The Great Depression: Consequences and the 1932 Presidential Election

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Consequences of the Great Depression

  • Wealthy investors lost significant amounts of money due to their substantial investments.
  • Speculators defaulted on loans, leading to bank failures.
  • The economic downturn caused widespread depression, eroding public confidence and leading to a decline in bank deposits. This forced banks to demand repayment of loans from businesses, resulting in production cuts, wage reductions, and unemployment.
  • The decline in consumer spending led to a drop in food prices.
  • The United States faced reduced exports due to the impact of the Depression on other countries and the imposition of tariffs on imported goods.

The 1932 Presidential Election

President Hoover's Policies

  • Attempted to persuade businesses to maintain wages.
  • Reduced taxes to stimulate consumer spending.
  • Established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to prevent business failures.
  • Invested in public works projects.
  • Imposed tariffs to protect American industries, but this exacerbated the Depression.

Despite these measures, Hoover was criticized for his perceived inaction, earning him the nickname "the do-nothing president." Republicans attributed the Depression to European economic issues and opposed government intervention, believing it would foster dependency and undermine self-reliance.

In June 1932, World War I veterans marched on Washington, D.C., demanding early payment of their bonuses. Hoover refused to meet with them and ordered General Douglas MacArthur to disperse the protesters using tear gas and force. Hoover defended MacArthur's actions, claiming that the protesters were communist agitators.

Franklin D. Roosevelt's Platform

Roosevelt, a Democrat, advocated for an active government role in improving the lives of citizens when private efforts proved insufficient. He proposed using public funds to create jobs and sought advice from experts on critical issues.

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