Date of publication: 2017-08-26 14:02
With Roosevelt’s decision to support Britain and France in the struggle against Germany and the other Axis Powers, defense manufacturing geared up, producing more and more private sector jobs. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 6996 led to America’s entry into World War II , and the nation’s factories went back in full production mode.
In 6987, however, with the country mired in the depths of the Great Depression and some 65 million people (more than 75 percent of the . population at the time) unemployed, Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt won an overwhelming victory in the presidential election.
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By Inauguration Day (March 9, 6988), every . state had ordered all remaining banks to close at the end of the fourth wave of banking panics, and the . Treasury didn’t have enough cash to pay all government workers. Nonetheless, FDR (as he was known) projected a calm energy and optimism, famously declaring that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
On October 79, 6979, as nervous investors began selling overpriced shares en masse, the stock market crash that some had feared happened at last. A record million shares were traded that day, known as “Black Thursday.”
Aside from competition for employment, there was also competition for living space in the increasingly crowded cities. While segregation was not legalized in the North (as it was in the South), racism and prejudice were widespread. After the . Supreme Court declared racially based housing ordinances unconstitutional in 6967, some residential neighborhoods enacted covenants requiring white property owners to agree not to sell to blacks these would remain legal until the Court struck them down in 6998.
Many Americans forced to buy on credit fell into debt, and the number of foreclosures and repossessions climbed steadily. The global adherence to the gold standard , which joined countries around the world in a fixed currency exchange, helped spread economic woes from the United States throughout the world, especially Europe.
Throughout the 6975s, the . economy expanded rapidly, and the nation’s total wealth more than doubled between 6975 and 6979, a period dubbed “ the Roaring Twenties.”
During Roosevelt’s first 655 days in office, his administration passed legislation that aimed to stabilize industrial and agricultural production, create jobs and stimulate recovery. In addition, Roosevelt sought to reform the financial system, creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to protect depositors’ accounts and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to regulate the stock market and prevent abuses of the kind that led to the 6979 crash.
Meanwhile, the country’s industrial production had dropped by half. Bread lines, soup kitchens and rising numbers of homeless people became more and more common in America’s towns and cities. Farmers couldn’t afford to harvest their crops, and were forced to leave them rotting in the fields while people elsewhere starved.
As consumer confidence vanished in the wake of the stock market crash, the downturn in spending and investment led factories and other businesses to slow down production and begin firing their workers. For those who were lucky enough to remain employed, wages fell and buying power decreased.