the lives of children 
and youth. Individuals who grew up during the 
Great Depression were also the first generation to 
experience a government that recognized a federal 
responsibility for protecting and shaping the lives 
of the nation's youngest citizens. Racial, gender, 
and ethnic discrimination persisted, but the idea 
that every child should have the right to basic eco- 



nomic security, a childhood separate from adult re- 
sponsibilities, and a high school education was ac- 
cepted as an American entitlement. 

See Also: AID TO DEPENDENT CHILDREN (ADC); 
AMERICAN YOUTH CONGRESS; CIVILIAN 
CONSERVATION CORPS (CCC); EDUCATION; 
FAMILY AND HOME, IMPACT OF THE GREAT 
DEPRESSION ON; HEALTH AND NUTRITION; 
NATIONAL YOUTH ADMINISTRATION (NYA); 
SOCIAL SECURITY ACT. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Berkowitz, Edward D. America's Welfare State: From Roo- 
sevelt to Reagan. 1991. 

Bremner, Robert H., et. al, eds. Children and Youth in 
America: A Documentary History. 1970-1774. 

Graff, Harvey J., ed. Growing Up in America: Historical Ex- 
periences. 1987. 



166 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



CITIES 



A N D 



S U 



R B S 



Hawes, Joseph M. Children between the Wars: American 
Childhood, 1920-1940. 1997. 

Illick, Joseph E. American Childhoods. 2002. 

Kett, Joseph F. Rites of Passage: Adolescence in America, 
1790 to the Present. 1977. 

Lindenmeyer, Kriste. "A Right to Childhood" : The U.S. 
Children's Bureau and Child Welfare, 1912-1946. 
1997. 

Reiman, Richard A. The New Deal and American Youth: 
Ideas and Ideals in a Depression Decade. 1992. 

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Historical Statistics of the Unit- 
ed States, Colonial Times to 1970. Bicentennial edi- 
tion, part 1. 1976. 

Kriste Lindenmeyer 



CIO. See CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL 
ORGANIZATIONS. 



CITIES AND SUBURBS 

With brute force, the Great Depression hit Ameri- 
ca's metropolitan areas, the centers of economic 
growth during the 1920s. The Wall Street crash 
nearly halted construction of skyscrapers and resi- 
dential housing, then staggered output of durable 
goods. Pittsburgh steel mills, automobile assembly 
lines in Detroit and Flint, and tire factories in Cleve- 
land and Toledo were all stilled. Declines in freight 
shipments laid off thousands from the docks of San 
Francisco, Memphis, and New Orleans, and 
slashed output at the American Locomotive Corpo- 
ration in Schenectady. By 1933, idle blast furnaces 
at Birmingham's Tennessee Coal and Iron brought 
to that city the highest unemployment in the urban 
South. Only a few cities weathered the storm. 
Miami and Phoenix filled with sun worshippers, 
federal spending on Hoover Dam buoyed Las 
Vegas, and Washington, D.C., became the New 
Deal's company town. 

THE RELIEF CRISIS 

Although millions of jobless lived in the cities, 
few city governments distributed outdoor relief 
(with the notable exception of Boston). Most relied 
on voluntary charities and lodging shelters. Across 



the South, businesses moved whites into jobs held 
by African Americans, and New Orleans Mayor T. 
Semmes Walmsley required municipal employees 
to show poll-tax receipts. Officials in the Southwest 
deported aliens; Los Angeles alone repatriated over 
eleven thousand Mexicans, and the city dispatched 
police to turn away migrants at California's borders. 
By the fall of 1933, 59 percent of the Phoenix's Mex- 
ican population was on relief, compared to 11 per- 
cent of Anglos. Atlanta's jobless rate reached 25 
percent, but was triple that in black neighborhoods. 

Business-led voluntarism tried to stem the di- 
saster. Mayor's committees in Buffalo and Nashville 
prevailed on industrial leaders to stagger layoffs, 
and Buffalo's Man-a-Block and Household Helper 
schemes scrounged for part-time jobs. Philadel- 
phia's (Horatio Gates Lloyd) Committee for Unem- 
ployment Relief raised $4 million in private contri- 
butions. But when voluntary resources were 
exhausted in 1931, cities had to look elsewhere. The 
business-led Allegheny County Emergency Associ- 
ation launched a "Pittsburgh Plan" for quasi-public 
improvements, while Kansas City boss Tom Pren- 
dergast corralled the chamber of commerce behind 
a $50 million "Ten Year Plan" for boulevards and 
other public works. New York City's Welfare Coun- 
cil forced Mayor James J. Walker to create a depart- 
ment of public welfare. 

In suburban New Jersey towns, governments 
slashed public works, chiefly road and sewer re- 
pairs, while regional school districts juggled the loss 
in per-pupil reimbursements. Communities forced 
salary givebacks from police, firemen, and teachers, 
the latter stereotyped as single and female. Chari- 
ties attempted to serve the "invisible" white-collar 
jobless in the suburbs. Ramsey's Committee of the 
Unemployed searched for odd jobs and collected 
funds from churches and fundraisers like the Young 
Ladies Community Club's "prosperity bridge." 
Ridgewood disbursed charitable aid via the Social 
Service Association, then in late 1931 formed the 
Emergency Relief Bureau to provide direct relief 
and made-work. By December 1933 the Ridgewood 
Taxpayers Association obtained a voluntary 5 per- 
cent salary cut from teachers, who acknowledged a 
"clear understanding of civic affairs." 

The relief crisis encouraged labor and liberal ac- 
tivists to challenge business primacy. In Detroit, 



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Thousands of unemployed urban Americans relied on -private charity during the early years of the Depression, before full-scale 
federal relief efforts were underway. These men lined up outside a soup kitchen in Chicago in 1931. The food was reportedly being 
supplied by the gangster Al Capone. National Archives and Records Administration 



Frank Murphy scored an upset mayoral victory in 
1930 over the issue of relief levels. The election in 
Minneapolis of Farmer-Laborite William A. Ander- 
son touched off demonstrations that ousted the 
conservative relief administrator. But strong Re- 
publican city-manager governments in Cleveland 
and Cincinnati resisted deficits to finance relief, as 
did property owners' leagues in Denver and Hous- 
ton. Conservative bankers in New York, who 
held Detroit's commercial paper, forced slashes 
in Motor City relief, and Rochester's banking 
fraternity threatened a credit strike against the city 
manager's budget. In spring 1933, the House of 
Morgan and Chase National Bank boycotted the 
underwriting of New York municipal bonds until 



the city agreed to cut relief and hold down property 
taxes. 



A GUARDED PARTNERSHIP 

In May 1932, big-city mayors, led by Murphy of 
Detroit, pleaded for credit from the Reconstruction 
Finance Corporation, and in February 1933 they 
launched the U.S. Conference of Mayors to de- 
mand $5 billion for self-liquidating public works. 
They nudged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to ac- 
cept federal emergency relief, and thereafter lever- 
aged much New Deal spending, notably via the 
Civil Works Administration (CWA) and Works 
Progress Administration (WPA). Such urban lead- 
ers as New York settlement head Mary K. Sim- 



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khovitch and Cleveland activist Ernest J. Bonn, who 
spearheaded the nation's first municipal housing 
authority, demanded slum clearance and public 
housing. 

Localities responded guardedly, notably Balti- 
more, Richmond, and Portland, Oregon, where 
Democrats who favored states' rights attacked fed- 
eral intervention. Although Roosevelt was reelected 
on an urban tide in 1936, his sweep of 104 of the 
country's 106 cities with populations greater than 
100,000 blanketed pockets of disenchantment. 
Roosevelt carried 68.3 percent of the vote in Balti- 
more, including bellwether Polish and Italian 
wards, but in Philadelphia, he suffered a falloff 
among Irish and working-class Italians. Chicago's 



African Americans were weaned from Republican 
"race men" less by Roosevelt's appeal than by 
Mayor Edward Kelly's deft politics of recognition. 
Doubling his support from Chicago blacks, Roose- 
velt still garnered only 49 percent in 1936. 

New Deal welfare spending did not bring a 
"Last Hurrah" for urban political machines. Relief 
was politicized in Jersey City, where Frank Hague 
controlled Public Works Administration (PWA) 
spending for the Margaret Hague Medical Center; 
and in Memphis, whose boss, Edward Hull Crump, 
tithed WPA employees and directed Army Corps of 
Engineers projects on the Mississippi River. The 
power of Tammany Hall had declined in New York 
City before Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia wielded New 



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CITIES AND SUBURBS 




Unemployed union members march in Camden, New Jersey, in 1935 to draw attention to their plight. Such parades were held in 
many cities during the Depression as massive numbers of disgruntled and desperate unemployed men and women demanded jobs 
and relief. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library 



Deal patronage to forge his own reform coalition, 
and Bruce Stave concludes that David Lawrence's 
Democratic organization in Pittsburgh "had its 
roots in the New Deal." 



MODERNIST URBANISM 

In the absence of a national urban policy, feder- 
al programs rested largely on 1920s social theory 
and modernist design: assumptions about the "so- 
cial disorganization" of the slums, the importance 
of the "neighborhood unit," and economies of scale 
that civic centers and hospital complexes provided 
the sprawling metropolis. Bauhaus architects such 



as Marcel Breuer, the visionary architect Le Corbu- 
sier, famous for his "tower in the park," and indus- 
trial designers like Norman Bel Geddes helped 
popularize the Art Deco streamlined slab look, 
which has been dubbed PWA Moderne. Against 
machine-age efficiencies, proponents of small- 
scale English "garden cities" made little headway. 
Clarence Stein and Lewis Mumford of the Regional 
Planning Association of America envisioned new 
towns in suburban greenbelts. Although Resettle- 
ment Administration head Rexford G. Tugwell 
sympathized with this program, his agency realized 
only three such cities. 



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CITIES AND SUBURBS 




Many American cities confronted problems of homelessness and substandard housing during the Depression. These shacks on the 
outskirts of Paterson, New Jersey, in 1935 housed about twenty-five people, most of them unemployed textile workers. National 
Archives and Records Administration 



Federal relief dollars enhanced modern urban- 
ization that was already underway. Nashville and 
New York finished civic centers with court houses 
and state office buildings, although the completion 
of the Federal Triangle on Pennsylvania Avenue in 
Washington, D.C., proved the most imposing proj- 
ect. The WPA financed the removal of trolley tracks 
in 224 cities, replacing unsightly rails with green 
medians and smooth asphalt. Planning depart- 
ments designed schemes for traffic separation, in- 
cluding beltways around central business districts, 
a dream of vehicular flow inspired by the U.S. Bu- 
reau of Public Roads' Toll Roads and Free Roads 
(1936) and General Motors' Futurama exhibit at the 
1939 New York World's Fair. Redevelopers cleared 
decaying wharves for waterfront parks in Milwau- 



kee and Des Moines and for riverside parkways like 
Boston's Storrow Drive. 

New York City was transformed under Mayor 
La Guardia and Park Commissioner Robert Moses, 
the city's de facto public works czar. With its own 
WPA jurisdiction, the city accounted for one- 
seventh of all WPA appropriations. The agency re- 
furbished scores of parks and playgrounds, over 
three hundred schools, and miles of parkways, 
along with North Beach Terminal (renamed La 
Guardia Field), the largest single WPA project in 
the country. Federal works also had a significant 
impact on cities in parts of the South, Southwest, 
and West that would later be called the Sunbelt, a 
region starved for such improvements. In New Or- 
leans, the PWA improved sewerage, restored the 



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French Quarter, and built the Charity Hospital, 
then the second largest health-care facility in the 
country. The WPA overhauled Nashville's streets, 
while the PWA built three high schools, including 
Pearl High for African Americans. The WPA in- 
stalled the sewerage and water mains of Albuquer- 
que's Near Heights subdivision and completed Las 
Vegas's War Memorial Building, vital to the town's 
convention economy. California historian Kevin 
Starr argues that federal public works — notably the 
construction of Boulder (Hoover) Dam and Recon- 
struction Finance Corporation (RFC) investment in 
the San Francisco -Oakland Bay Bridge — made pos- 
sible California's future as a sun-drenched, popu- 
lous, vehicular world. 



TRANSFORMATION OF HOUSING 

To revive mortgage financing and construction, 
in June 1933, the Roosevelt administration enacted 
the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), 
which over the next two years saved more than one 
million non-farm residences from foreclosure. Ken- 
neth T. Jackson has pointed out, however, that the 
HOLC's standardized appraisals rated neighbor- 
hoods A to D (with D indicating neighborhoods of 
greatest risk, which were usually inhabited by East- 
ern Europeans, Mexicans, and African Americans) 
and daubed red on "Residential Security Maps." 
Lizabeth Cohen found that 60 percent of HOLC's 
Chicago loans went to C and D neighborhoods, but 
redlining starved home refinance in inner-city De- 
troit and Philadelphia. Discriminatory practices also 
affected Federal Housing Administration mortgage 
insurance. Jackson showed that substantial mort- 
gage relief was provided to A and B districts in sub- 
urban Essex County in New Jersey, and Ladue, 
Clayton, and Webster Groves in Missouri, com- 
pared to scant aid begrudged C and D streets in 
central Newark and Saint Louis. 

Federal support engaged scores of cities in slum 
clearance and low-rent public housing. With data 
from the CWA Real Property Inventory, activists in 
Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Newark documented 
the dimensions of the slum problem and won refer- 
enda for municipal housing authorities. After the 
National Industrial Recovery Act authorized grants 
and loans to municipalities to clear lands and build 



housing, PWA administrator Harold L. Ickes un- 
dertook direct federal construction (until deterred 
by the U.S. Court of Appeals' 1935 Louisville Lands 
decision, which rejected the federal government's 
use of eminent domain). By 1937, the PWA had 
completed 22,600 units at a cost of $130 million, in- 
cluding Atlanta's Techwood Homes, the 10,800- 
room Cleveland Homes limited dividend, and Phil- 
adelphia's Carl Mackley Homes, sponsored by the 
Hosiery Workers Union. Working with more than 
150 municipal authorities after 1937, the U.S. 
Housing Authority sponsored an additional 
130,000 units by 1941. 

The low-rent program dovetailed with local 
priorities by stimulating business districts and 
maintaining segregation. Atlanta's all-white Tech- 
wood cleared blacks from a twelve-block slum near 
downtown, while the all-black (Joel Chandler) Har- 
ris Homes reinforced a racial barrier. The Cleveland 
Housing Authority built three projects in the heart 
of the ghetto, while ignoring black applicants for 
white projects. The PWA constructed the all-white 
Williamsburg Houses in Brooklyn and the all-black 
Harlem River Houses, for which the New York City 
Housing Authority kept separate application of- 
fices. The Phoenix Housing Authority built distinct 
projects for Mexicans and blacks in South Phoenix 
and for Anglos on the city's west side. 



URBAN STYLE IN GRITTY TIMES 

The concentration of the unemployed made 
cities spawning grounds for radicalism (although 
Lizabeth Cohen argues that in Chicago, the city's 
common consumer culture provided a basis for 
working-class solidarity). As millions gave up on 
capitalism, self-help groups, such as Denver's Un- 
employed Citizens' League, canvassed for jobs and 
bartered work for food. In New York City, produc- 
tion-for-use enthusiasts organized an Emergency 
Exchange Association, which issued scrip and 
sparked similar exchanges in other cities. Stirred by 
African nationalists, eviction protests broke out in 
Harlem, while Communist Unemployed Councils 
stormed home relief offices. Communists staged 
food riots in Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Saint 
Louis, and led the epic Detroit Hunger March on 
Ford Motor Company on March 7, 1932. Strikes 



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also occurred among mortgage payers in Radburn, 
New Jersey, and renters in New York's Sunnyside, 
Queens, both garden city experiments of the 1920s. 
In January 1934, Denver's unemployed invaded the 
Colorado state capitol, demanding legislators fund 
state relief. 

In New York, hundreds of writers, artists, and 
engineers were drawn to the Communist Party's 
Cultural Section and its John Reed Clubs. Eviction 
protests, sit-ins at relief offices, and other grass- 
roots actions mobilized working-class anger behind 
Toledo's Auto Lite strike in 1935 and sit-down 
strikes in Flint and Detroit in 1937. San Francisco's 
left-wing tradition, with its boisterous Embar- 
cadero, energized the general strike of July 1934. 
Cities provided the crucible for the Congress of In- 
dustrial Organization's growth in the mass produc- 
tion industries. 

These urban pressures also transformed race 
relations. Anger at inadequate relief allowances and 
rage against evictions touched off African- 
American self-help efforts and store boycotts in 
Phoenix, in Cleveland's Woodland ghetto, and in 
Harlem along 125th street. After the March 19, 
1935, Harlem riot, Mayor La Guardia appointed a 
commission that spotlighted the ghetto's over- 
crowding. Outrage also spawned Reverend Adam 
Clayton Powell's protest for equal employment, 
which picketed the 1939 New York World's Fair. 

The Depression-era American city gave a gritty, 
hard-edge look to design and culture, while artists 
became determined to document widespread want 
and protest, producing the CWA's Public Works of 
Art Project, the murals of the Treasury Relief Arts 
Project, the Federal Art Project, the American Scene 
style of painting, and Ben Shahn's proletarian real- 
ism. The golden age of revelatory photography in- 
spired Berenice Abbott and Arnold (Weegee) Felig 
in New York and Dorothea Lange in San Francisco, 
while the docudrama of the WPA "Living Newspa- 
per" reflected what historian William Stott has 
called the era's "sublime fidelity to fact." 

THE LEGACY OF THE 1930s 

The Depression accentuated regional discrep- 
ancies in city development. Urban population 
growth, which had risen to 27.3 percent in the 



1920s, sank to 7.9 percent during the 1930s. Slow- 
downs in immigration, slumping birthrates, and the 
end of suburban annexations halted central city 
growth across the industrial North. Five of the 
twelve largest cities in the Midwest (Cleveland, 
Saint Louis, Toledo, Akron, and Youngstown) suf- 
fered losses in population during the 1930s. Among 
cities with a population of 100,000 or more, the only 
ones that grew by 20 percent or more were Wash- 
ington, D.C., and Sunbelt wonders, including 
Miami, San Diego, Houston, and Los Angeles. 
While nearly all the northern metropolitan areas 
grew by single-digit percentages, metropolitan Los 
Angeles jumped by 25 percent, Houston grew 51 
percent, and Miami soared 90 percent. 

Subsidies from Washington sped expansion 
and modernization of municipal government. With 
federal dollars, cities took on more responsibilities, 
ranging from social work for relief recipients and 
felons to WPA day nurseries and city planning. City 
governments streamlined tax assessment and col- 
lection and turned functions over to special author- 
ities, including ports, highways, and toll bridges. 
The tax revolt also hastened the spread of manager 
cities in Michigan, Virginia, Texas, and Florida. In 
the suburbs, lean budgets spurred the amalgama- 
tion of Jacksonville and Duval counties, consolidat- 
ed services in Milwaukee County, and spirited the 
move for "home rule" in Hamilton, Mahoning, 
Cuyahoga, and Stark counties in Ohio. Most met- 
ropolitan counties extended zoning and undertook 
comprehensive plans for parks, parkways, and sub- 
division regulations. Modern executive government 
emerged in Arlington and other northern Virginia 
counties and in Nassau and Westchester, New 
York. 

Nevertheless, the 1930s left American cities 
with an uncertain future. While the New Deal 
spurred an urban-Washington axis, and theoretical 
statements like the National Resources Commit- 
tee's Our Cities (1937) affirmed the role of cities in 
national recovery, the country lacked an urban poli- 
cy. Experts predicted that central cities would re- 
main stagnant, with unemployment at permanent- 
ly high levels. Yet cities were centers of 
revitalization. A zeal to reclaim blighted districts 
would galvanize the Pittsburgh Regional Planning 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT D E P R E S S I N 



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CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS ( C C C ) 



Association's postwar "renaissance" and fuel Rob- 
ert Moses's ambitions for the arterial highways and 
residential towers of modern New York. They re- 
mained the centers of an urban liberalism that 
would define American politics for the next two 
generations. 

See Also: ARCHITECTURE; FEDERAL HOUSING 

ADMINISTRATION (FHA); GREENBELT TOWNS; 
HARLEM RIOT (1935); HOUSING; HUNGER 
MARCHES; LA GUARDIA, FIORELLO H.; MOSES, 
ROBERT; MURPHY, FRANK; PLANNING; SAN 
FRANCISCO GENERAL STRIKE (1934). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Abbott, Berenice. Changing New York. 1939. 
Argersinger, Jo Ann E. Toward a New Deal in Baltimore: 

People and Government in the Great Depression. 1988. 
Biles, Roger. Memphis in the Great Depression. 1986. 
Caro, Robert A. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the 

Tall of New York. 1975. 
Cohen, Lizabeth. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers 

in Chicago, 1919-1939. 1990. 
Conkin, Paul K. Tomorrow a New World: The New Deal 

Community Program. 1959. 
Dorsett, Lyle W. Tranklin D. Roosevelt and the City Bosses. 

1977. 
Fine, Sidney. Trank Murphy, Vol. 1: The Detroit Years. 

1975. 

Fox, Bonnie R. "Unemployment Relief in Philadelphia, 
1930-1932: A Study of the Depression's Impact on 
Voluntarism." Pennsylvania Magazine of History and 
Biography 93 (1969): 86-108. 

Gelfand, Mark I. A Nation of Cities: The Tederal Govern- 
ment and Urban America, 1933-1965. 1975. 

Jackson, Kenneth T. Crabgrass Trontier: The Suburbaniza- 
tion of the United States. 1985. 

Kessner, Thomas. Tiorello H. La Guardia and the Making 
of Modern New York. 1989. 

Lubell, Samuel. The Tuture of American Politics. 1952. 

Radford, Gail. Modern Housing for America: Policy Strug- 
gles in the New Deal Era. 1996. 

Schwartz, Bonnie F. The Civil Works Administration: The 
Business of Relief in the New Deal. 1982. 

Smith, Douglas L. The New Deal in the Urban South. 1988. 

Starr, Kevin. Endangered Dreams: The Great Depression in 
California. 1996. 

Stave, Bruce M. The New Deal and the Last Hurrah: Pitts- 
burgh Machine Politics. 1970. 

Sternsher, Bernard, ed. Hitting Home: The Great Depres- 
sion in Town and County. 1970. 



Stott, William. Documentary Expression and Thirties Amer- 
ica. 1973. 

Trout, Charles H. Boston, the Great Depression, and the 
New Deal. 1977. 

Wye, Christopher G. "The New Deal and the Negro 
Community: Toward a Broader Conceptualization." 
Journal of American History 59 (1972): 621-640. 

Joel Schwartz 
Bonnie Fox Schwartz 



CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS 
(CCC) 

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was creat- 
ed in March 1933 during the first frantic "hundred 
days" of the New Deal. It was the first of a number 
of agencies created to cope with one of the most 
desperate and poignant of the social problems 
caused by the Depression — massive unemploy- 
ment and economic deprivation amongst the na- 
tion's youth. It is impossible to get accurate figures 
on the extent of youth joblessness at the nadir of 
the Depression, but the best estimate would be that 
at least 50 percent of young people between fifteen 
and twenty-four years of age who were in the labor 
market were unemployed. Of these, at least 250,000 
were simply drifting about the country; the writer 
Thomas Minehan labeled them the "boy and girl 
tramps of America." Millions more were mired in 
hopeless poverty and apathy, without the means 
even to complete their education. Franklin D. Roo- 
sevelt had built his election campaign in 1932 
around his faith in the future. Clearly he had to do 
something quickly to alleviate the deprivation and 
the scarring of the generation who would inherit 
the future. 

There was also an urgent need to confront a 
scar of a different kind-the havoc that generations 
of waste and exploitation had wreaked on the 
American landscape. Large-scale forest destruction 
and the resultant soil and wind erosion had created 
a potential environmental catastrophe. Roosevelt 
had a life-long interest in conservation. More than 
most he understood the urgency of repairing the 
ravaged environment, and he was determined to 
use his office to do so. Thus the CCC was in one 



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CIVILIAN ( N S E R V A T 



N 



CORPS ( C C C ) 



"V 




A CCC unit from Idaho arrives at a camp near Andersonville, Tennessee, in October 1933 to assist in reforestation work on the 
Clinch River watershed. National Archives and Records Administration 



sense a catalyst by which two squandered re- 
sources, young men and the land, were brought to- 
gether in an attempt to save both. 

The idea of putting young men to work in the 
woods was not new. The philosopher William 
James had long been an enthusiastic advocate of 
such a program, and various European govern- 
ments had established conservation camps for their 
unemployed. Yet, of all the New Deal agencies, the 
CCC bore the new president's personal stamp, ex- 
pressing both his conviction in the superior quali- 
ties of rural life and his concern for halting the de- 
struction of America's natural environment. 
Roosevelt had outlined his plans during the cam- 
paign, and once inaugurated he moved quickly to 
act on them. The enabling legislation quickly 
passed through Congress, and on March 31 became 
law: The CCC was born. 



The new agency's administrative structure was 
extremely simple. The need for speed was para- 
mount, hence the decision to work through existing 
federal departments rather than set up a completely 
new structure. The CCC would be open to young 
men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five 
who were already on the relief rolls. They would be 
enrolled in camps or companies of two hundred 
men each, put to work on conservation tasks, and 
paid $30 monthly, $25 of which went straight home 
to their families. The men were to be initially en- 
rolled for six months, but enrollment could be re- 
newed for up to two years. The Department of 
Labor had the responsibility of selecting the enroll- 
ees, and the War Department transported them to 
the camps, which it administered, while the depart- 
ments of Agriculture and the Interior supervised 
the actual work projects. Coordinating the whole 



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CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS ( C C C ) 




Members of a CCC unit in Idaho display beavers they captured in 1938. The animals, which were destroying crops, were 
relocated to a forest watershed area, where their presence would aid conservation efforts. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library 



endeavor was a director and a small central office 
staff. Roosevelt's choice as director was Robert 
Fechner, a conservative southern-born labor leader, 
who was appointed, in part, to allay American Fed- 
eration of Labor (AFL) disquiet at CCC wage scales. 
Fechner was hardly a typical New Dealer, but he 
ran the CCC efficiently until his death in 1939. He 
was succeeded by his deputy James J. Mclntee, also 
of the AFL. 



THE CCC BEGINS 

Mobilization began quickly, and given the scale 
of the enterprise, it proceeded with surprising 
smoothness. By July 1 nearly 300,000 young men 
were already at work in more than 1,300 CCC 
camps. Moreover, those eligible for enrollment had 
already been extended. On April 14 it was decided 
to enroll fourteen thousand native Americans of all 
ages, and a month later the president directed that 
250,000 World War I veterans should also be en- 
rolled, again regardless of age. Many of the veterans 



had marched in 1932 with the Bonus Army, which 
President Herbert Hoover had ordered dispersed at 
gunpoint; now a new president gave them a chance 
to work in the woods instead. The contrast was not 
lost. Finally, the CCC enrolled twenty-five thou- 
sand local woodsmen to help with the projects. 

Once the CCC had been mobilized, Fechner 
and his staff began to think about possible policy 
developments. An early decision was to add an ed- 
ucation program under the general direction of the 
commissioner for education, George F. Zook. A di- 
rector of CCC education was appointed in Decem- 
ber 1933 and given the responsibility of developing 
a suitable education program for the camps. The 
program was initially challenging, and the War De- 
partment opposed it, yet a prime measure of its suc- 
cess was that within three years thirty-five thou- 
sand enrollees had learned to read and write, and 
one thousand high school diplomas had been 
awarded, as well as thirty-nine college degrees. 



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CORPS ( C C C ) 




Members of a CCC unit put up fencing in Greene county, Georgia, in 1941. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, 
FSA/OWI Collection 



In January 1934, buoyed by both the CCC's ini- 
tial success and the extremely favorable public reac- 
tion to it, the president decided to expand the pro- 
gram. Enrollment grew steadily, peaking in 
September 1935 with more than 500,000 enrollees 
in 2,514 camps. Numbers were slowly reduced 
thereafter, partly because a second youth agency, 
the National Youth Administration (NYA), had 
been created in 1935, but also because of Roose- 
velt's increasing desire to cut spending. The efforts 
to close camps in the interest of economy, however, 
were often thwarted by local politicians, who were 
anxious not to lose the $5,000 to $10,000 spent 
monthly by camps in the local market, and the at- 
tendant community goodwill that resulted. 



The CCC was the most popular of all the New 
Deal agencies, enjoying wide bipartisan political 
support. The corps was supported by those directly 
connected to it — the communities where the camps 
were established and the enrollees and their fami- 
lies. But the CCC was also popular with millions of 
ordinary Americans who received no direct benefits 
from it, but liked its image; most Americans could 
easily recognize the value of the work performed, 
while the idea of young men working with their 
hands in the wilderness appealed to the romantic 
and nostalgic imagination of a nation whose presi- 
dent had recently announced the closing of its last 
frontier. Ironically, the only group dubious about 
the corps was the liberal left, usually the New 



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CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS ( C C C ) 



Deal's most vocal supporters, whose members were 
disturbed by the military's dominant presence in 
the camps. 

The CCC was extremely effective. Though as- 
sociated in the public mind with reforestation, CCC 
enrollees were actually engaged in a myriad of 
tasks. They battled forest fires, developed camping 
grounds and park trails, improved grazing lands, 
fought soil erosion, protected wildlife (particularly 
in the nation's wetlands), constructed dams and ir- 
rigation ditches, and preserved and restored histor- 
ical sites. Still, reforestation was the corps' most im- 
portant task, and its contribution to the nation's 
environment was crucial, best measured by a single 
statistic. Of all the trees planted on public lands be- 
tween 1789 and 1942, more than 75 percent were 
planted by the CCC. 

The CCC conserved human beings along with 
the landscape. Its enrollees benefited physically 
from the hard work and healthy living, while also 
gaining a deeper perspective on their country. 
Many of them had traveled far from home to go to 
camp because many of the reforestation projects 
were located in western states. There they met and 
worked alongside people from many different eth- 
nic or regional backgrounds. 

White enrollees, however, were unlikely to find 
themselves living and working alongside black 
youths, and to some of those critical of the corps, 
this was its most serious shortcoming. The 1933 act 
that created the CCC contained a clause stating 
specifically that there should be no discrimination 
"on account of race, color or creed" in the selection 
of enrollees. Yet within a few weeks it was obvious 
that these provisions were being ignored, especially 
by southern selection agents. Black youths, despite 
the desperate nature of their poverty, were simply 
being passed over, and Department of Labor offi- 
cials had to threaten to stop all selection in the 
South before local agents, reluctantly, began to 
comply. In addition, local white communities in 
many parts of the country were inclined to protest 
if a black camp was established nearby, in contrast 
to their enthusiastic welcoming of white corpsmen. 
This was a national rather than a regional response, 
although southern communities were generally less 
hostile to black camps than communities in other 



regions, especially the Rocky Mountain states. 
Eventually, Fechner and his staff evolved a policy 
covering black enrollment. There was to be strict 
segregation in the CCC; as far as possible, black 
men would not be sent out of their home states, 
black camps would not be forced on local commu- 
nities, and blacks would be selected according to 
their ratio in the general population (one in ten) 
and not according to need. Fechner, a conservative 
southerner, had no intention of engaging in social 
engineering, and though most black enrollees 
clearly benefited from their time in the CCC, it 
never provided them with the opportunities avail- 
able to white members. They were not allowed the 
latitude of movement accorded white enrollees, 
command in black camps was firmly retained in 
white hands, and unlike its sister agency, the NYA 
(also directed by a southerner, the liberal Aubrey 
Williams), Fechner made no attempt to move 
against prevailing racial attitudes. The CCC did not 
fail its black enrollees; it simply ignored their partic- 
ular circumstances and needs. 



THE LAST YEARS 

In January 1937 Roosevelt, fulfilling a campaign 
promise and in accordance with his strong personal 
wish, recommended that the CCC become a per- 
manent agency of government, and legislation to 
effect this was introduced in March. It was never 
passed, for though the ensuing debate showed that 
bipartisan support for the agency remained strong, 
Congress was reluctant to concede that it should 
become more than a relief measure. Moreover, after 
Roosevelt's court-packing bill poisoned the legisla- 
tive atmosphere, legislators decided to hand the 
president a rebuff by refusing to make permanent 
his pet project. Congress eventually renewed the 
program for three more years. 

Beginning in 1939, the CCC slowly lost its im- 
portance as the economy started its long-awaited 
revival. Enrollee and camp numbers were steadily 
reduced, particularly as the demand for munitions 
and war materials absorbed the remaining pockets 
of unemployment. Fechner's successor, James 
Mclntee, did what he could to meld the corps' ac- 
tivities into the nation's defense needs, but the de- 
mand for the abolition of all government spending 



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not directly relevant to the winning of the war be- 
came too strong to resist. In 1941, Congress created 
a Joint Committee on Non-Essential Federal Ex- 
penditures, charging it with recommending the 
elimination of all non-essential bodies. In Decem- 
ber 1941 it recommended an end to the CCC. The 
president fought to save the corps, but to no avail. 
In June 1942 the Senate finally concurred with an 
earlier House resolution to deny further funding to 
the agency, and the CCC was abolished. 

Although the CCC came to an end, it was cer- 
tainly not forgotten. Both the California Conserva- 
tion Corps, established in 1979, and the Wisconsin 
Conservation Corps, established in 1983, used the 
New Deal agency as their model, and for good rea- 
son. Despite its relatively high cost, the CCC added 
far more to the national wealth than the sum spent 
on it, not to mention the benefits to the health and 
morale of otherwise jobless young men. In its nine- 
year existence, nearly three million young men had 
passed through this essentially makeshift agency. 
Moreover, by the time of the CCC's abolition the 
United States was at war, and CCC members had 
received valuable experience in the military life- 
style, which the Army was able to build upon. More 
importantly, the members of the CCC made a gen- 
uine contribution to the heritage of every American 
in the billions of trees they planted or protected, the 
parks and recreation areas they developed, and the 
millions of acres they saved from soil erosion or 
flooding. 

See Also: BOY AND GIRL TRAMPS OF AMERICA; 

CONSERVATION MOVEMENT; HUNDRED DAYS; 
NEW DEAL. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Cole, Olen, Ir. The African-American Experience in the Ci- 
vilian Conservation Corps. 1999. 

Harper, Charles P. The Administration of the Civilian Con- 
servation Corps. 1939. 

Holland, Kenneth, and Frank E. Hill. Youth in the CCC. 
1942. 

Salmond, lohn A. The Civilian Conservation Corps, 
1933-1942: A New Deal Case Study. 1967. 

Iohn A. Salmond 



CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL 
LIBERTIES 

The Great Depression is not remembered as a time 
of major advances in human rights, yet during the 
1930s significant steps were taken in both civil 
rights and civil liberties: The U.S. Supreme Court 
established important protections for criminal de- 
fendants; Congress granted new powers to labor 
unions; and the civil liberties of unpopular groups 
were strengthened. 

In the case of the "Scottsboro boys," the most 
infamous legal controversy of the decade, the Su- 
preme Court demonstrated a newfound concern for 
the rights of accused criminals and a willingness to 
challenge judicial racism in the South. This case in- 
volved nine African-American males ranging in age 
from sixteen to twenty who were arrested in March 
1931 near Scottsboro, Alabama, and charged with 
raping two white women. The young men were 
hastily tried and eight were sentenced to death. Al- 
though a lawyer was present at their trial, he was 
neither competent nor given time to prepare a de- 
fense. Activists who investigated the case found 
that the evidence against the young men was flim- 
sy. The women who were their chief accusers were 
of dubious character, their testimony was inconsis- 
tent, and one later recanted her accusations. Inter- 
national Labor Defense retained Samuel Leibowitz 
to pursue the Scottsboro boys' appeals and mount- 
ed a worldwide campaign on their behalf. 

Leibowitz petitioned the Supreme Court for re- 
lief and in Powell v. Alabama (1932) it ordered a new 
trial because the Scottsboro boys had been denied 
effective counsel, violating their right to a fair trial. 
The young men were tried a second time in 1934. 
Again they were convicted and sentenced to death 
and again their appeal reached the Supreme Court. 
In Norris v. Alabama (1935) the justices unanimous- 
ly overturned their convictions on the grounds that 
African Americans had been excluded from the 
jury. 

The Court further strengthened the rights of 
the accused in Brown v. Mississippi (1936). Here the 
justices rejected murder charges against three black 
men whose convictions were based solely on co- 
erced confessions. In fohnson v. Zerbst (1938) the 



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Court ruled that indigent federal defendants were 
entitled to legal counsel. Twenty-five years later 
this right was extended to all defendants in Gideon 
v. Wainwright (1963). 

When it came to voting rights the Supreme 
Court was less courageous. In Nixon v. Condon 
(1932) the justices invalidated the whites-only 
Texas Democratic primary election, ruling that 
states cannot discriminate against voters on the 
basis of race. But when the state legislature gave 
political parties complete authority over primaries, 
the Court approved. In Grovey v. Townsend (1935) 
it ruled that parties were voluntary associations and 
thus allowed to discriminate. This decision would 
be reversed nine years later in Smith v. Allwright 
(1944). The Court further demonstrated its reluc- 
tance to meddle in political affairs by upholding the 
constitutionality of poll taxes in Breedloue v. Suttles 
(1937). 

During the 1930s the National Association for 
the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) fo- 
cused much of its energy on passage of a federal 
anti-lynching law. Senators Robert F. Wagner of 
New York and Edward Costigan of Colorado intro- 
duced such a bill in 1934, but maneuvering by 
southern opponents blocked it from being consid- 
ered by the full Senate. The NAACP executive sec- 
retary, Walter White, sought President Roosevelt's 
support for the bill, but Roosevelt was unwilling to 
antagonize powerful southern legislators: "If I 
come out for the anti-lynching bill now, they will 
block every bill I ask Congress to pass to keep 
America from collapsing. I just can't take that risk." 
In 1937 another anti-lynching bill sponsored by 
New York Representative Joseph Gavaghn passed 
in the House 277 to 120. A Gallup poll reported that 
70 percent of Americans favored such legislation, 
but southern senators launched a filibuster and pre- 
vented a vote. Although Alabama's Tuskegee Insti- 
tute recorded the lynching of twenty-four African 
Americans in 1933, this number steadily dwindled 
until only two such atrocities were logged in 1939. 
The NAACP was responsible for much of this de- 
cline. 

In education, racial separation was the rule, but 
during the 1930s a small crack appeared in the wall 
of segregation. Donald Murray applied for admis- 



sion to the University of Maryland Law School in 
1934. When his application was refused, Thurgood 
Marshall brought suit arguing that Murray should 
be admitted since Maryland provided no opportu- 
nities for blacks to study law. Baltimore City Court 
Judge Eugene O'Dunne agreed and Murray entered 
law school in September 1935. 

In 1938 Charles Houston argued a similar case. 
Lloyd Gaines had applied to the University of Mis- 
souri Law School. Missouri also provided no legal 
education for black students. In Missouri ex. rel. 
Gaines v. Canada (1938) the Supreme Court ordered 
the state to admit Gaines. Although the justices 
were not yet willing to repudiate "separate but 
equal," the Gaines decision was the first step on the 
road to Brown v. Board of Education (1954). 

