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The Great Depression

Labor Abuses in the South (Focus Magazine, 1938)

Many of the back-handed dealings that would be addressed in John Steinbeck's 1939 novel, "The Grapes of Wrath" are illustrated in the attached photo-essay titled, "Slavery in America". This article is about the cruel world of the Deep South that existed in the Twenties and Thirties. It was an agrarian fiefdom where generations of White planters and factory owners practiced the most un-American system of exploitation and feudalism that developed and was perpetuated from the chaos wrought by the Civil War and Reconstruction. It was a nasty place where the working people of both races labored under conditions of peonage and bone-crushing poverty with no hope in sight.

Click here to read more about the American South during the Great Depression.

 

The Era of Bartering (Pathfinder Magazine, 1934)

"Scrip (sometimes called chit) is a term for any substitute for legal tender and is often a form of credit" - so reads the Wikipedia definition for those items that served as currency in those portions of the U.S. where the bucks were most scarce. If you've been looking for an article that showed that not every American had faith and hope in the "economic genius" of FDR and his "Brain Trust" - you found it.

The attached news column tells a scrip story from the early Thirties - the type of tale that was most common on the frontier in days of old.

 

The Great Depression and the Failings of FDR (New Outlook Magazine, 1934)

The columnist whose opinions are attached angrily pointed out that the first year of FDR's administration had marginalized the Congress - and further opined that Roosevelt's rhetoric clearly implied his arrogant conviction that his administration alone was the only alternative to out right revolution, and should therefore to be seen as a mandate of the people. The article lists the numerous failings of FDR's "New Deal".

CLICK HERE to read more criticism from FDR's loyal opposition...

 

Public Relief for Young [white] Men (Literary Digest, 1933)

During the Spring of 1933 articles like this one began to appear in the magazines and newspapers across the country serving to inform their readers about the creation of an additional Federal agency that was designed to help take some of the sting out of the Great Depression. Roosevelt's New Deal intended to take a hefty percentage of unmarried young men off the streets of 16 American cities, feed them, clothe them and line their pockets with $30.00 a month for their labor.

Alas, due to FDR's deal with the Southern Democrats, whatever benefits were to be gleaned from the CCC, they were only intended for White men. In order to maintain the favor of these representatives from the Southern states, Roosevelt had agreed to exclude African-Americans from his relief efforts and to veto all anti-lynching bills passed by Congress. All of this came to light in Ira Katznelons book, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (2009).

W.W. II created a host of other demands requiring Federal funding, and so Congress voted to dissolve the C.C.C. in 1942.

 

Establishing A Misery Index (New Outlook Magazine, 1933)

A great observer of the Washington merry-go-round, columnist Jay Franklin (1897 1967) pointed out in this article that there are Federal agencies entrusted with the sorts of information that, when analyzed properly, will serve both as an indicator of prosperity and of misery as they spread or recede across the land. "...if one wished to know whether the people were desperate and suffering there were certain matters which would demonstrate it:"

"the number of evictions, the number of illegitimate births, the number of articles pawned or redeemed, the growth or decline of unnatural vice, the number of suicides. Information on these points, if currently accessible, in compact statistical form, would show whether the people were socially happy or economically satisfied."

 

The Wages and Hours Bill (Pathfinder Magazine, 1937)

This article recorded portions of the battle on Capitol Hill that were waged between the Spring and Winter of 1937 when Congress was crafting legislation that would establish a minimum wage law for the nation's employees as well as a maximum amount of working hours they would be expected to toil before additional payments would be required. This legislation would also see to it that children were removed from the American labor force. The subject at hand is the Black-Connery Bill and it passed into law as the Fair Labor Standards Act.

 


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