Responses to students forum posts

I’m studying and need help with a History question to help me learn.

The first response is the answer to the instructor’s follow-up question based on my original post. Here is my original post:

There were many causes that led to the Great Depression. Most people think that the stock market crash of 1929 caused the Great Depression. But it was only one of the causes. Bank failures also led to the Great Depression. When banks failed, many had uninsured their funds, so they simply just lost their money. The banks that had survived became more stingy on how many loans they would give out, to protect their interests. After the stock market crashed, many feared that there would be more economic hits. This led to a decrease in spending across the board. People from all different classes stopped purchasing items, leading to less products needing to be made. Many people lost their jobs during this time because of it. Internationally, Germany, Great Britain, and France were all facing economic distress. The Smoot-Hawley tariff was a foreign cause of the depression. The tariff charged a high tax for imports from foreign countries. Ultimately, the United States lost a lot of business from foreign consumers.

President Hoover basically just put the power back into the peoples’ hands. He encouraged them to “tighten their belts and work hard” to help boost the economy (Henretta). He also expressed that the business community could turn their situation around by themselves, without the assistance from the government. Unlike Great Britain and Germany, President Hoover decided to keep the gold standard in place. Hoover’s administration also instilled new tariffs and government programs that would provide new jobs. It was this mindset that made the Depression get to the depth that it did, and why it lasted so long.

Instructors question:

Does President Hoover get too much blame and President Roosevelt too much credit regarding the Great Depression?

Also required are responses to 3 classmates of at least 100 words, not to include any citations/references. Please push yourself to go beyond a standard, “I liked your post” and try to select particular points/examples and discuss them further. It is also appropriate for you to provide your reflections, opinions, additional examples and information. Specific examples and references should include citations and footnotes.

Post #1:

What is the significance of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision?

To truly understand Brown v. Board of Education we must go back almost 60 years earlier to Plessy v. Ferguson. In this case, the Supreme Court defined what they believed was meant by the term “separate but equal”. Even though slavery was abolished and African Americans where now free, many states didn’t agree and continued to make laws which drove racial divide even deeper. The Plessy v. Ferguson case would strengthen this divide when every court level upheld both 13th and 14th Amendments as constitutional, and no violation occurred. This of course gave way to states enacting Jim Crow laws which eventually leads to Brown v. BoE in Kansas. Oliver Brown went up against the BoE in 1951 after his daughter was denied entry into an all-white school. His claim was that black and white school weren’t equal and it was violation of his constitutional rights. Even though Kansas determined a violation had occurred, Kansas still stood by the “separate but equal” doctrine. Brown and 4 other related cases joined up and took this problem to the US Supreme Court. Thurgood Marshall (head of the NAACP would take on this case and in 1954 the Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools are “inherently unequal”. This groundbreaking case would lead the way many more cases, movements and demonstrations all over America, bringing this racial divide into the spotlight. The civil rights act, voting rights act, and fair housing act are just a few that the Brown v. BoE would give way too. Change is necessary, hard, and required for civilization to continue moving forward.

Post #2:

After the war, there was a surge in births. People married younger and had more children. Another big change after the war was The Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, known as the G.I. Bill of Rights. This allowed veterans the opportunity to go back to school to get a better education. It also allowed for low interest home loans. The economy was doing very well so the middle class grew. As the middle class became the norm, we started seeing the “traditional family”. Mothers typically stayed home to care for the children and keep the home in order for the husbands who went to work and provided for their families. Typically, the wife would be the one in the family who did all of the shopping so the marketing teams would often focus advertisement to women to sell products. Often times when the children were older the mothers would go back to work and be able to use the extra income for a second car, nicer home products or vacation. As the children became old enough to have part time jobs, marketing shifted to appeal to the younger crowd. During this time Television and radio played a large part in youth consumerism. The younger generation were often seen as rebellious because of the music and integration of whites and blacks. For the first time in history, “teenagers” did not have to work and help support the family. Teens were able to use their part time job money however they wanted; often time it was some form of entertainment.

Post #3:

After World War II the economy was back in full swing since the wartime production revived it and pulled America out of the Great Depression. More jobs were created especially in the defense community.

10,643,238 soldiers returned home to the United States following World War II, who were ready to start their own families and enjoy a peaceful life (Editors, n.d.). The GI Bill was introduced, which enabled veterans to attend college or complete trade school. This lead to the rise of in the middle class as it lead to higher incomes and with it individuals could get low-interest mortgages, which increased the homeownership. Additionally, unions were negotiating wages and benefits that benefited citizens and the economy.

Overall, the GI Bill and the increase in wages enabled younger families to purchase homes, which helped flourish family life since marriages occurred in greater numbers and more people got married at a younger age. It led to greater consumerism since more people would by things for their home such as refrigerators or televisions. In addition, spending money on America’s economy was seen as patriotic. The automobile sales increased as well in the 1950s.

Since family life was being more stable with the purchase of a home and solid income, there was an increase in the birth rate, which we now refer to the “Baby Boom” era. The influx in babies also meant that more items for them were bought. Women were more the homemakers while the men were the breadwinner, which portrayed the “traditional family” image. Many advertisements were geared towards this image and the American Dream of a prosperous happy life. These advertisements contributed to the consumerism especially since they were available on televisions, which previously mentioned were found in more and more households with the increase of families furnishing their homes.

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