African Americans enjoyed few civil rights dur- 
ing this decade, but they built a foundation for fu- 
ture gains. In the words of Robert S. McElvaine, au- 
thor of The Great Depression (1984), "The rebirth of 
that dream of true racial equality . . . was the real 
achievement of the New Deal years in race rela- 
tions." 

Without question, workers and organized labor 
enjoyed the greatest expansion of rights during the 
1930s. Three major pieces of legislation were re- 
sponsible for this progress: the Norris-La Guardia 
Act (1932), the National Industrial Recovery Act 
(1933), and the National Labor Relations Act 
(1935). Each of these bills, using different language, 
guaranteed workers the right to organize unions 
and bargain collectively with employers. Observers 
wondered whether the Supreme Court would fol- 
low its longstanding pro -business bias and strike 
down these laws. In the case of Schechter Poultry 
Corp. v. United States (1935), the Court invalidated 
most provisions of the National Industrial Recovery 
Act, including section 7(a), which covered union or- 
ganizing. However, in five separate 1937 decisions 
the Court upheld key provisions of the National 
Labor Relations Act, finding that the ability of 
workers to organize and engage in collective bar- 
gaining was "a fundamental right." 

Subsequent decisions further expanded work- 
ers' rights. In Senn v. Tile Layers Union (1937) the 
Court recognized that picketing was a form of free 
speech protected by the Constitution. This decision 



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was broadened in Thornhillv. Alabama (1940). Afri- 
can Americans picketing stores as part of a "don't 
buy where you can't work" campaign received sim- 
ilar protection in New Negro Alliance v. Sanitary Gro- 
cery (1938). In Hague v. Congress of Industrial Orga- 
nizations (1939) the Court struck down a Jersey City 
anti-union ordinance requiring permits to hold 
public meetings or distribute literature in public 
places. Labor's rights were also strengthened by the 
Senate in 1936 when it established a committee 
under the chairmanship of Senator Robert M. La 
Follette, Jr., "to make an investigation of violations 
of the rights of free speech and assembly and undue 
interference with the right of labor to organize and 
bargain collectively." 

In several important cases the Supreme Court 
expanded the rights of free speech and assembly. In 
Stromberg v. California (1931) the Court overturned 
the conviction of a counselor at a Communist youth 
camp for displaying a red flag. A few weeks later, 
in Near v. Minnesota, it ruled that the First Amend- 
ment free press guarantee protected even the publi- 
cation of a malicious anti-Semitic scandal sheet. In 
1933 New York federal court Judge John Munro 
Woolsey struck a blow against censorship by ruling 
that James Joyce's novel Ulysses (1922) was not ob- 
scene. In Dejonge v. Oregon (1937) the Supreme 
Court overturned the conviction of a speaker at a 
Communist sponsored rally. Writing for a unani- 
mous court, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes 
said that the state could not make "mere participa- 
tion in a peaceable assembly and a lawful public 
discussion . . . basis for a criminal charge." The 
Court relied on a somewhat different logic when it 
rejected the conviction of Communist Party orga- 
nizer Angelo Herndon, who was given a twenty- 
year sentence for violating a Georgia anti- 
insurrection statute. In Herndon v. Georgia (1937) 
the majority opinion held that speech could not be 
punished "by reason of its supposed dangerous 
tendency even in the remote future." 

The Supreme Court also considered religious 
freedom cases with mixed results. In Lovell v. City 
of Griffin (1938) the Court ruled unconstitutional a 
local ordinance used to prevent Jehovah's Witness- 
es from distributing religious tracts on city streets. 
The Court, however, was not willing to extend this 



protection to other areas. In Minersville School Dis- 
trict v. Gobitis (1940) it upheld the expulsion of two 
Pennsylvania students who refused to join in a 
compulsory salute to the flag in keeping with their 
religious beliefs. In the face of surprisingly strong 
public criticism, the justices admitted they had 
erred and three years later the Court reversed itself. 

Meanwhile, developments in Congress indicat- 
ed growing intolerance for radical political beliefs. 
In 1938 the House Select Committee on Un- 
American Activities, under the leadership of Repre- 
sentative Martin Dies, began a decades-long hunt 
for subversive influences. Its sensational public 
hearings became a platform for wild accusations of 
Communist infiltration in labor unions and New 
Deal agencies with a chilling effect on free speech. 

During the Depression there were important 
gains, especially for organized labor. But the picture 
was not uniformly sanguine: the Jim Crow system 
remained in place in the South; African Americans 
would have to wait a quarter of a century before 
gaining full civil rights; and an anti- Communist 
crusade that would erode civil liberties began. With 
respect to civil rights, the 1930s were most signifi- 
cant for establishing the basis for advances that 
would be fully realized in later decades. 

See Also: ANTL-LYNCHING LEGISLATION; 

INTERNATIONAL LABOR DEFENSE (ILD); LA 
FOLLETTE CIVIL LIBERTIES COMMITTEE; 
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE 
ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE 
(NAACP); SCOTTSBORO CASE; SUPREME COURT. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Braeman, John. Before the Civil Rights Revolution: The Old 
Court and Individual Rights. 1988. 

Carter, Dan T. Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South. 
1969. 

Howard, John R. The Shifting Wind: The Supreme Court 
and Civil Rights from Reconstruction to Brown. 1999. 

Walker, Samuel. In Defense of American Liberties: A Histo- 
ry of the ACLU, 2nd edition. 1999. 

Zangrando, Robert L. The NAACP Crusade against Lynch- 
ing, 1909-1950. 1980. 

Paul T. Murray 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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CIVIL 



WORKS 



ADMINISTRATION 



( C W A ) 




Men employed by the Civil Works Administration clean and paint the dome of the Denver capitol building in 1934. National 

Archives and Records Administration 



CIVIL WORKS ADMINISTRATION 
(CWA) 

The Civil Works Administration (CWA), created in 
the fall of 1933 and disbanded the following spring, 
was the first, public employment experiment of the 
New Deal. At its peak in January of 1934, CWA em- 
ployed approximately four million workers. The 
program initiated many projects that later were ab- 
sorbed by the Works Progress Administration 
(WPA, 1935 to 1941). Perhaps most importantly, 
CWA took several million relief recipients off of the 
federal "dole" and gave them employment and reg- 
ular wages. 



The CWA reflected the values of Franklin D. 
Roosevelt and his relief administrator Harry Hop- 
kins, both of whom favored employment over di- 
rect relief. Both feared that the federal relief pro- 
gram (FERA) would institutionalize a permanent 
national "dole." During the summer of 1933, the 
New Deal had reduced the federal relief caseload 
significantly and forced some states to finance a 
larger share of the relief burden. But both the ca- 
seload and federal expenditures threatened to rise 
again during the coming winter. In late October, 
Hopkins's assistant Aubrey Williams prevailed on 
Hopkins to propose a dramatic expansion of public 
employment. The program would take large num- 



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bers of "employable" recipients off the relief rolls 
and also employ several million unemployed work- 
ers who were not on relief. The program would be 
financed by the large unexpended balances of the 
New Deal's slow-moving public works program, 
the PWA. Hopkins presented the plan to Roosevelt 
on October 29. The president stunned Hopkins by 
immediately accepting the extraordinary proposal. 
The CWA was one of the most dramatic policy ex- 
periments of the New Deal era. Between November 
1, when the program was announced, and Decem- 
ber 15, approximately three and a half million 
workers were placed on hastily constructed federal 
projects. In mid-November, a large portion of fed- 
eral resources was devoted entirely to issuing the 
first CWA paychecks. Although civil works drew on 
the staff and resources of the federal relief program, 
state Civil Works administrations hired engineers, 
efficiency experts, and professionals in the field of 
labor relations, making the program much more 
like public employment than work relief. Workers 
were paid regular wages and were not supervised 
by social workers. 

During its brief lifetime CWA workers built ap- 
proximately 500,000 miles of roads and worked on 
thousands of schools, airports, and playgrounds. 
Reflecting a gendered division of labor, CWA em- 
ployed women in primitive workshops, sewing gar- 
ments for the unemployed. Although civil works 
absorbed many projects from work relief programs 
established earlier in the Depression, a key goal of 
CWA was to move beyond traditional "made work" 
to projects of permanent value. The program's pio- 
neering "Civil Works Service" program for "white 
collar" professionals produced surveys of coast- 
lines, harbors, and public buildings. The CWA em- 
ployed artists, musicians, and actors on projects 
that were precursors to the more well known WPA 
arts projects. 

The CWA was enormously popular. Hopkins 
later estimated that approximately ten million 
workers "walked up to a window and stood in line, 
many of them all night, asking for a [CWA] job." 
The program also generated significant support in 
Congress for a permanent federal employment pro- 
gram. But the growing political support for CWA 
alarmed may New Deal officials, who feared that 



public employment would become an expensive 
"habit" and create a permanent drain on the federal 
treasury. Fiscal conservatives within the New Deal, 
led by Bureau of the Budget Director Lewis Doug- 
las, successfully lobbied Roosevelt to discontinue 
the program in the early spring of 1934. 

The mercurial history of CWA once led histori- 
ans to view the program as a noble but haphazard 
experiment, plagued by corruption and inefficiency. 
Recent research, however, has suggested that proj- 
ects were relatively well run, free of graft, and rep- 
resented a significant improvement over traditional 
"made work." Perhaps most important, the CWA 
experiment greatly increased support for public 
employment, creating pressure both within the 
New Deal and in Congress for the administration 
to end the general relief grant program and launch 
the WPA in 1935. 

See Also: HOPKINS, HARRY; NEW DEAL; WORKS 
PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION (WPA). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bremer, William W. "Along the American Way: The New 
Deal's Work Relief Programs for the Unemployed." 
The Journal of American History 62 (1975): 636-652. 

Charles, Searle F. Minister of Relief: Harry Hopkins and the 
Depression. 1963. 

Mcjimsey, George. Harry Hopkins: Ally of the Poor and 
Defender of Democracy . 1987. 

Schwartz, Bonnie Fox. The Civil Works Administration: 
The Business of Emergency Employment in the New 
Deal. 1984. 

Salmond, lohn. Southern Rebel: The Life and Times of Au- 
brey Williams. 1983. 

Singleton, Jeff. The American Dole: Unemployment Relief 
and the Welfare State in the Great Depression. 2000. 

Walker, Forrest. The Civil Works Administration: An Ex- 
periment in Eederal Work Relief, 1933-1934. 1979. 

Jeff Singleton 



CLASS 

The Great Depression had a significant impact on 
class relations in the United States. Although the 
Depression did not create class divisions, it did help 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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CLASS 



to magnify the divisions that already existed. The 
working class, the group most likely to criticize cap- 
italism as immoral, was joined by growing ranks of 
middle-class Americans who not only sympathized 
with those in the working class but also began to 
question the system that had caused so much grief. 
These class divisions became a battle over values. 
As historian Robert S. McElvaine explains in his 
book The Great Depression (1984), the working class 
and middle class valued the ideals embodied in co- 
operative individualism, calling for more equity, co- 
operation, ethics, and justice in the economic sys- 
tem, while elite Americans remained wedded to the 
ideal of acquisitive individualism, which was gener- 
ally amoral, self-interested, and competitive. 

While motion pictures certainly provided an 
opportunity for people to escape from the economic 
and emotional hardships of the Depression, many 
of the films also offered critical windows on to that 
very world. Many of the most popular gangster 
films of the era, including Little Caesar (1930) and 
The Public Enemy (1931), offered critiques of unbri- 
dled acquisitive individualism. Other films, includ- 
ing I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) and 
Dead End (1937), offered more explicitly stinging 
critiques of the amoral marketplace that had rav- 
aged the lives of millions of moviegoers. One sign 
of the growing influence of the state in society is the 
fact that films in the post-1933 era increasingly por- 
trayed the federal government as a moral institu- 
tion capable of addressing real questions of inequity 
and injustice. 

While President Roosevelt proved adept at 
using class rhetoric to forge his New Deal coalition, 
he also found himself pushed further to the left by 
grassroots militancy on the streets and in the voting 
booths. In 1934, workers in San Francisco and Min- 
neapolis engaged in successful general strikes with 
a great deal of support from the middle class. The 
1934 congressional elections were a victory not only 
for Democrats but for those who were politically 
much further to the left than Roosevelt himself. 
Moreover, the popularity of governors Floyd Olson 
of Minnesota, who was elected on the Farmer- 
Labor Party ticket in 1930, and Philip La Follette of 
Wisconsin, who helped to bring that state's Social- 
ist and Progressive parties together in 1935, was a 



clear sign that many working-class and middle - 
class Americans were willing to consider radical al- 
ternatives. And perhaps most important, the phe- 
nomenal popularity of Louisiana senator Huey 
Long and "Radio Priest" Charles Coughlin, both of 
whom gathered a great deal of support from mil- 
lions of lower-middle-class Americans tenaciously 
trying to hold on to their status, was a clear sign 
that the early New Deal alone could not satiate the 
appetite of an increasingly discontented, vocal, and 
class-conscious (albeit not necessarily in the Marx- 
ist sense) populace. 

The growing influence of working-class Ameri- 
cans who questioned the morality of the market 
helped to convince Roosevelt that his political fu- 
ture lay with meeting their demands legislatively 
and not just rhetorically. The fruits of this influence 
were apparent in the most significant legislation of 
the second New Deal, including the 1935 National 
Labor Relations Act, which gave workers the legal 
right to bargain collectively and offered govern- 
ment oversight with the creation of the National 
Labor Relations Board. Congress also passed the 
Social Security Act in 1935, which provided unem- 
ployment insurance and old-age pensions to work- 
ers and their dependents. And finally, in 1938 Con- 
gress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which 
established minimum wages, maximum working 
hours, and child labor laws. All of these acts, al- 
though not completely supported by organized 
labor, insured that questions of equity would be- 
come a part of the emerging welfare state. In other 
words, the state would no longer simply protect 
property; rather, it would recognize class differ- 
ences and attempt to broker those differences. 

One of the most significant developments re- 
garding class relations during the Great Depression 
was the creation of the Committee for Industrial 
Organization (later called the Congress of Industri- 
al Organizations, or CIO) in 1935. While United 
Mine Workers president John L. Lewis became the 
organization's first leader, it is clear that the impe- 
tus for industrial unions arose from below, among 
the ranks of industrial workers who had been ex- 
cluded from the craft-oriented American Federa- 
tion of Labor (AFL). Although the CIO is best re- 
membered for organizing mass production 



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workers, it is also important to remember that it 
represented not just an organizational shift, but an 
ideological one as well. Unlike the AFL, which 
often excluded racial and ethnic minorities, the CIO 
unions confronted racism and segregation by invit- 
ing African Americans, eastern and southern Euro- 
pean immigrants, and other ethnic Americans into 
their organizations. The CIO also pioneered in the 
use of new tactics, including sit-down and slow- 
down strikes, which paved the way for unionization 
in some of the nation's most powerful industries, 
including most famously General Motors. Howev- 
er, the CIO grew increasingly conservative by the 
end of the decade by helping to contain grassroots 
militancy within the parameters set up by the state 
for union organizing and bargaining. 

Although the Great Depression exacerbated 
class differences between the working and elite 
classes, it also helped to remake the working class 
itself. As historian Lizabeth Cohen argues in her 
book Making a New Deal (1990), thousands of im- 
migrant and ethnic Americans who had previously 
identified primarily with their ethnic communities 
came to see themselves in class terms. Certainly 
this process had begun before the decade of the 
Depression, as thousands of immigrants participat- 
ed in a burgeoning national consumer culture and 
experienced the homogenizing influences of wel- 
fare capitalism during the 1920s. However, during 
the Depression, thousands of immigrant and ethnic 
Americans were disappointed by the inability of 
their own communities — from churches to ethnic 
banks to mutual aid societies — to meet the needs 
of their members. Increasingly, ethnic Americans, 
many of whom had joined CIO unions and had 
begun voting for the first time, began to look to- 
ward their unions and the state to address their 
needs. 

Social scientists, who had largely ignored class 
as a conceptual tool to explain society before 1929, 
grew increasingly interested in analyzing American 
society in class terms during the Great Depression. 
In their 1929 study Middletown, sociologists Robert 
Lynd and Helen Lynd played a pioneering role in 
developing the concept of class. Although they re- 
lied largely on a notion of class that revolved 
around income and occupation, they also paid close 



attention to social behavior, individual expecta- 
tions, and consumption patterns. In Muncie, Indi- 
ana, they identified two main classes — a business 
class and a working class. In a later study, Middle- 
town in Transition (1937), they further refined their 
definition of class by identifying six main classes. 
Based on these studies, the Lynds warned that ei- 
ther American democracy would transform the 
economy or that the economy, as represented by 
big business, would overwhelm and take over 
American democracy. 

Though less well known than the Lynds, social 
scientist W. Lloyd Warner also played an important 
role in creating new conceptions of class to explain 
American society. After taking part as a consultant 
in a study of industrial fatigue among workers at 
the Western Electric Plant in Hawthorn, Illinois, 
Warner began his own investigation into class rela- 
tions in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Like the 
Lynds, Warner identified six classes; however, he 
focused more on the cultural and social compo- 
nents of class by highlighting the important role 
that housing, neighborhoods, source of income, so- 
cial contacts, and voluntary activity played in creat- 
ing class divisions. While Warner largely accepted 
the necessity of class divisions because of the com- 
plex division of labor in modern industrial society, 
he nonetheless asserted that opportunity and mo- 
bility remained essential to maintaining a demo- 
cratic nation and ideals. 

See Also: AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR (AFL); 
CASTE AND CLASS; CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL 
ORGANIZATIONS (CIO); SOCIAL SCIENCE. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bernstein, Irving. A Caring Society: The New Deal, the 
Worker, and the Great Depression. 1985. 

Cohen, Lizabeth. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers 
in Chicago, 1919-1939. 1990. 

Fox, Richard Wightman. "Epitaph for Middletown: Rob- 
ert S. Lynd and the Analysis of Consumer Culture." 
In The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in 
American History, 1880-1980, edited by Richard W. 
Fox and T. J. lackson Lears. 1983. 

Fraser, Steve, and Gary Gerstle. The Rise and Tall of the 
New Deal Order, 1930-1980. 1989. 

Gilkeson, John S., Jr. "American Social Scientists and the 
Domestication of 'Class' 1929-1955." Journal of the 
History of the Behavioral Sciences 31 (1995): 331-346. 



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COHEN 



B E N 



A M I N 



Gordon, Colin. New Deals: Business, Labor, and Politics in 
America, 1920-1935. 1994. 

Jacobs, Meg. "'Democracy's Third Estate': New Deal Pol- 
itics and the Construction of a 'Consuming Public.'" 
International Labor and Working-Class History 55 
(1999): 27-51. 

Kelley, Robin. Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists 
During the Great Depression. 1990. 

Kessler-Harris, Alice. In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men, 
and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in 20th-century 
America. 2001. 

McElvaine, Robert S. The Great Depression: America, 
1929-1941, rev. edition. 1993. 

Vittoz, Stanley. New Deal Labor Policy and the American 
Industrial Economy. 1987. 

Kathy Mapes 



COHEN, BENJAMIN V. 

Benjamin Victor Cohen (September 23, 1894-Au- 
gust 15, 1983) was a well-known lawyer, public ser- 
vant, author, and New Dealer. Born in Muncie, In- 
diana, to a wealthy family, Cohen received a 
bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 
1914, a doctorate in jurisprudence from the Univer- 
sity of Chicago Law School in 1915, and a doctorate 
in judicial science from the Harvard Law School in 
1916. While at Harvard, Cohen met Felix Frankfurt- 
er, who became his mentor. Frankfurter, in turn, 
was the protege of Louis Brandeis, who was best 
known for his commitment to the small business 
ideal. Brandeis's ideas and Frankfurter's influence 
would have a great impact on Cohen's career. 

After graduation from Harvard, Cohen served 
as Judge Julian Mack's legal secretary in the federal 
circuit court system. In 1917, Cohen began working 
for the U.S. Shipping Board and, between 1919 and 
1922, he worked for the American Zionists. By 
1922, Cohen had decided to enter private practice 
while continuing to serve gratis for the National 
Consumers League and helping Frankfurter pre- 
pare a minimum-wage bill for women. By 1933, 
Cohen had achieved the confidence of his mentor, 
and Frankfurter recommended him to Franklin D. 
Roosevelt for service in his New Deal. 

Working closely with fellow Frankfurter pro- 
tege Thomas Corcoran, Cohen helped to draft a 



number of important New Deal laws in 1933 and 
1934, including the Truth-in-Securities Act and the 
Securities Exchange Act. Cohen also worked as 
legal counsel for Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes. 
Cohen's importance in New Deal legislation con- 
tinued to grow, especially after he worked on the 
1935 Public Utilities Holding Company Act, which 
regulated large utility corporations. Again working 
alongside Corcoran, Cohen contributed his legal 
expertise to such New Deal laws as the Rural Elec- 
trification Act (1935) and the Fair Labor Standards 
Act (1938). 

Cohen's political reputation was bruised when 
he became identified with Roosevelt's 1937 court- 
packing plan. Instead of working behind the 
scenes, Cohen now became a public figure subject 
to criticism by New Deal opponents. Also, his asso- 
ciation with court packing identified him even more 
with Tommy Corcoran who was already being la- 
beled as one of Roosevelt's political "hatchet" men. 

As World War II erupted, Cohen helped the 
president implement the Lend-Lease plan, which 
gave aid to countries fighting the Axis Powers. 
Cohen also served as legal counsel to America's 
wartime ambassador to Great Britain, John G. Wi- 
nant. As the war drew to a close, Cohen participat- 
ed in the Dumbarton Oaks conference, which set 
the stage for the formation of the United Nations. 
Cohen then served from 1948 to 1952 as a member 
of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. general assembly. 
Thereafter, Cohen retired to private life, although 
he remained active in Washington affairs. A private, 
humble man, Benjamin Cohen was a brilliant legal 
expert who used his talents to advance not only the 
New Deal, but world peace and disarmament. 

See Also: CORCORAN, THOMAS G.; FRANKFURTER, 
FELIX; SECURITIES REGULATION. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Lash, Joseph. Dealers and Dreamers: A New Look at the 
New Deal. 1988. 

Lasser, William. Benjamin V. Cohen: Architect of the New 
Deal. 2002. 

Schwartz, Jordan A. The New Dealers: Power Politics in the 
of Roosevelt. 1993. 

Michael V. Namorato 



186 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



COLLECTIVE 



R G A I N I N 6 



COLLECTIVE BARGAINING 

Collective bargaining, which is considered to be the 
main purpose of labor unions today, first gained 
permanent government sanction in the New Deal 
era. Collective bargaining is defined by the U.S. De- 
partment of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics as 
the process by which "representatives of employees 
(unions) and employers determine the conditions 
of employment through direct negotiation, normal- 
ly resulting in a written contract setting forth the 
wages, hours, and other conditions to be observed 
for a stipulated period." Since the founding of the 
American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1886, 
unions had sought to bargain collectively. This 
method worked for unions when they were power- 
ful enough to bargain directly with employers, or in 
times of national emergency, such as during World 
War I, when the federal government decided that 
the best interests of the nation were served by col- 
lective bargaining. It was not until the onset of the 
Great Depression, however, that a permanent gov- 
ernment body was created to promote collective 
bargaining agreements. 

Senator Robert Wagner of New York was the 
leading politician in the promotion of collective 
bargaining. Wagner advocated expanding the gov- 
ernment's role in planning the economy of the 
United States. As a part of the National Industrial 
Recovery Act, which allowed companies within tar- 
geted industries to form legal cartels and set prices 
and production quotas, Wagner insisted upon the 
insertion of section 7a, which guaranteed employ- 
ees the right to join unions of their own choosing 
and to bargain collectively. This was the first time 
that the government claimed the obligation to play 
a constructive role in managing industrial relations. 
The creation of this legislation was spurred by a bill 
introduced by Senator Hugo Black of Alabama, and 
drafted by the AFL, which would have created a 
thirty-hour workweek; although the National In- 
dustrial Recovery Act undermined that effort, the 
AFL enthusiastically endorsed the Act, section 7a in 
particular. 

Soon after enactment of the legislation, the Na- 
tional Labor Board (NLB) was formed to adjudicate 
labor disputes. The NLB had members drawn from 



industry, labor, and government. Wagner hoped 
the NLB would serve as a mediator between labor 
and management, but neither labor nor manage- 
ment was enthusiastic about this development. 
William M. Leiserson, who was appointed the 
NLB's secretary, warned Wagner that reliance upon 
mediation as a first step would simply reproduce 
the conflict within the NLB, which is indeed what 
happened. Leiserson recommended to Wagner that 
the NLB become an arbitral body that only consid- 
ered matters of policy, and that a separate body of 
mediators be established, which is the direction to- 
ward which the NLB slowly evolved. The NLB is- 
sued rulings regarding the behavior of the two sides 
in the course of collective bargaining, but it did not 
mediate disputes itself. The NLB declared that each 
side had obligations that it had to meet during the 
collective bargaining process — management had to 
meet and bargain with employee representatives 
and sign written contracts, and unions had to pres- 
ent grievances and demands to the employer before 
striking. By obliging management to meet with rep- 
resentatives of employees, the NLB began to devel- 
op the idea of majority rule within union represen- 
tation elections, which it began to oversee. 

In response to the strike wave of 1934, howev- 
er, it became apparent to the Roosevelt administra- 
tion that the NLB was ineffective. After obtaining 
passage from Congress of public resolution 44, in 
which Congress gave to the president the power to 
establish one or more labor boards for a one-year 
period, Roosevelt created the National Labor Rela- 
tions Board (NLRB), which had the authority to 
hold hearings and make findings of fact concerning 
violations of section 7a. Despite these changes, it 
became clear that new legislation was needed, and 
in 1935 the National Labor Relations Act, more 
popularly known as the Wagner Act, was passed. 
This act authorized the NLRB to oversee union 
elections in order to determine majority representa- 
tion of employees by unions. The act also autho- 
rized the NLRB to investigate "unfair labor prac- 
tices" by both employers and unions, and to seek 
injunctive relief from the courts while these investi- 
gations were ongoing. This induced both employ- 
ers and unions to seek collective bargaining agree- 
ments in signed contracts. Industrial strife was not 
ended by this legislation; numerous strikes took 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



187 



COLLIER 



JOHN 



place throughout the second half of the New Deal 
era, including the famous sit-down strike in Flint, 
Michigan, in early 1937. A structure was put in 
place, however, which eventually diminished the 
violence that had characterized strikes in earlier 
eras. 

See Also: AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR (AFL); 
CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS 
(CIO); NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT OF 
1935 (WAGNER ACT); NATIONAL LABOR 
RELATIONS BOARD (NLRB); ORGANIZED 
LABOR; WAGNER, ROBERT F. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bernstein, Irving. The New Deal Collective Bargaining Poli- 
cy. 1950. 

Dickman, Howard. Industrial Democracy in America: Ideo- 
logical Origins of National Labor Relations Policy. 1986. 

Tomlins, Christopher L. The State and the Unions: Labor 
Relations, Law, and the Organized Labor Movement in 
America, 1880-1960. 1985. 

United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor 
Statistics. Glossary. Available at: www.bls.gov/bls/ 
glossary.htm 

United States National Labor Relations Board. Home- 
page at: www.nlrb.gov 

Gregory Miller 



COLLIER, JOHN 

John Collier (May 4, 1884-May 8, 1968) was com- 
missioner of Indian affairs from 1933 to 1945. Col- 
lier championed Native American concerns and ad- 
vocated legislation under the New Deal banner to 
alleviate their suffering. Serving under Secretary of 
the Interior Harold L. Ickes, Collier, an astute pro- 
moter and publicist, held the commissionership of 
Indian affairs for twelve years, the longest reign in 
that division's history. During that time, a new con- 
cept of self-government emerged that delineated 
the federal government's approach to American In- 
dian policy and forever changed the way Native 
Americans defined themselves. 

A reformer of federal policy toward Native 
Americans, Collier was born in Atlanta, Georgia. 



He graduated from Atlanta High School, studied at 
Columbia University, worked as civic secretary of 
the People's Institute in New York City, edited the 
Civil Journal, which sanctioned progressive urban 
reform, and established the Home School, a Utopi- 
an experiment saturated with John Dewey's theo- 
ries. After watching Native American dances at 
Taos, New Mexico, in 1920, Collier recognized the 
importance of preserving tribal life. He taught soci- 
ology at San Francisco State College in the early 
1920s and then accepted an appointment as re- 
search agent for the Indian Welfare Committee of 
the General Federation of Women's Clubs. Op- 
posed to the Bursum Bill, named for U.S. Senator 
Holm O. Bursum of New Mexico, which would 
have terminated Pueblo water and land rights with- 
out proper remuneration, Collier successfully cam- 
paigned for its defeat. In 1923, one year before Con- 
gress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act, Collier 
organized and began serving as executive secretary 
of the American Indian Defense Association. 

A lobbyist in the nation's capital for a decade, 
Collier promulgated his views in various ways. He 
favored the termination of the land allotment sys- 
tem, supported the revamping of the Indian Bureau 
in an attempt to improve services and avoid mis- 
management, and advocated the cognizance and 
freedom of Native American cultures and the right 
of self-rule. Collier urged federal credit for reserva- 
tions, accepted Native religious independence, en- 
dorsed the Indian Oil Act of 1927, wrote essays for 
American Indian Life, and emphasized the necessity 
for conserving tribal resources. 

Collier's criticisms forced the Interior Depart- 
ment under Secretary Hubert Work and Indian Af- 
fairs Commissioner Charles Henry Burke to request 
an outside organization, the Brookings Institution, 
to examine the Indian Bureau. A task force led by 
Lewis Meriam submitted a report, The Problem of 
Indian Administration, issued in 1928. It concurred 
with some of Collier's suggestions, recommended 
an increase in federal appropriations for Native 
Americans, and proposed ending land allotment. 
Touring western reservations to investigate Native 
American living conditions and criticizing Interior 
Department officials under Secretary Ray L. Wilbur 
for not implementing the Meriam Report, Collier 



188 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



COLLIER 



JOHN 



kept himself visible and vocal during President 
Herbert Hoover's administration. 

In April 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt 
selected Collier to serve as commissioner of Indian 
affairs. With this appointment, Roosevelt offered a 
New Deal to Native Americans and provided Col- 
lier, who had an ally in First Lady Eleanor Roose- 
velt, with the opportunity to put his ideas into prac- 
tice. Almost immediately changes occurred for 
Native Americans. Collier approved congressional 
legislation to compensate Pueblos whose lands had 
been lost to encroaching white settlers. He encour- 
aged the dissolution of the Board of Indian Com- 
missioners, ended the selling of Native trust land, 
and by limiting missionary work at Native Ameri- 
can schools, he affirmed the right of freedom of reli- 
gion for native peoples. Active in advancing Native 
American education and civil liberties, Collier sur- 
faced as a dedicated and competent public official 
during the Great Depression. 

The most important piece of Native American 
legislation that passed Congress under Collier's 
stewardship was the Indian Reorganization Act of 
1934, which marked a major turning point in the re- 
lationship between Native Americans and the Unit- 
ed States government. It signaled a fundamental 
reversal of federal policy. Instead of forcing Native 
Americans to forsake their traditions for new lives 
on farms or cities, the 1934 act, also known as the 
Wheeler-Howard Bill, conceded their right to exist 
as a separate culture. Tribes were allowed to form 
their own governments, and reservations continued 
to be strongholds of Native identity. The main pro- 
visions of the Indian Reorganization Act were to re- 
store to Native Americans management of their as- 
sets, prevent further depletion of reservation 
resources, build a sound economic foundation for 
the people of the reservations, and return to Native 
Americans local self-government on a tribal basis. 
The measure also established federal revolving 
credit to foster economic development and scholar- 
ships to encourage education. Government officials 
vigorously pursued the objectives of the bill until 
the outbreak of World War II. 

Other reforms in Collier's New Deal for Native 
Americans included the creation in 1935 of an Indi- 
an Arts and Crafts Board within the Interior De- 



partment to market the production and distribution 
of Native goods. The Johnson-O'Malley Act of 1934 
offered general federal assistance to some Native 
American students to attend public schools and 
permitted the Indian Office to contract with the 
states to provide education, health, and welfare ser- 
vices to Natives on reservations within their bor- 
ders. The Indian Civilian Conservation Corps en- 
listed Natives in relief programs. Collier also 
secured funds for Native service activities from the 
Public Works Administration. In fact, New Deal 
agencies funded 29 percent of Native service ex- 
penditures in 1934. 

Despite his lofty aspirations, Collier frequently 
suffered setbacks. He met with native opposition to 
certain regulations and proposals and encountered 
criticism from Congress. Secretary of War Henry 
Stimson repudiated Collier's suggestion that the 
government create separate Native American mili- 
tary units for wartime purposes, preferring an inte- 
grated service during World War II. These and 
other problems enveloped Collier at times during 
his tenure. 

Collier envisioned a time when Native Ameri- 
can tribes would have their own governmental in- 
stitutions to replace the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 
He believed that consolidation of individual and 
communal land under a tribal government was the 
means by which to achieve this independence. Puz- 
zled by the lack of native support for the Indian Re- 
organization Act, Collier learned that his plans for 
consolidation offended tribes who had come to 
value personal ownership of land, some of whom 
angrily accused the commissioner of communism. 

Following his resignation as commissioner of 
Indian affairs in January 1945, three months prior 
to the death of President Roosevelt, Collier became 
president of the Institute of Ethnic Affairs in Wash- 
ington, D. C. Later he taught sociology and anthro- 
pology at the City College of New York, pursued re- 
search on Native America, and wrote newspaper 
columns. In 1964 Collier received a distinguished 
service award from the Interior Department headed 
by Stewart L. Udall. Collier died in Taos, New Mex- 
ico, having left a significant impression on govern- 
ment relations with Native Americans during the 
Great Depression. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



189 



COMICS 



See Also: INDIAN NEW DEAL; INDIAN 

REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1934; NATIVE 
AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE GREAT 
DEPRESSION ON. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Collier, John. The Indians of the Americas. 1947. 

Collier, John. Papers. Yale University Library, New 
Haven, Conn. 

Deloria, Vine, Jr., ed. The Indian Reorganization Act: Con- 
gresses and Bills. 2002. 

Kelly, Lawrence C. The Assault on Assimilation: John Col- 
lier and the Origins of Indian Policy Reform. 1983. 

Parman, Donald. The Navajos and the New Deal. 1976. 

Philp, Kenneth R. John Collier's Crusade for Indian Reform. 
1977. 

Taylor, Graham D. The New Deal and American Indian 
Tribalism: The Administration of the Indian Reorgani- 
zation Act, 1934-45. 1980. 

Leonard Schlup 



COMICS 



The comics had been a familiar daily distraction for 
Americans ever since Richard Outcault's The Yellow 
Kid debuted in Joseph Pulitzer's New York World in 
1896. But it was during the Depression decade that 
they truly earned an enduring place in American 
culture, not only in the newspapers but also in the 
pulp magazines known as comic books. Still com- 
monly known as "the funnies," comics of the 1930s 
actually branched out into genres of adventure, 
crime, and superhero fantasy. Generally dismissed 
as escapist entertainment of little social value, 
comic books in fact exerted a powerful influence on 
the popular imagination. They confronted the poli- 
tics, contradictions, and social dislocations of the 
Great Depression in a way that young readers espe- 
cially responded to. They presented a means for 
those readers to purchase entry into uniquely ap- 
pealing fantasy worlds. And in the process they 
helped to invent the concept of commercial youth 
culture. 

With a daily audience in the millions, newspa- 
per comics were the property of powerful and 



mostly conservative syndicates like the Chicago Tri- 
bune, United Features, and William Randolph 
Hearst's King Features. Popular funnies such as 
Popeye, Mutt and Jeff, and/oe Palooka dealt in apoliti- 
cal slapstick humor, sometimes with vague populist 
undertones. But the Tribune's serialized adventure 
strip Little Orphan Annie featured the benevolent 
corporate billionaire, Daddy Warbucks, and rankled 
the Roosevelt administration with its attacks on the 
New Deal. Other comic strips, such as Buck Rogers, 
Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and The Phantom, offered he- 
roic fantasies set in future times, distant worlds, and 
remote jungles — places where injustice could be re- 
dressed and order restored without challenging the 
status quo at home. 

But there was plenty of domestic disorder else- 
where in the comics page. Based on the FBI's popu- 
larized crusade against organized crime, Chester 
Gould's Dick Tracy was an unusually streetwise 
strip featuring an angular-jawed detective and a 
wonderfully grotesque rogues gallery. The quintes- 
sential Depression-era comic strip, Dick Tracy 
picked up where the Hollywood gangster films of 
the early 1930s left off, and it played to the popular 
taste for urban violence and mayhem. 

In 1933 the Eastern Color Printing Company 
published the pioneering Funnies on Parade. Featur- 
ing reprinted newspaper comic strips on pulp paper 
bound together under a slick cover with a ten-cent 
price tag, it launched a new publishing trend soon 
to be called comic books. By 1935 some comic 
books began to feature original material not owned 
by the syndicates. None of these made much of a 
commercial impact until 1938, when National Peri- 
odical's (later known as DC Comics) Action Comics 
hit the newsstands featuring on its cover a cos- 
tumed superhero named Superman. The creation 
of teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Super- 
man immediately broadened the popularity of 
comic books and gave the medium its distinct iden- 
tity. Within a year, Superman's comic books were 
selling close to a million copies per month. His suc- 
cess led very quickly to a proliferation of costumed 
heroes, including Batman, Captain Marvel, Green 
Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Captain America. 

Unlike their more conservative elders in the 
newspapers, comic books proved very adaptable to 



190 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



COMICS 



idealistic, absurdist, and culturally subversive mate- 
rial aimed directly at youth sensibilities. Most cre- 
ators working in the industry were young urban 
sons of immigrants with liberal politics and populist 
social values. Based in and around New York City, 
the fledgling comic book industry comprised novice 
but enthusiastic artists and writers, experienced il- 
lustrators down on their luck, and businessmen 
who shared an "anything-for-a-buck" philosophy 
of publishing. Resulting from this unusual associa- 
tion was a comic-book image of Depression-era 
America, crude and outrageous, yet oddly sincere 
and hopeful as well. 

The superheroes symbolized American ideals 
filtered through the cynical reality of the 1930s. 
Typically cast as "champions of the oppressed," 
colorfully costumed heroes aligned themselves 
squarely on the side of common people. Batman 
apprehended crooks who eluded the police and the 
courts on technicalities. Superman's enemies in- 
cluded greedy stockbrokers, heartless mine- 
owners, and wicked munitions manufacturers. The 
Green Lantern protected poor citizens from mali- 
cious corporate leaders and their crooked lawyers. 
By acting as a benevolent outside force to redress 
the power imbalance between virtuous common 
people and abusive corporate interests, su- 
perheroes championed the interventionist and col- 
lectivist spirit of the New Deal. Comic books im- 
plicitly, and sometimes explicitly, endorsed 
President Roosevelt's leadership and identified the 
enemies of the New Deal as the enemies of the na- 
tion. 

