Changes in american values and culture
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Changes In American Values and Culture. Brenna Riley . American values . Crime rates shot up because many unemployed people resorted to theft to put food on the table . Health care was not a priority. “Poor Man’s Divorce” Men would simply run away from their marriage. American values.

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Changes In American Values and Culture

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Changes in american values and culture

Changes In American Values and Culture

Brenna Riley

American values

American values

  • Crime rates shot up because many unemployed people resorted to theft to put food on the table.

  • Health care was not a priority.

  • “Poor Man’s Divorce” Men would simply run away from their marriage.

American values1

American values

  • Mass migrations throughout the 30’s.

  • New England and Upstate New York lost citizens seeking opportunity elsewhere.

  • Great plains lost population to California and Arizona

  • Many migrants were adolescents seeking opportunity away from family.

  • 600,000 people caught hitching rides on trains during the Great Depression.

American values2

American values



  • Higher education remained out of reach for most Americans.

  • The male population in high schools increased because the chances of getting jobs were so low many decided to stay in school longer.

  • Marriages were delayed because males wanted to wait until they could provide for a family before getting married.

  • Birthrates fell sharply to avoid extra expenses.

  • Cigarette smoking and alcoholism increased.

Economic perceptions pre depression

Economic perceptions (Pre-Depression)

  • Laissez-faire was preferred.

  • Laissez-faire – Opposes government interference or regulation of commerce beyond the minimum necessary.

  • It was believed that to alleviate, instead of aggravate, an economy the only valid course of action is to leave it alone.

  • Gold standard: Having a stable and reliable source of currency is when the economy functions the best. (Classical viewpoint)

  • Roaring twenties

Impact on economic perceptions

Impact on economic perceptions

  • Call for an expanded role of government.

  • Significant loss in self-esteem, men blamed themselves.

  • People were quickly losing hope and there seemed to be no jobs.

  • Prostitution rose at a desperate attempt to obtain currency.

  • Income of the average American was reduced by 40% from $2,300 to $1,500.

  • Life Expectancy: Male, 58.1; Female, 61.6 Average salary: $1,368 Unemployment rises to 25% Food Prices: Milk, 14 cents a qt.; Bread, 9 cents a loaf; Round Steak, 42 cents a pound



  • in 1929: 3.2%

  • in 1930: 8.9%

  • in 1931: 16.3%

  • in 1932: 24.1%

  • in 1933: 24.9%

  • in 1934: 21.7%

  • in 1935: 20.1%

  • in 1936: 16.9%

  • in 1937: 14.3%

  • in 1938: 19.0%

  • in 1939: 17.2%

Rise of government dependence

Rise of government dependence

  • FDR is elected in 1932 and begins implementing new laws.

  • FDR began to institute programs to help the poor, unemployed and elderly.

  • New Deal: Providing for suffering American's, improve the economy, passing new laws so there was not as many poor people

  • 15 bills in his first 100 days of presidency.

Primary source

Primary Source

  • Origin: FDR Recovery Plan Fireside Chat 10/23/1933

  • Purpose: To relay to the nation in clear terms what steps the government will take to speed up the recovery, including the introduction of new government programs.

  • Value: FDR kept stating that he was not satisfied and would do anything he could to improve living conditions in the USA. This would have certainly boosted the spirits of the American people.

  • Limitation: Although this method was effective, not all Americans could afford radios at this time and would have needed a way to get the information he was presenting,

Rise government dependence

Rise government dependence

  • A national bank holiday: The day after his inauguration, FDR declared a "bank holiday," closing all banks in the country to prevent a collapse of the banking system. With the banks closed, Roosevelt took measures to restore the public's confidence in the financial systems; when the banks reopened a week later, the panic was over.22

  • Ending the gold standard: To avoid deflation, FDR quickly suspended the gold standard.23 This meant that U.S. dollars no longer had to be backed up by gold reserves, which also meant that the government could print—and spend—more money to "prime the pump" of the economy.

  • Glass-Steagall Act: The Glass-Steagall Act imposed regulations on the banking industry that guided it for over fifty years, until it was repealed in 1999.24 The law separated commercial from investment banking, forced banks to get out of the business of financial investment, banned the use of bank deposits in speculation.25 It also created the FDIC[link to "FDIC" passage below]. The effect of the law was to give greater stability to the banking system.

  • FDIC: The Federal Deposit Insurance Commission backed all bank deposits up to $2500, meaning that most bank customers no longer had to worry that a bank failure would wipe out their life savings.26 The agency continues to insure American deposits today.

