By: Herbert Hoover
Date: February 3, 1931
Source: Hoover, Herbert. "The Importance of the Preservation of Self-help and of the Responsibility of Individual Generosity as Opposed to Deteriorating Effects of Governmental Appropriations." Press statement. February 3, 1931. Reprinted in Myers, William Starr. The State Papers and Other Public Writings of Herbert Hoover, Volume 2. New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1970, 496–99. Originally published by Doubleday, Doran & Company, New York and Garden City, 1934.
About the Author: Herbert Hoover (1874–1964) was president of the United States from 1929-1933. A civil engineer by training, his international reputation as a humanitarian and administrator resulted in his appointment in 1914 as chief Allied relief administrator during World War I. He became Secretary of Commerce in 1921 and the Republican presidential candidate in 1928. A man of great integrity, intelligence, and compassion, Hoover was, in many ways, paralyzed by the depth of the Depression. He profoundly believed in the traditional American values of individualism, free enterprise and decentralized government. His primary objective was to sustain those values during the Depression, confident that the economy would recover quickest without tampering by the Federal...
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The Proceedings and Transactions of a Conference of the Mayors of the State of Michigan
By: Mayors and Other Municipal Executives of the Cities of the State of Michigan
Date: May 18, 1932
Source: The Proceedings and Transactions of a Conference of the Mayors and Other Municipal Executives of the State of Michigan, Held at the Invitation and in the Office of Honorable Frank Murphy, Mayor of the City of Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday, May 18, 1932. Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Mich., 4, 5, 11–13, 15, 16, 38, 39, 40.
About the Author: Frank Murphy (1890–1949) was a compassionate and activist mayor of Detroit from 1930 to 1933. Taking office at the outset of the Depression he led the city through the most desperate years of the economic crisis. His courageous battle against the entrenched conservative approaches to dealing with the Depression won the attention of the nation and grudging respect from his political enemies. It also attracted the attention of then New York governor and future U.S. president, Franklin D. Roosevelt (served 1933–1945). A bright young star in the Democratic Party, Murphy was appointed by Roosevelt to one of the most prestigious and challenging positions in the U.S. foreign service: governor general of the Philippines. After several successful years in the Philippines, Murphy was elected governor of...
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Press statement, Correspondence
By: Herbert Hoover; Luther H. Reichelderfer
Date: July 1932
Source: Hoover, Herbert, and Luther H. Reichelderfer. Press statements and related correspondence on the use of troops to control the so-called Bonus Marchers. July 28–29, 1932. In Myers, William Starr, ed. The State Papers and Other Public Writings of Herbert Hoover. Vol. 2. Doubleday, Doran & Company, New York and Garden City, 1934; New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1970, 242–45.
About the Author: Herbert Hoover (1874–1964) was president of the United States from 1929 to 1933. A civil engineer by training, his international reputation as a humanitarian and administrator resulted in his appointment in 1914 as chief Allied relief administrator during World War I (1914–1918). He became secretary of commerce in 1921 and the Republican presidential candidate in 1928. His administration and subsequent reputation were dominated by the Depression, which began in late 1929 and lasted until the early 1940s. While Hoover bears no responsibility for the Depression, his conservative political philosophy made him ill-suited to address the unprecedented economic collapse. His relatively hands-off approach to the crisis brought the scorn of millions of American citizens and he was soundly defeated in...
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Campaign Speech at Madison Square Garden, New York City
By: Herbert Hoover
Date: October 31, 1932
Source: Hoover, Herbert. Campaign Speech at Madison Square Garden, New York City, October 31, 1932. Reprinted in Myers, William Starr. The State Papers and Other Public Writings of Herbert Hoover, Volume 2. Doubleday, Doran & Company, New York and Garden City, 1934; New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1970, 408, 410, 412–423, 428.