Garish and direct, the entry of comic books into 
American discourse was the cultural equivalent to 
a sock on the jaw. Whereas adults generally read 
and adored the newspaper funnies — some of which 
were already being hailed as national treasures — 
comic books had a polarizing effect on the public. 
Even as they won legions of young fans, comic 
books sometimes left their parents bewildered and 
concerned. Critics accused them of inducing eye- 
strain, degrading cultural sensibilities, and desensi- 
tizing children towards violence. Comic books thus 
pointed toward a new era of "generation gaps" di- 
vided along lines of cultural preference. Initially re- 
garded as a fad for young people in need of Depres- 




National Periodical's Action Comics, featuring a superhero 
named Superman, hit the newsstands in 1938. Within a year, 
Superman comic books were selling close to one million copies 
per month. This young fan was photographed in 1942. Library 
of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI 
Collection 



sion-era escapism, few would have predicted that 
these comics would still be a vital part of American 
culture into the twenty-first century. 

See Also: CARTOONS, POLITICAL; HUMOR; 
SUPERMAN. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Benton, Mike. Superhero Comics of the Golden Age: The Il- 
lustrated History. 1992. 

Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and 
Klay. 2000. 

Feiffer, Jules. The Great Comic Book Heroes. 1965. 

Gordon, Ian. Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, 
1890-1945. 1998. 

Goulart, Ron. The Adventurous Decade. 1975. 

Gould, Chester. Dick Tracy: The Thirties, Tommy Guns, 
and Hard Times. 1978. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



191 



COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION 



( C C C ) 



Harvey, Robert C. Children of the Yellow Kid: The Evolu- 
tion of the American Comic Strip. 1999. 

Wright, Bradford W. Comic Book Nation: The Transforma- 
tion of Youth Culture in America. 2001. 

Bradford W. Wright 



COMMODITY CREDIT 
CORPORATION (CCC) 

The boost in the farm economy in mid-1933 occa- 
sioned by early New Deal efforts in monetary re- 
form and commodity reduction was threatened by 
a bearish fall slump unless significant amounts of 
cash could be quickly infused into farmers' pockets. 
Demands for inflated currency and above-market 
government loans reflected panic from both the 
Congress and the farm belt, especially the cash- 
deprived cotton South. 

The Roosevelt administration showed no panic 
but acceded to a suggestion apparently made by 
Oscar G. Johnston, a big-time cotton planter from 
Mississippi and finance director of the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administration (AAA), that the gov- 
ernment make ten-cent-per-pound non-recourse 
loans to cotton farmers who agreed to participate 
in the New Deal's 1934 cotton reduction program. 
Such a loan would be slightly less than actual or 
spot market prices. The controversial non-recourse 
feature, which Jerome Frank, head of the AAA's 
Legal Division, thought was outrageous and a dan- 
gerous precedent, freed the borrower from any lia- 
bility if prices fell. In such a case, the government 
would possess title to the cotton, but nothing more. 
When President Franklin Roosevelt told Jesse 
Jones, head of the Reconstruction Finance Corpora- 
tion, to provide for the loans, a new agency, the 
Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), was created 
to make them. With Congress out of session the 
CCC was authorized by Executive Order 6340 and 
chartered under the laws of Delaware on October 
17, 1933. The quasi-public CCC was incorporated 
by Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace, Trea- 
sury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, and Oscar John- 
ston from the AAA. The new agency represented a 
creative legal and fiscal response to a very serious 



economic threat to the cotton economy in the fall 
of 1933. Millions of loan dollars soon flowed into 
the cotton belt covering approximately two-and-a- 
half million new bales, thus permitting orderly 
marketing by producers. In fact, by early 1934, 
prices rose above the loans, vindicating the early 
process. 

Developed to dispense funds to producers and 
support normal lending institutions, the CCC soon 
helped rescue commodities other than cotton. Ac- 
cording to Commodity Credit's own internal study, 
its loans throughout the Depression (October 1933 
to June 1940) pumped nearly $900 million into the 
cotton economy, more than $470 million into corn, 
nearly $167 million into wheat, more than $46 mil- 
lion into tobacco, and smaller amounts into figs, 
pecans, raisins, peanuts, and other crops. The result 
was an increase in commodity prices — nearly dou- 
bling cotton and tobacco prices, even more for corn, 
and dramatic increases for other commodities. The 
balance sheet registered a mere $26 million loss 
during that time. Negatively, in some years, the 
CCC made loans excessively above market levels 
which led to the amassing of huge carry-over com- 
modities; only World War II relieved the pressure 
and avoided a potential disaster. Positively, by em- 
ploying a pragmatic mixture of government inter- 
vention and market forces, the CCC promoted price 
stability and orderly commodity marketing. In 
doing so, it quietly became an excellent antidote to 
poverty in the Great Depression and one of the 
most effective institutions to emerge from the New 
Deal. 

See Also: FARM POLICY; FEDERAL SURPLUS 
COMMODITIES CORPORATION; 
RECONSTRUCTION FINANCE CORPORATION 
(RFC). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Benedict, Murray R. Farm Policies of the United States, 
1790-1950: A Study of Their Origins and Development. 
1953. 

Benedict, Murray R., and Oscar C. Stine. The Agricultural 
Commodity Programs: Two Decades of Experience. 
1956. 

Jones, Jesse, and Edward Angly. Fifty Billion Dollars: My 
Thirteen Years with the RFC (1932-1945). 1951. 



192 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



COMMUNICATIONS AND THE 



PRESS 



Nelson, Lawrence J. King Cotton's Advocate: Oscar G. 
Johnston and the New Deal. 1999. 

New York Times, January 9, 1941. 

Records of the Commodity Credit Corporation. Record 
Group 161. National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

Lawrence J. Nelson 



COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934 

The congressional architects of federal policy regu- 
lating communications were determined to not 
make the mistakes Congress had made in the de- 
velopment of the railroads. In that case Congress 
had invited corruption by distributing lands to the 
owners of the railroads, and aided in what became 
a continuing problematic relationship between pri- 
vate ownership of railroads and the industry's pub- 
lic service function. 

The Communications Act of 1927 was an an- 
nouncement by progressives that the federal gov- 
ernment would own and administer the airwaves. 
The 1927 legislation established an experimental 
commission to oversee communications; the Com- 
munications Act of 1934 made that body, the Fed- 
eral Communications Commission (FCC), perma- 
nent. The Communications Act of 1927 was built 
upon the belief that the new technology of radio 
would serve the public by facilitating national edu- 
cation and the dissemination of valuable informa- 
tion collected by the federal government, such as 
weather reports to aid agriculture. The act also ad- 
dressed the potential use of radio in transportation, 
and anticipated that seagoing vessels, for example, 
would come to rely on radio communication in that 
same way the railroads had relied on the telegraph. 

The Communications Act of 1934 — a forty- 
page document that was compiled after a single day 
of hearings — reaffirmed the FCC's authority and 
the federal government's control, but it also ad- 
dressed the relationship between local radio sta- 
tions and new national networks, a relationship 
that would produce confusion and political conflict 
for years to come. Later additions to the 1934 act 
extended the government's responsibility for public 
education and the dissemination of news, and pro- 



vided for licensing with controls and limits that 
were politically useful. These and later amend- 
ments to the Communications Act of 1934 have 
continued to wrestle with the evolving relationship 
between the communications industry and the fed- 
eral government. Try as they might, the progres- 
sives who had shaped the Communications Act of 
1927 reached the same point their predecessors had 
reached in their effort to require national control 
over the railroads. By providing for local ownership 
of radio stations, the authors of the Communica- 
tions Act of 1934 continued the debate between 
local independence and national control that had 
tormented the railroads. 

See Also: COMMUNICATIONS AND THE PRESS; 
RADIO. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

McChesney, Robert W. Telecommunications, Mass Media, 
and Democracy: The Battle for Control of U.S. Broad- 
casting, 1928-1935. 1993. 

Paglin, Max D. A Legislative History of the Communications 
Act of 1934. 1989. 

Rosen, Philip T. Modern Stentors: Radio Broadcasters and 
the Federal Government, 1920-1934. 1980. 

Barry Dean Karl 



COMMUNICATIONS AND THE 
PRESS 

Modern communications had congealed during the 
1920s. Fashion and design, news, film, radio, pro- 
motion, and popular culture became intertwined 
and profitable as corporate entities. They projected 
public excitement about modern consumer culture, 
often from New York and Los Angeles, while 
slighting regional and ethnic variety. The conden- 
sation of news, seen in the newly established Read- 
er's Digest, Time Magazine, the tabloid press, and the 
fast paced newsreels, exuded a gauzy glorification 
of the modern that often mocked traditional values 
while ostensibly speaking for the "democratic mar- 
ket." 

With the Great Depression, the political stakes 
related to the corporate definitions of news and 



ENCYCLOPEDIA T THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



193 



COMMUNICATIONS AND T H E PRESS 



rrwt. 




■w&w 



Depression-era headlines in the San Francisco Examiner, photographed by Dorothea Lange in January 1939. Library of Congress, 
Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



prevalent cultural values took on sharper relief and 
more urgency. The sliding economy devastated the 
communications industry, while business slipped in 
public esteem. Movie attendance was off by a quar- 
ter and many of the major studios declared bank- 
ruptcy. Newspaper circulation was down; advertis- 
ing revenue was off 45 percent. In this context, 



however, the consequences of bringing sound and 
sight together for the first time in feature films and 
newsreels were far reaching but subtle. Half of 
American homes had a radio by the mid 1930s. 
Warren Susman has written that "sound helped 
mold uniform national responses; it helped create 
or reinforce uniform national values and beliefs in 



194 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



COMMUNICATIONS AND THE 



PRESS 



a way that no previous medium had ever before 
been able to do. Roosevelt was able to create a new 
kind of Presidency and a new kind of political and 
social power through his brilliant use of the medi- 
um." 

Franklin Roosevelt's ability to make news was 
reinforced by his adept use of press conferences (he 
held 337 in his first term alone) and fireside chats. 
Photographers collaborated by not featuring him as 
a man without the use of his legs. Rivals such as 
Senator Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin 
competed with Roosevelt for attention through 
commercial radio, and all of them received thou- 
sands of letters from listeners each week. 

The National Industrial Recovery Act, through 
its codes of fair competition, put the stamp of ap- 
proval on media oligopolies in 1933. The next year 
Roosevelt signed the momentous Communications 
Act, which updated the 1927 Radio Act and created 
the Federal Communications Commission. Corpo- 
rate media gained a largely compliant commission 
and what was lost in the legislative rush was any 
significant place for noncommercial or educational 
broadcasting. As Robert McChesney has shown, 
NBC and a gaggle of lawyers and lobbyists re- 
framed questions about the value of noncommer- 
cial stations so that network control of broadcast 
frequencies was made to look patriotic. Educational 
radio was effectively limited, and commercial 
broadcasters were given free use of the public air- 
waves with little financial return to the public or 
control by regulators. That structure has dominated 
American cultural life and the communications in- 
dustry with few challenges ever since. 

Modern propaganda was being developed in 
Germany during the same years that New Dealers 
experimented with forms of mass persuasion. 
America's limited efforts resulted in controversy, 
such as the response to Pare Lorentz's pathbreak- 
ing Resettlement Administration documentary The 
Plow That Broke the Plains (1936), which highlighted 
the plight of those in the Dust Bowl and implicitly 
called for greater federal assistance. Republicans 
decried its message as overly partisan in an election 
year. 

Reporting on social issues took on new urgen- 
cy, as writers traveled about the land as never be- 




A boy in Chicago sells the March 21, 1942, issue of The 
Chicago Defender, a leading African-American newspaper. 
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI 
Collection 



fore. They developed a passion for documenting 
concrete facts and facing authentic misery by ob- 
serving conditions firsthand, then translating their 
concerns into powerful writing, seen notably in the 
work of Edmund Wilson, Lorena Hickok, and 
James Agee, and in magazines such as Survey 
Graphic and Life. The documentary form expanded 
through the widespread use of photojournalism, 
under both government auspices and commercial 
syndicates. Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke- 
White, Walker Evans, and Paul Strand all galva- 
nized public attention through the sensitivity and 
intimacy of their photographs. The picture of pov- 
erty described in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes 
of Wrath (1939) was so powerful that it was spun off 
as a feature film, although director John Ford gave 
the story a more conservative slant. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA Of THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



195 



COMMUNICATIONS AND T 



PRESS 



Newspaper chains, largely controlled by 
ideologically conservative owners, featured editori- 
als that bristled with anti-Roosevelt invective, while 
their news columns often dished out the New Deal 
press releases. The larger chains included those 
controlled by William Randolph Hearst, Roy How- 
ard, and Colonel Robert McCormick. New maga- 
zines created during the Depression years, includ- 
ing Life, Look and Fortune, all featured compelling 
photo essays. 

Interpretive reporting, columnists, and special- 
ized experts became more widely read in the 1930s 
as well. Louis Stark of the New York Times became 
the preeminent expert on labor relations. Promi- 
nent political columnists included Walter Lippman 
and David Lawrence. Dorothy Thompson wrote on 
international affairs for the Herald Tribune. Drew 
Pearson initiated his popular political gossip col- 
umn. Americans could read the right-wing vitriol of 
Westbrook Pegler or the more gentle counsel of 
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's column "My Day." 

Censorship of news stories, feature films, and 
literature included such examples as the banning of 
Henry Miller's book Tropic of Cancer (1934). The 
Catholic Legion of Decency pressured Hollywood 
to adopt the Production Code in 1934. Yet in 1931, 
a landmark Supreme Court decision, Near v. Min- 
nesota, had overturned state gag laws as unconsti- 
tutional forms of prior restraint, thus strengthening 
First Amendment guarantees. 

Depression-era promotional strategies, the 
measurement of the public taste, and altered de- 
signs for consumer goods were masterfully ex- 
plored in two books by Roland Marchand. He notes 
how advertising appeals often reinforced consum- 
ers' guilt over their economic failure as personal 
rather than systemic while championing products 
to make them more successful or attractive job ap- 
plicants. Public relations efforts sought to identify 
corporations as patriotic community builders rather 
than union busters. Opinion surveys were becom- 
ing institutionalized, most often identified through 
the work of George Gallup or Elmo Roper and their 
organizations. 

The prevailing view of communications has 
long told a story of growing homogenization of the 
public through the mass media. Propaganda 



studies that began emanating from universities in 
larger numbers by the 1930s reinforced such a view. 
Yet in recent years, scholars have focused on resis- 
tance to mainstream media by workers, ethnic 
groups, and diverse regional affinities. The continu- 
ing attraction of "race movies" and the black press, 
the regional theaters promoted by the Federal The- 
atre Project, and the work of regional muralists, 
such as Thomas Hart Benton, all helped promote 
diverse local contexts, ideas, and images. Spanish- 
language radio had its first female host in 1932 
when Maria Latigo Hernandez became host of a 
show called La Voz de las Americas, a daily afternoon 
program on KABC in San Antonio. Hernandez 
used the show as a platform for civil rights and 
other local issues. That same year the Japanese 
American Citizens League, organized in 1929 in 
California, first published Pacific Citizen, aimed at 
combating anti-Japanese sentiment in the United 
States. 

Labor unions initiated their own newspapers, 
journals, and documentary film units during the 
1930s. The Film and Photo League was created in 
the early 1930s by radical documentary filmmakers, 
some of whom were associated with the Commu- 
nist International. The League covered strikes, hun- 
ger marches, racism, and other issues of social ineq- 
uity that were often ignored by the mainstream 
media. Upton Sinclair, the famous writer and critic, 
ran for the governorship of California in 1934 and 
lost, but he aroused a strong constituency and the 
powerful wrath of the conservative movie moguls, 
who used newsreels and a major media campaign 
to bury his candidacy. In Lords of the Press (1938), 
journalist George Seldes attacked William Ran- 
dolph Hearst and groups like the National Associa- 
tion of Manufacturers for assisting Spain's Francis- 
co Franco, Germany's Adolf Hitler, and Italy's 
Benito Mussolini. 

Americans were soon drawn to the crackling 
urgency of Edward R. Murrow's broadcasts describ- 
ing the London bombings. Yet fundamental ques- 
tions addressing the democratization of informa- 
tion and the oligarchic power of commercial media 
raised by Seldes and others had largely been fi- 
nessed during the previous decade, and the new 
wartime climate would obfuscate them even more. 



196 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



COMMUNIST 



R T Y 



See Also: ADVERTISING IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION; 
COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934; FEDERAL 
COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC); 
HOLLYWOOD AND THE FILM INDUSTRY; 
RADIO. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Best, Gary Dean. The Critical Press and the New Deal: The 
Press Versus Presidential Power, 1933-1938. 1993. 

Carlebach, Michael L. American Photojournalism Comes of 
Age. 1997. 

Emery, Michael, and Edwin Emery. The Press and Ameri- 
ca: An Interpretive History of the Mass Media, 6th edi- 
tion. 1988. 

Fielding, Raymond. The March of Time, 1935-1951. 1978. 

Jowett, Garth. Film: The Democratic Art. 1976. 

Lange, Dorothea, and Paul Schuster Taylor. An American 
Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion in the Thirties. 
1939. 

Marchand Roland. Advertising the American Dream: Mak- 
ing Way for Modernity, 1920-1940. 1985. 

Marchand, Roland. Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise 
of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American 
Big Business. 1998. 

Marzolf, Marion. Civilizing Voices: American Press Criti- 
cism, 1880-1950. 1991. 

McChesney, Robert W. Telecommunications, Mass Media, 
and Democracy: The Battle for the Control of U.S. 
Broadcasting, 1928-1935. 1993. 

Mitchell, Greg. The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sin- 
clair's Race for Governor of California and the Birth of 
Media Politics. 1993. 

"The 1930s in Print: Magazines." America in the 1930s. 
American Studies at University of Virginia. Available 
at: www.xroads.virginia.edu/&thksim;1930s/PRINT/ 
magazines.html 

Ponder, Stephen. Managing the Press: Origins of the Media 
Presidency, 1897-1933. 1999. 

Roffman, Peter, and Jim Purdy. The Hollywood Social 
Problem Film: Madness, Despair, and Politics from the 
Depression to the Fifties. 1981. 

Rorty, James. Our Master's Voice: Advertising. 1934. 

Susman, Warren. Culture as History: The Transformation 
of American Society in the Twentieth Century. 1984. 

William, Stott. Documentary Expression and Thirties Amer- 
ica. 1973. 

Winfield, Betty Houchin. FDR and the News Media. 1990. 

Gregory W. Bush 



COMMUNIST PARTY 



The Communist Party of the United States 
(CPUSA) dominated the Left during the 1930s and 
was in the forefront of struggles for social change. 
From the beginning of the Great Depression to the 
onset of World War II, the party enjoyed unprece- 
dented influence and attained its highest member- 
ship totals. With added contingents of fellow trav- 
elers and numerous sympathizers, the Communist 
Party had considerable impact on reform and pro- 
test movements of the time. 

Central to the Communist Party's growth and 
stature was its quick and ready response to the im- 
mediate needs and concerns of the masses of peo- 
ple to conditions stemming from the country's eco- 
nomic crisis. During the period, the party either 
initiated or substantially contributed to several 
highly visible grassroots struggles, among them the 
agitation on behalf of the unemployed, the fight for 
black rights, the antifascist campaign, and the 
unionization of workers. 

A number of factors coalesced to place the party 
in a favorable position to assume a leading role in 
Depression-era struggles. Internally, the factional 
fighting that had occupied the party for much of the 
1920s was settled with the expulsion of party leader 
Jay Lovestone and the ascension of a three-man 
secretariat consisting of William Z. Foster, William 
Weinstone, and Earl Browder. The leadership was 
further stabilized in 1934 with the election of 
Browder as general secretary; Browder led the party 
for the remainder of the 1930s and through the war 
years, directing policies and activities with a mini- 
mum of dissension. Moreover, the party had a 
functional base from which to launch its cam- 
paigns, and a skilled and disciplined cadre of expe- 
rienced workers. Through the Trade Union Educa- 
tional League and its successor, the Trade Union 
Unity League, party members had worked diligent- 
ly to organize workers and gained credibility as de- 
termined and forthright fighters. The party had 
other established wings with solid reputations, in- 
cluding the International Labor Defense (ILD) and 
the Young Communist League, and quickly formed 
others to appeal to specific groups. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



197 



COMMUNIST PARTY 



Additionally, the party's critique of capitalism 
meant that it was ideologically armed to deal with 
the economic cataclysm. "Third period" analysis 
(first articulated at the Sixth World Congress of the 
Communist International [Comintern] anticipated 
a crisis in Western capitalism and predicted eco- 
nomic collapse followed by a revolutionary up- 
swing. Accordingly, Communists expected to seize 
the time, aggressively assume leadership, and lead 
the disgruntled masses in a radical working-class 
movement. By virtue of its political stance, the party 
offered explanations and alternatives and was 
poised for its anticipated vanguard role. 

Despite the opportune circumstances, the 
party's sectarianism hindered its effectiveness. In 
accordance with third period analysis, the Commu- 
nist Party saw itself as the leading light of the 
movement and thus disdained alliances and coali- 
tions with groups with similar interests and con- 
cerns. Party rhetoric was vociferous in attacks on 
reformists and other radicals, whom it wildly la- 
beled as enemies of the working class and "social 
fascists." Hence, Communist stridency precluded 
any cooperation with likeminded progressives and 
for the first half of the decade kept the party isolat- 
ed from the mainstream of American liberalism. 

Despite its sectarian stance, the party's accom- 
plishments were substantial. In March of 1930, 
Communists launched an unemployment cam- 
paign with nationwide demonstrations. Nearly half 
a million people in over thirty cities answered the 
call, with an estimated 100,000 participating in New 
York alone. The party followed up with the organi- 
zation of unemployed councils and the staging of 
local and national demonstrations. The party's pro- 
gram included demands for emergency relief, un- 
employment insurance, no evictions, and a seven- 
hour workday and five-day workweek. Through the 
councils, communist organizers called attention to 
the plight of the unemployed, obtained some con- 
crete benefits for them, and gave political voice to 
suffering masses. 

In addition to its activities with the unemployed 
the party expanded its outreach to African Ameri- 
cans. In keeping with the mandates of the Sixth 
World Congress, which defined blacks as an op- 
pressed nation within a nation requiring special at- 



tention, the CPUSA was intent on representing it- 
self as the party of black Americans. In 1932 (and 
again in 1936 and 1940) an African American, 
James W. Ford, was the vice-presidential nominee 
on the Communist Party ticket. Beyond symbolic 
gestures, Communists aggressively recruited blacks 
and courageously entered the hostile South, where 
they attempted to organize blacks and whites to- 
gether in defiance of law and etiquette. Facing con- 
siderable peril, in 1931 they helped form a share- 
croppers union in Alabama that sought better 
conditions and fairer treatment for agricultural 
workers. 

The party probably made its greatest inroads 
with blacks through the ILD's vigorous defense of 
black prisoners. The group's long-running cam- 
paign surrounding the "Scottsboro Boys," nine 
black youths convicted of raping two white women 
in Alabama in 1931, attracted worldwide attention 
and contributed greatly to the party's image as a 
militant opponent of racism and discrimination. 

By the end of 1934, the party had began moder- 
ating its tone and moving closer to cooperation 
with other groups. The Seventh World Congress of 
the Comintern affirmed the shift in mid-1935 with 
its call for a united front of democratic forces to 
combat the growing threat of fascism. Attacks on 
liberals and socialists ceased as the CPUSA sought 
alliances with groups that it had formerly assailed. 
This new policy, the People's or Popular Front (later 
rechristened the Democratic Front), was reflected 
in support for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and 
New Deal policies, the abandonment of dual 
unionism, and generally a less doctrinaire and sec- 
tarian posture. In the wake of this changed attitude, 
the CPUSA took the lead in uniting its National 
Student League with the Socialist Student League 
for Industrial Democracy in 1935 to form the Amer- 
ican Student Union (ASU). The ASU combined ac- 
tivism on college campuses with involvement in 
labor, antifascist, and civil rights issues. In the 
South, the ASU had its close counterpart in the 
Southern Negro Youth Congress (SNYC), a federa- 
tion of black youth groups brought together by 
young African -American Communists in 1937. 
With a base originally in Richmond, Virginia, the 
SNYC spread to several southern states, where it 
spearheaded labor and civil rights initiatives. 



191 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS ((10 



The Popular Front's most enduring success was 
in the area of labor. John L. Lewis, head of the 
Committee for (later Congress of) Industrial Orga- 
nizations (CIO), relied heavily on experienced and 
skilled Communist organizers when he undertook 
the task of unionizing the mass productions indus- 
tries. Communists and others strongly linked to the 
party could be found at nearly every level of the 
early CIO and came to dominate a number of CIO 
unions. 

The CPUSA's successful foray into mainstream 
progressive movements came to an abrupt halt with 
the 1939 Nazi-Soviet nonaggression treaty. Al- 
though membership was largely unaffected, Demo- 
cratic Front alliances dissolved because the party's 
shift from collective security to neutrality seemed a 
betrayal of its previously principled stand against 
fascism. The party sought to resurrect its former al- 
liances during the 1940s, but its credibility had been 
undermined and its image badly tarnished. 

See Also: ALABAMA SHARECROPPER'S UNION; 

AMERICAN STUDENT UNION; BROWDER EARL; 
FOSTER WILLIAM Z.; INTERNATIONAL LABOR 
DEFENSE (ILD); POPULAR FRONT; SCOTTSBORO 
CASE; SOUTHERN NEGRO YOUTH CONGRESS 
(SNYC). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Draper, Theodore. Roots of American Communism. 1957. 

Draper, Theodore. American Communism and Soviet Rus- 
sia: The Formative Period. 1960. 

Klehr, Harvey, and John Earl Haynes. The American Com- 
munist Movement: Storming Heaven Itself. 1992. 

Klehr, Harvey. The Heyday of American Communism: The 
Depression Decade. 1984. 

Ottanelli, Fraser M. The Communist Party of the United 
States: From the Depression to World War II. 1991. 

Gwen Moore 



CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL 
ORGANIZATIONS (CIO) 

Dismal working conditions for millions of Ameri- 
can industrial laborers inspired the creation of the 



CIO. Originally called the Committee for Industrial 
Organization, the CIO began in November 1935 as 
a reformist movement within the American Federa- 
tion of Labor (AFL), which had traditionally fo- 
cused on organizing skilled workers, such as elec- 
tricians and carpenters, into their own trade unions. 
The AFL had made only halfhearted efforts to orga- 
nize the millions of workers in such basic industries 
as steel, automobiles, rubber, and meatpacking. 
These industrial workers had almost universal com- 
plaints about the general climate of job insecurity 
during the Great Depression, the lack of any mean- 
ingful input concerning their working conditions, 
and the arbitrary power of their foremen to hire, 
fire, and transfer. For most workers, having so little 
control over their lives proved to be humiliating and 
degrading. Anyone who was fortunate enough to 
work at an industrial job during the Depression had 
to accept long hours and the increasingly fast pace 
of the machinery. The combination proved to be ex- 
hausting, and often dangerous. If workers spoke up 
or complained, they risked losing their jobs, with no 
recourse. 



ORIGINS 

The CIO sought to change the balance of power 
in American factories. Three presidents of existing 
AFL unions — John L. Lewis of the United Mine- 
workers (UMW), David Dubinsky of the Interna- 
tional Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, and Sid- 
ney Hillman of the Amalgamated Clothing 
Workers — pushed hardest for the creation of the 
CIO and offered resources from their union trea- 
suries to support the cause. Lewis's UMW had a di- 
rect interest in organizing the steel industry, be- 
cause large steel companies owned a significant 
percentage of the nation's coal mines. Dubinsky 
and Hillman saw potential in linking the fortunes 
of industrial workers, through the CIO, with Frank- 
lin Roosevelt's New Deal. All early CIO leaders 
feared that unrest among American workers, if not 
harnessed in positive ways, could be channeled into 
potential Communist or fascist movements. 

Industrial workers had made their discontent 
obvious after the passage in 1933 of Roosevelt's 
National Industrial Recovery Act, which was de- 
signed primarily to allow businesses to regulate 



ENCYCLOPEDIA 01 THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



199 



CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS (CIO) 




Members of the CIO's Ford Local 600 carry flags and banners in Detroit's 1942 Labor Day parade. Library of Congress, Prints & 
Photographs Division. FSA/OWI Collection 



themselves out of the Great Depression, but which 
also contained a clause (section 7a) that guaranteed 
American workers the right to organize into unions 
without interference from their employers. 
Throughout 1934, hundreds of thousands of labor- 
ers, across industries and across regions, went on 
strike to claim their legal right to join unions, many 
of which were affiliates of the AFL. In most cases, 
however, employers ignored the law and fought 
hard, often violently, against their employees. 
Many leading union supporters lost their jobs, 
while the federal government did nothing to pre- 
vent or punish these blatant violations of the Na- 
tional Industrial Recovery Act. The prospects for 
widespread gains for organized labor fizzled with 



the 1934 organizing defeats. But what would be- 
come of the unrest that prompted the uprisings? 
Lewis, Dubinsky, and Hillman hoped that it could 
be funneled into effective industrial unions within 
the AFL, making organized labor a significant na- 
tional political force. The AFL's leadership, howev- 
er, did not share this vision, and very shortly after 
its creation the CIO began to operate, for all practi- 
cal purposes, as an independent labor organization. 



AMBIGUOUS BREAKTHROUGHS 

Two months after the Supreme Court declared 
the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitu- 
tional in May 1935, President Roosevelt signed the 



ZOO 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS ((10 



National Labor Relations Act — also known as the 
Wagner Act, after its chief sponsor, Senator Robert 
Wagner from New York — which once again guar- 
anteed American workers the right to join unions 
without employer opposition. Workers were un- 
derstandably wary. Likewise, while CIO officials 
appreciated the symbolic importance of the bill, 
they had no illusions that business owners would 
obey it. CIO leaders also faced the difficult task of 
convincing workers that the CIO was serious about 
supporting them, and that it had the power to stand 
up to intransigent managements. 

In February 1936, rubber workers at Goodyear 
Tire in Akron, Ohio, forced these dynamics into the 
open with their fight for long-simmering demands: 
a measure of control over both their hours and their 
method of payment, and protection for union activ- 
ists, who were being fired in violation of the Wag- 
ner Act. The struggle was far more complex than 
simply workers versus management. The CIO com- 
peted for the workers' allegiance with an AFL 
union and with Goodyear's company union, which 
was not an independent bargaining agent and 
which should have been outlawed under the Wag- 
ner Act. Rubber workers set the pace in this conflict, 
largely rejecting the AFL, but not entirely content 
with their alternatives. The CIO hoped to harness 
the workers' anger and use it to establish a perma- 
nent union with a collective bargaining agreement 
with Goodyear, but the company was still far 
stronger than any union. In late March, Goodyear 
offered minor changes in working hours, but re- 
fused to sign a formal contract. This was an ambig- 
uous result, like many of the CIO's experiences in 
the 1930s. The rubber workers were not crushed, 
which was a major triumph when compared with 
earlier years, but by no means did the CIO create 
a solid institutional base in Akron, and rubber 
workers were without either a collective bargaining 
agreement or any other means to resolve their 
grievances. 

The CIO also sought to organize steelworkers, 
who shared common complaints about the arbi- 
trary power of foremen, but who also had experi- 
enced numerous routs at the hands of manage- 
ment, most recently in 1934. Steel was the heart of 
American industrial might, however, and there 



were half a million potential steelworker union 
members. Girding for battle, the CIO created the 
Steel Workers' Organizing Committee (SWOC) in 
June 1936. Funded primarily by Lewis's UMW, 
SWOC ignored any AFL claims to jurisdiction over 
skilled steelworkers and began mass organizing. 

While still technically part of the AFL, the CIO 
now operated independently and faced strong op- 
position from its parent organization. The CIO also 
acted on its own by supporting President Roosevelt 
in his successful bid for reelection in 1936. Whether 
or not they were influenced by the CIO's endorse- 
ment, most working-class Americans voted for 
Roosevelt, and CIO leaders hoped that this display 
of political power would help protect the fledgling 
industrial union movement. 

The CIO's fortunes rose with the success in 
early 1937 of the famous Flint, Michigan, sit-down 
strike against General Motors (GM). Although it 
appears that most autoworkers in Flint desired 
greater control over their working lives, only a few 
were willing to risk their livelihoods by openly as- 
sociating with a unionization drive sponsored by 
the upstart United Auto Workers (UAW). By orga- 
nizing workers to stay inside factories rather than 
to picket outside them, UAW activists neutralized 
much of the power that GM (or any other intransi- 
gent employer) traditionally wielded in such con- 
flicts. A police assault on the sit-down strikers 
would damage company property, and it was im- 
possible to operate machines with strikebreakers 
while strikers occupied the plant. Although the Su- 
preme Court would later declare the sit-down tactic 
to be an unconstitutional violation of a company's 
property rights, for a brief period, refusing to leave 
factories tipped the balance of power in labor con- 
flicts. The CIO was not involved in the day-to-day 
conduct of the Flint strike. Lewis, however, person- 
ally negotiated with GM and government officials 
to broker the final settlement. As a result, the CIO 
gained much favorable publicity and the UAW be- 
came one of its largest and most important affili- 
ates. The UAWs first agreement, however, proved 
to be more important for its symbolism than its 
substance. GM pledged to recognize the UAW as 
its labor force's sole bargaining agent for six 
months, but much remained unclear about what 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE G R E A F DEPRESSION 



201 



CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS (CIO) 



concrete differences that would bring in labor- 
management relations. 

With an eye toward GM's loss of market share 
during the Flint sit-down strike — the economy was 
experiencing a minor upswing in the midst of the 
Depression — U.S. Steel president Myron Taylor 
unexpectedly settled with SWOC in early March 
1937. Once again, the agreement was an ambigu- 
ous triumph. U.S. Steel employees won a wage in- 
crease and a forty-hour workweek, but SWOC did 
not extract the right to be the sole bargaining agent 
for the company's workers. Nevertheless, the CIO 
benefited from having won any concessions at all 
from the nation's largest steelmaker, which had re- 
buffed all previous organizing campaigns. The fol- 
lowing month, Chrysler Corporation signed a labor 
agreement with the UAW-CIO, and the Supreme 
Court declared the Wagner Act constitutional. 
Hundreds of thousands of workers across the coun- 
try, from a staggering variety of jobs, soon joined 
ClO-affiliated unions. There was certainly reason to 
be hopeful about the future of the CIO's industrial 
union project. 



DAUNTING CHALLENGES 

However, there were also ominous develop- 
ments. Ford Motor Company violently resisted 
UAW organizing efforts, and the Roosevelt admin- 
istration failed to enforce the Wagner Act. Likewise, 
smaller steel companies fought successfully, some- 
times lethally, against SWOC's efforts to complete 
organization in steel. These campaigns drained re- 
sources from the CIO, which, despite increasing its 
institutional presence around the country, was 
often unable to offer adequate support to the mass- 
es of hopeful workers in other industries who had 
recently joined unions. The CIO also relied heavily 
on organizers, and top leaders in a few affiliated 
unions, who were members of the Communist 
Party. Communist union activists, perhaps a quar- 
ter of the CIO organizing staff, were essential to the 
industrial union mission and appear almost without 
exception to have placed their commitment to 
workers above their party allegiances. Yet the pres- 
ence of Communists in the CIO made the organiza- 
tion vulnerable to red-baiting politicians and indus- 
trialists. During the Depression years, however, top 



CIO officials shrugged off such attacks and utilized 
the Communists' talents. 

The biggest threat to the CIO proved to be the 
deep recession that began in late 1937. Industrial 
employment plummeted, severely reducing union 
membership and dues payments. When it officially 
split from the AFL in November 1938 — changing its 
name to the Congress of Industrial Organiza- 
tions — the CIO was far weaker than it had been a 
year earlier. The recession further emboldened 
anti-union employers like Ford and Republic Steel 
to flaunt the Wagner Act, the AFL continued its 
counterattack against what it considered to be the 
CIO's renegade operations, and John L. Lewis as- 
sumed increasing, often erratic, control of the CIO 
while still leading the UMW. It is unclear how many 
workers still belonged to CIO unions in late 1938, 
but it seems certain that the numbers were far 
lower than those released by CIO officials. 

As the defense buildup for World War II 
brought the nation out of the Great Depression, the 
CIO's prospects for survival increased dramatically. 
The war years, indeed, would bring relative institu- 
tional stability, but with many constraints on union 
behavior. The central question continued to be 
whether or not industrial unionism, through the 
CIO, could maintain a lasting presence and im- 
prove the lives of millions of American workers. 
The jury remained out as the Depression ended. 
The alternative, however, seemed to be the grim, 
arbitrary autocracy that had prompted unioniza- 
tion. Adding to the complexity, while the CIO 
sought better lives for masses of Americans, the 
working class itself was not united. Improving op- 
portunities for all workers would require serious 
challenges to racial and gender discrimination, hi- 
erarchies that were dear to many members of CIO 
unions. The CIO, indeed, faced daunting chal- 
lenges. 

See Also: AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR (AFL); 
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING; DUBINSKY, DAVID; 
HILLMAN, SIDNEY; LEWIS, JOHN L.; NATIONAL 
LABOR RELATIONS ACT OF 1935 (WAGNER 
ACT); SIT-DOWN STRIKES; STEEL WORKERS' 
ORGANIZING COMMITTEE (SWOC); UNITED 
AUTOMOBILE WORKERS (UAW); UNITED MINE 
WORKERS OF AMERICA (UMWA). 



Z02 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



CONSERVATION 



MOVEMENT 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bernstein, Irving. The Turbulent Years: A History of the 
American Worker, 1933-1941. 1970. 

Cohen, Lizabeth. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers 
in Chicago, 1919-1939. 1990. 

Dubofsky, Melvyn, and Warren Van Tine. John L. Lewis: 
A Biography. 1977. Abridged edition, 1987. 

Faue, Elizabeth. Community of Suffering and Struggle: 
Women, Men, and the Labor Movement in Minneapolis, 
1915-1945. 1991. 

Fine, Sidney. Sit-Down: The General Motors Strike of 
1936-1937. 1969. 

Fraser, Steven. Labor Will Rule: Sidney Hillman and the 
Rise of American Labor. 1991. 

Halpern, Rick. Down on the Killing Roor: Black and White 
Workers in Chicago's Packinghouses, 1904-1954. 1997. 

Hodges, James A. New Deal Labor Policy and the Southern 
Cotton Textile Industry, 1933-1941. 1986. 

Irons, Janet. Testing the New Deal: The General Textile 
Strike of 1934 in the American South. 2000. 

Kelley, Robin D. G. Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Commu- 
nists during the Great Depression. 1990. 

Meier, August, and Elliott Rudwick. Black Detroit and the 
Rise of the UAW. 1979. 

Nelson, Bruce. Workers on the Waterfront: Seamen, Long- 
shoremen, and Unionism in the 1930s. 1988. 

Preis, Art. Labor's Giant Step: Twenty Years of the CIO. 
1964. 

Ruiz, Vicki. Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican 
Women, Unionization, and the California Tood Process- 
ing Industry, 1930-1950. 1987. 

Zieger, Robert H. The CIO: 1935-1955. 1995. 

Daniel Clark 



CONSERVATION MOVEMENT 

Popular wisdom has it that in times of scarcity or 
economic contraction the relative luxury of land or 
resource conservation loses its viability and appeal. 
Yet, during the Great Depression, the conservation 
movement, which had reached an apogee during 
the Progressive era, continued within a core of or- 
ganizations and especially within the federal gov- 
ernment to evolve as the New Deal linked conser- 
vation projects with its relief programs. 