Government dependence

Government dependence

  • Federal Securities Act: This act regulated the stock markets and preceded the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934, which continues to regulate U.S. stock markets to this day.

  • Agricultural Adjustment Act: The AAA provided relief to farmers by paying them to reduce production; this also helped to reduce crop surpluses and increase prices for crops.27

  • Civilian Conservation Corps: To reduce unemployment, put 250,000 young men to work in rural conservation projects, mostly in national parks and forests.28

  • Tennessee Valley Authority: The TVA provided electrification and other basic improvements the impoverished interior of the South.

  • National Industrial Recovery Act: One of FDR's more controversial measures, it created new agencies and regulations that tightened the relationship between government and business. It was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935.

  • Public Works Administration: Funded the construction of public works projects across the country, including schools, hospitals, airports, dams, and ports, as well as ships for the Navy and airports for the Army Air Corps.29

  • Federal Emergency Relief Act: Provided direct relief, training and work for unemployed Americans. It was abolished in 1935 and its programs folded into other agencies

The red decade

THE Red decade

  • Term coined by Eugene Lyon

  • Popularization of radical ideologies, including the Communist Party.

  • Radical lefts, American intellectuals and even some government officials.

  • Liberal press in America was enamored with Stalin.

Red decade

Red decade

  • Gitlow vs. New York:

    “Gitlow, a socialist, was arrested for distributing copies of a "left-wing manifesto" that called for the establishment of socialism through strikes and class action of any form. Gitlow was convicted under a state criminal anarchy law, which punished advocating the overthrow of the government by force. At his trial, Gitlow argued that since there was no resulting action flowing from the manifesto's publication, the statute penalized utterences without propensity to incitement of concrete action. The New York courts had decided that anyone who advocated the doctrine of violent revolution violated the law.”

Pop culture

pop culture

  • The motto, “Art as a social weapon.” was embraced.

  • Writers/artists/intellectuals joined forces to make socially conscious art.

  • Popularization of the radio change how accessible culture was.

  • New Deal federal dollars enabled a lot of art to be created.

  • Dancing and music lifted spirits during the great depression.

Pop culture1

Pop Culture

  • Symphonies and live bands in clubs struggled because of the popularization of radios.

  • With the end of prohibition in 1933, going to clubs became very popular.

  • Swing, Jazz and Folk music was very popular.

  • Victoria Spivey, Bill Cox, Rudy Vallee, Ted Lewis, Louis Armstrong, Hal Kemp, Artie Shaw, Ella

Pop culture2

Pop Culture

Best selling books of the 1930’s:

  • Now In November (1934): A fictional account of a family’s experience on the land and their trials and tribulations during the Dust Bowl.

  • The Big Money(1936): Telling the story of America’s march toward the crash.

Pop culture3

Pop Culture

3. Appointment in Samarra (1934): A novel about a young man who rapidly declines after the crash and before the New Deal.

  • The Good Earth (1931): A book about two Oriental farmers who do their best to survive in a world of famine, war, and plague

  • The Day of the Locust (1939): An artist who comes to the West Coast to pint the bored and lonely men and woman who migrated to California in pursuit of dreams.

Pop culture4

Pop Culture

  • Hollywood played a valuable psychological role, providing reassurance and hope.

  • Americans attended movies each week, which helped sustain national morale.

  • Many complaints and boycotts from the churches.

Pop culture5

Pop Culture

  • Radio was a very important form of mass media.

  • Connected people to world events.

  • Comedians like Jack Benny, Fred Allen, George Burns, Amos and Andy, Gracie Allen.

  • Daytime soap operas

  • Lone Ranger, Little Orphan Annie, and Green Hornet.

  • Listened to baseball games and horseraces..

Work cited

Work cited

  • "98.04.04: The Great Depression and New Deal." Yale University. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <>.

  • "American Cultural History - 1930-1939." LSC-Kingwood Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <>.

  • "Books From the Great Depression -" The Wall Street Journal - Breaking News, Business, Financial and Economic News, World News & Video - Wall Street Journal. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <>.

  • "Entertainment During the Great Depression." Fayetteville-Manlius Schools. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <>.

  • "Gitlow v. New York | The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law." The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law | A Multimedia Archive of the Supreme Court of the United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <>.

Work cited1

Work cited

  • "Having Fun – Radio During the Depression." Wessels Living History Farm, Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <>.

  • "The Left Front: Radical Art in the "Red Decade," 1929-1940 opens at the Block Museum." The First Art Newspaper on the Net. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <>.

  • "Social and Cultural Effects of the Depression []." US History. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <>.

  • "Social Security Act of 1935." N.p., Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <>.

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