Just as the 1830's have been called the age of Jackson, it is probably fair to refer to the 1930's, politically at least, as the age of FDR. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the dominant political presence of the age, serving to reinspire faith in the presidency after Herbert Hoover who was blamed by many for causing the stock market crash and subsequent depression. Roosevelt almost singlehandly forged a new political alliance between the working classes of the Northern cities, the farmers of the West and South (both black and white), and generally every group hurt by the Depression. Roosevelt's policies for recovery, his use of the radio in order to talk directly to the nation in his "fireside chats," and his appeals for the government to remember the "forgotten man" all won him massive support among the people.
This support resulted in his winning re-election in 1936 with all but eight electoral votes cast in his favor. Moreover despite the fact that no president had ever run for a third term, Roosevelt's popularity gained him victory in 1940 (and 1944 for that matter). This cover, published in the midst of the 1940 campaign season, show Roosevelt wearing many hats (quite literally) as he attempts to portray himself as a man of the people and as a representative of a number of segments of the population that he hoped would again vote for him in November of that year Despite the massive margins of victory which Roosevelt garnered and the general public support he received throughout his presidency, he was far from universally loved.
Especially during his second term, many conservatives (including many Southern Democrats who disagreed with his leanings on race) came to view his New Deal policies as unjustified and unconstitutional extensions of the power of the federal government. This growing conservative opposition resulted in Roosevelt being forced to step back with some of his initiatives lest they be defeated. In addition to the political opposition he suffered, Roosevelt came to be passionately hated by upper class Northerners who viewed him as a "traitor to his class" because of his policies and rhetoric. Many went so far as to even refuse to mention Roosevelt's name referring to him only as "that man." Given the target audience of the New Yorker, one suspects that this cover may actually be more a subtle form of mockery then a celebration of FDR's populism
In January, the number of unemployed in America reaches four million.
On February 10, in Chicago more than one hundred people are arrested for distributing whiskey. Bootlegging has increased as opposition grows to Prohibition, instituted in 1919 by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
On June 17, President Herbert Hoover signs into law the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, setting tariffs on imported goods at the highest rates in American history.
On July 3, President Hoover signs into law an act establishing the Veterans Administration.
On July 21, the Senate confirms the London Naval Treaty, in which the United States, Great Britain, and Japan agree to limitations on the size of their navies. The treaty supplements the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, which also includes limitation agreements.
On August 8, President Hoover makes public a federal report stating that one...
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The stock-market crash of October 1929 set the tone for the congressional elections of 1930. With more than five million people unemployed, fear and uncertainty gripped large portions of the electorate. Democrats campaigned primarily on the issue of the economy, accusing the Republican president and the Republican-controlled Congress of failing to deal with the yearlong economic downturn. Prohibition was a secondary, but important, issue in the states. Alignment for or against Prohibition was nonpartisan, some Democrats and some Republicans falling on either side of the issue, The New York Times estimated that prior to the 1930 elections 344 members of the House of Representatives supported Prohibition, but after the elections only 298 congressmen-elect supported it.
In the United States the greatest legacy of the years 1930-1939 was the creation of the modern bureaucratic welfare state, which arose in response to the worst economic collapse in national history. Unlike other economic crises, the Great Depression was not short-lived. It persisted throughout the 1930s, affecting all aspects of society. The critical political controversy of the decade focused on how government ought to be used to bring the Depression to an end. Every political quarter proposed solutions. In the desperate times of severe economic crisis patience often grew thin, and debates became strident. The major political contest took place between Republicans and Democrats. Together these parties consistently drew about 97 percent of ballots cast, and the debate over how to end the Depression was generally carried out on ideological terrain defined.....
Republican Herbert Hoover was president when the stock market crashed on 29 October 1929. This crash on Wall Street in New York was part of a series of events — a sort of chain reaction — in which unemployment, credit contraction, deflation, depressed agricultural prices, and international problems all played parts. With the economy spiraling downward, the pressing question became what, if anything, government should do. President Hoover's first response to the onset of the Depression was to allow traditional market forces to make correctives with a minimum of government intervention.
In this view the overheated economy would self-adjust if given time. As Andrew Mellon, Hoover's secretary of the treasury, declared, it was necessary to "purge the rottenness out of the system" by allowing the downturn to run its expected course. Hoover himself asserted that "Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncements. Economic wounds must be healed.Using the democratic measuring stick of popular votes, there can be no doubt that Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democrats, and the New Deal dominated the 1930s. Roosevelt's take-charge, action-oriented, pragmatic brand of politics was welcomed by most Americans who had watched as the number of shanty towns — called "Hoovervilles" by many — grew larger. Alongside poverty, strikes by industrial workers increased and were sometimes violent and bloody. Voices from the political Left and Right captured people's attention in ways that they had not done in pre-Depression years.
In response Roosevelt's political program promised a reshuffling of the cards of American government, economy, and society in a "New Deal" for the American.When Franklin D. Roosevelt took office on 4 March 1933, unemployment was at 25 percent nationwide. In Toledo, Ohio, three-quarters of those looking for work could find none. There was no federal welfare system, no federal unemployment insurance, no public housing. When people did not find work, they turned of necessity to charitable organizations that were usually run by churches and synagogues. The enormity of the Depression overwhelmed these traditional means of aid to the needy, and it became clear to the president that government-run relief efforts were required. Within exactly one hundred days of taking office, Roosevelt introduced fifteen major legislative bills to Congress.