About the Author: Herbert Hoover (1874–1964) was president of the United States from 1929–1933. A civil engineer by training, his international reputation as a humanitarian and administrator resulted in his appointment in 1914 as chief Allied relief administrator during World War I (1914–1918). He became Secretary of Commerce in 1921 and the Republican presidential candidate in 1928. A man of great integrity, intelligence and compassion, Hoover was, in many ways, paralyzed by the depth of the Great Depression, which began during his presidency. He profoundly believed in the traditional American values of individualism, free enterprise, and decentralized government. He viewed his primary objective as sustaining those values during the Depression, confident that the economy would recover quickest without tampering.
As the 1932 presidential...
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"On the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program"
By: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Date: July 24, 1933
Source: Roosevelt, Franklin D. "On the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program." Radio Address of the President, July 24, 1933. Fireside Chats of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Available online at ; website home-page: http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/ (accessed March 20, 2003).
About the Author: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945) was the thirty-second president of the United States. He was elected to the presidency in 1932, during the worst year of the Great Depression. Only Lincoln assumed the presidency in a more desperate situation. In many ways, Roosevelt was the perfect president for the times. His unbounded optimism and energy gave the American people a sense of hope that they needed. His willingness to try a variety of programs to deal with the causes and consequences of the Depression demonstrated that their faith in him was well placed. Elected president four times, he led the nation through two of the defining events of American history—the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II (1939–1945). He died shortly before the German surrender in April 1945.
The First Hundred Days of Roosevelt's...
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Letter to Major General Stuart Heintzelman
By: George C. Marshall
Date: December 4, 1933
Source: Marshall, George C. Letter to Major General Stuart Heintzelman, December 4, 1933. In Bland, Larry I., ed. The Papers of George Catlett Marshall; The Soldierly Spirit, December 1880–June 1939. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981, 409–13.
About the Author: General George C. Marshall (1880–1959) was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. A descendant of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, he graduated from Virginia Military Institute and entered the United States Army in 1902. Over the course of his long and distinguished career Marshall served with distinction in World War I (1914–1918).
Until the beginning of the Cold War in the mid-1940s the United States had no tradition of a standing army. The United States did not have any credible security threats in its own hemisphere, was protected by two broad oceans, and had had a substantial navy since the 1890s, so that the expense of a continually maintained army seemed unnecessary and contrary to democratic principles.
World War I (1914–18), however, demonstrated the risks associated with being ill-prepared in an age of mass armies and modern weapons. In 1916 the...
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"American Fascism in Embryo"
By: Harold Loeb and Selden Rodman
Date: December 27, 1933
Source: Loeb, Harold, and Selden Rodman. "American Fascism in Embryo." The New Republic 77, no. 995, December 27, 1933, 185–87.
About the Authors: Harold Loeb (1891–1974) graduated from Princeton University and had a brief and unrewarding experience in business before beginning a literary career. He wrote several novels and published a literary magazine. After a 1929 trip to Palestine raised his interest in Zionism, he published several articles on the subject. In the early 1930s, Loeb began working as an economist for the federal government. He went on to write four books on economics. Loeb became acquainted with author Ernest Hemingway and other American expatriates while living in Paris. Hemingway used Loeb as the model for the unflattering character of Robert Cohn in The Sun Also Rises.
Selden Rodman (1909–2002) was born in New York City. A graduate of Yale University, he edited two magazines during the 1930s and worked as a freelance writer. Following service in the Army during World War II (1939–1945), Rodman became increasingly interested in and wrote widely about Caribbean culture, particularly Haitian art.
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"Carry Out the Command of the Lord"
By: Huey Long
Date: February 5, 1934
Source: Long, Huey. "Carry Out the Command of the Lord." February 5, 1934. Huey Long's Senate Speeches. Social Security On Line. Social Security Administration. Available online at website home page: http://www.ssa.gov (accessed August 29, 2002).
About the Author: Huey Long (1893–1935) became governor of Louisiana in 1928 and exercised nearly dictatorial control over the state even after he was elected to the United States Senate in 1932. Long gained support from the rural whites of Louisiana, the poor, hardscrabble stock from which he came, through his dynamic and flamboyant style, in part by taking on the wealthy elite, and in part by delivering the basic services to a population that had been ignored by politicians for generations. Initially a supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Long played a pivotal role in Roosevelt's 1932 presidential nomination. After turning against the president, he was regarded by many as a threat to Roosevelt's reelection in 1936. Long was assassinated in September 1935.
