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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.

 

Farmers in Flight (Pathfinder Magazine, 1937)

A report from the regional directors of the Resettlement Administration (an arm of the FDR's Department of Agriculture) stated that:

"15,000 farmers have moved out of the Dakotas, Western Kansas and Eastern Montana, leaving soil which because a aridity or exhaustion could not yield any crop... [Having moved to the states of the Pacific Northwestern] Some of them are squatting in shacks and makeshift dwellings made of tree branches, stray boards [and] strips of tin."

 

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

 

Incompetence at the Helm (New Outlook Magazine, 1934)

A columnist writing for the business magazine New Outlook following the first nine months of the New Deal, weighed carefully all the assorted alphabet agencies and edicts that President Roosevelt created in hopes that the U.S. economy would once more spring to life. He concluded that there was nothing to look forward to and compared FDR to the con-men on the street corners who scam the passersby into playing their shell games; difference being that FDR's shells were both empty.

Click here to read about the first 100 days of the Roosevelt administration.

 

Distributing the Nation's Wealth... (Pathfinder Magazine, 1935)

An article about FDR's scheme to create an American Utopia purchased with high taxation...

 

The Blue Eagle (Pathfinder Magazine, 1934)

"Blue Eagle, symbol of the National [Industrial] Recovery Act, is probably one of the best known figures in the country today. Gripping bolts of lightening and a cog wheel in its claws it now hovers over 95 percent of industrial America advertising the success of the first major move of the New Deal... With only one year behind it, it has brought about the cooperation of 2,300,000 employers and 60,000,000 consumers."

- so runs the introductory paragraph for this 1934 article that marked the first anniversary of the National Recovery Administration. This short-lived agency was the brainchild of FDR's administration that was shot down by the Supreme Court in 1935. Although this article is filled with praise for the NRA, it would not be very long before the editors of PATHFINDER MAGAZINE assumed a more suspicious approach when reporting on this president's efforts to repair the damaged economy.

 


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