MODERN AMERICA MID-TERM STUDY GUIDE

Study for our exam as if you were telling your best friend the story of the people and the key issues we have covered so far in our course.

Use the material from our reading guide below (which I have edited down to what I think are the essential parts of that story) to weave together your narrative.






CHAPTER 1: The American People on the Eve of the Great Depression, 10-42

A. Herbert Hoover

11 Herbert Hoover: Develop a clear picture of him from our text and from this article:

The Ordeal of Herbert Hoover (2 part series)
http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/summer/hoover-1.html
http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/summer/hoover-2.html

B. What was America like?

13 changes in America
14-16 immigration/Urban life
15 Nativism. Ku Klux Klan
16 Yet the country still very rural; plight of farmers
18 The South; Jim Crow
20 balance between rural/urban America is the central econ problem
21-23 Industrialization: mass production required mass consumption which necessitated either
better wages or consumer credit. Modern advertising methods. New products.
24 insecurity of employment
27 Women
30, 33-34 Role of federal govt
30-32 Democratic Party
32-33 Republican Party







CHAPTER 2: Panic, 43-69

44-47 Hoover sketch--add this to your sketch of him
Role of voluntarism in his economic thought

51-52 Orthodox economic theory/Hoover's understanding of it

56 The future: hard to predict
[58 statements not as outrageous as they appeared in retrospect]
59 Not yet losing. But tide began to ebb.

59-62 Congressional political party makeup. Add this to your sketch of the political scene.

65-69 Weakness of the banking system







CHAPTER 3: The Ordeal of Herbert Hoover, 70-103

72-73 What comparisons between debt forgiveness then and bailouts today?
Why such a hot potato?

73 sentiment: penny-pinching, isolationist, anti-European, anti-Wall Street, and hotly felt

85 "If Hoover could be made to support federal relief for the banks, why not federal relief for the
unemployed." What ideological comparisons today?

86-90 Impact of the Depression on people.
Passivity of the American people.

Great Depression: How Young Americans Survived the Hard Times
http://www.erroluys.com/HowAmericansHelpedEachOtherDuringtheGreatDepression.htm

Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move during the Great Depression (Overview)
http://www.erroluys.com/RidingtheRails.htm

92 Bonus Army

Bonus Expeditionary Force
"Cheered in 1917, Jeered in 1932"
World War I veterans (15,000) camped in Washington
Demanded payment immediately of promised (1945) cash bonuses
President Hoover ordered the army to evict the veterans

93-94 Influence of foreign issues
What is comparable today to "we don't give a hoot in a rain barrel who controls North
China." [Yemen, Libya, etc.]

95-101 FDR and Eleanor sketch: what do you draw from this material

97-98 Democratic Party sketch: add this to your sketch of the political scence

100 What do we need most from a President: first-class temperament or first-class intellect?
Does it matter one way or another?
103 Do leaders generally grow in office? Could this last paragraph describe Donald Trump?







CHAPTER 4: Interregnum, 104-130

111-115 FDR sketch
Was FDR a "peanut brain"? React to the statement about FDR's capacity for "almost impenetrable concealment of intention."

116 FDR barely missed being assassinated. What would our history have been like without him?

129 Are any members of Congress today comparable to "Depression babies"? How about Tea Partiers?







CHAPTER 5: The Hundred Days, 131-159

Congress was in session for one hundred days before it adjourned.

During this period, FDR went fifteen for fifteen in major legislation.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (Miller Center, University of Virginia)
Domestic Affairs (read down to "First New Deal: Saving Capitalism?")
http://millercenter.org/president/fdroosevelt/essays/biography/4

131-132 Washington in 1933. A city under siege. Bank failures.

134 FDR Inaugural Address.
Some specifics: priority of domestic over foreign, special session of Congress, power to wage war--on the economic situation.

136 Emergency Banking Act.
"Capitalism was saved in eight days."

Saving the Banks:

Context: prior bank failures
FDR issued a decree closing all banks in America.
This approach called a "banking holiday"

Provided for government supervision and assistance to banks
Strong ones would be reopened with federal support.
Weak ones would be closed
Glass-Steagall Act created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Deposit insurance ($5,000) would be available

136 FDR's Fireside Chats

137-138 How FDR handled press conferences? Compare the "press" then and now.

139 "Here at last was a leader who could lead." But to where was he leading?

139 Hundred Days
Is the Hundred Days a fair comparison for today's leaders?

144 Civilian Conservation Corps

Job corps for young men, aged 18–25.
Supervised by U.S. army.
Workers paid $30 per month, of which $25 had to be sent to family.
Pumped $2 billion into economy (equivalent to $200 billion today).
Work planned by National Park Service:
Tree planting (North Dakota to Texas), flood control, road construction.

Civilian Conservation Corps (National Archives, Prologue magazine)
http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2006/fall/ccc.html

145 Political value of enlarging the federal role in relief.
Tammany Hall (think, too, of Hezbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood)

145-146 Bio sketch of Harry Hopkins.

Hull House
https://www.nwhm.org/html/exhibits/progressiveera/hullhouse.html
https://www.nwhm.org/html/exhibits/progressiveera/settlementhouse.html

146 Social Gospel tradition.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Gospel

Rick Warren and the Social Gospel
http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/progressiverevival/2008/12/rick-warren-and-the-social-gos.html

153 Great summary of Hundred Days. Terrific concluding paragraph.

154 FDR didn't have a plan.







CHAPTER 6: The Ordeal of the American People, 160-189

160-162 Lorena Hickok and her task.

164-165 Out migration to Russia. Would you have gone there?

167 That Rose Bowl example is powerful and a great way to bring to life an otherwise sterile statistic.

167 Hopkins: can't keep stirred up over six million. Yes?

168 Human wreckage of …… What do you think? True?

171 FERA checks flowed to swing states. Are you shocked?

For swing states in 2012 election, see "Polls See Sharp Divide in 3 Swing States" (New York Times)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/us/politics/polls-see-sharp-divide-in-3-swing-states.html?pagewanted=all

172-173 Are the needy to blame for their plight? How would you handle being a welfare administrator?
175" Mortifying" means test? Niggardly, condescending administrators?

176 CWA projects: mounted swiftly. People today say "shovel-ready."

178 Major issue then as today: lavish or penny-pinching approach.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Works_Administration

"Four Million Jobs in two years. FDR did it in 2 months." (Slate)
Compares Obama's stimulus with FDR's CWA/PWA
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/chatterbox/2009/01/wrong_harry.html







CHAPTER 7: Chasing the Phantom of Recovery, 190-217

191 A New Deal or a stacked deck?
192 Any "desolate facts of American rural life" today?
194 Notice the theme of "the tense membrane of class and race" in South.

194-195 Dust Bowl

Dust Bowl (Finding Dulcinea, On This Day)
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/on-this-day/May/Great-Plains-Hit-With-Devastating-Dust-Storm.html

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s (Living History)
http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/water_02.html

202 Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) 1938. System of farm subsidies.

205 "The drama of their destruction fixed the AAA in the minds of many Americans."

Agricultural Adjustment Act was designed to help farm problems:

Overproduction
Low prices paid for crops
Low income of farmers
Difficulty of paying mortgages
Rise in farm foreclosures

Three million people left farms in the 1930s.

The act provided for the following:

Government paid subsidies to farmers who
a) Restricted crop acreage: wheat, cotton, corn, rice, or tobacco
b) Reduced number of livestock, particularly pigs.