The Depression in agriculture that accompa- 
nied the end of World War I had drawn the atten- 



tion of economists and agricultural planners to the 
challenges of inefficient agriculture and overpro- 
duction. Agricultural economists and politicians 
had spent the 1920s casting about for a solution to 
deflated commodity prices, and most had been at- 
tracted to the idea of parity price controls and gov- 
ernment intervention in the marketing of agricul- 
tural surpluses. Yet, with the onset of nationwide 
Depression in 1929, and especially by 1931, many 
of the most progressive of the nation's planners and 
agricultural economists had begun to discuss land 
utilization and overproduction as the most pressing 
concerns facing American agriculture. The leading 
thinkers of this latter group, M. L. Wilson, Rexford 
G. Tugwell, Henry A. Wallace, and L. C. Gray, en- 
tered the upper ranks of the agricultural establish- 
ment after the inauguration of Franklin D. Roose- 
velt, and they were pivotal in determining federal 
conservation policy during the Depression. The 
principal accomplishments of the conservation 
movement during the 1930s took place mostly 
within the programs of federal government through 
the coordination of forward-thinking policymakers. 

FEDERAL CONSERVATION PROJECTS 

Tugwell suggested in 1934 that the moment for 
action on conservation measures had arrived, not 
only because of the national emergency and its eco- 
nomic causes, but also because of the new leader- 
ship in which the American people had placed their 
trust. Roosevelt was a natural leader for conserva- 
tionist thinking in government because of his con- 
cern for the conservation of resources and the effi- 
ciency of agriculture and forestry, which he had 
demonstrated during his career as a farmer and 
politician in New York state. In a speech in Mont- 
gomery, Alabama, in January 1933 the incoming 
president encompassed many of his ideas about 
conservation and planning: "We have an opportu- 
nity of setting an example of planning not just for 
ourselves but for the generations to come, tying in 
industry and agriculture and forestry and flood pre- 
vention, tying them all into a unified whole ... so 
that we can afford better opportunities and better 
places for living for millions of yet unborn, in the 
days to come." 

The continuation of the conservation move- 
ment during the Great Depression was most evi- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA T THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



203 



CONSERVATION 



MOVEMENT 




¥■ 



Conseroation workers plant trees in 1937 to promote reforestation in support of the Withlacoochee Land Use Project in Florida. 

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



dent in federal land use planning, and the conser- 
vation projects of the New Deal were deeply rooted 
in progressive ideas about efficient land use that 
had characterized the early twentieth century. Sig- 
nificant among these was the identification and re- 
tirement of so-called submarginal land (agricultural 
land unsuited for the purposes for which it was 
being used), a project that began in divisions of the 
Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) and 
the Federal Emergency Relief Administration 
(FERA). Retiring surplus, unprofitable farmland 
from production had been an element of New 
York's land use planning programs under Governor 
Roosevelt during the 1920s, but not until the New 
Deal did federal agencies embrace the idea of pro- 
moting similar reforms in land use. In 1935, the 



Tugwell's Resettlement Administration took over 
the land utilization and land retirement work of the 
AAA and FERA, and attempted, in spite of wide- 
spread opposition, to conserve human and natural 
resources through the reorganization of the agricul- 
tural landscape. 

Another corrective conservation measure, the 
Shelterbelt Project, was in part a response to the 
dust storms of the mid-1930s. The Shelterbelt was 
designed to include the planting of over two hun- 
dred million trees along the country's 100th meridi- 
an as a means of moderating drought and reducing 
dust storms, thus protecting crops and livestock. 

Soil conservation was no less important to the 
prevention of dust storms and agricultural ineffi- 



Z(H 



ENCYCLOPEDIA T TUT GREAT DEPRESSION 



CONSERVATION 



MOVEMENT 



ciency, and shortly after $5 million was allotted to 
erosion control in 1933, Ickes created the Soil Ero- 
sion Service (SES) in the Department of Interior, 
where it developed into an agency committed to 
spreading the use of such techniques as contour 
plowing and strip farming. With a 1934 study the 
SES drew attention to the plague of erosion, report- 
ing that within the United States only 578 million 
of over two billion acres were unaffected by soil 
loss. In March 1935 the SES was transferred to the 
Department of Agriculture and renamed the Soil 
Conservation Service. In 1936, in response to the 
growing awareness of the destructive powers of 
erosion, Congress passed the Soil Conservation 
and Domestic Allotment Act, which offered in- 
ducements to farmers for replacing soil-draining 
commercial crops like cotton, wheat, or corn with 
grasses and legumes that returned nutrients to the 
soil and remained rooted in the soil yearlong. This 
legislative descendent of the AAA linked conserva- 
tion to the earlier aims of reducing production, and 
it gave soil protection a permanent place in govern- 
ment. 

Regional planning was no less important a part 
of the federal agenda during the New Deal, and the 
Tennessee Valley Authority (TV A) embodied re- 
gional planning through the development of dams 
that provided flood control and generated electrici- 
ty, the construction of new highways, and agricul- 
tural reforms that combined to transform the eco- 
nomic life of the region. Though no other regions 
received as much reorganization as the Tennessee 
Valley, this model of intensive regional planning in- 
formed national policies elsewhere. 

The nation's forests were another subject of 
widespread interest among government officials, 
and the Forest Service's 1933 National Plan for 
American Forestry recommended that the federal 
government begin purchasing cutover and tax- 
delinquent land. As a consequence, between 1933 
and 1936 the federal government doubled the size 
of the national forest system. 

Work in the national forests was performed in 
large part by one of Roosevelt's, and the nation's, 
favorite New Deal programs, the Civilian Conser- 
vation Corps (CCC), which was designed as a ref- 
uge for the millions of unemployed young men be- 



tween the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. Corps 
enrollees worked on both private and public land, 
constructing trails, reforesting national parks and 
forests, working to prevent erosion, and fighting 
forest fires, among dozens of other pursuits. The 
CCC's work offered tangible proof of the federal 
government's interest in the conservation of both 
human and natural resources, and as it offered new 
opportunities to the nation's young men it fur- 
thered the conservation agenda dramatically in the 
years preceding World War II. 

With the national appeal of programs like the 
CCC and the growing attention in government to 
conservation issues, the historic conflict between 
the Department of Agriculture and the Department 
of Interior over programs and power continued. 
During the 1930s Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. 
Wallace and Secretary of the Interior Harold L. 
Ickes battled for control over the New Deal conser- 
vation projects. Both administrators saw the logic of 
combining the conservation functions of govern- 
ment in one department, but both also sought con- 
trol over the programs. Ickes sought to change the 
name of the Department of the Interior to the De- 
partment of Conservation and Works, with an as- 
sociated swapping of bureaus with Agriculture, but 
Wallace refused, arguing that the functions of for- 
estry and soil conservation belonged with other ag- 
ricultural pursuits in his department. Ultimately, in 
1935 and 1936, both President Roosevelt and Con- 
gress refused to consolidate the government's con- 
servation programs into one department, and the 
distribution of conservation bureaus through the 
several departments remains to the present. 



BEYOND GOVERNMENT 

Outside government, such advocacy groups as 
the Sierra Club similarly worked during the De- 
pression to forward their agenda of expanding and 
preserving national parks, forests, and monuments, 
like Death Valley, Kings Canyon, and Olympic Na- 
tional Park. A newcomer to the conservation move- 
ment during the Depression was the Wilderness 
Society, founded by a small group of wilderness ad- 
vocates who rejected the growing automobility of 
recreation and devoted themselves to the preserva- 
tion of wilderness. One of the founding members, 



ENCYCLOPEDIA T THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



205 



CONSERVATIVE ( A E I T I N 



Benton MacKaye, who worked for the TVA during 
the early 1930s, had been a primary advocate for the 
creation of the Appalachian Trail. MacKaye was 
concerned that the natural areas for which conser- 
vation activists had worked during the 1920s were 
being threatened by unprecedented government 
intrusion into conservation and recreational devel- 
opment. The Wilderness Society campaigned 
against the government's make -work programs, 
such as the Shenandoah National Park's Skyline 
Drive, which brought tourists — and their cars — to 
the wildest parts of the nation's parks and forests. 

By the end of the 1930s, hundreds of millions 
of acres of land had come under federal manage- 
ment and been improved by the labor of relief 
workers. The subsidies and supervision provided to 
agriculture and public lands through the various 
federal agencies meant that the landscapes of pro- 
duction and recreation had changed, with conser- 
vation being a new and fundamental aspect of agri- 
cultural and land-management policy within the 
federal government. 

See Also: CEVELIAN CONSERVATION CORPS (CCC); 
RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION (RA); 
SHELTERBELT PROJECT; SOIL CONSERVATION 
SERVICE (SCS); TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY 
(TVA). 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Clements, Kendrick A. Hoover, Conservation, and Con- 
sumption: Engineering the Good Life. 2000. 

Cohen, Michael P. The History of the Sierra Club, 
1892-1970. 1988. 

Cronon, William. "Landscapes of Abundance and Scar- 
city." In The Oxford History of the American West, ed- 
ited by Clyde A. Milner II, Carol A. O'Connor, and 
Martha A. Sandweiss. 1994. 

Lehman, Tim. Public Values, Private Lands: Farmland Pres- 
ervation Policy, 1933-1985. 1995. 

Merchant, Carolyn. Earthcare: Women and the Environ- 
ment. 1995. 

Nixon, Edgar 13., ed. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Conserva- 
tion, 1911-1945, Vol. 1: 1911-1937. 1957. 

Pisani, Donald. "Natural Resources and the American 
State, 1900-1940." In Taking Stock: American Govern- 
ment in the Twentieth Century, edited by Morton Kel- 
ler and R. Shep Melnick. 1999. 

Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. The Coming of the New Deal. 
1959. 



Steinberg, Ted. Down to Earth: Nature's Role in American 
History. 2002. 

Sternsher, Bernard. Rexford Tugwell and the New Deal. 
1964. 

Sutter, Paul S. Driven Wild: How the Fight against Automo- 
biles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement. 
2002. 

Swain, Donald C. Federal Conservation Policy, 1921-1933. 
1963. 

Williams, Michael. Americans and Their Forests: A Histori- 
cal Geography. 1989. 

Worster, Donald. Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 
1930s. 1979. 

Sara M. Gregg 



CONSERVATIVE COALITION 

The roots of a conservative coalition opposing the 
New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt can be traced 
back to shifts in the major parties that predated the 
1930s. As early as 1920, the Republican Party had 
jettisoned much of its progressive wing and defined 
itself as a more ideologically homogenous, conser- 
vative organization anchored in New England, the 
Midwest, and the West. The Democrats of the 
1920s, for their part, were not a unified liberal party, 
but an ideological muddle of rural southerners and 
urban northerners, anti-alcohol drys and anti- 
Prohibition wets, nativists and immigrants, and 
Protestants and non-Protestants. Hungry to regain 
national power they had lost since the Wilson 
years, the Democrats' gratitude for Franklin Roose- 
velt's victory in 1932 encouraged short-term unity 
within the president's party in Congress during the 
first hundred days. But as early as 1934, the emer- 
gence of the American Liberty League, with its sup- 
port from not only Republicans but also past Dem- 
ocratic leaders such as 1928 presidential nominee 
Al Smith, showed the potential for a bipartisan co- 
alition of conservatives unified in support of states' 
rights, anticommunism, opposition to federal taxa- 
tion and spending, and resistance to organized 
labor and civil rights. 

As Roosevelt's programs increasingly redefined 
the national Democrats in the 1935-1936 period as 
a party championing the interests of the urban, in- 



Z06 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



CONSUMERISM 



dustrial working class, some veteran Democratic 
lawmakers from the South openly resisted the shift. 
Conservatives from both parties fought vainly 
against the Wagner Act (National Labor Relations) 
and Social Security Acts, and Senator Carter Glass 
of Virginia led successful efforts to water down the 
president's "soak-the-rich" Wealth Tax Act of 1935. 
Roosevelt's 1936 landslide re-election appeared to 
foretell a pending rout of his remaining conserva- 
tive adversaries in Congress, but the unpopularity 
of the president's "court-packing" bill in 1937 and 
the onset of a major economic recession reinvigo- 
rated conservative critics in both parties. During the 
1937 session, an ever-more-formal partnership be- 
tween southern Democrats and congressional Re- 
publicans, both often representing traditionalist 
white, rural constituencies, began to flex its legisla- 
tive muscle. 

In the "Conservative Manifesto" of December 
1937, written mainly by North Carolina Democrat 
Josiah Bailey, anti-New Deal legislators from both 
parties attacked the sit-down strikes launched by 
organized labor, demanded lower taxes and a bal- 
anced federal budget, endorsed states' rights and 
private property rights, and attacked relief pro- 
grams for fostering permanent dependency. With 
the exceptions of a watered-down Wagner- Steagall 
National Housing Act in 1937 and the Fair Labor 
Standards Act the following year, most Roosevelt 
domestic initiatives floundered. When the presi- 
dent tried to reverse his political fortunes by work- 
ing to defeat his conservative Democrat nemeses in 
party primaries, the voters repudiated him, return- 
ing anti-New Deal senators Ellison Durant, "Cot- 
ton Ed" Smith of South Carolina, Walter George of 
Georgia, and Millard Tydings of Maryland to 
Washington, and giving Republicans their greatest 
gains since 1928. 

For all intents and purposes, the New Deal era 
had ended by 1938. Texas congressman Martin 
Dies led the House Un-American Activities Com- 
mittee in headline-grabbing hearings alleging 
Communist influence in New Deal programs and 
the labor movement. Conservatives killed anti- 
lynching legislation, and pushed through passage 
of the Hatch Act, prohibiting federal employees, in- 
cluding relief workers, from participation in politi- 



cal campaigns. As the danger of world war deep- 
ened by the late 1930s, the conservative coalition's 
asking price for its cooperation with the executive 
branch on foreign policy was the winding down of 
the New Deal — a price the Roosevelt administra- 
tion increasingly paid. During World War II and for 
several decades after, as Cold War fears of commu- 
nism at home and abroad mushroomed and civil 
rights emerged as an even more central and divisive 
national issue, bipartisan coalitions of conservative 
lawmakers would continue to act as a powerful 
brake on liberal presidential initiatives. 

See Also: AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE; ELECTION 
OF 1938; NEW DEAL; RECESSION OF 1937; 
SUPREME COURT "PACKING" CONTROVERSY 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Allswang, John. The New Deal and American Politics. 1978. 

Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: The Lion and the Tox. 
1956. 

Kennedy, David M. Freedom from Fear: The American Peo- 
ple in Depression and War. 1999. 

Leuchtenburg, William E. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 
New Deal, 1932-1940. 1963. 

Patterson, James T. Congressional Conservatism and the 
New Deal. 1929-1945. 1967. 

Robert F. Burk 



CONSUMERISM 

In the 1920s, America became a modern consumer 
society. The number of automobiles, radios, refrig- 
erators, and other new appliances exploded as fac- 
tories introduced mass production techniques and 
advertisers developed new ways of selling these 
goods. But reformers feared that modern consum- 
ers found themselves powerless in the face of ma- 
nipulative advertising, mass technology, and a 
maldistribution of income. Consumers could no 
longer judge the quality of packaged, technically 
complex items simply by taste, touch, or smell, nor 
could they bargain over prices. Those concerns gave 
rise to a consumer movement in the 1920s. The 
movement began with the publication of Stuart 
Chase and F. J. Schlink's Your Money's Worth 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



207 



CONSUMERISM 



(1927), a best-selling book that exposed false ad- 
vertising and adulteration of nationally advertised 
brand-name goods. In response to this book's suc- 
cess, Chase and Schlink established Consumers' 
Research, the country's first product-testing agen- 
cy. Although the organization had only several 
thousand members, the idea that consumers need- 
ed help in reforming modern capitalism gained 
widespread acceptance during the Great Depres- 



The Depression led to the creation of new gov- 
ernmental agencies dedicated to protecting con- 
sumers. Facing economic devastation and dire 
need, consumers wanted more for their money. 
Though the economy experienced massive defla- 
tion, not all prices declined as fast as wages, espe- 
cially as large corporations sought to maintain 
prices and cut production as an attempt to stabilize 
profits. In addition, many manufacturers resorted to 
cheapening the quality of products as a way to cut 
costs. But the biggest problem that consumers faced 
during the Great Depression was lack of income. 
Indeed, many New Dealers believed that under- 
consumption resulting from a lack of mass purchas- 
ing power caused the Depression. Though capital 
spending fell far more than consumption, the idea 
of underconsumption as the country's main eco- 
nomic problem had widespread popular appeal. 

When President Franklin Roosevelt introduced 
the New Deal, he adopted a purchasing power ra- 
tionale and promised an expansion of governmen- 
tal authority to end underconsumption and in- 
crease purchasing power: "The aim of this whole 
effort is to restore our rich domestic market by rais- 
ing its vast consuming capacity." But the National 
Industrial Recovery Act and the Agricultural Ad- 
justment Act were necessarily inflationary. The Na- 
tional Recovery Administration (NRA) suspended 
antitrust provisions to allow businesses to stabilize 
production and prices. As a result, the NRA codes 
worsened the problem of what New Dealer Gardi- 
ner Means called "administered prices." Section 7a 
of the National Industrial Recovery Act was intend- 
ed to increase wages, but industry noncompliance 
rendered collective bargaining ineffective. The ef- 
forts of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration 
(AAA) to increase the purchasing power of farmers 



by raising commodity prices was also inflationary. 
The initiatives of both the NRA and the AAA led to 
higher prices without substantially increasing na- 
tional income, and higher prices threatened to un- 
dermine public support for the New Deal. As a re- 
sult, Congress created new bodies to look out for 
the interests of consumers and to contain consumer 
protest. 

The creation of the NRA's Consumer Advisory 
Board signaled the incorporation of a progressive 
attitude into the New Deal and the official recogni- 
tion of the importance of consumers to economic 
recovery. The board's first chairman was Mary 
Rumsey. Born in New York in 1881 to E. H. Harri- 
man, a railroad financier, Rumsey grew up in elite 
circles, but she maintained a lifelong interest in so- 
cial welfare. During World War I, Rumsey helped 
organize community councils under the Council of 
National Defense. Those councils played an impor- 
tant role in monitoring wartime prices and served 
as the basis of cooperatives after the war. During 
the 1920s, Rumsey developed close ties to the fe- 
male reform community, and she received her ap- 
pointment to the Consumer Advisory Board at the 
behest of her close friend and roommate Frances 
Perkins. Rumsey, who also had the ear of Eleanor 
Roosevelt, appointed to the board representatives 
from women's groups that were sympathetic to 
consumer issues, including the American Home 
Economics Association, the General Federation of 
Women's Clubs, the National Consumers' League, 
the Women's Trade Union League, the League of 
Women Voters, and the American Association of 
University Women. Rumsey also appointed social 
scientists, such as Gardiner Means, Robert Lynd, 
and Paul Douglas. 

In the AAA, Secretary Henry Wallace created 
the Consumers' Counsel to protect consumer inter- 
ests, and he appointed Frederic Howe as its first 
head. Howe was a leading municipal reformer who 
had long advocated the need for public markets. 
World War I was a formative experience for Howe, 
as it had been for Rumsey. While serving as com- 
missioner of immigration at Ellis Island in New 
York Harbor, Howe wrote The High Cost of Living 
(1917), in which he argued that food monopolies 
paid farmers too little for their products and 



Z08 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



CONSUMERISM 



charged urban consumers too much. As head of the 
Consumers' Counsel, Howe argued that processors 
raised prices more than was necessary to make up 
the value of the processing tax, and thus gouged the 
American public. Howe's theories about monopo- 
listic pricing in the food industry, as well as in other 
important industrial sectors, received support from 
Gardiner Means, who served as Wallace's econom- 
ic adviser. In addition, liberals within the AAA, 
such as Modercai Ezekiel, Louis Bean, and Jerome 
Frank, along with Undersecretary of Agriculture 
Rexford Tugwell, supported the Consumers' Coun- 
sel's attack on high prices, low wages, and degrad- 
ed quality, which they believed to be impediments 
to economic recovery. 

Although the NRA Consumer Advisory Board 
and the AAA Consumers' Counsel were estab- 
lished to diffuse consumer protests, they legiti- 
mized and fueled growing activism. At the policy 
level, they had little impact, but at a popular level, 
they gave administrative endorsement to the idea 
of high prices as profiteering and low wages as eco- 
nomically unsound. In the fall of 1933, the forma- 
tion of the Emergency Conference of Consumer 
Organizations, which represented fifty consumer 
groups, signaled a growing unrest, as did the hun- 
dreds of thousands of letters that citizens sent to 
Washington with details of economic difficulty. Es- 
pecially telling were the thousands of bread wrap- 
pers that consumers sent to demonstrate what they 
believed to be, and what Secretary Wallace had told 
them were, unjustified prices. In response to in- 
creasing agitation, Eleanor Roosevelt invited the 
Emergency Conference of Consumer Organiza- 
tions to the White House for a high profile meeting 
on consumer problems. One of the most vocal rep- 
resentatives, Leon Henderson, condemned the 
Consumer Advisory Board as ineffective. As the di- 
rector of the remedial loan division for the Russell 
Sage Foundation, Henderson saw first-hand how 
economic necessity drove low-income wage earn- 
ers into the grips of loan sharks. After the White 
House meeting, NRA administrator Hugh Johnson 
hired Henderson as an advisor on consumer prob- 
lems. He was soon promoted to the post of chief of 
the NRA research and planning division, a position 
he used to continue his attack on high prices and 
low wages. 



New Deal consumer advocates pushed for 
three programs. First, they sought to organize 
county consumer councils to create a consumer 
movement. In response, the NRA created the Bu- 
reau of Consumer Economic Education under the 
direction of economist Paul Douglas and undercon- 
sumption theorist William Trufant Foster. The bu- 
reau established councils in two hundred counties; 
each council included home economists and county 
agents, as well as housewives, wage earners, and 
farmers of modest means. These councils, along 
with women's clubs, churches, labor unions, and 
other organized groups, received new government 
publications on consumer issues. The Consumers' 
Counsel, for example, sent out tens of thousands of 
copies of Consumers Guide, which listed average 
prices for basic goods like meat, milk, and bread, 
and urged consumers not to pay more. Second, in 
addition to grassroots organizing, consumer advo- 
cates pushed for an end to price fixing in NRA 
codes. Finally, consumer advocates called for a gov- 
ernment system of quality standards to provide 
consumers with essential product information. The 
Consumer Advisory Board hired well-known soci- 
ologist Robert Lynd and consumer advocate Caro- 
line Ware to investigate the possibility of govern- 
ment-imposed grade labeling on the theory that 
even if consumers were not well organized, they 
could benefit from knowing more about the goods 
they purchased. Demands for better standards cul- 
minated in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic 
Act of 1938 that required better product labeling 
and extended the Food and Drug Administration's 
regulation to the cosmetic industry. 

New Deal rhetoric aroused consumers who felt 
entitled to fair prices and good quality, especially 
during a time of serious economic need. In the 
spring of 1935, when record-breaking droughts 
caused a shortage of cattle, consumers protested 
rising meat prices. In cities across the country, 
housewives formed High Cost of Living Commit- 
tees to demand price cuts on meat, milk, and bread. 
Regardless of the real causes for price increases, 
these angry consumers blamed food monopolies 
and demanded justice in the marketplace. Some of 
this movement's leaders came from the country's 
most politically radical groups, including the Com- 
munist Party, but many of the movement's follow - 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



209 



C L I D 6 E 



CALVIN 



ers were ordinary housewives having a hard time 
making ends meet. The League of Women Shop- 
pers, for example, was a Popular Front organization 
that gained a middle-class following during the 
meat crisis by mobilizing housewives against price 
increases. In Detroit, Mary Zuk, another radical ac- 
tivist, led housewives on a meat boycott while also 
helping to form the United Auto Workers. 

By the late 1930s, business was forced to ac- 
knowledge the presence of a growing consumer 
movement as testified by the popularity of Con- 
sumers' Research and the spread of consumer boy- 
cotts. Business Week argued that the business com- 
munity should support the demands of consumer 
groups for a Department of the Consumer as a way 
to keep track of this burgeoning threat. The mobili- 
zation for World War II bolstered the consumer 
movement. Both New Deal consumer advocates 
and grassroots organizations staffed the newly cre- 
ated Office of Price Administration (OPA), which 
was set up to curb wartime inflation. Its first admin- 
istrator was Leon Henderson, who implemented a 
national system of price controls, rationing for fair 
distribution, and government grade labeling. To 
enforce compliance, the OPA set up "little OPAs" 
in every community. These boards were the heirs of 
the NRA county councils. Though not the Depart- 
ment of the Consumer that advocates had desired, 
the OPA pushed for many of the programs that had 
been at the heart of the consumer movement dur- 
ing the Depression. 

See Also: ADVERTISING IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION; 
HENDERSON LEON; NATIONAL RECOVERY 
ADMINISTRATION (NRA); SCIENCE AND 
TECHNOLOGY. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Angevine, Erma, ed. Consumer Activists: They Made a Dif- 
ference, a History of Consumer Action Related by Lead- 
ers in the Consumer Movement. 1982. 

Campbell, Persia. Consumer Representation in the New 
Deal. 1940. 

Glickman, Lawrence. "Lhe Strike in the Lemple of Con- 
sumption: Consumer Activism and Twentieth- 
Century American Political Culture." Journal of 
American History 88 (2001): 99-128. 

lacobs, Meg. "'Democracy's Lhird Estate': New Deal Pol- 
itics and the Construction of a 'Consuming Public.'" 



International Labor and Working-Class History 55 
(1999): 27-51. 

Orleck, Annelise. '"We Are that Mythical Lhing Called 
the Public': Militant Housewives during the Great 
Depression." Feminist Studies 19 (1993): 147-172. 

Sorenson, Helen. The Consumer Movement: What It Is and 
What It Means. 1941. 

Meg Iacobs 



COOLIDGE, CALVIN 

Calvin Coolidge (July 4, 1872-January 5, 1933) was 
vice president of the United States in the adminis- 
tration of President Warren G. Harding and be- 
came president upon Harding's death on August 2, 
1923. Elected in his own right the next year, Coo- 
lidge served a full term, until March 4, 1929. 

Coolidge was born and raised in Plymouth 
Notch, Vermont, a tiny locality, and after gradua- 
tion from Amherst College in Massachusetts he 
moved to nearby Northampton, where he read for 
the law in a local law office. Passing the bar at the 
age of twenty-five he soon turned to Republican 
politics and thereafter occupied a series of local of- 
fices, eventually ascending to the houses of the 
state legislature, the mayoralty of Northampton, 
and lieutenant governor and governor of Massa- 
chusetts. 

In the politics of Massachusetts Coolidge was 
by no means a conservative and took interest in is- 
sues of workers' rights, voting for them during the 
Progressive era. He came to believe, however, that 
social and economic legislation had advanced too 
rapidly and he withdrew his support of it. As gover- 
nor of Massachusetts he chose to reorganize the 
state's bureaucracy, abolishing dozens of depart- 
ments in the name of efficiency. 

It was the Boston police strike of 1919 that cata- 
pulted Coolidge into national prominence. His 
statement that "There is no right to strike against 
the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time" 
caught the attention of the nation. 

As vice president Coolidge was almost invisi- 
ble, so much so that when he became president the 



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CALVIN 




Calvin Coolidge with labor leader Mary Harris "Mother" Jones in 1924. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division 



nation's reporters at first were at a loss to define his 
personality, not to mention his economic ideas, and 
took refuge in descriptions of "Silent Cal." They 
predicted a tight-fisted chief executive of pure Ver- 
mont lineage. To be sure, Coolidge's economic 
ideas were largely the truisms and prejudices of the 
time. He was against government spending to 
stimulate the economy. He appears to have agreed 
with Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon 
that taxation, institutional and personal, should be 
held at a minimum, not to stimulate spending but 
to encourage investment, especially by wealthy 
Americans. He and Mellon agreed that the wealthy 
needed to take chances in investment while low- 
income citizens should invest cautiously, in only 
the most conservative ways. 



During Coolidge's years in the presidency the 
expenditures of the federal government hovered 
around $3.3 billion. In 1923 the top five percent of 
the population received 22.89 percent of the na- 
tional income and in 1929 it received 26.09 percent. 
Married couples with incomes below $3,500, a very 
comfortable income for the time, paid no taxes 
(leaving only 2.5 million taxpayers). 

The above arrangements were no prescription 
for the debacle of the stock market in 1929 and the 
subsequent Great Depression. The best that can be 
said for President Coolidge's leadership was that he 
followed the nation's leaders, business and finan- 
cial, who beheld ever higher plateaus of prosperity. 
The president did not give much attention to the 
Federal Reserve System, presuming that everything 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



211 



CORCORAN 



M A 5 




President Calvin Coolidge signing the tax bill in February 1926. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division 



was all right, and when the system moved timidly 
against the speculation already visible in 1927, he 
did nothing. Against the rising numbers of holding 
companies and investment trusts he said little be- 
yond telling a press conference in January, 1926, 
that he had spoken with William Z. Ripley of Har- 
vard University, who was complaining about hold- 
ing company excesses. The president advocated in- 
stallment buying, saying it was better than allowing 
credit at his father's Vermont store. He offered no 
criticism of the rise of brokers' loans, relating that 
they were not too large, a remark that lifted stock 
prices the next day. 

Not long before Coolidge died, he told a report- 
er friend that he had lived beyond his time — the 
Great Depression was then reaching its lowest 
point — which was true enough. 

See Also: CAUSES OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION; 
MONETARY POLICY; REPUBLICAN PARTY; 
TAXATION. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Ferrell, Robert H. The Presidency of Calvin Coolidge. 1998. 

Fuess, Claude M. Calvin Coolidge: The Man from Vermont. 
1940. 

McCoy, Donald R. Calvin Coolidge: The Quiet President. 
1967. 

Sobel, Robert. Coolidge: An American Enigma. 1998. 

Robert H. Ferrell 



CORCORAN, THOMAS G. 

Thomas Gardiner Corcoran (December 29, 
1900-December 6, 1981) was an ebullient New 
Deal legislative draftsman and presidential confi- 
dant. Born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Corcoran 
overcame anti-Irish prejudices to graduate at the 
head of his class at Brown University and the Har- 
vard Law School, and to clerk for Supreme Court 



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C S T I G A N 



EDWARD 



Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. At the Wall 
Street law firm of Cotton & Franklin, Corcoran 
handled securities issues and aimed at making his 
own fortune in the stocks, but he lost badly when 
the market crashed in 1929. In 1932 Corcoran went 
to Washington as a counsel to the Reconstruction 
Finance Corporation (RFC). 

At the start of the Roosevelt administration, 
Harvard law professor Felix Frankfurter recruited 
Corcoran, James M. Landis, and Benjamin V. 
Cohen to draft the federal Securities Act of 1933. 
Corcoran spent most of his time keeping peace be- 
tween his brilliant but high-strung collaborators. 
Winning acclaim for their work, the young lawyers 
were dubbed the "Happy Hotdogs" for their pa- 
tron. Afterwards, Landis was appointed to the Fed- 
eral Trade Commission to help enforce the Securi- 
ties Act, while Corcoran joined Cohen to work on 
other legislation. Together they drafted the Securi- 
ties Exchange Act of 1934, the Public Utilities Hold- 
ing Company Act of 1935, and the Fair Labor Stan- 
dards Act of 1938. As a team, Cohen was the more 
innovative thinker, while Corcoran was the ener- 
getic lobbyist for their ideas. Both bachelors at the 
time, Corcoran and Cohen rented a large house in 
Georgetown and made it a social as well as political 
center for other liberal New Dealers. 

Corcoran drew the personal attention of Presi- 
dent Roosevelt, who nicknamed him "Tommy the 
Cork." At social gatherings, Corcoran entertained 
the president by playing the accordion and singing 
Irish ballads. Roosevelt also appreciated his talents 
as a writer. Corcoran drafted Roosevelt's speech ac- 
cepting renomination in 1936, with its memorable 
imagery of a "rendezvous with destiny." On Frank- 
furter's advice, however, Roosevelt kept Corcoran 
and Cohen in their lower-level positions to do utili- 
ty work on a range of New Deal projects rather than 
appoint them to the higher offices they expected. 
Although he worked temporarily in the Treasury 
and Justice departments and frequently at the 
White House, Corcoran spent most of his govern- 
ment service on the RFC's payroll. He loyally sup- 
ported Roosevelt's efforts to enlarge the Supreme 
Court in 1937 and was suspected of being an insti- 
gator of the president's efforts to purge conserva- 
tive Democrats from the party in 1938. 



Corcoran married his secretary, Margaret 
(Peggy) Dowd, in 1940, and had five children. To 
provide for his family he returned to private prac- 
tice, anticipating that Roosevelt would name him 
solicitor general during this third term. But Corco- 
ran had become too controversial and the threat of 
a divisive confirmation fight dissuaded Roosevelt 
from nominating him. Corcoran shifted from New 
Dealer to wheeler-dealer, growing wealthy as a 
Washington lobbyist who represented corporate 
interests on Capitol Hill and at the federal agencies. 
Although he never held another government post, 
he remained close to such prominent politicians as 
Lyndon Johnson. Corcoran's K street office con- 
spicuously displayed photographs of himself and 
Johnson to confirm his status as an insider, along 
with copies of the conservative magazine National 
Review to reassure his clients. 

See Also: COHEN, BENJAMIN V.; FRANKFURTER, 
FELIX; SECURITIES REGULATION. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Corcoran, Thomas G. "Rendezvous with Destiny" (an 
unpublished memoir). Manuscript Division, Library 
of Congress, Washington D.C. 

Lash, loseph P. The Dealers and the Dream: A New Look 
at the New Deal. 1988. 

Niznik, Lynne. "Thomas G. Corcoran." Ph.D. diss., Uni- 
versity of Notre Dame, 1981. 

Donald A. Ritchie 



COSTIGAN, EDWARD 

Edward Prentiss Costigan (July 1, 1874-January 17, 
1939) was a U.S. senator from Colorado from 1930 
to 1936. Born in Virginia, Costigan moved to Colo- 
rado when he was three years old. He became po- 
litically active as a young adult, campaigning for 
William McKinley in the 1896 and 1900 presidential 
elections. After finishing his Harvard degree and 
entering the bar in 1897, Costigan returned to Den- 
ver dedicated to political activism for the underpriv- 
ileged and opposed to the self-interested political 
machines that dominated Colorado politics. 

Frustrated by Republican Party conservatism, 
Costigan helped found the Progressive Republican 



ENCYCLOPEDIA 01 THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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L I N 



R L E S 



Club of Denver in 1910, which joined the new Na- 
tional Progressive Republican League the following 
year, setting the stage for Theodore Roosevelt's 
third party campaign for the presidency in 1912. 
Costigan took a leading role in that campaign, run- 
ning for governor of Colorado on the Progressive 
ticket and coming in a solid second. 

Costigan's political activism found full expres- 
sion after the Ludlow coal strike in 1914, when he 
successfully acted as defense counsel to the strike 
leaders accused of inciting violence against the 
mine-employed militia. The issue served to crystal- 
lize Costigan's developing views on the need for 
the fair treatment of industrial workers in the new 
age of industrial capitalism. With the decline of the 
progressive movement, Costigan felt he had no 
choice in 1916 but to endorse Democratic President 
Woodrow Wilson for re-election. Costigan was re- 
warded with a place on Wilson's new Tariff Com- 
mission, on which he served until his resignation in 
1928. 

The onset of the Great Depression provided 
Costigan with a campaign issue with which to re- 
turn to active political life. Fighting on the issue of 
Republican paralysis in the face of unprecedented 
nationwide poverty and economic collapse, he won 
a convincing victory as a Democrat in the 1930 Sen- 
ate race in Colorado. 

Costigan was at the forefront of legislative ef- 
forts to create a federal welfare safety net to combat 
the Depression in 1931 and 1932; he participated in 
a conference of progressive legislators in March 
1931 and drew up plans for a joint federal-state 
program of grants-in-aid to the destitute the fol- 
lowing November. The Costigan-La Follette bill 
failed in the Senate, but a less ambitious version 
passed in early 1932. In September 1932 Costigan 
became vice-chairman of a National Progressive 
League, which worked for the election of Franklin 
Roosevelt to the presidency. 

One of the most significant acts of the First 
Hundred Days of the Roosevelt administration in 
1933 was the signing of the Federal Emergency Re- 
lief Act, which was based on the Costigan-La Fol- 
lette proposals. The first allocation of aid under this 
act went to Colorado in recognition of Costigan's 
role in passing the bill. Costigan also drew up plans 



for six billion dollars of federal public works, sup- 
plemented by loans and grants to states for further 
local construction. He was also co-sponsor of an 
unsuccessful anti-lynching bill, and of successful 
efforts to strengthen emergency banking legislation 
by forcing the government to guarantee bank de- 
posits. The strain of his intensive legislative duties 
took its toll: Costigan suffered a stroke in 1934 that 
was to lead to his decision not to seek renomination 
to his Senate seat in 1936. 

See Also: ANTI-LYNCHING LEGISLATION; FEDERAL 
EMERGENCY RELIEF ADMINISTRATION (FERA); 
HUNDRED DAYS. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Feinman, Ronald L. Twilight ofProgressivism: The Western 
Republican Senators and the New Deal. 1981. 

Greenbaum, Fred. Tighting Progressive: A Biography of Ed- 
ward P. Costigan. 1971. 

Ickes, Harold L. The Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes, Vol. 
1: The Tirst Thousand Days, 1933-1936. 1953. 

Rable, George. "The South and the Politics of Antilynch- 
ing Legislation, 1920-1940." Journal of Southern His- 
tory 51 (1985): 201-220. 

Schwarz, Jordan. Interregnum of Despair: Hoover, Con- 
gress, and the Depression. 1970. 

Schwarz, Jordan. The New Dealers: Power Politics in the 
Age of Roosevelt. 1993. 

Wickens, James. Colorado in the Great Depression. 1979. 

Jonathan W. Bell 



COUGHLIN, CHARLES 

Charles Coughlin (October 25, 1891-October 27, 
1979) was a Roman Catholic priest and a radio pio- 
neer who used the new medium to broadcast popu- 
lar but anti-Semitic and isolationist views during 
the Depression. Coughlin was born in Hamilton, 
Ontario, to Thomas and Amelia Mahoney 
Coughlin, pious Catholics who immersed their son 
in the Church. Charles attended Saint Michael's 
College in Toronto, where he established himself as 
a strong student and a talented public speaker. The 
school was run by the Basilan Fathers, an order that 
stressed social action and justice. After graduating 
in 1911, Coughlin entered Saint Basil's Seminary in 
Toronto. He became an ordained priest in 1916. 



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



( W L E Y 



MALCOLM 



After seven years teaching at Assumption Col- 
lege outside of Windsor, Ontario, Coughlin was as- 
signed as a parish priest to the Archdiocese of De- 
troit, Michigan. He served as an assistant pastor in 
both Kalamazoo and Detroit before securing his 
own parish in North Branch, Michigan. After six 
months, Coughlin was moved to the growing com- 
munity of Royal Oak, Michigan. Here, in 1926, 
Coughlin arranged for a loan of $79,000 and over- 
saw the building of a new church that would seat 
six hundred congregants. To bolster his new 
church, which was known as the Shrine of the Little 
Flower, Coughlin purchased radio time and began 
broadcasting, at times right from his pulpit. By 
1928, Coughlin's popular shows had attracted nu- 
merous new congregants and pulled in enough 
money to fund the construction of a larger church 
with an 111-foot granite tower. 