The disastrous economic conditions of the 1930s forced Americans to reexamine their fundamental political, social, and economic systems. Some,...
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Harry Hopkins Press Conference, February 16, 1934
By: Harry Hopkins
Date: February 16, 1934
Source: "Harry Hopkins Press Conference, February 16, 1934." Civil Works Administration: Record Group 69, Series 737, Box 4. Available online at http://newdeal.feri.org/texts/787.htm (accessed August 29, 2002).
About the Author: Harry L. Hopkins (1890–1946) was born in Sioux City, Iowa. He worked as a social worker in New York City until 1931 when Franklin D. Roosevelt, then governor of New York, selected him to lead the New York State Temporary Emergency Relief Administration. In 1933 President Roosevelt (served 1933–1945) brought Hopkins to Washington to run the recently created Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA). Compassionate, confident, and a superb administrator, Hopkins became one of Roosevelt's most important advisors.
When Franklin Roosevelt took office in March 1933, millions of Americans were on the verge of starvation. Local resources and charities were out of money. Determined to address this problem, Roosevelt pushed for a substantial federal relief package. In response, Congress passed the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA). Congress initially allotted FERA $500 million, half to be...
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"Federal Emergency Relief"
By: Harry Hopkins
Source: Hopkins, Harry. Speech before the National Democratic Club in New York. Printed in "Federal Emergency Relief." Vital Speeches of the Day 1, no. 7, December 31, 1934.
About the Author: Harry L. Hopkins (1890–1946) was a top advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt (served 1933–1945). He joined the Roosevelt administration in 1933 to lead the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. In 1935 he was put in charge of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and from 1938 to 1940 served as secretary of commerce. During World War II (1939–1945) Hopkins was a special advisor on foreign affairs to the president and developed important relationships with leaders of the Allied powers.
The relief programs of the New Deal were unprecedented in the history of the United States. As much as anyone, Harry Hopkins represented the goals and objectives of those programs. The first major hurdle to overcome in the relief program was the philosophical issue. Americans had to adjust to the idea of the federal government providing economic assistance, a function that had previously been performed by local governments and private charities. By the time Roosevelt came to office the country was in...
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Old Age Revolving Pensions
By: Francis E. Townsend
Date: c. 1934
Source: Old Age Revolving Pensions: A Proposed National Plan. Pamphlet. c. 1934. Available online at http://www.ssa.gov/history/towns5.html; website home page: http://www.ssa.gov (accessed August 29, 2002).
About the Author: Dr. Francis E. Townsend (1867–1960) was an elderly, country doctor who had relocated to California from South Dakota in 1919 for health reasons. He worked for the Long Beach Health Office until he lost his job in 1933. Sixty-seven years old and with barely enough money to get by, he developed an idea for a pension program to aid America's elderly which brought him to national attention. Townsend's plan attracted the attention of millions and was an important catalyst in the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935. Townsend, however, was not satisfied and continued his agitation for a more comprehensive old-age program until his death in 1960.
In 1933 the United States was the only major industrialized nation in the world without a social security program for the aged. In the rural small-town America of the imagination, children cared for their elderly...
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By: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Date: January 17, 1935
Source: Roosevelt, Franklin D. "On Social Security." Message to Congress, January 17, 1935. Printed in Vital Speeches of the Day 1, no. 9, January 28, 1935, 258–259.
About the Author: Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945) was elected president in 1932, the worst year of the Great Depression. While Roosevelt did not have a consistent strategy for dealing with the Depression, he was willing to experiment with various programs. This willingness to "try something" combined with his infectious enthusiasm and optimism, performed wonders in restoring the faith of the American people in themselves and their government. Roosevelt died while still in office.
The first modern social security legislation was passed in Germany in 1883. Over the next several years the German government created a social security system that included health coverage, workers injury compensation, and an old age pension. Within twenty years these types of programs were implemented and expanded across Europe and in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. In the 1920s various forms of social security began to appear in South America and Africa.
