Chapter IX
Frustration: The Great Depression (1930-1933)

American conservatism's attempt to find cohesion and strength through the attack on prohibition, as it once had done through the issue of preparedness, failed in part because of the overwhelming nature of the problems posed by the oncoming of hard times. Although the Great Depression emulated the Great War in its impact upon the American people, James M. Beck and his group were in no position to benefit politically from the new situation.

When repeal eliminated the prohibition issue and the onset of the New Deal forced conservatives to a direct, open confrontation of the major problem of the time, they were in the far from enviable position of having done their best to deny the very existence of that problem. Beck came to a consideration of the economic crisis by gradual and circuitous means. When he did respond, it was in static, dated terms which bespoke a species of political thought unable to cope with the dismaying fact of large-scale poverty and frustration in the land of plenty and opportunity.


I

THE Great Depression quickly became a personal matter even for one as prosperous as James M. Beck. During the early 1930's his incoming correspondence showed a melancholy

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