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The 1930's: Turmoil in America

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The 1930s: Turmoil in America

At the start of a new decade, America needed money. The Stock Market crashed, leaving people without employment, food, housing and just about everything else. Since money was scarce, the American people turned to the simpler things such as family time. This included movies, board games and other cheap activities; however, family time could only go so far. The Great Depression took a toll on everyone, leaving Americans feeling depressed and degraded. Depressing times called for entertainment, new deals and scandals to liven the atmosphere and lives of the American people during the 1930's; that is where remarkable people such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Margaret Mitchell, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and events such as the discovery of Pluto and the Lindbergh baby kidnapping come into play.

From a political standpoint, Franklin D. Roosevelt played a major role in helping America get out of the Depression and back on track with his "New Deal" when he was elected as president in November, 1932. Authors David Hausen, Susan Musser and Vickey Kalambakal claim that nine other candidates ran for president in the November 1932 election, but democrat Roosevelt blew the other candidates away (25). Terry A. Cooney, author of Balancing Acts: American Though and Culture in the 1930's, believes Roosevelt won over the American population with his strategies of creating bold policies and his conservatism ways (35). While serving his term as the governor of New York, Roosevelt gained respect and admiration for dealing with the depression in New York (Hausen, Musser, and Kalambakal 25). Marna Owen, author of Our Century: 1930 - 1440, notes that when Roosevelt stepped into power in 1932, he created many programs and plans with the purpose to help the country get out of the depression. Some of these programs included the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Recovery Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and Tennessee Valley Authority (34). Although these programs provided Americans with essential necessities, the "New Deal," Roosevelt's most famous, important plan, helped change America. Roosevelt's "New Deal" had intentions of helping the nation get back where it belonged, creating jobs, providing loans to prevent foreclosures on houses, creating regulations to control credit prices and banking, and stimulating farm prices (Haugen, Musser, and Kalambakal 25). The way Roosevelt presented his final product, he created hope for America, convincing them to get of the hole that so many kept digging deeper and deeper. Throughout the years, Roosevelt's words spoke louder than his actions, and that is why many people recognize his famous words from the famous "New Deal" speech: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself... This nation asks for action and action now. We must act quickly..." (Owen 32). This speech instilled a positive effect on Americans, motivating them to help the nation get out of that 'hole.' Another effective way to connect with the public that Roosevelt used was casual, relaxed conversations. These speeches, more formerly known as "Fireside Chats," informed the American people of the happenings of their country and provided comfort and security (Cooney 39). Of all political figures in the 1930s, president Franklin D. Roosevelt helped change America most significantly.

Although politically, Roosevelt provided the greatest impact, the big event making headlines and history in the 1930s happened in 1932 with the kidnapping of aviator Charles Lindbergh's baby, Charles Jr. According to Time-Life Books editors, Loretta Britten and Sarah Brash, on the night of March 1, 1932, Charles Jr.'s kidnapper took the baby from the second-story nursery without anyone noticing until later that night (88). Author Dorothy Herrmann suggests that when Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh found their child missing from his crib, they also found a ransom letter next to the radiator (93). The letter read: "Dear sir Have 50000$ ready 25000$ in 20$ bills and 10000$ in 5$ bills After 2-4 days we will inform you were to deliver the mony We warn you for making anyding public or for notify the poilice The child is in gut care Indication for all letters are signature and three holes (Herrmann 93-4)." The letter created great fear for the Lindbergh's, urging them to pay the fifty-thousand dollars. Lindbergh eventually paid the ransom, but between six and nine weeks later in May, 1932, the dead body of Charles Jr. turned up, despite compliance with the ransom (Herrmann 108). Authors Dominick A. Pisano, Robert Van Der Linden and Reeve Lindbergh emphasize that by a certain point the press started causing as much chaos as trying to photograph the baby's dead body in the morgue (99-100). In September, 1934, Bruno Richard Hauptmann had been arrested for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Jr. and his trial was February 1935, in which he was found guilty (100). Because of all of the commotion caused by the kidnapping, the Lindbergh's moved to England in December 1935 (100). Overall, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping proved to be the scandal of the 30's, creating chaos, turmoil, and heartbreak for a great number of Americans, including the Lindbergh's.

Pluto, the smallest planet that is no longer considered a planet attests as a major event in the 1930s. Clyde Tombaugh, an important scientist in the 1930s discovered Pluto in February of 1930. Author Rodney Carlisle, among others, believes that this discovery happened in Flagstaff Arizona at the Lowell Observatory (368). From the point of view of editors Lucy Ann Mcfadden, Paul R. Weissman, and Torrence V. Johnson, when the discovery of Pluto occured, Tombaugh was working as an assistant for the observatory (541). Tombaugh had been working on another project involving "Planet X" at the time. The project on "Planet X" had been given to him by scientist Percival Lowell (Carlisle 368). Authors David H. Levy, Larry A. Lebofsky, and Nancy R. Lebofsky imply that the method for discovering Pluto contended to be a unique one, involving observing Pluto by a series of "picture plates" (177). Pluto proved to be hard to observe due to the fact that equipment in the 30's was not of a good quality; however, this still led to new discoveries in later decades, benefiting Americans in the end (Mcfadden, Weissman, and Johnson 541). The impact of this new scientific discovery forged a great impact on Americans; that impact being that up until the early 2000's, Pluto was considered a planet; however, today it is considered too small to be a real planet.

During the 1930s, reading books became a popular pastime, as well as going to see movies. Author



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