Restricted in part by constitutional...
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"What's the Matter with Congress?"
By: Lester J. Dickinson
Date: February 1936
Source: Dickinson, Lester J. "What's the Matter with Congress?" The American Mercury 37, no. 146, February 1936, 129–36.
About the Author: Lester J. Dickinson (1873–1968) was born and raised in Iowa. He served six terms in the House of Representatives (1919–1931) and one term in the Senate (1931–1937). A Republican and strong critic of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (served 1933–1945), Dickinson lost his bid for reelection to the Senate in 1936.
IntroductionRoosevelt entered the White House in a position to appeal to all gradations of the political spectrum. Sensing victory very early in the 1932 campaign, he had kept his program very vague. While he was known to be an active and liberal governor of New York, his aristocratic background and fairly conservative economic views led many Republicans and conservative Democrats to believe he was an essentially "safe" presidential nominee. During the campaign Roosevelt emphasized his vigor, confidence,
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"I Have Seen War.…I Hate War"
By: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Date: August 14, 1936
Source: Roosevelt, Franklin D. "I Have Seen War.… I Hate War." Address at Chautauqua, N.Y., August 14, 1936. Printed in The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Vol. 5, The People Approve, 1936. New York: Macmillan, 1938; Random House, 1950, 285–292.
About the Author: Franklin D. Roosevelt (1888–1945) was appointed assistant secretary of the Navy by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. He stayed in this position throughout World War I (1914–1918) and obtained valuable experience in the operation of the federal government, the conduct of a major war, military affairs, and international relations. In 1920, Roosevelt was the Democratic vice presidential candidate. His promising career seemed to end abruptly in 1921 when he was stricken by polio and left unable to walk. With the support of his wife, Eleanor, and advisor, Louis Howe, Roosevelt remained politically active and was elected governor of New York in 1928. As governor of the nation's largest state during the early years of the Great Depression, Roosevelt understood the depth of the problem and the need for federal intervention in providing relief and restarting the economy. The 1932 Democratic Convention nominated him as its presidential...
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"Hemingway Reports Spain"
By: Ernest Hemingway
Date: April 27, 1938
Source: Hemingway, Ernest. "Hemingway Reports Spain." The New Republic, April 27, 1938, 350–51. American Decades Primary Sources, 1930–1939
About the Author: Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) was one of the United States' best known authors of the twentieth-century. He began his career as a reporter, but soon found his way to writing novels and short stories. Following World War I (1914–1918) he moved to Paris and became part of a literary American expatriate group. Hemingway's best known novels include The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and A Farewell to Arms. He received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954.
In the years following World War I, Spain was in a nearly continual state of turmoil. Although technically a constitutional monarchy the country was ruled by a relatively benign dictator, General Primo de Rivera, between 1923 and 1930. When he resigned the monarchy collapsed and Spain sank into chaos. An ongoing struggle between leftist sympathizers and conservative elements resulted in a steady stream of labor unrest, violence, and regional insurrections.
After several years of conservative control, the...
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The Debate over Isolation
"Concerted Action against the Fascist States"
Speech [excerpted from a debate]
By: Frederick J. Libby
Date: May 24, 1938
Source: Libby, Frederick J. "Concerted Action against the Fascist States." In Johnson, Julia E., ed. The Reference Shelf. Vol. 12, no. 6, United States Foreign Policy: Isolation or Alliance. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1938, 69–73.
About the Author: Frederick J. Libby was a leading American pacifist and executive secretary of the National Council for the Prevention of War. His experience with the American Friends Service Committee during and immediately after World War I (1914–1918) convinced him to spend the rest of his life working to promote peace.
Address Before the Bar Association of Tennesee on the Spirit of International Law, June 3, 1938
By: Cordell Hull
Date: June 3, 1938
Source: Hull, Cordell. Address Before the Bar Association of Tennessee on the Spirit of International Law, June 3, 1938. In Johnson, Julia E., ed. The Reference Shelf. Vol. 12, no. 6, United States Foreign Policy: Isolation or Alliance. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1938, 89–94....
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