Detroit was one of the first cities to feel the ef- 
fects of the Great Depression because the automo- 
bile industry, which was the city's main source of 
employment, was hit hard by the economic down- 
turn. Coughlin's Sunday radio show, which by 1929 
was broadcast by stations in Chicago and Cincin- 
nati as well as Detroit, eased the pain of the De- 
pression for many listeners. In 1930, Coughlin 
signed a deal with CBS to broadcast his Golden Hour 
of the Little Flower to a potential audience of up to 
forty million listeners. When Coughlin's increas- 
ingly controversial views caused CBS to refuse to 
renew his contract in 1931, he established contracts 
with individual radio stations and continued to 
reach millions of listeners. Coughlin's magazine, 
Social Justice, which was launched in 1936 and pub- 
lished until 1942, also claimed six hundred thou- 
sand subscribers. 

Coughlin's early broadcasts were delivered in a 
mainstream rhetorical style. By 1930, however, 
Coughlin's style had changed, and he exhibited a 
growing obsession with the international banking 
industry, which he blamed for many of the nation's 
problems and which he considered the bastion of 
Jews. He initially supported President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt and considered himself, erroneously, to 
be one of Roosevelt's key advisors. But despite the 
efforts of Joseph Kennedy to bring the men togeth- 
er, the relationship was rocky at best. In 1934, 



Coughlin spearheaded the National Union for So- 
cial Justice, which was built around support of an 
annual living wage for workers, greater profit for 
farmers, and central control of the monetary sys- 
tem. Coughlin insisted the group was a lobbying 
organization only and not a third party. Yet in 1936, 
Coughlin, along with Dr. Francis E. Townsend and 
Rev. Gerald L. K. Smith, founded the Union Party. 
The party was based on similar principles as the 
NUSJ and supported the presidential bid of William 
Lemke of North Dakota. The party pulled in only 
2 percent of the national vote, greatly hurting 
Coughlin's credibility. By 1938, Coughlin's radio 
broadcasts had become blatantly isolationist and 
anti-Semitic in tone and content, and he expressed 
sympathy for Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. 
Although he continued to attract millions of listen- 
ers, Coughlin bowed to church pressure and 
stopped broadcasting in 1940. Under the order of 
his bishop, Coughlin ceased all political activity by 
1942, although he was allowed to continue serving 
as a parish priest until 1966. He died in Bloomfield 
Hills, Michigan, in 1979. 

See Also: ANTL-SEMLTISM; DLCTATORSHIP, FEAR OF 
IN THE UNITED STATES; ISOLATIONISM; RADIO; 
RELIGION. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Brinkley, Alan. Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Lather 
Coughlin, and the Great Depression. 1982. 

Fraser, Steve. "The 'Labor Question'." In Lhe Rise and 
Lall of the New Deal Order, 1930-1980, edited by 
Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle. 1989. 

Kazin, Michael. Lhe Populist Persuasion: An American His- 
tory. 1995. 

Tull, Charles J. Lather Coughlin and the New Deal. 1965. 

Warren, David. Radio Priest: Charles Coughlin, the Lather 
of Lalk Radio. 1996. 

Lisa Krissoff Boehm 



COWLEY, MALCOLM 

Malcolm Cowley (August 24, 1898-March 28, 1989) 
was a critic, editor, and literary historian, and the 
preeminent chronicler of the 1920s literary genera- 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



215 



C P A D I [ WILL 



HOCK 



I H [ 



tion. Born in western Pennsylvania, Cowley grew 
up in Pittsburgh with a number of future literary 
figures, including his lifelong friend, the critic Ken- 
neth Burke. In 1915 Cowley matriculated in Har- 
vard, where he associated with a literary circle that 
included Conrad Aiken and e. e. cummings. De- 
spite being ranked second in his class, Cowley 
withdrew from Harvard to drive a munitions truck 
for the American Field Service in France and later 
served in the U.S. Army. He graduated Phi Beta 
Kappa in 1920. 

Cowley studied French literature at the Univer- 
sity of Montpelier from 1921 to 1922. While there, 
he became friends with, among others, Tristan 
Tzara, Louis Aragon, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude 
Stein, and John Dos Passos. These were the key 
years described in his classic memoir Exile's Return 
(1934). Back in the United States, Cowley did vari- 
ous literary jobs and wrote for the little magazines 
of the day. 

In 1929 Cowley became literary editor of the 
New Republic, the most powerful position of its type. 
As Cowley became more involved with editorial re- 
sponsibilities and political activities, he became a 
leader in the political movement leftward of Ameri- 
can writers. In 1935 he helped organize the League 
of American Writers and became its vice president. 
Cowley was sympathetic to the Soviet Union and 
Joseph Stalin, but conspicuously never joined the 
American Communist Party. He justified the show 
trials, but quickly cut all Communist connections 
after the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact. After joining the 
Office of Facts and Figures in 1940, Cowley was at- 
tacked for his earlier radical positions and forced to 
resign. 

Cowley made some of the great literary discov- 
eries of his day, most notably John Cheever, Jack 
Kerouac, Ken Kesey, and Larry McMurtry, and his 
championing of William Faulkner led to Faulkner's 
rediscovery. 

After World War II, Cowley became an editor 
at Viking where he made some of the great literary 
discoveries of his day, most notably Jack Kerouac, 
John Cheever, and Ken Kesey, and successfully 
championed the republication of such neglected 
figures as William Faulkner, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 
and Walt Whitman. In his own work, Cowley con- 



tinued to mine the veins begun in Exile's Return in 
such autobiographical works as The Dream of the 
Golden Mountain: Remembering the 1930s (1980) and 
And I Worked at the Writer's Trade, and such critical 
works as After the Genteel Tradition (1964) and A 
Many-Windowed House (1970). 

See Also: LITERATURE. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bak, Hans. Malcolm Cowley: The Tormative Years. 1993. 

Kempf, James Michael. The Early Career of Malcolm Cow- 
ley: A Humanist among the Moderns. 1985. 

Young, Thomas Daniel, ed. Conversations with Malcolm 
Cowley. 1986. 

Mark C. Smith 



CRADLE WILL ROCK, THE 

The Cradle Will Rock, a modernist labor opera pro- 
duced by the Federal Theatre Project, opened on 
June 16, 1937, and immediately made headlines. It 
told the story of the struggle between steel union- 
ism and Mister Mister in Steeltown, USA, and of 
the middle-class members of the Liberty Commit- 
tee who had prostituted themselves to Mister Mis- 
ter. Composer Marc Blitzstein's opera effectively 
combined vernacular speech and diverse musical 
styles to tell a compelling story of the pressures on 
professionals, artists, small business people, and 
union leaders to sell out, but also of the ultimate tri- 
umph of a powerful working-class movement. 

Opening night came just two weeks after the 
Memorial Day massacre by Chicago police of sup- 
porters of the Steel Workers' Organizing Commit- 
tee. Conservative opposition to the New Deal was 
rising in the wake of the sit-down strikes and Presi- 
dent Roosevelt's 1937 court-packing proposal. 
Works Progress Administration (WPA) arts project 
workers in New York conducted a one-day work 
stoppage on May 27, 1937, and some theater people 
and audiences sat down to protest threatened cuts. 
Responding to conservative pressures, however, 
the WPA announced a 30 percent staffing cut in the 
New York project, and, in a move aimed at The Cra- 



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



CRIME 



die Will Rock, a suspension in the opening of any 
new play, musical performance, or art gallery before 
July 1, 1937. 

Determined to see the play performed, 
Blitzstein, director Orson Welles, and producer 
John Houseman planned a performance at the 
Venice Theatre, twenty-one blocks north of the 
Maxine Elliot Theatre where they had rehearsed 
and expected to open in a benefit performance for 
the left-wing Downtown Music School. Performers 
Will Geer and Howard da Silva led a march up- 
town. Officials of the Musicians Union and Actors 
Equity had told their members that they could not 
perform, and nonprofessional relief workers feared 
being cut off relief if they participated. Houseman 
suggested that Equity members could play their 
roles from the audience without violating union in- 
structions against appearing on stage. As the cur- 
tain went up in the packed house, Blitzstein was on 
stage alone, prepared to perform the entire opera 
himself. As he began to sing the lead female role of 
Moll, however, Olive Stanton, a relief worker, 
joined in and sang her part from her place in the 
audience. Most other cast members followed in 
turn to play their parts from the audience. The play 
was a hit and ran for another two weeks, with the 
actors continuing to perform from the audience 
with the approval of Equity. Welles and Houseman 
staged the play again at their new Mercury Theatre, 
as did amateur theater groups throughout the 
country. The success of The Cradle Will Rock owed 
much to the growth of a new left-wing working- 
class audience. 

The Federal Theatre Project provided the op- 
portunity for the creators of The Cradle Will Rock to 
develop their vision, but it did not share in its tri- 
umph due to the WPA suspension. At its height, 
the Federal Theatre Project staged hundreds of 
classical and contemporary plays, successfully im- 
plementing project director Hallie Flanagan's vision 
of a "relevant theatre." 

See Also: FEDERAL THEATRE PROJECT (FTP); 
FLANNAGAN, HALLIE; WELLES, ORSON. 



Flanagan, Hallie. Arena: The History of the Federal Theatre. 
1940. 

Gordon, Eric A. Mark the Music: The Life and Work of 
Marc Blitzstein. 1989. 

Houseman, John. Run-Through: A Memoir. 1972. 

Robbins, Tim, director; Jon Kilik, Lydia Dean Pilcher, and 
Tim Robbins, producers. Cradle Will Rock. 1999. 

Martin Halpern 



CRIME 

In the popular imagination, the Great Depression 
is not seen as an era of violence or of criminality. 
Viewed through the lens of nostalgia, it is thought 
to be a simpler, calmer time. But nothing could be 
further from the truth. The early Depression saw a 
stunning increase in the homicide rate, and was 
one of the most violent periods to that point in 
American history. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, 
criminals also played an important role in American 
culture, with many Americans following their ac- 
tions closely — and, one imagines, identifying with 
them on some level, despite the fear many people 
had of violence or of being a target of crime. 

It is difficult to come by meaningful crime sta- 
tistics for the period before the 1930s. The federal 
government only began to count crime statistics in 
1930, and experts believe that crime was systemati- 
cally underreported early in the century, so it is 
hard to make valid comparisons for property 
crimes, burglaries, robberies, rapes, and other crim- 
inal activity between the Great Depression and ear- 
lier periods. The significant exception is the murder 
rate. During the early part of the twentieth century 
the murder rate in the United States rose from 1.2 
homicides per 100,000 people in 1900 to 6.8 in 1920. 
Between 1920 and 1930, it climbed again, reaching 
8.8 in 1930 — a higher murder rate than in the 
1970s. In the early 1930s it reached a high point for 
the entire century, peaking at 9.7 homicides per 
100,000 people in 1933, and declining afterwards 
for the rest of the decade. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Denning, Michael. The Cultural Front: The Laboring of 
American Culture in the Twentieth Century. 1996. 



THE CRIMINAL AS BUSINESSMAN 

Why was American society so violent in the 
1920s and early 1930s? The most generally accepted 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



217 



(RIME 





/''' ■'" 





The FBI's most wanted criminals in 1934 included (clockwise from top left) John Dillinger, Arthur Barker, Charles Arthur "Pretty 
Boy" Floyd, Homer Van Meter, Alvin Korpis, and Baby Face Nelson. Bettmann/CORBIS 



explanation is that rampant violence was one of the 
unexpected consequences of prohibition, the ban 
on producing, distributing, or selling intoxicating 
beverages that began with the Eighteenth Amend- 
ment to the Constitution in 1919 and the Volstead 
Act the next year. Bound by the fiscal conservatism 
of the times, the federal government quickly found 
that it was all but impossible to enforce prohibition. 
Alcohol intended for any variety of commercial or 
industrial purposes was re-distilled and sold as 



drinking liquor, produced in shops that employed 
sweated labor. People smuggling alcohol from 
other countries did a brisk business. In 1925 alone, 
prohibition agents shut down 172,000 illegal alco- 
hol shops. 

Most important, however, was the rise of a $2 
billion illegal industry of producing and selling al- 
cohol, run by organized crime. Paralleling the rise 
of the corporation, organized crime became big 
business during the prohibition years. Contracts 



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



CRIME 



between producers, distributors and salesmen 
could not be enforced through any courts, and the 
market was highly competitive. So the bootleggers 
sought to make their agreements stick and elimi- 
nate their competitors through shootings, beatings, 
threats, and other kinds of violence. Often, Italian 
and Irish immigrants ran these criminal organiza- 
tions, and for many they represented one of the few 
chances working-class ethnics had to make phe- 
nomenal amounts of money and join the American 
elite. Despite the extreme violence of the gangs, for 
many working-class Americans — especially those 
who resented prohibition — the wealth and notori- 
ety of the ethnic mobs became a point of identifica- 
tion and pride. 

The Torrio-Capone gang in Chicago was the 
model for this new kind of organized crime. A few 
months after the passage of the Volstead Act, Fran- 
kie Yale of Brooklyn, New York, executed one of 
Chicago's preeminent mobsters, James "Big Jim" 
Colosimo. Legend has it that Johnny Torrio, one of 
Colosimo's henchmen, hired Yale to commit the 
murder so that Torrio could diversify the gang from 
brothels and illegal gaming into the purchase and 
sale of liquor. Torrio brought in a group of hired 
guns from Brooklyn, one of whom was Alphonse 
"Al" Capone. Capone was one of the most colorful 
characters in Chicago's underworld. A young man 
who listed his occupation on his business cards as 
"secondhand furniture dealer," he ran the Chicago 
gang's business to the tune of two hundred gang- 
related murders a year in Chicago in the mid-1920s. 
He was very open with reporters and the press — 
who covered him enthusiastically — about his role 
in murders, such as that of Dion O'Banion, a neme- 
sis of the Torrio-Capone gang, in 1924. The rivalry 
between the Torrio-Capone gang and the 
O'Banions reached its peak with the St. Valentine's 
Day massacre of 1929, when members of the Ca- 
pone gang dressed as police officers slaughtered 
seven unarmed O'Banions. When Capone finally 
was brought down for income tax evasion, federal 
investigators estimated that his organization's an- 
nual income from liquor, prostitution, loan- 
sharking, extortion, slot machines, and gambling 
was $70 million. He was truly the big businessman 
of the crime world, and his power seemed to mirror 
that of corporations during the 1920s. 



With the stock market crash of 1929 came reve- 
lations of corporate malfeasance often not captured 
in crime statistics. The great crash may have made 
it appear to ordinary Americans that some kind of 
massive criminal operation was afoot — how else 
could all that money simply vanish? But while ordi- 
nary speculation and irresponsible lending deci- 
sions were primarily responsible for driving stock 
prices sky-high during the bubble, there were spec- 
ulative "bull pools" and insider trading operations. 
There were also white-collar criminals like Ivar 
Kreuger, a Swedish mogul who ran the Interna- 
tional Match Company, which sold $150 million 
worth of stock before being revealed as little more 
than Ponzi scheme in the crash. 



THE CRIMINAL AS FOLK HERO 

The early 1930s saw a dramatic acceleration of 
violent crime — murders, robberies, and kidnap- 
pings alike. The late days of prohibition may have 
been one cause, and the social dislocation of the 
Depression another. The baby of aviation celebrity 
Charles A. Lindbergh was kidnapped and mur- 
dered. Businessmen were kidnapped and held for 
ransom. The Barker-Karpis Gang stole $240,000 
from the Cloud County Bank at Condordia, Kansas. 

But the imagination of the American public was 
especially captivated in the early 1930s by a pair of 
robbers who drove the back roads of Texas, holding 
up banks and stores: Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Par- 
ker. The young duo met in 1930, as the Depression 
swept across the country. Parker, born to a poor 
family in West Dallas, had waited tables as a teen- 
ager in the late 1920s as her first marriage fell apart. 
Barrow had grown up in a desperately poor family 
outside of Dallas, and was involved in car theft and 
robbery as a teen in the late 1920s. They met, fell 
in love, and — though separated for two years by 
imprisonment — embarked in 1932 on a series of 
bank robberies and hold-ups at stores such as the 
Piggly Wiggly, which would lead to the deaths of 
twelve people and the wounding of several more. 

Bonnie and Clyde were on the run for a year 
and a half, driving aimlessly through Texas, Kansas, 
Oklahoma, and Arkansas (Barrow wrote a letter to 
Henry Ford, telling him that the Ford was the best 
car ever made), committing robberies and killing 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



ZI9 



(RIME 



police officers and paying occasional visits to family 
members, to whom they were deeply attached. In 
May 1934, they were ambushed and shot in Louisi- 
ana. Bonnie was twenty-three years old at the time 
of her death, and Clyde was twenty-five. Quickly, 
they became legends. Before being killed, Bonnie 
had already started to contribute to the story of 
their nihilistic romance, writing "The Ballad of Bon- 
nie and Clyde" and other poems in the country- 
ballad tradition celebrating her hopeless life on the 
road. After their deaths, crowds gathered around 
the ambush site to seek bits of the bullets that had 
killed them, and their funerals were mass public 
events. 

Bonnie and Clyde were not the only violent 
criminals to gain a public following. There were 
other bank robbers and criminals who became al- 
most like folk heroes in the early 1930s. Charles Ar- 
thur "Pretty Boy" Floyd was the son of a tenant far- 
mer, born in Georgia and raised in Arkansas. He 
stole from banks and acquired the status of a Robin 
Hood figure, with the desperation of a small farmer 
in the Great Depression. George "Machine Gun" 
Kelly gained his notoriety by kidnapping Charles F. 
Urschel, an Oklahoma City oil millionaire. John 
Dillinger, scion of a strict Indianapolis grocer, be- 
came a juvenile delinquent at an early age, leading 
a child gang known as the Dirty Dozen. The Dil- 
linger Gang was one of the best known bank- 
robbing gangs of the early 1930s. It flaunted au- 
thority and mocked the F.B.I, and the police, and 
the gang members claimed legitimacy by present- 
ing themselves as the people's thieves. As Henry 
Pierpont, one member of the gang, said, "I stole 
from the banks who stole from the people." F.B.I, 
agents shot Dillinger down in front of Chicago's Bi- 
ograph Theater in the summer of 1934. He had had 
plastic surgery while on the run, however, and as 
befits a larger than life legend, there were many 
people who doubted that he had really died. 

Although it is difficult to know why certain fig- 
ures attract so much more cultural attention than 
others, it does seem that in the late 1920s and early 
1930s, each historical era had the criminals best 
suited to it. For people in the business-crazed world 
of the late 1920s, there was little to separate legiti- 
mate business from crime. Figures like Al Capone 



dramatized the violent competition of the free mar- 
ket and represented the anarchic dimensions of 
market hysteria. In the early years of the Depres- 
sion, the evaporation of possibility, the dire poverty 
of unemployment, and the absence of direction ex- 
emplified by the wandering rage of Bonnie and 
Clyde struck a deep chord in people across the 
country, for whom the young, desperate, and 
doomed pair seemed less violent murderers than 
star-crossed lovers, outmatched by the law. The vi- 
olence of the early Depression began to decline 
later in the decade, as liquor became legal once 
again, mob activity declined, and political activism 
began to replace the fear and uncertainty of the 
early 1930s. But the spike in violence of the early 
1930s should make people who rhapsodize about 
the calm and social cohesion of the past think twice, 
for the chaos and criminality of the era — both its fa- 
mous criminals and its less well-known high crime 
rate — easily match the crime waves of the more re- 
cent past. 

See Also: "BALLAD OF PRETTY BOY FLOYD"; 

BONNIE AND CLYDE (BONNIE PARKER AND 
CLYDE BARROW); CAPONE, AL; HEROES; LAW 
ENFORCEMENT; PROHIBITION. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Allen, Everett S. The Black Ships: Rumrunners of Prohibi- 
tion. 1979. 

Bureau of the Census, U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Histori- 
cal Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 
1970. 1975. Reprint, 1989. 

Court TV's Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods. 
Available at: www.crimelibrary.com 

Helmer, William J., with Rick Mattix. Public Enemies: 
America's Criminal Past, 1919-1940. 1998. 

Kobler, John. Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone. 
1971. 

Milner, E. R. The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde. 
1996. 

Parrish, Michael E. Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity 
and Depression, 1929-1941. 1992. 

Loland, John. The Dillinger Days. 1963. 

Lreherne, John. The Strange History of Bonnie and Clyde. 
1984. 

Wallis, Michael. Pretty Boy: The Life and Times of Charles 
Arthur Tloyd. 1992. 

Kim Phillips -Fein 



220 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



C U M M I N 6 S 



M E R 



CROSBY, BING. See MUSIC; RADIO. 



See Also: COMMUNIST PARTY; FOSTER, WILLIAM Z., 
LITERATURE; POPULAR FRONT; SOCIALIST 
PARTY. 



CULTURE AND THE CRISIS 

Culture and the Crisis: An Open Letter to the Writers, 
Artists, Teachers, Physicians, Engineers, Scientists, and 
Other Professional Workers of America was an influ- 
ential pamphlet-manifesto issued in 1932 by the 
League of Professional Groups. Its immediate goal 
was to boost support among American profession- 
als for the Communist Party's 1932 presidential 
ticket of William Z. Foster and James W. Ford. The 
pamphlet maintained that the Communist candi- 
dates alone acknowledged the collapse of capital- 
ism behind the suffering of the Great Depression. 
The pamphlet struck a more distinctive note in ar- 
guing that only a Communist America would allow 
professionals freedom in the studio, classroom, or 
lab. Professionals composed a social class in their 
own right, one distinct from the class of "muscle 
workers" and that of the "irresponsible business 
men." The economic crisis presented this class of 
professional "brain workers" with the historic op- 
portunity to join with their "true comrades," the 
muscle workers, and to liberate themselves from 
"false money-standards." 

Historians justly remember Culture and the Cri- 
sis for signaling the radical turn of American litera- 
ture in the early 1930s. Sherwood Anderson, Mal- 
colm Cowley, Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, 
Waldo Frank, Langston Hughes, and Edmund Wil- 
son were among the fifty-two signatories willing to 
declare their intent to vote Communist. No less sig- 
nificant, however, is the pamphlet's trailblazing ef- 
fort to theorize the rise of a technical-intellectual 
"New Class" in modern society, a central concern 
of social theory beginning in the 1970s. Culture and 
the Crisis is also notable for predicting the focus on 
the political economy of culture that would charac- 
terize the Popular Front years of 1935 to 1939, and 
for announcing what Michael Denning calls the 
"cultural front" of mid-century America, "the ter- 
rain where the Popular Front social movement met 
the cultural apparatus during the age of the CIO" 
(Congress of Industrial Organizations). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Denning, Michael. The Cultural Tront: The Laboring of 
American Culture in the Twentieth Century. 1996. 

Rideout, Walter B. The Radical Novel in the United States, 
1900-1954: Some Interrelations of Literature and Soci- 
ety, rev. edition. 1992. 

William J. Maxwell 



CUMMINGS, HOMER 

Homer Stille Cummings (April 30, 1870-September 
10, 1956) was the attorney general of the United 
States from March 4, 1933, to January 2, 1939. Born 
in Chicago, he took his undergraduate and law de- 
grees from Yale University in New Haven, Con- 
necticut. He developed a successful trial practice in 
Stamford, Connecticut, founding the firm of Cum- 
mings and Lockwood in 1909. Always active in 
Democratic politics, Cummings was a floor leader 
in support of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, and 
was rewarded with the attorney generalship. 

While in office Cummings sponsored a number 
of reforms, which included establishing uniform 
rules of practice and procedure for the federal 
courts and expanding the functions of the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation. He secured legislation 
beefing up federal authority over firearms and such 
interstate crimes as kidnapping and bank robbery, 
and his penal reforms included the establishment 
of the penitentiary at Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay. 
Yet while he successfully defended the administra- 
tion's monetary policy in the "gold clause" cases, 
his department was unable to replicate the feat in 
cases challenging such central New Deal programs 
as the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Ag- 
ricultural Adjustment Act. These frustrations 
prompted President Roosevelt to instruct Cum- 
mings to draft the ill-fated Court-packing bill, 
which was introduced in 1937. 

History's judgment of Cummings's tenure has 
not been altogether favorable. Many prominent 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



221 



C U R R I E 



U C H L I N 



New Dealers criticized the quality of legal work 
produced by Cummings's staff. The department, 
they complained, was staffed with too many politi- 
cal appointees and too few able lawyers. Nor did 
Cummings enjoy the confidence of the justices of 
the Supreme Court. Associate justices Louis Bran- 
deis and Harlan Fiske Stone each expressed to Roo- 
sevelt concern over the department's competence. 
At the height of the Court-packing fight, Chief Jus- 
tice Charles Evans Hughes privately complained to 
New Deal Senator Burton Wheeler that under 
Cummings's supervision New Deal statutes had 
been poorly drafted and the briefs and arguments 
offered in their defense badly drawn and poorly 
presented. Had the office been occupied by a differ- 
ent attorney general, Hughes suggested, the trou- 
bled history of New Deal legislation might have 
been quite different. 

Cummings resigned in January of 1939. He re- 
mained in Washington, where he practiced law 
until his death. 

See Also: LAW ENFORCEMENT; SUPREME COURT 
"PACKING" CONTROVERSY. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Cushman, Barry. Rethinking the New Deal Court: The 
Structure of a Constitutional Revolution. 1998. 

Irons, Peter H. The New Deal Lawyers. 1982. 

Lash, Joseph P. Dealers and Dreamers: A New Look at the 
New Deal. 1988. 

Leuchtenburg, William E. The Supreme Court Reborn: 
Constitutional Revolution in the Age of Roosevelt. 1995. 

Barry Cushman 



CURRIE, LAUCHLIN 



Lauchlin Currie (October 8, 1902-December 23, 
1993) was born in a small fishing village in Nova 
Scotia, Canada, where his father owned a fleet of 
vessels. When his father died in 1906 his family 
moved to the town of Bridgewater, but Currie's 
early schooling also included short periods in Mas- 
sachusetts and California. After two years at 
St. Francis Xavier's University, Nova Scotia 



(1920-1922), Currie studied at the London School 
of Economics (1922-1925) where his teachers in- 
cluded Edwin Cannan, Hugh Dalton, A. L. Bowley, 
and Harold Laski. In 1925 Currie joined Harvard's 
graduate program, where his chief inspiration was 
Allyn Abbott Young. His Ph.D. was on banking 
theory, and he remained at Harvard until 1934 as 
assistant to, successively, Ralph Hawtrey, John H. 
Williams, and Joseph Schumpeter. In 1934 he be- 
came a U.S. citizen and joined Jacob Viner's famous 
"freshman brain trust" at the U.S. Treasury. There 
he outlined an "ideal" monetary system for the 
United States (including a 100 percent reserve 
banking plan) and teamed up with Marriner Eccles 
shortly before the latter became governor of the 
Federal Reserve Board (November 1934). Eccles re- 
cruited Currie as his personal assistant. 

At the Fed Currie drafted what became the 
1935 Banking Act, which created a true central bank 
for the United States with increased control over 
money. At Harvard he had bitterly attacked Fed 
policy, blaming its "commercial loan theory" of 
banking (or real bills doctrine) for monetary tight- 
ening at a time when the economy was already de- 
clining (mid-1929), and then for its passivity in the 
face of mass liquidations and bank failures from 
1929 to 1933. In a January 1932 Harvard memoran- 
dum on anti-Depression policy, Currie and two fel- 
low instructors, Harry Dexter White and Paul T. 
Ellsworth, urged large fiscal deficits, open-market 
operations to expand bank reserves, the removal of 
tariffs, and the relief of inter-allied debts. White, 
another "freshman brain trust" recruit in 1934, be- 
came top adviser (and later the assistant secretary) 
to Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau. White 
and Currie worked closely in their respective roles 
at the Treasury and Fed, from 1934 to 1939, and also 
after 1939 when President Roosevelt appointed 
Currie as his White House adviser on economic af- 
fairs. 

At the Fed Currie constructed an important 
"net federal income-creating expenditure series" to 
show the influence of fiscal policy in acute Depres- 
sion. When, after four years of recovery, the econo- 
my declined sharply in 1937, he was able to explain 
to President Roosevelt, in an unprecedented four- 
hour interview, how damaging was the declared 



222 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



C W A 



aim of balancing the budget "to restore business 
confidence." This dialogue was part of the "struggle 
for the soul of FDR" between Secretary Morgen- 
thau and Governor Eccles. At first the president 
sided with Morgenthau and disaster followed. Not 
until April 1938, after the worst period of his long 
tenure in the White House, did Roosevelt at last ask 
Congress for more than $3 billion of spending on 
relief and public works. In May 1939 Currie joined 
Harvard's Alvin Hansen in testimony before the 
Temporary National Economic Committee (TNEC) 
to explain the additions and offsets to the circular 
flow of income and expenditure and the role of gov- 
ernment in stabilizing this flow at full employment. 

As the White House economist from July 1939, 
Currie advised on budgetary policy, social security, 
and peacetime and wartime production plans. In 
March 1940, at the President's request, he prepared 
a lengthy Memorandum on Full Employment Poli- 
cy that attempted to allay the President's fears that 
the large expenditures being planned for defense, 
housing and social security were economically un- 
sound. Currie wrote: "I have come to suspect that 
you are somewhat bothered by the apparent con- 
flict between the humanitarian and social aims of 
the New Deal and the dictates of 'sound econom- 
ics.' I feel convinced that in place of conflict there 
is really complete harmony and for that reason only 
the New Deal can solve the economic problem." 

After a mission to China in January 1941 Currie 
advised that China be added to the lend-lease pro- 
gram, which he then administered. In 1943 and 
1944 he ran the Foreign Economic Administration, 
and in early 1945 he headed a mission to Switzer- 
land to secure the freezing of Nazi assets. After the 



war Currie was one of those blamed for "losing" 
China. It was also alleged that he had participated 
in wartime Soviet espionage. No charges were laid 
and in 1949 and 1950 he headed an important 
World Bank mission to Colombia. He stayed on to 
advise on the implementation of his report. He as- 
sumed Colombian citizenship in 1958 and was the 
country's leading economic adviser until his death 
in 1993. Currie's extensive collected papers are ar- 
chived at Duke University's Special Collections. 

See Also: BRAIN(S) TRUST; ECCLES, MARRINER; 

FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM; MONETARY POLICY. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Currie, Lauchlin. The Supply and Control of Money in the 
United States. 1934. 

Laidler, David, and Sandilands, Roger J. "An Early Har- 
vard Memorandum on Anti-Depression Policies." 
History of Political Economy 34(2) (2002): 515-552. 

Sandilands, Roger J. The Life and Political Economy of 
Lauchlin Currie: New Dealer, Presidential Adviser, and 
Development Economist. 1990. 

Sandilands, Roger J. "Guilt by Association? Lauchlin 
Currie's Alleged Involvement with Washington 
Economists in Soviet Espionage." History of Political 
Economy 32(3) (2000): 473-515. 

Stein, Herbert. The Fiscal Revolution in America. 1969. 

Tobin, James. "Hansen and Public Policy." Quarterly 
Journal of Economics 90 (1976): 32-37. 

Roger J. Sandilands 



CURRY, JOHN STEUART. See AMERICAN 
SCENE, THE. 



CWA. See CIVIL WORKS ADMINISTRATION. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



223 




DAVIS, CHESTER 



Born in rural Iowa, Chester C. Davis (November 17, 
1887-September 25, 1975) graduated from Grinnell 
College in 1911 and became a journalist in South 
Dakota and Montana. While editor of the Bozeman 
Weekly Courier, Davis became seriously interested 
in farm issues and his career in journalism yielded 
to agricultural advocacy instead. He became editor 
of the Montana Farmer in 1917, involved himself in 
various agricultural groups, and won gubernatorial 
appointment as Montana's commissioner of agri- 
culture and labor in 1921. 

Sharply analytical, full of reformist ideas, and 
demonstrating patience and executive skill, Davis 
earned the confidence of farmers. In the 1920s, he 
joined farm advocate George N. Peek in the cam- 
paign for national farm parity, a formula designed 
to improve farmers'purchasing power, and worked 
for passage of the doomed McNary-Haugen bills, 
which would have authorized federal acquisition of 
farm commodities. Success proved elusive until the 
onetime Republican joined the farmer-friendly 
New Deal administration of Franklin Roosevelt in 
1933. 

When George Peek became head of the new 
Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), he 
turned to Davis to run the AAA's Production Divi- 



sion. They were joined by others who saw the 
AAA's task as primarily to raise prices for farm 
commodities, a view not shared by socially con- 
scious liberals in the AAA's Legal Division and 
Consumers Counsel who wanted justice for farm 
tenants. When internecine conflict in the AAA 
forced Peek out by the end of 1933, he was replaced 
by Davis, whose personality seemed better suited to 
mitigate differences within the agency. However, 
more than a year later — in early 1935 — when the 
Legal Division tried to reinterpret a controversial 
section of the AAA's cotton contract for 1934 and 
1935 in favor of retention of the same tenants on 
plantations despite acreage reduction, an angry 
Davis, with the pragmatic support of Secretary of 
Agriculture Henry Wallace, fired a number of liber- 
als in both the Legal Division and Consumers 
Counsel. Both Wallace and Davis knew that the 
agency could not alienate the conservative landlord 
establishment in or out of government. Davis even 
believed that Wallace would be forced out of the 
cabinet if the firings were not sustained. 

Davis left the AAA in 1936 but continued to 
hold a series of federal positions, including mem- 
bership on the Board of Governors of the Federal 
Reserve, War Food Administrator (briefly) during 
World War II, and advisor to the Office of War Mo- 
bilization and Reconversion. Active in postwar 
famine relief and European reconstruction, he also 



225 



DEFICIT SPENDING 



served as associate director of the Ford Foundation, 
working with programs in India and Pakistan. 
Davis retired in the 1950s and died in Winston- 
Salem, North Carolina, in 1975. 

See Also: AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ADMIN- 
ISTRATION (AAA); WALLACE, HENRY A. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Conrad, David E. The Forgotten Farmers: The Story of 
Sharecroppers in the New Deal. 1965. 

Davis, Chester C. Columbia Oral History Collection, But- 
ler Library, Columbia University, New York. 

Fite, Gilbert C. George N. Peek and the Fight for Farm Pari- 
ty. 1954. 

Grubbs, Donald H. Cry from the Cotton: The Southern Ten- 
ant Farmers' Union and the New Deal. 1971. 

Nelson, Lawrence. King Cotton's Advocate in the New 
Deal: Oscar G. Johnston and the New Deal. 1999. 

Nelson, Lawrence. "The Art of the Possible: Another 
Look at the 'Purge' of the AAA Liberals in 1935," 
Agricultural History, 57 (1983): 416-435. 

Lawrence J. Nelson 



DEFICIT SPENDING 

The Great Depression marked a turning point in 
America's fiscal history. Prior to the 1930s, balanced 
federal budgets in which tax receipts exceeded ex- 
penditure were the norm, but thereafter they have 
been rare. The unbroken sequence of unbalanced 
budgets that operated from fiscal year 1931 to fiscal 
year 1947 heralded the predominance of deficit 
budgets in the second half of the twentieth century. 
In contrast to the post-World War II period, how- 
ever, Depression-era fiscal policy was only belated- 
ly influenced by the new Keynesian economic theo- 
ries. 

The budget moved from a $734 million surplus 
in fiscal year 1929 to a $2.7 billion deficit in fiscal 
year 1932. President Herbert Hoover initially re- 
garded deficits as a short-term necessity while the 
economy underwent correction. Under his lead, 
Congress cut taxes, increased public-works spend- 
ing, and established loan programs to assist state 
and local public works and state unemployment re- 



lief. These measures were utterly insufficient to 
boost recovery, but Hoover held back from large- 
scale deficit spending for fear of engendering big 
government. Moreover, the tax-increasing Revenue 
Act of 1932 vainly attempted to restore balanced- 
budget orthodoxy so that government borrowing 
would not crowd out business from tight credit 
markets. Its reduction of purchasing power only ag- 
gravated economic decline with the consequence 
that the deficit remained stubbornly high. 

Hoover came under attack most often not for 
the inadequacy of his deficit spending but for its ex- 
cess. Business leaders feared that unbalanced bud- 
gets would have severe inflationary consequences 
if government expanded the money supply to ease 
its borrowing requirements. To the mass public, 
deficits were evidence of government extravagance 
and mismanagement. In the 1932 presidential elec- 
tion, therefore, economic and political consider- 
ations induced Democratic candidate Franklin D. 
Roosevelt to promise that his administration would 
balance the budget. 

The core ideas of what became known as 
Keynesianism — that consumption rather than in- 
vestment drove economic growth and that public 
spending could stimulate mass purchasing power 
when the private economy was in recession — had 
few adherents. In the 1890s, University of Pennsyl- 
vania economist Simon Patten had pioneered the 
idea that increased consumption was the founda- 
tion for economic well-being, a view later promot- 
ed by his students, Wesley Mitchell and Rexford 
Tugwell, and journalist Stuart Chase in the 1920s 
and 1930s. Meanwhile, lay analysts William Truf- 
fant Foster and Waddill Catchings turned the con- 
ventional economic belief that consumption was 
the result of production on its head in a number of 
popular tracts, such as Plenty (1925), Business with- 
out a Buyer (1927), and The Road to Plenty (1928). 
They further contended that government spending 
was the best means to counteract recession when 
many people lacked private income to spend. Brit- 
ish economist John Maynard Keynes promoted 
similar views in works like The Means to Prosperity 
(1933). "Too good to be true — You can't get some- 
thing for nothing," Roosevelt had commented in 
the margin of his copy of The Road to Plenty. He was 



Z26 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



DEFICIT 



SPENDING 



similarly unimpressed with Keynes, whom he 
dubbed "a mathematician rather than a political 
economist" after their 1934 meeting. 

