Pride, Prejudice, and Politics: Roosevelt Versus Recovery, 1933-1938

By Gary Dean Best | Go to book overview

Introduction

Statistics are useful in understanding the history of any period, but particularly periods of economic growth or depression. Statistics for the Roosevelt years may easily be found in Historical Statistics of the United States published by the Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce ( 1975). Some of the trauma of the depression years may be inferred from the fact that the population of the United States grew by over 17 million between 1920 and 1930, but by only about half of that (8.9 million) between 1930 and 1940.

Historical Statistics gives the figures shown in Table I for unemployment, 1929-1940. These figures are, however, only estimates. The federal government did not monitor the number of unemployed during those years. Even so, these figures are shocking, indicating as they do that even after the war had begun in Europe, with the increased orders that it provided for U.S. mines, factories, and farms, unemployment remained at 14.6 percent.

One characteristic of the depression, to which attention was frequently called during the Roosevelt years, was the contrast between its effects on the durable goods and consumer goods industries. Between 1929 and 1933, expenditures on personal durable goods dropped by nearly 50 percent, and in 1938 they were still nearly 25 percent below the 1929 figures. Producers' durable goods suffered even more, falling by nearly two-thirds between 1929 and 1933, and remaining more than 50 percent below the 1929 figure in 1938. At the same time, expenditures on nondurable, or consumer, goods showed much less effect. Between 1929 and 1933 they fell only about 14.5 percent, and by 1938 they exceeded the 1929 level. These figures indicate that the worst effects of the depression,

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Pride, Prejudice, and Politics: Roosevelt Versus Recovery, 1933-1938
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chapter 1 Dramatis Personae 1
  • Chapter 2 New Faces and New Fears 19
  • Chapter 3 Rising Criticism 37
  • Chapter 4 Delaying Recovery 55
  • Chapter 5 The First Roosevelt Depression, 1934 69
  • Chapter 6 The Supreme Court Rules 85
  • Chapter 7 An Air of Unreality 101
  • Chapter 8 Fueling a Boom 117
  • Chapter 9 The Election and Boom of 1936 131
  • Chapter 10 Megalomania and Mindlessness 143
  • Chapter 11 The Road to the Crash 157
  • Chapter 12 The Second Roosevelt Depression, I, 1937 175
  • Chapter 13 The Second Roosevelt Depression, II, 1938 189
  • Chapter 14 The Second Roosevelt Depression, III, 1939 203
  • Conclusion 217
  • Notes 225
  • Bibliography 255
  • Index 261
  • About the Author 269
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