US History Chapters 12 & 13

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United States History
Chapters 12, 13
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Conditions for Farmers in the 1920s

To meet crop demands created by WWI, they had to increase harvest yields and buy more land to put under the plow; bought costly tractors which placed them in debt; the demand for Americans fell after the war; farmers were unable to sell their crop surpluses; didn't have cash to buy the new consumer good produced by American industries


Factors that hid the economic problems of the 1920s

The increase in consumption, gross national product, the stock market, and the use of credit


Reaction to the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Raised prices on foreign imports to such a level that they could not compete in the American market; caused European countries to retaliate and enact protective tariffs; these tariffs closed markets and helped destroy international trade


Reasons for Bank Failures after the stock market crash

Depositors feared for their money and attempted to withdraw it from their banks; the Federal Reserve, which regulates the amount of money within the banks, cut interest rates to stimulate economic growth, but worried about investor speculation so they limited the money supply to discourage lending


Uneven distribution of wealth

Industrial workers saw a rise in their wages; the rich became richer while industrial workers became less poor; caused an underconsumption of the lower-income industrial workers; Americans didn't have enough money to buy what they needed or wanted


Cause of the Black Tuesday crash

A loss of confidence in the stock market cause nervous investors to start to sell; investors began to pull their money out of the stock market, causing it to crash; billions of dollars were lost, many people lost everything, and fortunes were wiped out


Excessive stock speculation

Practice of making high-risk investments in hopes of obtaining large profits; too many investors were gambling with money they didn't have on stock increases to make quick profits; if the market were to decrease, many investors would face economic devastation


Unemployment rate for African Americans during the Depression

Rose to 50% in 1932


Reasons for African American and Mexican American struggles during the Depression

African Americans were taken from their plots they had been farming; Mexican Americans faced discrimination when competing with white farmhands for jobs; American clamored for repatriation, in which local, state, and federal governments would encourage Mexican immigrants to return to Mexico


Farmers contributions to creating the Dust Bowl

New farming methods made drought conditions worse; the moved onto the plains and plowed under the natural grasses which had once prevented the topsoil from blowing away during droughts


Reasons for Hoover's Initial response

Wanted to address current crisis by calling for the government to reduce taxes, lower interest rates, and create public-works programs


Purpose of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation

Gave more than a billion dollars of government loans to railroads and large businesses; lent money to banks so they could extend more loans to struggling businesses


Bonus Army

Group of WWI veterans who marched on Washington D.C. in 1932 to demand early payment of a bonus promised them by congress


Goals of the New Deal

Promote economic recovery and social reform


Reasons for and people who opposed the New Deal

Made the government too powerful; critics claimed the government was telling business how to operate, spending large sums of money, and piling up a huge national debt; claimed it was destroying free enterprise and undermining individualism; threatened individual freedom; Norman Thomas claimed FDR's only concern was saving the banking system


Ways that the Agricultural Adjustment Act aided farmers

Sought to end overproduction and raise crop prices; provided financial aid, paying farmers subsidies not to plant part of their land and to kill off excess livestock; many Americans believed it was immoral to kill livestock while people went hungry


Fireside chats

Informal radio broadcasts in which FDR explained issues and New Deal programs to average Americans


Purpose of the bank holidays in 1933

Allowed banks to close for four days, due to the Emergency Banking Bill, to give them time to get their accounts in order before they reopened for business


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

Insured bank deposits up to $15,000


Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Built a series of dams in the Tennessee River Valley to control floods to generate electric power; replanted forests, built fertilizer plants, created jobs, and attracted industry with the promise of cheap power; some attacked the TVA because it gave government direct control of a business


Security Exchange Commission (SEC)

Created to regulate the stock market and make it a safer place for investments


Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

Provided jobs for more than 2 million men; replanted forests, built trails, dug irrigation ditches, and fought fires; extended work to Mexican Americans and other minorities


FDR's First 100 Days

Roosevelt proposed and Congress passed 15 bills, known as the First New Deal, which had three main goals: relief, recovery, reform


Huey Long

Senator of Louisiana who's solution to the Depression was his "Share Our Wealth" program which proposed high taxes on the wealthy and large corporations and the redistribution of their income to poor Americans


Rural Electrification Act (REA)

Loaned money to electric utilities to build power lines, bringing electricity to isolated rural areas


Collective Bargaining

Process in which employers negotiate with labor unions about hours, wages, and other working conditions


United Auto Workers (UAW)

Staged a sit-down strike, occupying one of general motors' most important plants; when threatened to be removed by force, they told the governor they would not leave; lasted 44 days until GM agreed to recognize the UAW


Importance of the Social Security Act in 1935

Established unemployment insurance for workers who lost their jobs; created insurance for victims of work-related accidents, provided aid for poverty-stricken mothers and children, the blind, and the disabled


Impacts of the New Deal on Labor Unions

Gave new opportunities to workers, provided protection, and provided additional rights


Court Packing

FDR's plan to add up to six new justices to the nine-member Supreme Court after the Court had ruled that some New Deal legislation was unconstitutional


Sit-down strikes

Labor protest in which workers stop working and occupy the workplace until the demands are met


Pump priming

Economic theory that favored public works projects because they put money into the hands of consumers who would buy more goods, stimulating the economy


Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Built or improved the nation's highways; dredged rivers and harbors, and promoted soil and water conservation; provided programs in the arts for displaced artists


New Deal Coalition

Political force formed by diverse groups who united to support FDR and his New Deal


Overall Impact of the New Deal

Didn't end the depression but provided desperately needed relief from the depression and enacted reforms that guarded against economic tragedy; increased the size scope of the federal government


Effects of the New Deal on business leaders

Big businesses didn't like the new deal because it wasn't in their favor; larger tax amounts needed to be paid by businesses; preferred a laissez-faire approach that was present in most of American history


Effects of the New Deal on the national debt

Increased dramatically due to government funded agencies and projects; many unemployed men were given jobs in order to consume and put money earned back into the economy


Effects of the New Deal on national income

Incomes increased as jobs were given to those who were unemployed


Mary McLeod Bethune

A member of the Black Cabinet; powerful champion of racial equality; noted that African Americans gained unprecedented access to the White House and positions within the government during Roosevelt's presidency


Welfare State

Government that assumes responsibility for providing for the welfare of the poor, elderly, sick, and unemployed



Finding relief from one's concerns through movies, music, and radio


The Grapes of Wrath

Written by John Steinbeck which described an Okie family from Oklahoma to California which was the promise land


Federal Art Project

Division of the Works Progress Administration that hired unemployed artists to create artworks for public buildings and sponsored art-education programs and exhibitions