Nevertheless, Roosevelt had no more success 
than Hoover in balancing the budget. New Deal 
emergency spending on public works, relief, and 
rural programs drove up federal outlays to $6.6 bil- 
lion in fiscal year 1934 and $8.2 billion in fiscal year 
1936, well above Hoover's largest budget of $4.7 
billion in fiscal year 1932. Tax revenues could not 
cover this expansion in a depressed economy, so 
the deficit grew to $4.3 billion in fiscal year 1936 
compared with $2.6 billion in Hoover's fiscal year 
1933 budget. Ever mindful of his campaign pledge, 
Roosevelt viewed the New Deal deficits as an em- 
barrassment rather than an instrument for recov- 
ery. Accordingly, he repeatedly raised taxes — both 
direct and indirect — and was a reluctant spender. 
Significantly, congressional enactment over the 
presidential veto of a $2.2 billion appropriation for 
immediate payment of the World War I veterans' 
bonus helped make the fiscal year 1936 deficit the 
largest operated by the New Deal. The true mea- 
sure of New Deal fiscal activism was not the actual 
deficit but the full-employment deficit that would 
have accrued had the economy been operating to 
its full potential. This hypothetical index differenti- 
ates between intentional policy and the effect of de- 
pressed economic activity on the tax base. It reveals 
that only four New Deal budgets — fiscal years 1934, 
1936, 1939, and 1940 — operated expansionary defi- 
cits, while the others provided no greater stimulus 
than Hoover's budgets of fiscal years 1930 to 1932. 
Moreover, in contrast to Hoover, Roosevelt could 
have operated larger deficits without fear of driving 
up interest rates because the early New Deal had 
liberated monetary and credit policy from Federal 
Reserve control. 



faced a stark choice of adhering to orthodoxy or 
spending his way out of recession. Conservative 
advisers led by Treasury Secretary Henry Morgen- 
thau insisted that a balanced budget was vital to re- 
store business confidence. Conversely, Federal Re- 
serve chairman Marriner Eccles, a longtime 
advocate of counter-cyclical policy, warned that 
only deficit spending would restore purchasing 
power in the economy. The effort to speed recovery 
by placating business, he told Roosevelt, had 
"borne no fruits in either dollar terms or goodwill." 
Once a lone voice, Eccles now found himself at the 
center of a group of liberal New Dealers whom the 
recession had converted to the same cause. These 
included such cabinet members as Harry Hopkins, 
Harold Ickes, and Henry Wallace, as well as youn- 
ger officials spread throughout the federal bureau- 
cracy, such as Laughlan Currie, Mordecai Ezekiel, 
Leon Henderson, and Aubrey Williams. They 
found theoretical justification in Keynes's recently 
published master work, General Theory of Employ- 
ment, Interest, and Money (1936), which contended 
that in advanced industrial economies permanent 
deficits were needed to boost consumption and full 
employment. 

The battle for the president's ear ended in vic- 
tory for the spenders. Though unconvinced about 
permanent deficits, Roosevelt adopted Keynesian 
remedies against the recession and justified these 
with Keynesian rhetoric. In April 1938 he recom- 
mended that Congress appropriate $3 billion for 
emergency spending and credit programs without 
corollary tax increases to boost "the purchasing 
power of the Nation." Federal spending conse- 
quently rose beyond $9 billion in both fiscal years 
1939 and 1940, and the deficit grew from $0.1 bil- 
lion in fiscal year 1938 to $2.8 billion in fiscal year 
1939. 



In 1937 Roosevelt's fiscal orthodoxy prompted 
his decision to balance the fiscal year 1938 budget 
as an anti-inflation precaution in advance of full re- 
covery. The reduction of federal spending coincided 
with the first collection of the social security taxes, 
which sucked purchasing power from the economy, 
and the tightening of monetary policy. The com- 
bined effect of these three actions tipped the recov- 
ering economy into deep recession. Roosevelt now 



In marked contrast to the early New Deal, the 
later New Deal adopted deficit spending as its prin- 
cipal weapon against recession. Presidential state- 
ments that routinely justified deficits as necessary 
to compensate for underconsumption helped to 
break down the public's antipathy to unbalanced 
budgets. By 1940 important socioeconomic groups, 
including farmers and organized labor, had come to 
regard fiscal activism as essential. Deficit spending 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



227 



DEMOCRATIC PARTY 



also acquired intellectual legitimacy with the grow- 
ing acceptance of Keynesian doctrine among pro- 
fessional economists. However the triumph of the 
new thinking was far from complete. Lacking a 
strategy to determine the requisite level of compen- 
satory finance, the New Deal deficits of fiscal years 
1939 and 1940 were too small to generate full re- 
covery, which had to await the expansion of de- 
fense expenditure in 1941. Moreover, a congressio- 
nal coalition of Republicans and conservative 
Democrats had been emboldened by liberal re- 
verses in the recession-affected 1938 midterm elec- 
tions to enact reductions in New Deal appropria- 
tions in 1939. For this group, deficits had become 
a political evil as the embodiment of big govern- 
ment. 

America's experience in World War II finally in- 
stitutionalized deficit spending as national eco- 
nomic policy. Driven by military needs, the federal 
deficit skyrocketed from $6.2 billion in fiscal year 
1941 to $57.4 billion in fiscal year 1943. The con- 
junction of massive deficits and dramatic growth of 
the economy by 56 percent between 1941 and 1945 
seemingly provided justification of Keynesian theo- 
ry, even in the eyes of business leaders. This was 
the foundation for enactment of the Employment 
Act of 1946, which consolidated Roosevelt's eco- 
nomic legacy. Like New Deal fiscal policy, the legis- 
lation was imprecise and limited, most notably in 
its failure to guarantee full employment. Neverthe- 
less it formally mandated the federal government's 
obligation to combat recession and rising unem- 
ployment and established the president as the 
manager of prosperity. In essence, the priority of 
fiscal policy had changed from protecting capital 
markets in 1932 to protecting and creating jobs by 
1946, and deficit spending had become the essen- 
tial instrument to achieve this new purpose. 

See Also: ECONOMY, AMERICAN; KEYNES, JOHN 
MAYNARD; KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Brinkley, Alan. The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in 
Recession and War. 1995. 

Ippolitto, Dennis S. Uncertain Legacies: Federal Budget Pol- 
icy from Roosevelt to Reagan. 1990. 

Morgan, Iwan. Deficit Government: Taxes and Spending in 
Modern America. 1995. 



Stein, Herbert. The Fiscal Revolution in America, 2nd rev. 
edition. 1996. 

Iwan Morgan 



DEMOCRATIC PARTY 



As the oldest existing political party in the world, 
the Democratic Party of the United States experi- 
enced its most significant expansion in voter regis- 
tration and party organization, consistent electoral 
success in national elections, and fundamental 
changes in its coalition, policy agenda, and ideology 
during the Great Depression. Despite Democratic 
presidential nominee Alfred E. Smith's resounding 
defeat in the 1928 election, there was evidence of 
the potential for a future political realignment fa- 
voring the Democratic Party. Smith was the first 
Democratic presidential nominee in many years to 
win pluralities in the twelve largest American cities. 
He also carried the two most Catholic, urban states: 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The presidential 
election of 1928 also stimulated a sharp increase in 
voter registration and turnout among foreign-born 
citizens and the voting-age children of immigrants, 
especially women, who voted overwhelmingly for 
Smith. 

After being nominated for president, Smith had 
designated John J. Raskob, a wealthy, Catholic, 
anti-prohibition or "wet," former Republican and 
General Motors executive, as chairman of the Dem- 
ocratic National Committee (DNC). Through his 
vigorous fund-raising among his business contacts, 
Raskob succeeded in liquidating the DNC's $1.5 
million campaign debt. He also created and fi- 
nanced a full-time publicity division for then DNC. 
Its director, Charles Michelson, researched and 
publicized the policy behavior and statements of 
Republican president Herbert Hoover, the RNC 
chairman, and Republicans in Congress so that 
Raskob and other Democrats could regularly and 
publicly criticize and oppose Republican policies, 
especially after the Great Depression began in late 
1929. 

Nonetheless, Raskob wanted to continue to 
focus the efforts of the Democratic Party in general 



Z28 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



DEMOCRATIC 



PARTY 



and the DNC's apparatus in particular on repealing 
the national prohibition of alcohol. By concentrat- 
ing on the prohibition issue, Raskob hoped that the 
Democratic Party would nominate Smith for presi- 
dent in 1932 and adopt a platform as conservative 
and pro-big business as the Republican platform on 
economic issues. Like other conservative Demo- 
crats, Raskob blamed the worsening economic con- 
ditions on excessive spending, bureaucratic bloat, 
and an unbalanced federal budget by the Hoover 
administration. 



FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT 

The major obstacle to Raskob's strategy for the 
1932 presidential election was Democratic governor 
Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York. Roosevelt had 
served as assistant secretary of the navy during the 
Woodrow Wilson administration and as the Demo- 
cratic vice presidential nominee of 1920. He had 
also made nominating speeches for Al Smith at the 
1924 and 1928 Democratic national conventions, 
earning Roosevelt the respect of many Catholic 
Democrats. Reluctantly accepting Smith's request 
that he run for governor in 1928, Roosevelt won by 
a narrow margin as Smith decisively lost his home 
state to Hoover. 

Frustrated by his failed efforts throughout the 
1920s to change the national Democratic Party's or- 
ganization, decision-making processes, ideology, 
and future economic platform, Roosevelt used his 
governorship and titular leadership of the New 
York Democratic Party as a role model for his future 
national party leadership as president. In order to 
attract the support of traditionally Republican, rural 
upstate New Yorkers, Roosevelt's policy agenda in- 
cluded property tax relief for farmers, the construc- 
tion of farm-to-market roads, and the development 
of state-sponsored hydroelectric power for rural 
areas. With James A. Farley serving as secretary and 
later chairman of the New York Democratic state 
committee, Roosevelt directed Farley and Secretary 
of State Edward J. Flynn to secure the removal of 
local Democratic chairmen in heavily Republican 
areas who had been collaborating with Republican 
politicians in exchange for patronage. The governor 
also encouraged Farley and Flynn to recruit Demo- 
cratic candidates for state and local offices in order 



to provide contested elections in Republican- 
dominated areas and increase Democratic repre- 
sentation in the Republican-controlled state legis- 
lature. Shrewdly attuned to the power of publicity 
through modern technology, Roosevelt had Farley 
arrange and finance monthly radio broadcasts and 
later, for his 1930 reelection campaign, talking 
movies. 

Reelected governor in 1930 with 62 percent of 
the votes and a winning margin of more than 
167,000 votes in upstate counties, Roosevelt used 
his second term to develop a successful campaign 
for the Democratic presidential nomination of 1932. 
He distinguished himself as the first governor to 
advocate unemployment insurance and old age 
pensions. Roosevelt also educated himself on policy 
issues that were of greater concern in the South and 
West, such as cotton prices, railroad rates, soil and 
forest conservation, flood control, and rural electri- 
fication. Meanwhile, James A. Farley and Roose- 
velt's aide Louis Howe traveled throughout the 
United States, but especially in the South and West, 
to lobby for delegate support for Roosevelt at the 
1932 Democratic national convention. Roosevelt, 
Farley, and Howe assumed that most northern del- 
egates controlled by Catholic Democratic politi- 
cians would probably vote for Smith at the conven- 
tion. Consequently, their strategy was to gradually 
develop a consensus-building yet ideologically di- 
verse coalition of southern conservatives and west- 
ern progressives whose delegates would eventually 
provide Roosevelt with at least the two-thirds ma- 
jority needed for the presidential nomination. But 
this strategy also required the pro-Roosevelt Dem- 
ocrats to discourage and minimize the number of 
favorite son and other minor presidential candida- 
cies at the convention. After they persuaded Speak- 
er of the House John N. Garner of Texas to end his 
presidential candidacy in exchange for the vice- 
presidential nomination, Roosevelt was nominated 
for president on the fourth ballot. 

With approximately one third of the voters 
identified as Democrats in 1932, Roosevelt recog- 
nized the need to attract the votes of disaffected Re- 
publicans, independents, and minor party members 
so that he could win a decisive victory that would 
provide a mandate for major policy changes and for 



ENCYCLOPEDIA T THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



229 



DEMOCRATIC PARTY 



transforming the Democratic Party into the new 
majority party in the two-party system. Therefore, 
Roosevelt rarely used the word Republican in his 
post-convention campaign speeches. His policy 
proposals and the Democratic national platform 
were a dichotomous, contradictory mixture of 
promises to balance the federal budget, reduce bu- 
reaucratic centralization, and protect states' rights, 
but also to provide vigorous presidential leadership 
and more federal intervention to reduce unemploy- 
ment, raise farm prices, and protect Americans 
against the economic abuses and mistakes of banks 
and big business. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Republican 
president Herbert Hoover with 59 percent of the 
popular votes and carried forty-two states in the 
electoral college. Although about 65 percent of 
black voters supported Hoover, Roosevelt's elector- 
al support from white Republicans and indepen- 
dents was broadly distributed among income levels 
and various ethnic groups and between urban and 
rural areas. Only 25 percent of Roosevelt's plurality 
in 1932 was derived from the nation's twelve largest 
cities. 

From 1932 until 1940, James A. Farley served as 
DNC chairman. Roosevelt agreed with Farley that 
the DNC apparatus and activities should be used to 
promote intra-party harmony at such events as Jef- 
ferson-Jackson Day dinners and through fund- 
raising efforts. For example, the Colored Division, 
a special division of the DNC that concentrated on 
black voters, cultivated the realignment of non- 
southern blacks from the Republican to the Demo- 
cratic Party, but ignored controversial racial issues 
like segregation and the disfranchisement of south- 
ern blacks. Other DNC special divisions, such as 
those for labor, agriculture, and foreign-language 
ethnic groups, were used to promote the expansion 
and diversification of the Democratic coalition dur- 
ing this era. 

By far, though, the most innovative, effective, 
and regularly active special division of the DNC 
from 1932 to 1940 was the Women's Division. Mary 
"Molly" Dewson, director of and later adviser to 
this division, shrewdly realized that Democratic 
women could increase their status and influence in 
the party organization and the Roosevelt adminis- 



tration if they impressed the president, DNC chair- 
man, and other male Democratic politicians with 
their ability to raise funds, distribute publicity, mo- 
bilize voters, and win elections. For example, in the 
1936 election, the DNC Women's Division pro- 
duced and distributed about 80 percent of all Dem- 
ocratic campaign literature. It also published the 
Democratic Digest, a monthly newsletter, and in- 
creased the number of female Democratic cam- 
paign workers from approximately 73,000 in 1936 
to 109,000 in 1940. Dewson used these impressive 
campaign accomplishments and her long-time 
friendships with Eleanor Roosevelt and Secretary of 
Labor Frances Perkins to lobby and persuade the 
president and Farley to increase DNC funding of 
the Women's Division, the representation of 
women on party committees and at national con- 
ventions, and the number and status of federal jobs 
given to women. By the time of the 1940 election, 
however, Edward J. Flynn replaced the disgruntled 
Farley as DNC chairman, Dewson had left the 
Women's Division, and the DNC's apparatus 
played a smaller role in campaign finances and ser- 
vices. 



NEW DEAL 

Roosevelt hoped that the New Deal's economic 
policies would not only unite and satisfy the voting 
blocs and interest groups that elected him in 1932 
but would eventually persuade enough disaffected 
Republican and independent voters to become 
loyal Democrats so that the Democratic Party 
would become the new majority party in the two- 
party system for a long time. However, after the Su- 
preme Court struck down the National Industrial 
Recovery Act (NIRA) and similar New Deal policies 
that emphasized economic cooperation and plan- 
ning, Roosevelt moved New Deal liberalism and 
the national Democratic Party in a more controver- 
sial, leftist, divisive programmatic and ideological 
direction that favored labor and northern urban 
policy interests and was more antagonistic toward 
big business and upper-income Americans. Roose- 
velt wanted this more liberal, social welfare charac- 
ter of his administration and party to co-opt grow- 
ing grassroots support for various economic protest 
movements, such as those led by Huey Long and 
Francis Townsend, before the 1936 election. Enact - 



Z30 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



DEMOCRATIC 



PARTY 



ment of the Social Security Act of 1935 and the 
Wealth Tax Act of 1935 served to satisfy much of 
this demand for a broader redistribution of income 
by the federal government. 

WAGNER ACT OF 1935 

Likewise, Roosevelt's support of the National 
Labor Relations (or Wagner) Act of 1935 helped to 
prevent the possibility of labor unions creating their 
own party for the 1936 election and to attract the 
endorsement of John L. Lewis, a Republican and 
the most powerful labor leader in the nation. De- 
spite growing complaints from southern Democrats 
in Congress that Roosevelt's policies and party 
leadership pandered to blacks, Roosevelt cultivated 
black voters by appointing a so-called black cabi- 
net. This was an informal group of black federal of- 
ficials who tried to reduce racial discrimination in 
the distribution of federal relief benefits and public 
works jobs. For the first time ever, a black minister 
delivered the opening prayer at a Democratic na- 
tional convention in 1936. 

No matter how controversial the New Deal and 
the Democratic Party under Roosevelt had become 
among conservatives and business interests, Roo- 
sevelt's landslide reelection in 1936 confirmed that 
a political realignment had occurred. Roosevelt de- 
feated Alfred Landon, the Republican presidential 
nominee, with more than 60 percent of the popular 
votes and carried all but two states in the electoral 
college. Approximately 65 percent of black voters 
supported Hoover in 1932, but 76 percent of them 
voted for Roosevelt in 1936. In addition, 80 percent 
of Catholics, 90 percent of Jews, and 60 percent of 
low-income, non-southern white Protestants voted 
for Roosevelt in 1936. 



REALIGNMENT 

The fact that these voting statistics signaled a 
partisan realignment, rather than merely a personal 
following for Roosevelt, is evident in the increasing 
number and proportion of non-southern Demo- 
cratic seats in Congress as a consequence of the 
1930 to 1936 congressional elections. In 1920, 82 
percent of the Democratic representatives and 70 
percent of the Democratic senators were southern- 
ers. By 1936, only 35 percent of the Democrats in 



Congress were southerners, and only 23 percent of 
Roosevelt's electoral college votes in that election 
came from the South. Even more ominous for the 
decline of southern influence in the Democratic 
Party, the Democratic national convention of 1936 
repealed the two-thirds rule. This requirement of at 
least a two-thirds majority of delegate votes for 
presidential nominations had, in effect, given the 
South as a region the power to reject any presiden- 
tial candidate objectionable to it, especially on racial 
issues. 

Determined to solidify the policy accomplish- 
ments of the New Deal and to further develop the 
national Democratic Party as a liberal party, Roose- 
velt became embroiled with southern Democrats in 
Congress on two especially divisive issues: the court 
reform bill of 1937 and the Fair Labor Standards Act 
of 1938. Most southern Democrats in Congress op- 
posed Roosevelt on both bills, claiming that his ap- 
parent attempt to "pack" the Supreme Court with 
liberal justices violated the spirit of the Constitution 
and that the minimum wage legislation would un- 
fairly punish the South for its lower labor costs and 
threaten race relations by requiring southern em- 
ployers to pay blacks and whites the same wages. 
Frustrated with the increasing intra-party opposi- 
tion in Congress from southern Democrats, Roose- 
velt decided to dramatically enforce party discipline 
by attempting to "purge" several conservative 
southern Democratic senators by opposing their re- 
nomination in their states' 1938 Democratic prima- 
ries. Roosevelt and his preferred Democratic candi- 
dates failed to defeat any of these senators, and the 
Republicans made substantial gains in the 1938 
congressional elections. 

After the 1938 elections, southern Democrats 
and Republicans in Congress cooperated with each 
other more openly and regularly, especially within 
the committee system, by forming a bipartisan con- 
servative coalition that could prevent, defeat, or 
weaken any new liberal legislation. But the ever 
growing intra-party influence of blacks, labor 
unions, big city mayors, and liberal activists on 
Roosevelt's presidency and the party leadership 
was evident in his creation of the Fair Employment 
Practices Commission (FEPC) by an executive order 
in 1940. The FEPC was authorized to investigate 



ENCYCLOPEDIA T THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



Z31 



D E 



PRIEST 



OSCAR 



and prohibit racial discrimination in hiring by de- 
fense contractors. 

Despite the regional and ideological diversity of 
Democratic support in Congress for Roosevelt's 
pre-Pearl Harbor foreign and defense policies, the 
Democratic national convention of 1940 proved to 
be unusually restless and rancorous because of the 
controversy over the anticipation of Roosevelt's 
nomination for an unprecedented third term. For- 
mer DNC chairman James A. Farley and Vice Presi- 
dent John N. Garner both ran against Roosevelt for 
the presidential nomination. But Roosevelt was 
easily and overwhelmingly renominated on the first 
ballot after Chicago machine politicians organized 
a rousing pro-Roosevelt demonstration. By con- 
trast, Roosevelt's new running mate, Henry A. Wal- 
lace, was nominated by a narrow margin because 
of his reputation among delegates as a politically 
inept former Republican who was outspoken in his 
liberalism on race and other matters. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt was reelected president 
in 1940 with 55 percent of the popular votes and he 
carried thirty-eight states in the electoral college. 
American entry into and participation in World War 
II finally ended the lingering economic effects of the 
Great Depression and slowed the rising southern 
white rebellion against the increasingly liberal, 
northern-dominated national Democratic Party, 
especially on racial issues. Nonetheless, the imme- 
diate political and economic effects of the Great 
Depression stimulated a realignment that enabled 
the Democratic Party under Franklin D. Roosevelt 
to transform itself into the new majority party with 
a broad, diverse coalition, a new ideology based on 
New Deal liberalism, and a policy agenda that ap- 
pealed to a wide range of voting blocs and interest 
groups that dominated the presidency, Congress, 
policy making, and even the internal politics of the 
Republican Party until the 1970s. 

See Also: DEWSON, MARY (MOLLY); ELECTION OF 
1928; ELECTION OF 1930; ELECTION OF 1932; 
ELECTION OF 1934; ELECTION OF 1936; 
ELECTION OF 1938; ELECTION OF 1940; FARLEY, 
JAMES A.; POLITICAL REALIGNMENT; RASKOB, 
JOHN J.; ROOSEVELT, FRANKLIN D.; SMITH, 
ALFRED E. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Brinkley, Alan. Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father 
Coughlin, and the Great Depression. 1982. 

Burner, David. The Politics of Provincialism: The Democrat- 
ic Party in Transition, 1918-1932. 1986. 

Burns, lames MacGregor. Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox. 
1956. 

Savage, Sean J. Roosevelt: The Party Leader, 1932-1945. 
1991. 

Sundquist, James. The Dynamics of the Party System: 
Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the 
United States. 1973. 

Weiss, Nancy J. Farwell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Poli- 
tics in the Age of FDR. 1983. 

Sean J. Savage 



DE PRIEST, OSCAR 

On April 15, 1929, Oscar Stanton De Priest (March 
9, 1871-May 12, 1951) took the oath of office as 
representative for the First District in Illinois, be- 
coming the first African American elected to the 
U.S. Congress from the North. Born in the Recon- 
struction South in the heyday of enfranchisement, 
De Priest helped to reestablish black citizenship by 
serving Chicago's Loop, Gold Coast, and black 
South Side districts. Soon after De Priest's historic 
victory, the black historian Carter G. Woodson or- 
ganized a $1.50-a-plate banquet for "living con- 
gressmen" that featured three Reconstruction-era 
congressmen and Rep. De Priest. 

Born in 1871, the light-skinned son of former 
slaves from Alabama, De Priest migrated with his 
family to Kansas when he was a child. He ran away 
to Ohio with a white friend at the age of seventeen 
and later began working as a teamster in Chicago. 
De Priest cut his political teeth on the Chicago Re- 
publican Party machine, winning favors from con- 
gressmen, election to the post of Cook County 
Commissioner, and, after building a decorating 
business, a seat on the city council to become Chi- 
cago's first black alderman. When the incumbent 
representative in the district died, De Priest was 
widely assumed to be the frontrunner. The election, 
however, was close, in part because of an untimely 
fraud and vice investigation that ensnared De Priest 



232 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



D E W E V 



M A S 



in controversy. The investigation was dropped due 
to insufficient evidence. De Priest won the 1928 
election by four thousand black votes, but lost vir- 
tually every white vote. 

De Priest won instant recognition as a black 
congressman; he also won notoriety. Before mov- 
ing to Washington, he applied to occupy offices in 
the House of Representatives building, but a senior 
congressman challenged De Priest's assignment. 
Although De Priest graciously conceded, his next 
assignment was also challenged when a southern 
congressman threatened to vacate his offices rather 
than neighbor a black man. Liberals from the Re- 
publican Party came to De Priest's aid. An econom- 
ic conservative in the mold of Booker T. Washing- 
ton, De Priest served his party in a non-ideological 
fashion, although he did address racial issues. He 
lobbied for appropriations for Howard University 
and pensions for ex-slaves. He also lectured at vari- 
ous black functions, and accepted invitations to 
speak on black politics to state legislatures. During 
his term, De Priest's most controversial activities 
concerned desegregation of a congressional dining 
room. Although De Priest was permitted to dine, 
neither his black staff nor black visitors could enter, 
while all whites were welcomed. De Priest intro- 
duced a measure to the floor to integrate the dining 
room but lost in committee by a two (Republicans) 
to three (Democrats) vote. He blasted the decision 
as a betrayal of equal protection. 

De Priest faced a tough reelection in 1934, pri- 
marily because of black disaffection from the Re- 
publican Party. He was opposed by Arthur Wergs 
Mitchell, a well-educated and astute New Deal 
Democrat who employed cartoons and able oratory 
against the De Priest campaign. At one point De 
Priest lost his characteristic calm demeanor and 
sharply criticized the black religious community, 
particularly local Baptists, for bolting to the Demo- 
crats with their promises of relief. Then, given Re- 
publican Party disarray in Chicago, his strategists 
could not regain control of the local machine, sig- 
naling voter disaffection. As part and parcel of the 
realignment of black voters from the Republican 
Party of Frederick Douglass to the New Deal coali- 
tion, Mitchell outpolled De Priest by three thou- 
sand votes in 1934. Bitter with disappointment, De 



Priest conducted several recounts of the ballots, but 
in the end graciously conceded defeat. That year he 
was named Man of the Year by the Chicago Defender 
in recognition of the esteem he received from Afri- 
can Americans. De Priest continued to serve in a 
public capacity until his death in 1951. 

See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON; FAUSET, CRYSTAL 
BIRD; MITCHELL, ARTHUR, W. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Greene, Lorenze. "Dr. Woodson Prepares for Negro His- 
tory Week, 1930." Negro History Bulletin 28, no. 8 
(1965): 174-175. 

Mann, Kenneth Eugene. "Oscar Stanton De Priest: Per- 
suasive Agent for the Black Masses." Negro History 
Bulletin 35, no. 6 (1972): 134-137. 

Nordin, Dennis S. The New Deal's Black Congressmen: A 
Life of Arthur Wergs Mitchell. 1997. 

Rudwick, Elliot, M. "Oscar De Priest and the Jim Crow 
Restaurant in the U.S. House of Representatives." 
Journal of Negro History 35, no. 1 (1966): 77-82. 

Kevin Mumford 



DEWEY, JOHN. See LEAGUE OF INDEPENDENT 
POLITICAL ACTION. 



DEWEY, THOMAS E. 



Thomas Edmund Dewey (March 24, 1902-March 
16, 1971) was a spectacularly successful prosecutor 
of racketeers, a three-term governor of New York 
state, and a twice unsuccessful Republican presi- 
dential candidate. Born in Owosso, Michigan, the 
son of a local newspaper editor, Dewey graduated 
from the University of Michigan and earned his law 
degree at Columbia University in 1925. Admitted to 
the bar the following year, he was an associate in 
the law firms of Larkin, Rathbone, and Perry (from 
1925 to 1927), and MacNamara and Seymour (from 
1927 to 1931). While pursuing vocal training, he 
met fellow vocalist Frances Ellen Hutt, whom he 
married in 1928. They had two sons. 

Dewey entered public service in 1931 as chief 
assistant to United States attorney for the southern 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



233 



DEWEY 



M A S 



district of New York. Establishing efficient control 
over that office's administrative duties, he soon en- 
tered the courtroom, where he delivered dramatic 
performances anchored in tenacious examination 
of details gleaned from bank and telephone re- 
cords, handwriting analyses, wiretaps, and inter- 
views with hundreds of witnesses. Briefly serving as 
U.S. attorney in 1933, he successfully prosecuted 
bootlegger Waxey Gordon (Irving Wexler) for tax 
evasion. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt 
named a Democrat to the post at the end of the 
year, Dewey established a promising private prac- 
tice. 

Recalled to public service in 1935 by New York 
Governor Herbert Lehman, Dewey was named a 
special prosecutor to investigate organized crime. 
Over the next two and a half years, he earned fame 
as a "rackets buster," winning seventy-two convic- 
tions out of seventy-three cases. Dewey and his 
staff were especially interested in industrial racke- 
teering, where payoffs and bribes added as much as 
20 percent to the cost of living in New York. Since 
1933, Dewey had pursued Dutch Schultz (Arthur 
Flegenheimer), a bootlegger who had moved into 
the "policy" or "numbers" racket, as well as loan- 
sharking. Dewey's staff was gathering evidence to 
prosecute Schultz when the mobster was fatally 
shot only two days before the date Schultz had set 
for Dewey's own assassination. 

While investigating racketeers' involvement 
with prostitution, the special prosecutor's staff de- 
veloped a compelling case against Lucky Luciano 
(Salvatore Luciania, also know as Charley Lucky), 
the capo di tutto capi (boss of all bosses), whose 
major interests involved narcotics and gambling. 
Using his established technique of engaging minor 
miscreants to impugn their superiors, Dewey again 
captured headlines with his successful prosecution 
of Luciano and his co-defendants in 1936. Dewey's 
account of his racket-busting years, part of an in- 
complete autobiography, was published a few years 
after his death as Twenty against the Underworld. 

Dewey entered electoral politics in 1937, win- 
ning the race for district attorney for New York 
County, a post he held until 1943. After a widely 
publicized mistrial, he eventually won the convic- 
tion of Tammany boss Jimmy Hines. Defeated in 



the 1938 New York gubernatorial contest, Dewey 
failed to win the Republican presidential nomina- 
tion in 1940. But in 1942, he was elected governor 
of New York and was reelected in 1946 and 1950. 
His tenure was marked by moderate progressivism, 
fiscal conservatism, efficient administration, and 
careful attention to patronage. Under his leader- 
ship, New York became the first state to legislate 
against racial or religious discrimination in employ- 
ment. He also promoted the development of the 
New York State Thruway. 

In 1944, the Republicans nominated Dewey for 
president of the United States, but incumbent 
Franklin D. Roosevelt won a fourth term. In 1948, 
Dewey again headed the Republican ticket and 
seemed the likely victor. However, Harry S. Tru- 
man's attacks on the record of the Republican- 
dominated eightieth Congress and his now- 
legendary "whistle-stop" campaign out-paced 
Dewey's overconfident middle-of-the road can- 
vass. 

At the end of his third term as governor, Dewey 
returned to private law practice as a member of the 
Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer, and Wood firm 
in New York City. In the 1950s and 1960s, Dewey 
became both elder statesman and kingmaker in the 
Republican Party, where he was a prominent mem- 
ber of the eastern internationalist wing. He was in- 
strumental in Dwight Eisenhower's defeat of Rob- 
ert Taft for the 1952 nomination, and he also 
fostered the political career of Richard M. Nixon. A 
collection of lectures Dewey delivered at Princeton 
University in 1950 was published in 1966 as Thomas 
E. Dewey and the Two-Tarty System. It presaged a re- 
defined Republican Party in the wake of the Gold- 
water debacle in 1964. 

The same meticulous attention to facts and ra- 
tional analysis that brought him fame as a rackets 
buster and wealth in private law practice may well 
account for Thomas E. Dewey's lack of success in 
presidential politics, where the game had come to 
be played in very different terms. 

See Also: CRIME; LAW ENFORCEMENT; REPUBLICAN 
PARTY. 



234 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF I H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



D E W S N 



MARY (MOLLY 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Beyer, Barry K. Thomas E. Dewey, 1937-1947: A Study in 
Political Leadership. 1979. 

Dewey, Thomas E. The Case against the New Deal. 1940. 

Dewey, Thomas E. Journey to the Tar Pacific. 1952. 

Dewey, Thomas E. Twenty against the Underworld, edited 
by Rodney Campbell. 1974. 

Donaldson, Gary. Truman Defeats Dewey. 1999. 

Hughes, Rupert. Attorney for the People: The Story of 
Thomas E. Dewey. 1940. 

Smith, Richard Norton. Thomas E. Dewey and His Times. 
1982. 

Stolberg, Mary M. Tighting Organized Crime: Politics, Jus- 
tice, and the Legacy of Thomas E. Dewey. 1995. 

Walker, Stanley. Dewey: An American of this Century. 
1944. 

Susan Estabrook Kennedy 



DEWSON, MARY (MOLLY) 

Mary Williams "Molly" Dewson (February 18, 
1874-October 21, 1962) was one of the most influ- 
ential women in the Democratic Party in the 1930s 
and in Roosevelt's New Deal administration. She 
held numerous posts, including serving as an advi- 
sor to the National Recovery Administration. Dew- 
son's service culminated with a position on the So- 
cial Security Board. 

Dewson graduated from Wellesley College in 
Massachusetts in 1897 with a degree in social work. 
She was first employed by the Domestic Reform 
Committee of the Women's Educational and In- 
dustrial Union, where she provided assistance to 
domestic workers and taught at a housekeeping 
school. In 1900, she took a job with the Massachu- 
setts State Industrial School for Girls, where she 
worked until 1912. This work and several publica- 
tions brought her to the attention of state officials, 
who asked her to help lead an inquiry into mini- 
mum wages for workers in Massachusetts. This 
project led to the nation's first minimum wage law 
in 1912. 

During World War I, Dewson volunteered for 
the American Red Cross, worked with war refugees 
in France, and led the Red Cross Mediterranean op- 



erations by 1918. During the 1920s, Dewson be- 
came involved with political issues in New York, as 
well as at the national level. She worked with Flor- 
ence Kelley to push New York to adopt a minimum 
wage for women and children, and she lobbied suc- 
cessfully to limit the workweek for women to forty- 
eight hours. These efforts brought her to the atten- 
tion of Eleanor Roosevelt. At Mrs. Roosevelt's re- 
quest, Dewson became the organizer of women for 
the Democratic Party, assisting in the campaigns of 
Al Smith in 1928 and Franklin Roosevelt in 1930 
and 1932. 

Due to her success in mobilizing female voters, 
the Democratic National Committee asked Dewson 
to head their Women's Division, a full-time posi- 
tion she used to secure jobs for women throughout 
the government, including Francis Perkins's ap- 
pointment as secretary of labor. Dewson's work in 
this regard stressed the importance of women play- 
ing more prominent roles in the day-to-day work 
of the government and the party. To this end, she 
organized a "Reporter" program, which educated 
women on New Deal issues and had a significant 
impact on the tremendous electoral victory of 1936. 

Due to ill health, Dewson withdrew from poli- 
tics in 1938 and retired to Castine, Maine, with her 
longtime partner, Polly Porter. Dewson was Ameri- 
ca's first female political boss, a reformer who ex- 
panded employment opportunities for women and 
pushed for their equal protection under the law. 

See Also: BETHUNE, MARY MCLEOD; DEMOCRATIC 
PARTY; NATIONAL WOMEN'S PARTY; 
ROOSEVELT, ELEANOR. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Badger, Anthony. The New Deal: The Depression Years, 
1933-1945. 1989. 

Braeman, lohn; Robert Bremner; and David Brody. The 
New Deal, Vol. 1: The National Level. 1975. 

Ware, Susan. Partner and 1: Molly Dewson, Teminism, and 
New Deal Politics. 1987. 

Laura J. Hilton 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



235 



DICTATORSHIP 



DICTATORSHIP 



The response to the problems posed by the Great 
Depression in countries such as Germany, the Sovi- 
et Union, Italy, and elsewhere, was the rise or tight- 
ening of dictatorial regimes to the point that dicta- 
torship was considered by many people to be a 
feasible alternative to liberal democracy during the 
1930s. Certain features characterized these dicta- 
torships: the concentration of power in the hands 
of a single leader, a one-party system with mass 
membership, a secret police prepared to use terror 
as a tool of policy, and a control of the popular 
media to promote the regime's doctrine. These fea- 
tures were certainly all present to varying degrees 
under the Nazi regime in Germany, Communism 
in the Soviet Union, and Fascism in Italy. 

In Germany, against a backdrop of economic 
chaos caused by the Great Depression, Adolf Hitler, 
without ever winning a national election or having 
a popular majority, was appointed chancellor on 
January 30, 1933, just four weeks before Franklin 
Roosevelt took office. Once in office Hitler em- 
ployed the attributes of a dictatorship to remove 
domestic opposition and established the preemi- 
nence of the Nazi Party. He sought to increase in- 
dustrial production, especially through rearmament 
and public works schemes, and so provide work for 
millions of unemployed Germans. Considerable 
scholarly debate exists over how far Hitler intended 
to follow the foreign policy espoused in Mein Kampf 
(1925) or whether he was merely pragmatic in pur- 
suing an expansionist foreign policy during the late 
1930s. In remilitarizing the Rhineland in March 
1936, completing the Anschluss (unification) of Aus- 
tria and Germany in February 1938, and then secur- 
ing the Sudetenland in September 1938, Hitler 
seemed to be rectifying the perceived deficiencies 
of the Treaty of Versailles. This was widely popular 
within Germany and received tacit support abroad. 
Even after Hitler invaded Poland in September 
1939, the quick successes of Nazi Germany in 1940 
made many consider that Hitler's dictatorship pro- 
vided the way ahead. 

Joseph Stalin had become leader of the Soviet 
Union following V. I. Lenin's death in 1924. By 1929 
Stalin had consolidated his leadership, totally over- 



coming opponents within the Communist Party 
and eliminating all organized opposition outside 
the party. In 1928 Stalin embarked the Soviet Union 
upon the first Five-Year Plan. This plan for eco- 
nomic growth through mass industrialization and 
collectivization of agriculture came under the ban- 
ner of "Socialism in One Country" and saw notable 
achievements, such as the establishment of the city 
of Magnitogorsk in the Urals dedicated to steel pro- 
duction. This success and others seemed to show 
that despite Western scepticism, with Stalin as dic- 
tator Communism could avoid the problems of the 
Great Depression. However, the price for economic 
progress in the Soviet Union was extremely high. 
Stalin deported over ten million people to Siberia, 
and purged the Soviet officer corps with disastrous 
effect during World War II. 

In Italy, Benito Mussolini, prime minister since 
1922, tightened the grip of his dictatorship in the 
face of the Great Depression. The policy of the 
"Corporate State," combined employer-employee 
syndicates established during the 1920s, seemed to 
prevent Italy from suffering the worst effects of the 
economic downturn. However, the regime failed to 
wholly implement an integrated economic pro- 
gram, as state investment did not begin until the 
1930s and then only sporadically. Mussolini also 
sought to promote Italian national prestige in for- 
eign affairs, most notably through the invasion and 
subsequent occupation of Abyssinia in 1935. Italy 
was criticized by the League of Nations and this en- 
couraged closer collaboration with Nazi Germany. 
An Axis with Berlin encouraged Mussolini to claim 
that Italy was ready for war, despite Italian industry 
and military being underprepared. Indeed, when 
Mussolini joined the war in June 1940, Italy proved 
a drain on German resources. 

While these three regimes would be devastated 
in different ways during World War II, the era of the 
Great Depression saw the rise of other dictator- 
ships. The Francisco Franco regime in Spain began 
in 1936 and overcame the republicans in the Span- 
ish civil war by 1939 with the support of Germany 
and Italy. Franco modeled his regime on Mussoli- 
ni's corporate state under a single party (the Fa- 
lange), and remained in office until his death in 
1975. Other dictatorships were also established 



Z36 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



DICTATORS 



I P 



f E A R 



T IN 



UNITED 



STATES 



during this era in South America. The influence of 
Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, although receiving tacit 
approval from the United States, became increas- 
ingly dictatorial during the period, as did the regime 
of President Getulio Vargas, who had assumed 
power in Brazil in 1930. 

Whatever the fate of the dictatorships of the 
1930s their most remarkable feature was their 
physical and intellectual control over their own 
populations, which in the case of Stalin and Hitler 
allowed for the mass slaughter of millions of peo- 
ple. 

