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.
"'SOAK THE RICH!' has been a popular slogan for generations. President Roosevelt knows the people and he knows that this cry is even more popular now than it ever was before. Taxes which increase the cost of living and hang so heavily on the poor cannot be popular... But pick some taxes that bear down on the rich and - and then you have something which everyone will hurrah for. The number of rich are comparatively few, and hence their votes and influence can be disregarded entirely."
President Roosevelt's plan was to tax this minority for 75 percent of their income.
This is an interesting article that assesses the financial abilities of each of the 48 states in 1935 in an effort to illustrate that the ten "richest" states, as a result of their minority status on Capitol Hill, were in no position to cry out about majority tyranny when the insolvent 38 states rigged a deliberately unfair tax code that would see to it that they alone would pay the nation's bills.
"The 'rich' people may howl and growl and moan at having to foot the bills for everything, but there's no remedy for it... The reason is this: our parade of poor states totals 38, while the rich states number only ten. The figures show that these rich states, which have only one-third the population, have to pay two-thirds of the taxes. The 10 richest states have only 20 Senators in the Senate, while the 38 poor states have 76. The rich are decidedly in the minority and there is no way for them to change the set-up."
Eight months before the Congress passed the Glass–Steagall Act (aka the Banking Act of 1933) this unsigned editorial appeared in a Washington-based news magazine pointing out that the economic downturn in the country had created a need for such legislation.
Click here to read another 1932 article about the banks.
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.