See Also: DICTATORSHIP, FEAR OF IN THE UNITED 
STATES; EUROPE, GREAT DEPRESSION IN; 
HITLER ADOLF; MUSSOLINI, BENITO; STALIN, 
JOSEF. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bosworth, Richard. Mussolini. 2002. 

Brooker, Paul. Twentieth-Century Dictatorships: The Ideo- 
logical One-Party States. 1995. 

Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives, 2nd edition. 
1998. 

Kershaw, Ian. The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspec- 
tives of Interpretation, 4th edition. 2000. 

Noakes, Jeremy, and Geoffrey Pridham, eds. Nazism 
1919-1945, 2nd edition. Vol. 1: The Rise to Power, 
1919-1934; Vol. 2: State, Economy, and Society, 
1933-1939. 1998. 

Pauley, Bruce F. Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini: Totalitarian- 
ism in the Twentieth Century. 1997. 

Siegelbaum, Lewis H., and Andrei Sokolov. Stalinism as 
a Way of Life: A Narrative in Documents, translated by 
Thomas Hoisington and Steven Shabad. 2000. 

J. Simon Rofe 



DICTATORSHIP, FEAR OF IN THE 
UNITED STATES 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidential adminis- 
tration reinvented the federal government in the 
United States during the Great Depression and 
World War II. From being a minimal state with 
scant taxing power, which played little role in the 
economy and made no effort to guarantee material 



or social wellbeing, the New Deal created and de- 
fined public responsibility for ensuring a minimal 
level of economic well-being for the American peo- 
ple. 

The rise of the federal government was a great 
transformation in American life. It elicited a pro- 
longed reaction from conservatives and from busi- 
nessmen whose power it seemed to limit, while tra- 
ditional liberal intellectuals were alarmed by what 
they perceived as the rise of a newly powerful fed- 
eral government. During the New Deal years, the 
idea that the Roosevelt administration might be- 
come a dictatorship circulated throughout nervous 
conservative and liberal circles alike. The rise of fas- 
cism in Germany and Italy accentuated the fear that 
the National Recovery Administration and other 
early New Deal planning efforts might be harbin- 
gers of fascism in the United States. Especially after 
Roosevelt introduced his plan to expand the num- 
ber of judges on the Supreme Court in 1937, con- 
servatives sought to paint him as a politician who 
wished to eliminate the checks and balances pro- 
vided in the Constitution. In addition, the rise of 
populist leaders like Huey Long of Louisiana and 
Father Charles Coughlin of Detroit frightened liber- 
als and conservatives who thought that these fire- 
brands could be fascist dictators in the making. 

In reality, there was never any danger that the 
Roosevelt administration would become a dictator- 
ship, nor of it sliding into fascism. In fact, the cries 
of dictatorship accelerated later in the New Deal, 
when Roosevelt undertook the kind of controver- 
sial legislation permitting the self- organization of 
workers — such as the Wagner Act — that Europe's 
fascist governments had sought to destroy as soon 
as they came into power. Still, even during World 
War II, conservatives compared the New Deal to 
Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. For example, David 
Sarnoff, the president of RCA, said in a 1943 speech 
criticizing wartime social legislation, "If we have 
learned anything from the history of the past ten 
years, we have learned how empty were the claims 
of those demagogues who wheedled away the free- 
doms of their people with the mirage of an all- 
powerful state that would provide security at the 
expense of liberty." 

In the early 1940s, fears about dictatorship and 
fascism changed into anxieties about Communism. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA E THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



237 



D I L L I N G E R 



JOHN 



Ex-Trotskyist James Burnham's The Managerial 
Revolution (1941) and Austrian exile Friedrich 
Hayek's The Road to Serfdom (1944) both marked 
the rising level of anxiety about centralized govern- 
ment power. This intellectual shift transformed the 
anti-fascism of World War II, with its egalitarian di- 
mensions and support of social democracy, shifting 
it to a more conservative politics after the war was 
over. Often, the measures denounced as evidence 
of totalitarianism were simply those that sought 
greater welfare state protections or an expansion of 
social democracy. By targeting these as dictatorial 
or totalitarian politics, conservatives were able to 
use the language of World War II to support their 
own aim of rolling back social democracy in the 
postwar period. 

The new paranoia about totalitarianism afflict- 
ed liberals as well. Anxious and frustrated by the 
limitations and failures of the New Deal and horri- 
fied by Stalinist Russia, some liberal intellectuals in 
the United States began during the late Depression 
days to fear the rise of a brutal central state as much 
as the power of corporations or the plight of the 
poor. They became afraid that their efforts to create 
a welfare state would have the unintentional effect 
of moving the country towards dictatorship. This 
fear prompted many to draw back from the radical 
politics they had espoused in an earlier era, and to 
seek ways to regulate capitalism without excessive- 
ly strengthening the state. This new liberal timidity 
and radical self-doubt was the real victory of the ris- 
ing conservative reaction at the end of the New 
Deal. Unfounded fears of totalitarianism — which 
never threatened the United States — would con- 
strain postwar liberalism, especially when it came 
to domestic social and economic policy. 

See Also: AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE; 

CONSERVATIVE COALITION; DICTATORSHIP. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Brinkley, Alan. Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father 
Coughlin, and the Great Depression. 1982. 

Brinkley, Alan. The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in 
Recession and War. 1995. 

Burnham, James. The Managerial Revolution. 1941. 

Ekirch, Arthur, E., Jr. Ideologies and Utopias: The Impact of 
the New Deal on American Thought. 1969. 



Hayek, Friedrich A. The Road to Serfdom. 1944. 

Kim Phillips -Fein 



DILLINGER, JOHN. See CRIME. 



DISNEY, WALT 



Walter Elias Disney (December 5, 1901-December 
15, 1966) was a motion picture and television pro- 
ducer and entrepreneur. After a childhood and 
youth in the Midwest, Walt Disney entered the field 
of animated cartoon films in the 1920s and ulti- 
mately achieved world fame with the creation of 
Mickey Mouse. He went on to a long and successful 
career producing cartoons, feature-length films, 
and wildlife documentaries, then branched out into 
television during the 1950s and broke new ground 
in that medium as well. He also pioneered the con- 
cept of theme parks with Disneyland in Anaheim, 
California, and Walt Disney World in Orlando, 
Florida, the latter in progress at the time of his 
death. 

Although Disney achieved recognition in a va- 
riety of fields during his life, his lasting reputation 
as an artist rests on his work in animated cartoons. 
The Disney studio introduced technological inno- 
vations and a new level of artistic brilliance into ani- 
mation, transforming a relatively crude medium 
into a dazzling and sophisticated form. The years of 
this transformation, and Walt Disney's peak years 
as an artist, were the 1930s and early 1940s — a peri- 
od corresponding almost exactly to the Great De- 
pression — during which Disney produced a series 
of one-reel Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony car- 
toons, then ambitiously tackled the making of fea- 
ture-length animated films. Snow White and the 
Seven Dwarfs (1937), Disney's first full-length ani- 
mated film, was a commercial success that captivat- 
ed audiences and demonstrated the viability of the 
genre. By the early 1940s, in films like The Old Mill 
(1937), Snow White, and Fantasia (1940), the studio 
had established a standard of artistic excellence in 
animation that has never since been equaled. 

The Depression years lent more than a back- 
drop to this creative phenomenon; they had a direct 



Z38 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



DISNEY 



WALT 



bearing on the process. In the early 1930s, when 
Disney's explosive growth was beginning, numer- 
ous artists were drawn to his studio out of simple 
necessity. Veterans of the period have testified that, 
in those bleak economic times, jobs for artists were 
exceedingly scarce. Cartoonists, fine draftsmen, 
skilled painters, and other artists flocked to the Dis- 
ney studio, grateful for a chance at steady employ- 
ment. Disney, in turn, displayed an uncanny knack 
for assessing the varied gifts of these artists, and en- 
couraged them to use their distinctive abilities to el- 
evate the quality of the films. 

In addition, the films themselves reflected the 
spirit of their time. Mickey Mouse, created in 1928, 
gradually achieved nationwide recognition during 
1929, and thus the rise of his popularity coincided 
with the onset of the Depression. Mickey, with his 
humble barnyard origins, made an ideal mascot for 
an America faced with hard times; his unflagging 
good cheer and plucky resourcefulness seemed to 
symbolize the indomitable spirit of the country. In 
his very first film, Plane Crazy, he improvises an air- 
plane out of an old jalopy and other found objects, 
and in many succeeding films he similarly makes do 
with whatever unlikely items may be at hand. 

An even more striking morale builder was the 
1933 Silly Symphony Three Little Pigs. In this im- 
mensely popular cartoon, a nation facing a figura- 
tive "wolf at the door" saw the title characters de- 
feat their Big Bad Wolf through a combination of 
optimism and hard work. The Pigs and their taunt- 
ing theme song, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad 
Wolf?" sparked a nationwide craze in 1933, and ob- 
servers have often seen the film as an antidote to 
the Depression. Other Silly Symphonies like Grass- 
hopper and the Ants and The Wise Little Hen (both 
1934) entertainingly stressed the benefits of dili- 
gence and industry. 

The happy antics of Mickey, the Pigs, and other 
Disney creations made life a little more bearable for 
millions of Americans during the 1930s. Small 
wonder that those same Americans continued to 
reward Disney with their loyal support in succeed- 
ing decades. 

See Also: HOLLYWOOD AND THE FILM INDUSTRY; 
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARTS. 




Walt Disney, 1935. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs 
Division, New York World -Telegram and the Sun Newspaper 
Photograph Collection 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Barrier, Michael. Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation 
in Its Golden Age. 1999. 

Greene, Katherine, and Richard Greene. The Man behind 
the Magic: The Story of Walt Disney. 1991. 

Isbouts, Jean-Pierre, director. Walt: The Man behind the 
Myth. 2001. 

Kaufman, J. B. "Three Little Pigs: Big Little Picture." 
American Cinematographer 69, no. 11 (November 
1988): 38-44. 

Merritt, Russell, and J. B. Kaufman. A Companion to Walt 
Disney's Silly Symphonies. 2004. 

Watts, Steven. The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the 
American Way of Life. 1997. 

J. B. Kaufman 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



239 



DOCUMENTARY 



FILM 



DOCUMENTARY FILM 



The American people spent more time at the mov- 
ies during the Depression years than in any other 
decade, and they wanted their money's worth. Be- 
fore each feature they expected to see a cartoon, a 
short comedy, and a newsreel. 

Newsreels were the documentaries of the 
1930s, and the newsreel archives are an important 
source of visual evidence of the period. All five 
major studios produced their own twice-weekly 
editions. Five items were generally packaged to- 
gether, and few items ran for more than two min- 
utes. The studios, ever conscious of their vulnera- 
bility to government censorship and the 
disapproval of powerful religious and special inter- 
est groups, favored lighthearted fare. Beauty pag- 
eants, animal acts, and novelties were staples. 
Many items were faked by stringers, the freelance 
cameramen who got paid only when their coverage 
appeared on the screen. So it is astounding to see 
the degree to which the true life of the times actual- 
ly got recorded, in spite of all the obstacles. 

In many newsreels, it was the voiceover narra- 
tion that provided both the comedy and the politi- 
cal bias. Stripped of this sound, as most footage is 
in today's archives, modern filmmakers use this 
haphazard documentation to say something more 
than the original filmmakers intended. It is impor- 
tant to keep in mind that a great deal of the most 
revealing material recorded at the time was never 
projected in theaters. Considered too gloomy and 
depressing to please audiences who had come to 
escape their own dark times, the unused footage 
went directly into the vaults, considered hardly 
worth the storage costs involved. 

By 1967, when the last of the newsreel makers 
went out of business, the owners of these archives 
gave them to universities and the U.S. government 
in exchange for generous tax write-offs. Given the 
highly biased origins of the newsreels, today's film- 
makers and their audiences need to view their lega- 
cy with caution, if not outright skepticism. Yet 
when guided by historians and witnesses with 
hindsight, the material the 1930s cameramen left us 
can help bring the period to life in a way that print- 
ed evidence alone seldom can. This is best seen, 



perhaps, in the seven-part series The Great Depres- 
sion, made for the Public Broadcasting Service by 
Blackside in 1993. 

The March of Time, a newsreel-like affiliate of 
Time magazine that appeared in 1935, was pro- 
duced by filmmakers with more serious intent. 
Chapters were issued monthly, ran as long as twen- 
ty minutes, and were devoted to a single topic. In 
1937 the series showed the bombing of Manchuria 
by the Japanese. The next year a chapter called "In- 
side Nazi Germany" showed American audiences 
vivid pictures of the racial policies of a rapidly re- 
arming future enemy. In 1939, The March of Time 
included film of sharecroppers in Mississippi in a 
pathetically unequal struggle with plantation own- 
ers. The series often resorted to dramatized recre- 
ations when reality footage could not be obtained, 
a practice much criticized at the time by profession- 
al observers and now considered unethical. Though 
the series received an Academy Award in 1937, its 
producers lacked the bargaining power of the stu- 
dio-sponsored newsreels, and many theater man- 
agers found their audiences did not clamor for The 
March of Time's tendency to present unpleasant 
news. The series ceased production in 1951, a de- 
cade and a half before television brought all news- 
reels to an end. 

The early days of the Depression were also re- 
corded by a small group of politically radical mem- 
bers of the New York Film and Photo League, an 
organization that for a short time had correspond- 
ing chapters in half a dozen other cities. Thanks to 
the Film and Photo League, the major protest 
movements of the 1930 to 1934 period can still be 
brought to life, though the bulk of their footage was 
not saved. The Museum of Modern Art in New 
York circulates brief compilations, silent with titles 
(as they were originally shown), that are powerful 
reminders of the days when tens of thousands of 
people were thronging the streets carrying banners 
for such "socialist" programs as unemployment in- 
surance and subsidized public housing. 

The most notable documentary filmmaker of 
the period was Pare Lorentz, a film critic turned 
producer, who persuaded the Roosevelt adminis- 
tration to present the need for its reform programs 
in films of such power and quality that they could, 



ZtO 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF F H E GREAT DEPRESSION 



DOMESTIC SERVICE 



and did, win widespread theatrical distribution in 
spite of strong film industry opposition. Lorentz's 
first film, The Plow that Broke the Plains (1936), 
dramatized the disasters caused by unwise land 
use, a condition made all too evident by massive 
dust storms that swept across middle America that 
spring. His next film, The River (1937), was an 
equally powerful lesson about flood control, again 
made vividly current by news of recurring disas- 
trous floods along the Mississippi. Building on his 
critical success, Lorentz and his New Deal support- 
ers established the U.S. Film Service, which they 
hoped would nurture the production of still more 
"films of merit." However, both of Lorentz's films, 
although popular with critics and the public, were 
greeted by howls of protest from local and state 
government officials, who resented their cities and 
states being depicted as problem areas. Only three 
other films were finished and released by the U.S. 
Film Service, with increasingly less success. 

Many contemporary viewers find both The Plow 
and The River flawed by the features that won them 
widespread critical and public acceptance at the 
time of their release: namely, narrations composed 
in Whitmanesque poetics and delivered with over- 
whelming stridency. But it would be a mistake to 
ignore the message underlying the persuasive visu- 
als; Lorentz, in these two films of less than one half 
hour each, managed to state the essential philoso- 
phy of the New Deal, both its willingness to accept 
responsibility for correcting the sins of the past and 
its certainty that its methods of alleviation, its "so- 
cial engineering," would triumph over all adversity. 
Many contemporary environmentalists and social 
scientists, however, question the "solutions" pres- 
ented in Lorentz's films. 

Toward the end of the 1930s, a small but grow- 
ing group of filmmakers was beginning to produce 
documentaries that were more in line with contem- 
porary documentary film. Film was an expensive 
medium, so the filmmakers were dependent on 
foundations or corporations for sponsorship, with 
the inevitable artistic and political compromises this 
type of partnership implies. Yet some veterans of 
the Film and Photo League and some who had 
gained experience under Lorentz managed to make 
a few films that are clear-eyed about the hard truths 
the nation faced as it reluctantly prepared for war. 



Ralph Steiner and Willard Van Dyke's The City 
(1939) remains a sharp, poignant, and even witty 
comment on urban society and its discontents, 
though its Utopian solutions now seem unconvinc- 
ing. Van Dyke's Valley Town (1940) probes the di- 
lemmas of automation, unemployment resulting 
from new technology, and social upheavals that are 
as baffling now as then. These films put us inside 
the heads and hearts of those who lived in the 
1930s in a way rarely achieved in any other medi- 
um. 

See Also: COMMUNICATIONS AND THE PRESS; 
HOLLYWOOD AND THE FILM INDUSTRY. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Alexander, William. Film on the Left: American Documen- 
tary Film from 1931 to 1942. 1981. 

Barnouw, Erik. The Documentary: A History of the Non- 
Fiction Film, 2nd rev. edition. 1993. 

Blackside, Inc.; WGBH Boston; and BBC, producers. The 
Great Depression (a seven-part television series). 
1993. 

Fielding, Raymond. The American Newsreel: 1911-1967. 
1972. 

Lorentz, Pare, director. The Plow that Broke the Plains. 
1936. 

Lorentz, Pare, director. The River. 1937. 

MacCann, Richard Dyer. The People's Films: A Political 
History of XI. S. Government Motion Pictures. 1973. 

Seltzer, Leo, ed. Film and Photo League: Compilations 
1930-34. 1982. 

Snyder, Robert L. Pare Lorentz and the Documentary Film. 
1968. 

Steiner, Ralph, and Willard Van Dyke, directors. The 
City. 1939. 

Stoney, George C, and Robert Wagner, directors. Images 
of the Great Depression: A Two Hour Compilation. 
1988. 

Van Dyke, Willard, director. Valley Town. 1940. 

George C. Stoney 



DOMESTIC SERVICE 



Although the Great Depression adversely affected 
a broad spectrum of Americans between 1929 and 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



I 41 



DOMESTIC SERVICE 




Young men practice serving a meal at the WPA household workers training center in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1936. Franklin Delano 
Roosevelt Library 



1941, the economic calamity was particularly dev- 
astating for the millions of workers employed in the 
domestic and personal service labor force. New 
Deal programs did little to remedy the financial dif- 
ficulties of this group. Before the 1929 stock market 
crash, domestic and personal service employees, 
such as maids, cooks, washerwomen, and laun- 
dresses, comprised 8 percent of the American 
workforce. The crash, along with falling manufac- 
turing sales, increased debt, the shrinking money 
supply, bank failures, small business closings, tariff 
policies, the boll weevil epidemic, and the overpro- 
duction of agricultural goods, increased the size of 
the domestic and personal service sector slightly to 
10 percent of the labor force by 1930. 



The domestic labor force in the early twentieth 
century was comprised mostly of immigrants from 
Ireland, Eastern Europe, Mexico, Japan, and China, 
as well as many native-born, single white females 
and married and single African-American women, 
whose fathers, husbands, and sons faced routine 
periods of underemployment and unemployment. 
Between 1900 and 1920, native whites and immi- 
grants from northern and western Europe made up 
the majority of domestics. However, a gradual racial 
and ethnic shift occurred during and after World 
War I. In the northern United States, Eastern Euro- 
pean immigrants and African Americans began to 
replace German, Scandinavian, Irish, and native- 
born single white women as household help. As 



2W 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



DOMESTIC SERVICE 



native-born and foreign-born white females found 
better-paying jobs outside the domestic labor sec- 
tor, the numbers of black servants increased sub- 
stantially. African-American females comprised 40 
percent of all female household workers in 1920, 36 
percent in 1930, and 47 percent the following de- 
cade. Not surprisingly, they led in the numbers of 
domestics in the Jim Crow South. In the southwest- 
ern United States, Mexican and Mexican-American 
women comprised a large percentage of household 
workers. Like African-American women, they in- 
creasingly dominated the domestic and personal 
service sector after their white counterparts found 
employment opportunities elsewhere. In 1930, La- 
tina household workers comprised 45 percent of all 
Mexican females employed outside the home. In 
major southwestern cities such as El Paso, Denver, 
and Albuquerque, young unmarried female domes- 
tics constituted two-thirds of all Mexican women 
employed outside the home. 

Although women overwhelmingly dominated 
the domestic service sector, men also worked as 
household help, mainly as butlers, chauffeurs, gar- 
deners, and cooks. Only in California and Wash- 
ington state, where high numbers of Chinese male 
immigrants lived, did men lead in the domestic ser- 
vice area. For the duration of the Depression, men 
made up 10 percent of all household servants in the 
nation. 

White women remained the largest segment of 
the female domestic service category — 54 percent 
in 1930 and 53 percent in 1940. Still, some of them 
had other options. Those with skills increasingly 
found work in the growing female-oriented service 
sector economy, where they worked in nursing, ed- 
ucation, newly created government agencies, social 
services, and sales, as well as in business as clerical 
staff. Although they dominated the domestic sec- 
tor, those working as servants made up only 10 per- 
cent of the overall white female labor force. 

Black women, of whom 60 percent labored as 
domestics, had a different experience, and found 
themselves at the bottom rung of the labor sector. 
Like their white counterparts, black wives, mothers, 
and sisters, attempted to supplement the meager 
earnings of their husbands, fathers, or brothers. 
During the Depression, however, they faced com- 



petition from both whites and other black women 
for their domestic jobs. Although the white female 
labor force increased by 17 percent, the black fe- 
male labor force declined by 5 percent during the 
Depression. Given a choice, many employers pre- 
ferred white domestics over black domestics. Fur- 
thermore, unemployed African-American high 
school and college graduates — displaced teachers, 
secretaries, sales consultants, and social workers — 
sought domestic work in growing numbers after 
losing their jobs. Faced with this uncertainty, Afri- 
can-American domestics sought alternatives. 

A newly elected President Franklin Delano 
Roosevelt, with the help of advisers, unleashed a 
number of programs that attempted to increase in- 
dustrial profits, improve consumer spending, allevi- 
ate unemployment, and relieve destitution: These 
programs included the Federal Emergency Relief 
Administration (FERA) and the Works Progress 
Administration (WPA). Legislation with similar 
aims included the National Industrial Recovery Act, 
which improved working conditions and wages and 
guaranteed employees the right to unionize; the 
Fair Labor Standards Act, which created maximum 
working hours and minimum wages; and the Social 
Security Act, which established unemployment 
compensation and retirement pensions for the un- 
employed. Unfortunately, this legislation excluded 
domestics and farm laborers because many New 
Dealers, especially southerners, argued that the 
provisions would have put undue financial strain 
on the employers of household help and agricultur- 
al workers. Domestics, thus, continued to experi- 
ence economic contraction and widespread dis- 
crimination. Many household workers went on 
temporary relief, provided by such agencies as 
FERA and the WPA. Other disillusioned household 
workers abandoned domestic work altogether. 
Only with the entry of the United States into World 
War II in December 1941 did the Depression end 
for domestic workers. 

See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON; FAMILY AND HOME, 
IMPACT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION ON; 
UNEMPLOYMENT, LEVELS OF. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



2U 



N ' T 



U Y WHERE 



Y U 



CAN'T 



WORK 



MOVEMENT 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Blackwelder, Julia Kirk. Now Hiring: The Feminization of 
Work in the United States, 1900-1995. 1997. 

Bureau of Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 
1930, Population: Occupations. 1932. 

Bureau of Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 
1940, Population: The Labor Force, Part 1. 1943. 

Jones, Jacqueline. Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black 
Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to the Pres- 
ent. 1985. 

Katzman, David M. Seven Days a Week: Women and Do- 
mestic Service in Industrializing America. 1978. 

Romero, Mary. Maid in the U.S.A. 1992. 

Bernadette Pruitt 



DON'T BUY WHERE YOU CAN'T 
WORK MOVEMENT 

The "Don't Buy Where You Can't Work" move- 
ment, also known as the "Buy Where You Can 
Work" movement, emerged in major northern U.S. 
cities during the Great Depression to protest black 
unemployment rates that often were double or tri- 
ple the national average. In 1929 the Chicago news- 
paper the Whip, under editor Joseph Bibb, spon- 
sored a campaign to boycott Chicago stores that 
refused to hire blacks. Supported by the Reverend 
J. C. Austin of the Pilgrim Baptist Church, the pro- 
gram resulted in the hiring of more than two thou- 
sand blacks, mostly as clerks in Chicago depart- 
ment stores. 

The movement spread rapidly to other cities, 
drawing support from the major civil rights organi- 
zations. In 1931 black ministers, politicians, and 
businessmen published appeals in Harlem newspa- 
pers to follow Chicago's example. Calls for boycotts 
came from the Harlem Business Men's Club and 
from supporters of the black nationalist Marcus 
Garvey. Harlem Reverend John H. Johnson of Saint 
Martin's Protestant Episcopal Church formed the 
Citizens League for Fair Play and used Harlem 
newspapers to promote its picketing efforts. In 1933 
in Washington, D.C., the New Negro Alliance, Inc., 
created the motto "Buy Where You Work — Buy 
Where You Clerk." Responding to layoffs of black 
workers at a Washington hamburger grill, the alli- 



ance targeted such black district stores as Kaufman 
department stores, the A. & P., and the High Ice 
Cream Company stores. Overall, the alliance devel- 
oped a comprehensive agenda advocating in- 
creased black employment, opportunities for black 
advancement and promotion, combined African 
Americans' purchasing power, and the creation of 
larger black businesses. 

The "Don't Buy Where You Can't Work" 
movement had several legacies. In some cities such 
as New York, it helped to create hiring programs 
that were among the first affirmative action pro- 
grams in U. S. history. The movement also provided 
a model for 1960s direct-action civil rights protests, 
such as lunch counter sit-ins, and led the way for 
later federal efforts to address structural unemploy- 
ment and equal purchasing and earning power in 
black communities. 

See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 
GREAT DEPRESSION ON; UNEMPLOYMENT, 
LEVELS OF. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bunche, Ralph J. "Negroes in the Depression: Ralph J. 
Bunche Describes a Direct-Action Approach to 
Jobs." In Black Protest Thought in the Twentieth Centu- 
ry, edited by August Meier, Elliott Rudwick, and 
Francis L. Broderick. 1971. 

Drake, St. Clair, and Horace R. Cayton. Black Metropolis: 
A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. 1993. 

McKay, Claude. "Harlem: Negro Metropolis, 1940." In 
Negro Protest Thought in the Twentieth Century, edited 
by Francis L. Broderick and August Meier. 1966. 

Naison, Mark. Communists in Harlem during the Great De- 
pression. 1983. 

Trotter, Joe William, Jr. "From a Raw Deal to a New 
Deal? 1929-1945." In To Make Our World Anew: A 
History of African Americans, edited by Robin D. G. 
Kelley and Earl Lewis. 2000. 

Bill V. Mullen 



DOS PASSOS, JOHN 



John Roderigo Dos Passos (January 14, 1896-Sep- 
tember 28, 1970) was a prominent leftist and one of 



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DOUGLAS 



WILLIAM 



the great writers of the Depression era. The illegiti- 
mate son of a Portuguese immigrant, Dos Passos 
graduated from Harvard University in 1916 and 
volunteered as an ambulance driver in France and 
Italy during World War I. In the 1920s, Dos Passos 
established himself as a writer of some talent with 
works such as Manhattan Transfer (1925). Yet he is 
best known for his epic 1930s trilogy, U.S.A., widely 
hailed by contemporaries as the great American 
novel. The trilogy consists of The 42nd Parallel 
(1930), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936). An 
ambitious 1,200-page attempt to depict "the slice of 
a continent" and "the speech of the people," U.S.A. 
blends the experimental modernism of the 1920s 
with the social novel of the 1930s. The novel con- 
sists of four different types of writing: biographical 
portraits of important Americans, "newsreels" 
quoting the headlines and popular culture of the 
time, "camera eye" sections of free-form prose po- 
etry (often autobiographical in nature), and a series 
of interlocking narratives of a dozen fictional char- 
acters who appear rootless and directionless while 
trying to make their way through modern America. 
When combined, these sections form an elegy on 
the decline of American democracy in the first dec- 
ades of the twentieth century and offer a sharply 
critical view of the dominance of "big money" in 
the contemporary United States. 

U.S.A. won the respect of literary critics, and it 
also achieved political significance in the 1930s as 
the Popular Front coalition of Communists and lib- 
erals adopted it as essential reading. Dos Passos, 
however, had professed left-wing ideas prior to the 
Great Depression; in fact, it was the execution of 
Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo 
Vanzetti in 1927 that radicalized him. In the late 
1920s and early 1930s, Dos Passos was close to the 
Communist Party. He helped found the Commu- 
nist literary magazine New Masses, and he famously 
denounced the Socialist Party as "near beer." In 
1931, along with a number of other writers, Dos 
Passos traveled to Harlan County in Kentucky to 
publicize the unjust working conditions of striking 
miners. Dos Passos also helped organize American 
support for the antifascist side in the Spanish civil 
war. He traveled to Spain in 1937, where he learned 
of the brutality of Stalinist Communists who secret- 
ly used ruthless tactics against their antifascist al- 



lies. After hearing of the murder of a friend by 
Spanish Communists, Dos Passos drifted away 
from the left in the late 1930s. 

After Dos Passos publicly criticized the Com- 
munists, the New Masses suddenly declared Ernest 
Hemingway a better writer than Dos Passos. After 
the 1930s, Dos Passos turned toward conservative 
politics, associating himself with the National Re- 
view and writing a right-wing counter-trilogy to 
U.S.A. Dos Passos's literary reputation suffered as 
his right-wing turn discredited his work among lib- 
erals and his new conservative friends had little lik- 
ing for his earlier leftist work. Thus, after the 1930s, 
too many forgot that Dos Passos's U.S.A. is one of 
a select number of works worthy of the title "great 
American novel." 

See Also: LITERATURE; SPANISH CIVIL WAR. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Denning, Michael. The Cultural Front: The Laboring of 
American Culture in the Twentieth Century. 1997. 

Ludington, Townsend. John Dos Passos: A Twentieth Cen- 
tury Odyssey. 1980. 

Rosen, Robert C. John Dos Passos: Politics and the Writer. 
1981. 

Daniel Geary 



DOUGLAS, WILLIAM O. 

William Orville Douglas (1898-1980), Supreme 
Court justice, was born in Maine, Minnesota, the 
second of the three children of Julia Fisk and Wil- 
liam Douglas, a Presbyterian minister. At age three, 
Douglas moved west with his parents, first to Es- 
trella, California, then to Cleveland, Washington. 
When his father died in 1904, his mother settled 
with her children near relatives in Yakima, Wash- 
ington. 

Douglas had been crippled with polio before 
his family moved west, and life in Yakima was hard 
for his practically penniless mother and her chil- 
dren. Eventually, however, Douglas not only re- 
gained the use of his legs but became an inveterate 
mountain hiker, developing the love of nature and 



ENCYCLOPEDIA 01 THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



21.5 



DOUGLAS 



WILLIAM 



solitude that later characterized his lifestyle and 
personality. He, his sister, and his younger brother 
helped their mother financially with odd jobs and 
work in area orchards. He excelled academically, 
becoming valedictorian of his high school class in 
1916 and a 1920 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Whit- 
man College in Walla Walla. After teaching English 
and Latin for two years at Yakima's high school, 
and reportedly with only $75 in his pocket, Douglas 
took a train east, herding a carload of sheep to pay 
his fare, and enrolled at Columbia Law School. Al- 
though obliged to devote much of his time to tutor- 
ing and odd jobs, he graduated second in his class. 

Douglas had hoped to clerk for Supreme Court 
Justice Harlan Fiske Stone after law school. But 
when the clerkship went to another Columbia 
graduate, he reluctantly joined a prominent Wall 
Street firm. After two unsatisfying years there, he 
left private practice to teach law, first at Columbia, 
then at Yale, where he specialized in corporate law, 
became one of the school's youngest endowed 
chair professors, and enthusiastically embraced the 
legal realist movement then flourishing at Yale, in- 
cluding its conception of judges as social engineers. 

When the Depression returned the Democrats 
to power in Washington and gave birth to the New 
Deal, Douglas, like many other prominent scholars, 
went to work in the Roosevelt administration. In 

1936, he became a member of the Securities and 
Exchange Commission (SEC), and the next year its 
chair. He also developed close ties with members 
of the Roosevelt inner circle, often joining the 
weekly poker games at the White House. 

Ultimately, such connections paid off hand- 
somely. Roosevelt had no opportunities to fill Su- 
preme Court vacancies during his first term, but be- 
ginning with his appointment of Hugo Black in 

1937, the president eventually was able to com- 
pletely remake the Court. Black and Roosevelt's 
second appointee, Stanley Reed, were southerners, 
Felix Frankfurter, his third selection, was an east- 
erner; and Roosevelt promised to appoint a west- 
erner to the next vacancy on the Court. 

Justice Louis Brandeis's retirement in 1939 gave 
the president another appointment. Although 
Douglas had spent his youth on the west coast, 
Roosevelt considered the SEC chairman an east- 



erner from Yale. The depth of Douglas's commit- 
ment to the New Deal and rigorous regulation of 
the stock market was questionable as well. But a 
Douglas speech applauding New Deal programs 
and attacking financial interests helped to calm 
such concerns, and in late March, the president 
submitted Douglas's name to the Senate. In early 
April, the Senate confirmed the nomination 62-4; 
those voting no, all Republicans, complained, ironi- 
cally, that Douglas was a tool of Wall Street. 

As a member of the Court, Douglas enthusias- 
tically joined the justices in completing the disman- 
tling of the pre-1937 Court's laissez-faire economic 
precedents. Indeed, his opinion for the Court in 
Olsen v. Nebraska (1941) remains a classic Roosevelt 
Court repudiation of the Old Court's assumption of 
superlegislative powers in regulatory cases. Albeit 
with a number of lapses, most notably his stance in 
Korematsu v. United States (1944) and in other 
World War II cases involving sanctions against Jap- 
anese Americans, Douglas was also a leader in the 
modern Court's increasing scrutiny of laws restrict- 
ing First Amendment freedoms, the rights of sus- 
pects and defendants in criminal cases, and racial 
equality. 

Unlike his frequent ally Justice Black, however, 
Douglas did not rest his jurisprudence on a positiv- 
ist framework, championing only those individual 
liberties and other restrictions on governmental au- 
thority that are rooted in constitutional language or 
evidence of the framers' intent. Instead, he ulti- 
mately rejected the laissez-faire Court's decisions 
as simply inconsistent with society's needs, while 
readily embracing the modern Court's use of due 
process and equal protection in recognizing sexual 
privacy, abortion, and related rights that have no 
basis in the Constitution's text or records of histori- 
cal intent. 

Justice Douglas's expansive reading of civil lib- 
erties infuriated conservative politicians. His unor- 
thodox personal life attracted controversy as well. 
In the early 1950s, he divorced his wife of nearly 
thirty years. He later remarried three times, on the 
last occasion to a twenty-six-year-old when he was 
sixty-six. A 1970 impeachment effort — ostensibly 
directed at ethical improprieties but more likely at 
Douglas's judicial record — failed. A severe stroke in 



21,6 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



D U B I N S K Y 



DAVID 



1975 forced his retirement, but not before he had 
served thirty-six and a half years on the high bench, 
the record to date for Supreme Court service. Before 
his death in 1980, Congress recognized the veteran 
justice's love of hiking and nature by designating 
parkland along a favorite Washington walking trail 
as the William O. Douglas National Park. 

See Also: BLACK, HUGO; FRANKFURTER, FELIX; 
HOLMES, OLIVER WENDELL, JR.; HUGHES, 
CHARLES EVANS; SECURITIES REGULATION; 
SUPREME COURT. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Ball, Howard, and Phillip J. Cooper. Of Power and Right: 
Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, and America's Con- 
stitutional Revolution. 1992. 

Countryman, Vern. The Judicial Record of Justice William 
O. Douglas. 1974. 

Douglas, William O. The Court Years, 1939-75: The Auto- 
biography of William O. Douglas. 1980. 

Douglas, William O. Go East, Young Man, The Early Years: 
The Autobiography of William O. Douglas. 1974. 

Simon, James F. Independent Journey: The Life of William 
O. Douglas. 1980. 

Urofsky, Melvin, and P. E. Urofsky, eds. The Douglas Let- 
ters: Selections from the Private Papers of Justice Wil- 
liam O. Douglas. 1987. 

Wasby, Stephen L., ed. He Shall Not Pass This Way Again: 
The Legacy of Justice William O. Douglas. 1990. 

TlNSLEY E. YARBROUGH 



DUBINSKY, DAVID 



The life of the labor leader and political activist 
David Dubinsky (February 22, 1892-September 17, 
1982) was governed by three great passions: trade 
unionism, social reform, and anticommunism. 
Raised as the youngest son of a Jewish baker in 
Lodz in Russian Poland, Dubinsky started his labor 
activism early. After a rudimentary secular Zionist 
education, he went to work for his father at the age 
of eleven and led his first strike at fifteen. Dubinsky 
also joined the Jewish Bund, a socialist organization 
banned by czarist authorities. Imprisoned and later 
exiled to Siberia at eighteen, he escaped. Recogniz- 



ing that he was a hunted man, Dubinsky left Po- 
land, arriving in New York on New Year's Day, 
1911. 

Dubinsky became a U.S. citizen and joined the 
Socialist Party and garment cutters' Local 10 of the 
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union 
(ILGWU). He embraced the cutters' craft culture, 
moderate socialism, and practical trade unionism. 
Elected president of his local in 1921, he played a 
vital role in the bitter "civil war" between Commu- 
nists and Socialists that decimated New York's gar- 
ment unions during the 1920s. Several factors led 
to the ILGWU's demise, but Dubinsky blamed an 
ill-fated 1926 strike and supported the expulsion of 
the Communists. ILGWU membership fell from a 
high of 120,000 in the early 1920s to only 40,000 in 
early 1933 shortly after Dubinsky's ascent to the 
presidency. His tenure became closely entwined 
with Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Taking ad- 
vantage of the National Recovery Administration's 
nominal recognition of collective bargaining rights, 
Dubinsky launched organizing drives in sixty cities, 
as well as a series of successful strikes. By May 1934 
membership in the ILGWU had jumped to more 
than 400,000, and Dubinsky emerged as a major 
figure in New Deal labor circles. Placing its new 
strength behind the NRA code authority, the 
ILGWU established a thirty-five hour work week, 
substantially raised wages, and transformed condi- 
tions in its industry. In the process, it provided a 
model for the industrial union explosion of the late 
1930s. 

Convinced that the labor movement's future 
lay in the development of giant industrial unions, 
in late 1935 Dubinsky formed the Committee for 
Industrial Organization with Sidney Hillman, John 
L. Lewis, and other American Federation of Labor 
(AFL) leaders to push the AFL into organizing basic 
industry. Although he supported organizing drives 
throughout 1936 and 1937 and recognized the need 
to revitalize the labor movement, Dubinsky op- 
posed the formation of the CIO as a separate labor 
federation in November 1938, fearing dual union- 
ism and Communist Party influence in the new 
group. He led his union back into the AFL in 1940 
and rejoined the Federation's executive board in 
1945. Dubinsky retired from the ILGWU presiden- 
cy in 1966. 



ENCYCLOPEDIA 01 THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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I S 



Dubinsky's political life was shaped both by his 
strong commitment to social justice and his staunch 
anti-Communism. He helped to form the American 
Labor Party in 1936 but eventually renounced it, al- 
leging Communist influence. He cofounded the 
New York Liberal Party, Americans for Democratic 
Action, and the International Confederation of 
Trade Unions, all bastions of Cold War liberal anti- 
Communism. Throughout, he remained an avid 
supporter of Roosevelt and later Democratic presi- 
dents. 

See Also: AMALGAMATED CLOTHING WORKERS 
(ACW); AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR 
(AFL); ANTICOMMUNISM; CONGRESS OF 
INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS (CIO); 
ORGANIZED LABOR. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bernstein, Irving. The Turbulent Years: A History of the 
American Worker, 1933-1941. 1969. 

Danish, Max. The World of David Dubinsky. 1957. 

"David Dubinsky, the I.L.G.W.U., and the American 
Labor Movement: Essays in Honor of David Dubin- 
sky." Labor History 9 (1968), special supplement. 

Dubinsky, David, and A. H. Raskin. David Dubinsky: A 
Life with Labor. 1977. 

James R. Barrett 



DUBOIS, W. E. B. 

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (February 23, 
1868-August 27, 1963), who was born in Great Bar- 
rington, Massachusetts, in the year of Andrew 
Johnson's impeachment and died ninety-five years 
later in the year of Lyndon Johnson's installation, 
cut an amazing swath through four continents. He 
was a Lenin Peace Prize laureate and his birthday 
was officially celebrated in China. He wrote four- 
teen pioneering books of sociology, history, and 
politics, and in his eighties a second autobiography 
and three historical novels, complementing the two 
large works of fiction he wrote in the first two dec- 
ades of the twentieth century. The premier architect 
of the civil rights movement in the United States, 
Du Bois was among the first American intellectuals 



to grasp the international implications of the strug- 
gle for racial justice, memorably proclaiming at the 
dawn of the century that the problem of the twenti- 
eth century would be the problem of the color line. 
The Souls of Black Folk, his 1903 collection of four- 
teen essays, transformed race relations in the Unit- 
ed States and, by redefining the terms of the three- 
hundred-year-old interaction between blacks and 
whites, reshaped the cultural and political psychol- 
ogy of peoples of African descent not only through- 
out the western hemisphere but on the African 
continent as well. 

By 1910, the problem of the color line in Ameri- 
ca had become so acute that Du Bois gave up his 
Atlanta University professorship for the editor's 
desk at the National Association for the Advance- 
ment of Colored People (NAACP) in New York. Du 
Bois's magazine, The Crisis, was entirely the editor's 
creature, its policies virtually independent of the 
NAACP's board of directors, and its extraordinary 
monthly circulation of more than 100,000 by 1920 
due almost entirely to Du Bois's pen. For fourteen 
years, Du Bois spoke through The Crisis to demand 
full civil rights and complete racial integration as 
the NAACP grew from a small operation into a cor- 
porate body increasingly staffed by lawyers, lobby- 
ists, and accountants. Du Bois grew increasingly 
impatient with the legalistic tack of the NAACP 
after the onset of the Great Depression. 

Having failed to reform the NAACP, Du Bois 
devoted the years after 1934 to reading Karl Marx 
and supervising graduate students. Du Bois's peri- 
od of Talented Tenth Marxism (1935 to 1948) was 
distinguished by a deepening economic radicalism, 
but also by a renewal of his social science melio- 
rism. He wrote with increasing enthusiasm for 
communism in Russia and with mounting condem- 
nation for European imperialism in Africa and Asia. 
His 1935 book, Black Reconstruction in America, was 
ultimately to transform the historiography of a peri- 
od, although initially it appalled most professional 
historians by positing a general strike by the slaves 
during the Civil War and a proletarian bid for power 
in the South after the war. Flaws it certainly had, 
but Du Bois's sprawling monograph would return 
the African American to the Reconstruction drama 
as a significant agent. Historians Howard K. Beale 



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BOWL 



and C. Vann Woodward wrote the author of their 
admiration for the work and of its influence upon 
them. 

Pressured by several members of the NAACP 
board, secretary Walter White invited the septuage- 
narian back. As consulting delegate with White and 
Mary McLeod Bethune to the founding of the Unit- 
ed Nations in May 1945, Du Bois began what would 
become ever sharper public attacks upon the poli- 
cies of an international body whose charter was 
ambiguous about the rights of colonial peoples. His 
1947 United Nations petition, "An Appeal to the 
World: A Statement on the Denial of Human Rights 
to Minorities in the Case of Citizens of Negro De- 
scent in the United States of America," was a bold 
initiative for the NAACP. Although the NAACP 
board had unanimously endorsed the document 
the previous August, by June 1948 new board 
member and UN delegate Eleanor Roosevelt made 
it plain that international circulation of the petition 
and repeated attempts at General Assembly pre- 
sentation "embarrassed" her and the nation. By 
then, Du Bois had virtually endorsed Henry Wal- 
lace's Progressive Party candidacy, denounced the 
Marshall Plan and NATO as building blocks in the 
aggressive American containment of the Soviet 
Union, and roiled the NAACP directorate by dis- 
tributing a detailed memorandum for restructuring 
the national headquarters. Already shaken in 1947 
by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s charges in Life 
magazine of Communist infiltration, the NAACP 
chose Mrs. Roosevelt and fired Du Bois in Septem- 
ber 1948. 

During the 1950s Du Bois aligned himself in- 
creasingly with the communist-dominated peace 
movement. Tried and acquitted in 1951 as an agent 
of a foreign power, he was barred from travel 
abroad until the return of his passport in 1958. After 
several years of extensive travel in the Soviet Union, 
China, and Eastern Europe, Du Bois joined the 
American Communist Party in 1961 and departed 
for Accra, Ghana. He died there in 1963 on the eve 
of the March on Washington. 

See Also: AFRICAN AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE 

GREAT DEPRESSION ON; RANDOLPH, A. PHILIP; 
ROBESON, PAUL. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Du Bois, W.E.B. Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Auto- 
biography of a Race Concept. 1940. 

Home, Gerald. Black and Red: W.E.B. Du Bois and the 
Afro-American Response to the Cold War, 1944-1963. 
1968. 

Lewis, David Levering, ed. W.E.B. Du Bois: A Reader. 
1995. 

Lewis, David Levering. W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for 
Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963. 2000. 

Marable, Manning. W.E.B. Du Bois: Black Radical Demo- 
crat. 1986. 

David Levering Lewis 



DUST BOWL 

The Dust Bowl refers to a ninety-seven-million- 
acre area in the southern Great Plains where 
drought and wind erosion were the most severe 
during the 1930s. Extending approximately four 
hundred miles from north to south and three hun- 
dred miles from east to west, the Dust Bowl encom- 
passed southeastern Colorado, northeastern New 
Mexico, western Kansas, and the panhandles of 
Texas and Oklahoma. The region of the southern 
Great Plains that became known as the Dust Bowl 
received its name after a gigantic dust storm, 
known as a black blizzard, struck the area on April 
14, 1935. Robert E. Geiger, a reporter for the Asso- 
ciated Press who was traveling in the area, sent a 
series of articles from the region to the Washington, 
D.C. Evening Star. Geiger referred to the southern 
Great Plains as a "dust bowl." The public and the 
Soil Conservation Service quickly adopted the term, 
and it became the sobriquet for this windblown, 
drought-stricken area. 

CAUSES 

Sandy loess soil, drought, lack of soil-holding 
vegetation, and wind have caused the dust to blow 
on the southern Great Plains since the prehistoric 
period. During the nineteenth century, drought and 
prairie fires sometimes destroyed the grass and ex- 
posed the soil to wind erosion. During the late 
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the settle- 
ment of the region and drought contributed to dust 



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This farmer in Cimarron Country, Oklahoma, put up fencing in 1936 to protect his farm from drifting sand. Library of Congress, 
Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



storms as farmers plowed the grassland for crops. 
Similarly, between 1900 and 1930, farmers on the 
southern plains broke even more native sod for 
wheat. Steam traction engines, gasoline-powered 
tractors, and one-way disc plows helped farmers 
plow the sod and expose the soil to the nearly cons- 
tant wind. High agricultural prices stimulated by 
World War I and adequate precipitation encour- 



aged agricultural expansion on the southern plains, 
and few farmers gave much thought to soil conser- 
vation. Many factors, then, contributed to the cre- 
ation of the Dust Bowl — soils subject to wind ero- 
sion, drought that killed the soil-holding vegetation 
(including wheat), the incessant wind, and techno- 
logical improvements that facilitated the rapid 
breaking of the native sod. 



Z50 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



DUST 



BOWL 




This massive cloud of dust hit Rolla, Kansas, in April 1935. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library 



THE STORMS 

In 1931, drought struck the southern Great 
Plains. By late January 1932, dust storms began to 
sweep across the Texas Panhandle, and wind ero- 
sion became a common problem for the region dur- 
ing the spring. During the worst storms of the de- 
cade, the dust drifted like snow, halted road and 
railway travel, and made breathing difficult. Work 
crews shoveled the railway tracks clear of drifted 
dust so the trains could pass. Railroad engineers 
sometimes missed their stations. During the worst 
dust storms, residents sealed windows with tape or 
putty and hung wet sheets in front of windows to 
filter the air. Others spread sheets over their uphol- 
stered furniture, wedged rags under doors, and 
covered keyholes to keep the dirt out of their 
homes. Mealtime during a storm meant that plates, 
cups, and glasses were often covered with a thin 
coat of dust, and the dust made the food and one's 
teeth gritty. Electric lights dimmed to a faint glow 
along streets during the middle of the day. Travel 
on highways was hazardous during a dust storm 
because of poor visibility and dust drifts across 



highways. Static electricity accompanied the storms 
and caused automobile ignition systems to fail and 
cars to stall during the storms. Motorists attached 
drag wires and chains to their automobiles and 
trucks to ground this static electricity and prevent 
their vehicles from stalling. Even windmills, pump 
handles, and cooking pans became so highly 
charged that a mere touch caused a good shock. 
Residents often wore masks when they went out- 
side during a storm, because the dust contained sil- 
ica that irritated the mucus membranes of the respi- 
ratory system and made people feel ill. Many 
residents died from "dust pneumonia." Surgeons 
and dentists confronted the problems of steriliza- 
tion. Between 1932 and 1939, dust storms made life 
miserable and sometimes dangerous for residents 
of the Dust Bowl. 

Throughout the 1930s, continued drought and 
crop failure caused the soil to blow. The number of 
dust storms increased across the region from 1934 
to 1938. The acreage subject to wind erosion also 
expanded during the period, despite the increased 
efforts of farmers and government officials to bring 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



231 



DUST 



W L 





Many families abandoned their farms during the Dust Bowl and traveled west in search of work. Dorothea Lange photographed 
this family group from Texas at an overnight roadside camp near Calipatria, California, in 1937. Library of Congress, Prints & 
Photographs Division. FSA/OWI Collection 



fields under control by various soil and water con- 
servation methods. The dust storms that began in 
1932 and peaked in 1935 continued intermittently, 
primarily during the spring "blow months" of Feb- 
ruary, March, and April, when the wind velocity is 
the highest in the region. By spring 1936, the 
coarse, granular structure of the soil particles had 
broken down due to drought and the constant 
blowing and shifting of the soil. Much of the topsoil 
had become a fine powder that even low-velocity 



winds could easily lift into the air and carry for hun- 
dreds of miles. During the winter the alternate 
freezing and thawing of the ground pulverized the 
soil still further, making it even more susceptible to 
wind erosion. The dust storms remained severe into 
1937, and the prevailing winds carried the soil to 
the Middle Atlantic and Gulf Coast states. During 
the worst storms, sand and soil lacerated the wheat 
and cotton crops, and covered pastures and killed 
the grass used for grazing and hay. 



252 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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BOWL 




This dust-covered farm, photographed in 1938 near Dalhart, Texas, remained occupied, but many in the area were abandoned 
during the Dust Bowl years. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection 



SOIL CONSERVATION 

By 1933 the wind erosion conditions in the 
southern Great Plains became so serious that farm- 
ers looked to the federal government for technical 
and financial support to help them bring the blow- 
ing lands under control. In March the Forest Service 
became the first federal agency to try to stop the 
dust storms in the region after President Franklin 
Delano Roosevelt asked the agency to investigate 
whether a major tree-planting program could sub- 
stantially reduce wind erosion on the Great Plains. 
Working with nearly record speed, in August the 
Forest Service reported that it could. This plan, 
known as the Shelterbelt Project, advocated the 
creation of a zone a hundred miles wide that would 



stretch from Canada to northern Texas, with the 
western edge running along a line from Bismarck 
North Dakota, to Amarillo, Texas. Within that area, 
shelterbelts, that is, rows of trees, would be planted 
across the entire zone to slow the prevailing winds. 
With the wind controlled, the dust storms would 
end or become less severe, and the land could be 
restored to normal agricultural productivity when 
the drought ended. 

In 1935, after nearly two years of studying the 
climate, soils, native vegetation, and earlier tree 
plantings on the Great Plains, the Forest Service re- 
affirmed the practicality of the project but recom- 
mended that the western edge of the zone be 
moved eastward to follow a line from Devil's Lake, 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



Z53 



DUST 



W L 



North Dakota, to Mangum, Oklahoma; this new 
border area received twenty-two inches of precipi- 
tation annually, compared to sixteen inches in the 
border area originally proposed. The Forest Service 
then began the Prairie States Forestry Project, as it 
became known in 1937, planting shelterbelts on se- 
lected lands leased from farmers. As the trees grew, 
the shelterbelts shielded wheat fields from the wind 
and slowed the blowing soil. By the time the project 
terminated in 1942, the Forest Service had planted 
nearly 18,600 miles of shelterbelts that had nearly 
a 60 percent survival rate. Although the return of 
normal precipitation enabled nature to heal the 
wounds to the soil from drought and wind, the 
shelterbelts helped check soil erosion and protected 
farmsteads, livestock, and fields. 

The Soil Erosion Service (SES) in the Depart- 
ment of the Interior and the Department Agricul- 
ture also developed plans to end wind erosion in 
the Dust Bowl. On August 25, 1933, the Public 
Works Administration provided $5 million to the 
Soil Erosion Service to support a conservation pro- 
gram. The SES used these funds to establish dem- 
onstration projects on private lands where nearby 
farmers could observe the best soil conservation 
practices. The work of the SES, however, duplicated 
many projects of the Department of Agriculture 
and, in 1935, the agency was renamed the Soil 
Conservation Service and moved under the juris- 
diction of the United States Department of Agricul- 
ture. 

The Soil Conservation Service also established 
demonstration projects to persuade farmers to 
adopt proper conservation techniques. By the late 
1930s, the work of the Soil Conservation Service 
(along with federal dollars and the return of near 
normal precipitation) helped farmers bring their 
blowing lands under control. Most farmers who fol- 
lowed the technical advice and procedures of the 
SCS adopted proper tillage and cropping practices, 
such as contour plowing, terracing, strip cropping, 
and planting drought-resistant crops such as grain 
sorghum. In order to halt dust storms completely, 
though, the grazing lands had to be restored. Ac- 
cordingly, the SCS advised farmers to rotate, rest, 
and reseed pastures and to use contour furrowing 
and ridging techniques on their grasslands to derive 



the maximum benefit from precipitation and pre- 
vent runoff. The soil conservation practices promot- 
ed by the SCS were designed to restore the land to 
predrought, pre-Dust Bowl conditions. 

The soil conservation projects depended on 
persuasion and voluntary agreements between the 
farmers and the agency. Officials in the SCS did not 
believe the agency had the constitutional authority 
to impose mandatory land-use regulations. Conse- 
quently, the SCS encouraged the state govern- 
ments to require farmers to practice the best soil 
conservation techniques. On May 13, 1936, the SCS 
drafted a model state law, titled A Standard Soil 
Conservation District Law, which provided for the 
creation of state conservation districts by local peti- 
tion and referendum. After a district organized 
under the direction of the state soil conservation 
authority, committee, or agency, the farmers in the 
district worked in a common effort to halt soil ero- 
sion, particularly from the wind, and to follow the 
best soil conservation practices. District supervisors 
provided technical information and financial aid to 
help farmers conduct various conservation practices 
and purchase gasoline, oil, and horse feed to meet 
basic soil conservation expenses. Dust Bowl farmers 
adopted SCS programs because they were geared 
to practicality and low cost, and the SCS and other 
agencies provided funds to help them initiate the 
recommended soil conservation practices. By 1940, 
most farmers who participated in SCS conservation 
programs credited the agency with improving their 
farm practices, increasing their land values, and 
boosting their incomes. Most Dust Bowl farmers 
planned to continue their newly learned soil con- 
servation practices. 

The most optimistic attempt to help farmers in 
the Dust Bowl end the wind erosion menace in- 
volved the land-use program of the Resettlement 
Administration (RA) and Farm Security Adminis- 
tration (FSA). The Resettlement and Farm Security 
administrations, like the SCS, contended that if se- 
verely eroded lands could be removed from cultiva- 
tion and restored to grass, and the blowing range 
lands reseeded, then the soil could be stabilized, the 
dust storms ended, and the land returned to a graz- 
ing economy similar to that of the Great Plains be- 
fore the sod was broken for crops. Accordingly, in 



254 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



DUST 



BOWL 



1935 the Resettlement Administration, and later 
the Farm Security Administration (which assumed 
this responsibility in 1937), began a land-purchase 
program to acquire the most severely wind-eroded 
lands on the Great Plains in order to restore them 
with grass and the best soil conservation tech- 
niques, and to move the farmers from the lands that 
it acquired to better federally owned lands. By the 
time the SCS assumed responsibility for this work 
in 1938, the land-purchase program had become an 
unprecedented experiment in environmental and 
social planning. The SCS continued to restore the 
wind-eroded lands in the purchase areas after nor- 
mal precipitation returned. Since 1960, many of 
these land-utilization projects have been known as 
national grasslands, such as the Cimarron National 
Grassland in Kansas, the Comanche National 
Grassland in Colorado, the Rita Blanca National 
Grassland in Oklahoma, and the Kiowa National 
Grassland in New Mexico. 



FEDERAL RELIEF 

As the wheat and cotton crops withered under 
the sun on the southern Great Plains, farmers 
looked to the federal government for aid beyond 
soil conservation. Although the federal government 
provided many programs for economic relief from 
drought and depression, the aid from the Agricul- 
tural Adjustment Administration (AAA) became 
the most significant. Without the financial aid of 
the AAA, many farmers in the Dust Bowl would 
have suffered bankruptcy and lost their lands. The 
AAA paid farmers nationwide to reduce production 
by withdrawing a specific acreage from production. 
In the Dust Bowl, the AAA paid them to reduce 
production of wheat and cotton, mostly. With fewer 
acres planted in these crops, agency officials be- 
lieved that the surplus of these commodities na- 
tionwide would disappear and agricultural prices 
would rise, thereby increasing farm income. Eco- 
nomic necessity compelled nearly all Dust Bowl 
farmers to participate in the AAA program, but the 
drought, not the AAA, played a greater role in re- 
ducing production than did the allotment or acre- 
age reduction program. Until World War II rapidly 
increased agricultural prices, AAA checks provided 
the most important income for many of them. 



Dust Bowl farmers also received financial aid 
from the Resettlement Administration. Only those 
farmers who could not qualify for loans at banks or 
other lending institutions could apply for RA reha- 
bilitative loans. These loans allowed farmers to pur- 
chase necessities such as food, clothing, feed, seed, 
and fertilizer in order to remain on their land and 
ultimately return to self-sufficiency when the 
drought ended. Before making a loan, the RA pre- 
pared a farm management plan that budgeted the 
farmer's income for daily home and operating 
needs as well as loan and mortgage obligations. Re- 
settlement Administration loans in the Dust Bowl 
averaged about $700 per family. In 1937, the Farm 
Security Administration continued this loan pro- 
gram for the most destitute farmers, on the condi- 
tions that the farmers' operations could become 
profitable and they had adequate credit to obtain 
equipment, seed, and livestock. The FSA also en- 
couraged Dust Bowl farmers to diversify by raising 
more cattle and less wheat. 

Despite aid from the AAA, RA, FSA, and other 
federal agencies and programs, Dust Bowl residents 
often did not have enough income to meet their fi- 
nancial obligations. In some areas drought, dust, 
and economic depression caused property values to 
decline as much as 90 percent. As farm valuations 
shrank, tax revenues decreased and some local gov- 
ernments responded by imposing higher property 
taxes. As income from wheat and cotton fell and as 
property tax rates rose, tenancy and nonresident 
ownership increased more than 40 percent in some 
areas, and tax delinquencies and bankruptcies in- 
creased. 



MIGRATION 

Although wheat and cotton prices fell because 
of overproduction and although drought and dust 
storms ruined crops and caused additional eco- 
nomic hardship, farmers did not emigrate in great 
numbers from the Dust Bowl. The migrant charac- 
ters in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath were 
not from the Dust Bowl, but from the cotton region 
east of the most drought-stricken areas. Migrants 
from this area had been tenant farmers or share- 
croppers whom landowners evicted in order to 
keep the total amount of the AAA allotment checks 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



255 



DUST 



W L 



for reducing cotton production (farmers were re- 
quired to share the aid with any tenants, but they 
ignored this provision of its AAA program). These 
thousands of displaced cotton farmers and field 
workers were the Okies who headed west to Cali- 
fornia. Still, between 1930 and 1940, the counties in 
the Oklahoma Panhandle lost 8,762 people, but 
they did not create a great Dust Bowl migration. 
Many Dust Bowl farmers moved to the nearest 
town, where they sought employment or relief from 
government agencies such as the Civil Works Ad- 
ministration or Works Progress Administration. 
Some areas rich in natural gas and oil gained popu- 
lation as the petroleum industry expanded and cre- 
ated job opportunities. Similarly, in the Texas Pan- 
handle twenty-three counties lost fewer than 
fifteen thousand inhabitants between 1930 and 
1940. 

In southwestern Kansas, the number of farmers 
actually increased in a twenty-seven county area 
between 1930 and 1935 as the children of resident 
farmers and townspeople returned home from cit- 
ies, often in other states, seeking refuge from the 
economic hard times of the Great Depression. Be- 
tween 1935 and 1940, however, the population of 
southwestern Kansas dropped dramatically, with 
losses ranging from 18 percent to 53 percent in 
many Dust Bowl counties. As the farm population 
decreased, the number of farms declined and farm 
sizes increased by 24 percent due to the consolida- 
tion of farms. Most residents who left the Kansas 
portion of the Dust Bowl were single men and 
women or young married couples who perceived 
better opportunities elsewhere in the region or be- 
yond. Tenant farmers often left the Dust Bowl but 
landowners usually stayed because they were un- 
willing to lose their investments in the land, and the 
agricultural and work-relief programs of the federal 
government kept most farmers on the land and the 
majority of the nonfarm population in the towns. 
Certainly, a large number of people moved within 
the Dust Bowl area and from the Great Plains states 
during the 1930s, but most were not people dis- 
placed by drought and wind erosion. 

NORMALCY 

During the spring of 1938 precipitation in- 
creased and the wheat, grass, and cotton grew and 



helped hold the soil against the wind. As a result, 
the black blizzards ended and even the lesser dust 
storms diminished in number and intensity. By the 
spring of 1939 only 9.5 million acres were still sub- 
ject to severe wind erosion, compared to fifty mil- 
lion acres in 1935. Only a few dust storms occurred 
throughout the year. By December 1939, the Dust 
Bowl encompassed only southwestern Kansas and 
southeastern Colorado. During the early 1940s, the 
return of near-normal amounts of precipitation 
ended the drought, and weeds, grass, and crops 
covered much of the land, preventing the wind 
from lifting and blowing the soil. 

A combination of factors, then, created the 
Dust Bowl in the southern Great Plains — the plow- 
ing of too much marginal land for wheat and cot- 
ton, the failure to practice soil conservation, the 
drought, and the relentless wind. The dust storms 
of the 1930s forced farmers and the federal govern- 
ment to utilize all of the technical expertise and fi- 
nancial resources they could command to bring the 
wind erosion problem under control. When 
drought and dust storms returned to the region 
during the 1950s, the technology and conservation 
practices that Dust Bowl farmers had been using for 
twenty years prevented the region from reverting to 
the severe conditions of the 1930s. 

See Also: AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT (AAA); 
GRAPES OF WRATH, THE; LAND USE PLANNING; 
MIGRATION; WEST, GREAT DEPRESSION IN THE 
AMERICAN. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Bonnifield, Paul. The Dust Bowl: Men, Dirt, and Depres- 
sion. 1979. 

Cunfer, Geoffrey Alan. "Common Ground: The Ameri- 
can Grassland, 1870-1970." Ph.D. diss., University 
of Texas at Austin, 1999. 

Droze, Wilmon H. Trees, Prairies, and People: A History of 
Tree Planting in the Plains States. 1977. 

Floyd, Fred. "A History of the Dust Bowl." Ph.D. diss., 
University of Oklahoma, 1950. 

Gregory, James N. American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Mi- 
gration and Okie Culture in California. 1989. 

Henderson, Caroline. "Letters from the Dust Bowl." At- 
lantic Monthly 157 (May 1936): 540-551. 

Hewes, Leslie. The Suitcase Farming Frontier: A Study of 
the Historical Geography of the Central Great Plains. 
1973. 



Z56 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



DUST 



BOWL 



Hurt, R. Douglas. "Federal Land Reclamation in the Dust 
Bowl." Great Plains Quarterly 6 (1986): 94-106. 

Hurt, R. Douglas. The Dust Bowl: An Agricultural and So- 
cial History. 1981. 

Hurt, R. Douglas. "Gaining Control of the Environment: 
The Morton County Land-Utilization Project in the 
Kansas Dust Bowl." Kansas History 19 (1996): 
140-153. 

Hurt, R. Douglas. "The National Grasslands: Origin and 
Development in the Dust Bowl." Agricultural History 
59 (1985): 246-259. 

Johnson, Vance. Heaven's Tableland: The Dust Bowl Story. 
1947. 

Lockingbill, Brad. Dust Bowl, USA: Depression America 
and the Ecological Imagination, 1929-194. 2001. 

Lowitt, Richard. The New Deal in the West. 1984. 

McDean, Harry. "Dust Bowl Historiography." Great 
Plains Quarterly 6 (1986): 117-126. 

McDean, Harry. "Federal Farm Policy and the Dust 
Bowl: The Half-Right Solution." North Dakota Histo- 
ry 47 (1980): 21-31. 

Riney-Kenrberg, Pamela. Rooted in Dust: Surviving the 
Drought and Depression in Southwestern Kansas. 1994. 



Rutland, Robert Allen. A Boyhood in the Dust Bowl, 
1926-1934. 1995. 

Saloutos, Theodore. The American Farmer and the New 
Deal. 1982. 

Schuyler, Michael W. The Dread of Plenty: Agricultural Re- 
lief Activities of the Federal Government in the Middle 
West, 1933-1939. 1989. 

Sears, Paul B. Deserts on the March. 1980. 

Shindo, Charles J. Dust Bowl Migrants and the American 
Imagination. 1997. 

Stein, Walter J. California and the Dust Bowl Migration. 
1973. 

Svobida, Lawrence. Farming in the Dust Bowl: A First- 
Hand Account From Kansas. 1986. 

Ware, James Wesley. "Black Blizzard: The Dust Bowl of 
the 1930s." Ph.D. diss., Oklahoma State University, 
1977. 

Worster, Donald. The Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in 
the 1930s. 1979. 

R. Douglas Hurt 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



257 




EARHART, AMELIA 



Amelia Earhart (July 24, 1897-July 1937) was an 
aviator and feminist who symbolized the excite- 
ment of early aviation and new roles for women to 
Depression-era Americans. Always a restless and 
independent spirit, Earhart (photograph overleap) 
took her first plane ride in 1921 and earned her li- 
cense soon after. While working at a Boston settle- 
ment house in 1928, she jumped at the chance to 
be a passenger on a flight from Newfoundland to 
Wales, thus earning the distinction of being the first 
woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by plane. In- 
stantly compared to Charles Lindbergh (to whom 
she bore an uncanny resemblance), Earhart found 
herself lionized as a popular heroine even though 
she had done none of the actual flying. 

On May 20, 1932, Earhart claimed her place in 
aviation history by soloing the Atlantic in her bright 
red single-engine Lockheed Vega. She was the first 
woman and only the second person to do so since 
Lindbergh's 1927 flight. Once again she was front- 
page news nationwide, enabling her to promote her 
belief in the viability of commercial aviation and her 
equally fervid conviction that women could do any- 
thing they set their minds to. In 1937 she an- 
nounced plans for a round-the-world flight in her 
new Lockheed Electra, accompanied only by navi- 
gator Fred Noonan. The first east-to-west attempt 



ended prematurely when she damaged her plane in 
Hawaii. On June 1 she set off in a west-to-east di- 
rection. On the hardest leg of the flight, from New 
Guinea to tiny Howland Island in the mid-Pacific, 
the plane disappeared. For weeks the country fol- 
lowed the story, but an extensive search turned up 
no evidence of the aviators' fate and they were pre- 
sumed lost at sea. Amelia Earhart's last flight re- 
mains one of the twentieth century's greatest un- 
solved mysteries, but it should not deflect attention 
from her significance as a record-breaking aviator 
and a compelling symbol of women's emancipa- 
tion. 

See Also: GENDER ROLES AND SEXUAL RELATIONS, 
IMPACT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION ON; 
LINDBERGH, CHARLES. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Butler, Susan. East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart. 
1997. 

Earhart, Amelia. The Fun of It: Random Records of My Own 
Flying and of Women in Aviation. 1932. 

Earhart, Amelia. Papers. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesin- 
ger Library on the History of Women in America. 
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Cambridge, 
Mass. 

Ware, Susan. Still Missing: Amelia Earhart and the Search 
for Modern Feminism. 1993. 

Susan Ware 



Z59 



E C C L E S 



R R I N E R 




Amelia Earhart, 1930s. Archive Photos 



ECCLES, MARRINER 



Marriner Eccles (September 9, 1890-December 18, 
1977) was born in Logan Utah. He was a high 
school graduate of Brigham Young College in 1909 



and shortly afterwards left for Scotland, where he 
worked for just over two years as a Mormon mis- 
sionary. The Eccles family had extensive business 
interests and Eccles became fully engaged in them 
on his return from Scotland. His family responsibil- 
ities increased after the death of his father in 1912, 
but he thrived on challenges and effectively man- 
aged the family enterprises through the Eccles In- 
vestment Company. In 1913 he married Mary 
Campbell Young, whom he had met while in Scot- 
land. 

During the 1920s Eccles built up a formidable 
reputation as a banker and achieved considerable 
personal wealth. During the period from 1930 to 
1933 U.S. banks in general, and Utah banks in par- 
ticular, exhibited high failure rates. During this 
time, Eccles presided over a number of banks which 
demonstrated such resilience in the face of adversi- 
ty that he was invited to testify before the Senate 
Finance Committee in February 1933. 

The shock of the Depression had a profound 
influence upon Eccles's political philosophy. He be- 
lieved that the economic crisis had been caused by 
underconsumption and that this trend should be 
corrected by a variety of government funded initia- 
tives. Because Eccles's views were unorthodox by 
bankers' standards, and because he was willing, es- 
pecially after the recession of 1937 and 1938, to 
contemplate budget deficits, he has been described 
as a Keynesian. In fact Eccles developed his views 
independently and they were the product of com- 
monsense observation not high-level economic 
theory. Perhaps his lack of formal education en- 
abled Eccles to free himself from old ideas when it 
was clear that they were not working. 

Eccles chose to work in Washington, initially as 
special assistant on monetary and credit issues to 
Henry Morgenthau, Jr., who recommended him to 
Roosevelt as someone who would make a very ef- 
fective head of the Federal Reserve Board. Eccles 
agreed to accept this post on condition that legisla- 
tive changes would move power over money and 
credit matters away from the Federal Reserve Banks 
towards a newly constituted Board. Eccles was to 
the fore in drafting and lobbying for the Banking 
Act of 1935, which centralized monetary policy and 
gave formidable powers to the Board. The fact that 



Z60 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



ECONOMISTS 



he was not a Wall Street banker endeared him to 
many New Dealers. Although Eccles was a strong 
supporter of government intervention to ameliorate 
the effects of depression, the restrictive monetary 
policies pursued by the Fed played a significant role 
in causing the serious economic contraction of 
1937-1938. 

Eccles served as chairman of the Board of Gov- 
ernors of the Federal Reserve System until 1948 and 
remained a board member until 1951. He died on 
December 18, 1977. 

See Also: FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM; MONETARY 
POLICY. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Burns, Helen, M. The American Banking Community and 
New Deal Banking Reforms 1933-1935. 1974. 

Eccles, Marriner, S. Beckoning Frontiers. Public and Person- 
al Recollections. 1951. 

Peter Fearon 



ECONOMISTS 



The Great Depression presented formidable chal- 
lenges to mainstream economists of the day. The 
slump following the stock market crash in the au- 
tumn of 1929 was not itself that perplexing. Ortho- 
dox doctrine then held that downturns in economic 
activity were part of the business cycle's natural 
rhythm. The real problem was to account for the 
economy's failure to right itself. In a well- 
functioning market system, it was expected that 
downward adjustments in wages and prices would 
generate the correctives needed to restore condi- 
tions of high production and employment. By late 
1931, it was clear that the expectations of the ortho- 
dox did not mesh with the observable reality. This 
observation did not mean that mainstream econo- 
mists were ready to reject their original "model." 
For most of them, confidence in its Tightness could 
still be salvaged with the argument that the state of 
the economy — not the state of economic theory — 
was out of joint. It could thus be argued that the 
many impediments to wage-price flexibility — some 



generated by the market power of businesses and 
trade unions, some generated by governments — 
had kept the normal adjustment mechanisms from 
functioning properly. This intellectual maneuver 
may have stiffened the morale of economists in the 
mainstream, but it did nothing to improve their 
public image. 

In the popular estimation, some critics of main- 
stream economics were also discredited by the flow 
of events. In the 1920s, two strands of argument 
were developed that purported to demonstrate that 
there was nothing inevitable about "so-called" 
business cycles and that appropriate policy inter- 
ventions could effectively stabilize aggregate eco- 
nomic activity at a high level. One variant of this 
approach maintained that expenditures on public 
works should be timed to compensate for fluctua- 
tions in private spending. This strategy formed an 
important part of the "new era" economics associ- 
ated with studies inspired by Herbert C. Hoover as 
Secretary of Commerce. It is important to note that 
Hoover expected that the overwhelming bulk of ex- 
penditures on public works would be undertaken 
by state and local governments and that the Federal 
government's primary role was to signal when to 
open or close the spending tap. (This strategy was 
indeed deployed in 1930 — but without the antici- 
pated results — when Hoover was in the White 
House.) A second variant insisted that the alleged 
"laws" of the business cycle could be repealed 
through the appropriate conduct of monetary poli- 
cy. The leading spokesman for this position — Irving 
Fisher of Yale — maintained that variations in the 
general price level were at the root of fluctuations 
in production and employment. Hence, it seemed 
to follow that stabilizing the general price level — a 
task that could be performed by the Federal Re- 
serve — would stabilize the economy. These vestiges 
of "new era" thinking did not fare well in face of the 
events of 1929 through 1931. 

Events did, however, enhance the credibility of 
economists associated with the heterodox school of 
institutional economics. Those of this persuasion 
had long been skeptical of the claims of the main- 
stream regarding the beneficent properties of un- 
regulated markets. In their view, economists sym- 
pathizing with a regime of laissez-faire were 



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION 



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ECONOMISTS 



hopelessly out of touch with the modern economy. 
The notion that markets were effectively competi- 
tive might have had some validity in an earlier, sim- 
pler, and less concentrated economic order. The 
central truth about the current economy was totally 
otherwise: It was characterized by a fundamental 
asymmetry inherent in the economy's structure. In 
one sector — in which large manufacturing firms 
were predominant — producers had the capacity to 
administer prices. It was often in their interest as 
profit-maximizers to raise prices by restricting out- 
puts, which meant that production and employ- 
ment were inevitably held below their potential. By 
contrast, the myriad producers in the agricultural 
sector were inevitably price-takers, not price- 
makers, and the prices they faced tended to be no- 
toriously unstable. Depression conditions lent 
some plausibility to the institutionalist position. 
(These conditions might also have been read as 
compatible with a Marxist claim that the Depres- 
sion foreshadowed the imminent collapse of the 
capitalist system. This interpretation was indeed ar- 
ticulated, but its impact was never more than mar- 
ginal in the United States.) 

Advocates of the institutionalist heterodoxy got 
a public hearing in the early 1930s, but they also got 
more. A number of their most prominent 
spokespersons were invited to walk in the corridors 
of power in the early days of the Roosevelt adminis- 
tration. Rexford Guy Tugwell, for example, was a 
member of Roosevelt's "Brains Trust" during the 
presidential campaign of 1932 and remained a key 
adviser in the shaping of policy in the First New 
Deal. Tugwell was amply on record in holding that 
laissez-faire amounted to "competition and con- 
flict" and that it should be displaced by a regime of 
"coordination and control" — that is, central plan- 
ning. This intellectual posture underpinned the 
supply-restriction programs administered by the 
newly formed Agricultural Adjustment Administra- 
tion as well as the "codes of fair competition" that 
industrial trade associations were expected to pre- 
pare (and to submit for governmental approval) in 
the National Recovery Administration. Tugwell's 
influence was also noteworthy in the recruitment of 
economists to staff these emergency agencies, 
which in turn gave economists a greater presence 



in the Washington bureaucracy than they had ever 
before enjoyed. 

While most American economists tended to 
view the world through familiar analytic lenses, 
there were some notable instances in which econo- 
mists fundamentally rethought their original posi- 
tions. Irving Fisher is a case in point. In the 1920s, 
he had pronounced that the United States was ap- 
proaching an era of permanent prosperity — a fore- 
cast that was to be disastrous, both professionally 
and personally. By 1932, he had produced an inno- 
vative reformulation to explain what had gone 
wrong. The root of the difficulties, as he then saw 
matters, could be traced to two diseases: the "debt 
disease" and the "dollar disease." The American 
economy of 1929 was fragile because of overindeb- 
tedness (a vulnerability that had gone largely unno- 
ticed at the time). But once the dimensions of this 
problem had been recognized, alarm spread among 
some creditors and debtors, sparking an initial 
round of liquidations. A chain reaction followed, in- 
volving distress selling, the contraction of bank de- 
posits as loans were paid off or called in, and a con- 
sequent collapse in the general price level. The 
"dollar disease" had exacerbated this situation: 
That is to say, as prices fell, the real burden of debts 
increased. Deflation thus became cumulative. Price 
reductions in response to shrinking demand should 
thus no longer be seen as part of a normal readjust- 
ment leading to recovery. Instead deflation simply 
generated more deflation, with no end in sight 
short of universal bankruptcy. The remedy was im- 
plicit in the diagnosis: reflating the price level back 
to its pre-Depression norm and then stabilizing it 
at that level. Debt burdens would thereby be re- 
lieved and liquidations halted. Debtors, with more 
discretionary income available for spending on 
goods and services, would spur resurgence in pur- 
chasing power that would reinvigorate production 
and employment. 

Economists in the Washington bureaucracy 
also displayed some analytic originality, particularly 
in evidence as they groped to understand a sharp 
downturn in economic activity in the late summer 
of 1937 which was, in fact, more precipitous than 
the drop in production in the months immediately 
following the crash of 1929. The recession of 1937 



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION