IB Syllabus Summarized
I. Causes of the Great Depression
II. Nature and Efficiency of Solutions; critiques.
III. Canada: King and Bennett
IV. Brazil: Vargas (Other Latin American Countries)
V. Impact on Women, Minorities (Hispanics), and
VI. Effect on Arts, Movies, Literature
I. Causes of the Great
Notes and Graphic Organizer:
1. Crisis in Farming
3. Industrial Overproduction
7. Depositor Panic
8. Business Response
9. Hoover‟s Inflexibility
10. Federal Reserve
This is one of the biggest questions in
economic history (What caused the Great
Typically, Progressive historians blame
inequality and lack of consumption (AD).
Conservative historians blame the Federal
Reserve and Roosevelt‟s overreaction.
II. Nature and Efficiency of
The New Deal Notes
Successes Jobs Programs (CCC, WPA, PWA,
Left: New Deal not doing enough
Right: New Deal doing too much
New Deal was revolutionary change for America
New Deal maintained the status quo by providing
the least amount of reform possible to maintain
Canada relied much more on commodity (raw materials) export
than the US
Canada was going through a wheat and lumber (newspapers)
boom in the 1910s-1920s.
Canada‟s depression was as severe as the United States‟, even
though it began in the United States.
Canada had its own currency, but did not have a Central Bank
Liberal and Conservative Parties
Many smaller parties
Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (New
Democratic Party)---Labor Party
Progressive Party---Middle Class Reformers
United Farmers of Alberta---Farmer Party
Bloc Populaire---Quebecois Party
Party Leadership lasts much longer because
there are no term limits.
Quebec: Ethno-linguistic differences are bigger
division than any other political division.
Canada did not have a Constitution. Instead,
they had a British law that set up a legal
system similar to a Constitution.
Some similarities to FDR.
Built a liberal coalition with progressives during the
Was leader during Great Depression and World War
Considered by many to be Canada‟s most
successful politician (served as Prime Minister for 22
Never pursued the radical reforms of FDR
Was President when the Depression hit (some
similarities to Hoover)
Never fully brought labor support into the Party
Mackenzie King‟s Response to the
Like Hoover, King and the Liberals were
blamed for the Depression.
Claimed that British North America Act limited
how he could react (left public relief to the
provinces and then didn‟t fund the provinces
claiming too much debt).
King called elections in 1930, but lost to Bennett and
the Conservative Party.
Like Roosevelt, Bennett promised a series of
unspecified reforms to fix Canada.
Like Roosevelt, Bennett called his reform program the
“New Deal,” after 1933.
Unlike Roosevelt, Bennett stuck to his Conservative
beliefs and did not implement a lot of reforms.
Increased Tariffs (made things worse---see
Hawley-Smoot Tariff in the U.S.)
Provided funds for public welfare system to the
unemployed and the destitute.
Created a “work camp” program very similar to
Roosevelt‟s CCC. Participants were called the
“Royal Twenty Centers.” (This was partially
done to prevent unemployed from calling for
more radical change).
Canadian Wheat Board: Somewhat similar to
AAA, but more helpful to poor farmers.
Bank of Canada: Created a Central Bank
Farmer‟s Creditors Arrangement Act: Allowed
farmers to restructure their debt.
King Comes Back!
In 1935, King and the Liberal Party won with
the slogan “King or Chaos.”
Leading up to the election, Bennett had promised
more sweeping changes (including minimum
wages, unemployment benefits, and other
King attacked the New Deal as being too
King‟s 2nd “Fix”
Instead of promoting more reforms, King passed
on Bennett‟s laws to the courts.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled most of the
New Deal unconstitutional.
Canada‟s economy overall did recover faster than
It also entered World War II earlier (1939 under
Other Social Changes
Hockey became the national
pastime during the 1930s (on
MapleLeafs vs. Canadians
became symbolic rivalry
and French-Speaking Canada
King and Bennett embraced far-reaching political and
economic change in order to move the nation out of the
Depression and did so effectively.
King and Bennett‟s reforms were remarkably limited and
relied on political repression.
King and Bennett‟s economic success in getting Canada
out of the Depression shows the market-oriented
conservative action is the best remedy to a Depression.
How serious was the impact of the Depression on the Canadian
economy and society?
Why did the Canadian federal governments of the 1930s introduce so
little social and economic legislation to deal with the problems of the
Assess the view that the response of the Canadian governments in
the 1930s to the problems of the Depression was limited.
Assess the view that neither Mackenzie King or Bennett offered the
Canadian people a coherent policy to tackle the problems they faced
in the 1930s.
„Provincial Governments did more to tackle the problems caused by
the Depression than federal governments in the 1930s.‟ How far do
you agree with this view?
Brazil, like most Latin America, is and was a much
less developed country.
During the 16th-18th centuries, Sugar was the focus of
Brazil was the last country in the Western Hemisphere
to abolish slavery (1880s)
In the mid-19th century, the focus moved to coffee
(industry exports out of Sao Paulo).
Like most Latin American countries, Brazil
historically was run by rich landowning
Brazil‟s central government was weak even by
Latin American standards up until the Great
Had once had a relatively strong central
government under a Brazilian monarchy (Pedro I
and Pedro II).
Vargas and Roosevelt
Similarities to FDR
Radically changed role of government
Was President during Depression and World War II
Appealed to lower class for support.
Adopted Corporatist framework to fix the economy
(as was done in Roosevelt‟s NRA).
Differences with Roosevelt
Not Democratically elected
Did not tolerate dissent Authoritarian Dictator
Did not create social welfare state
Focused more on reforming the economy than
1930 Coup #1
When the Depression hit Brazil, Washington Luis
was the president.
Luis followed the conservative response of Hoover.
Luis also represented Sao Paulo and many around the
country were upset that so much power was resting
In 1930, unrest across the country led to rebellion.
The military scrambled to find a leader that would
avoid full-scale revolution, but would also please
The “Estado Novo” (Coup #2)
During his leadership, there were several attempts
to remove him from power from both the left and
A failed coup in 1937 gave Vargas the justification
to suspend the Constitution entirely and rule Brazil
as a dictator.
After 1937, Vargas would call his plans to revive
Brazil socially and economically the “Estado
Novo.” (New State)
His policies mirrored those of Mussolini, Franco, and
Salazar (many call Vargas a Fascist).
Vargas Economic Reforms (Trade
Vargas‟ economic goals met with his political goal
of reducing the power of Sao Paulo.
Vargas pursued Diversification through ISI.
In other words, tariffs would be placed on specific
goods that Vargas wanted Brazil to make
(airplanes, steel, etc.)
Incentives would be given to infant-industries to
produce these goods for Brazilian consumers.
“If you were to ask me what is the program of
the Estado Novo, I would tell you that its
program is to crisccross the nation with
railroads, highways, and airlines; to increase
production; to provide for the laborer…to
expand exports; to prepare the armed forces
so that they are always ready; to organize
public opinion so that there is, body and soul,
one Brazilian thought.
Vargas Economic Policy (Domestic
To deal specifically with Coffee, Vargas created the
National Department of Coffee.
Reduced coffee tree planting ordered.
Coffee planters in Brazil would be forced in a „cartel‟
wherein they would have the amount that they could sell
on the market reduced in exchange for higher prices.
The goal was to make Coffee exports more profitable for
the country and reduce the country‟s reliance on those
Critics would point out that this increased unemployment
in the Coffee sector.
Vargas Economic Policy (Unions---
”O Pai do Povo”)
Rather than limit the power of unions, Vargas aimed to appeal to and
(Co-opt means to control by including).
Unions were given the legal right to exist, but all workers had to join
Employers were also forced to join large industry organizations
The state became the arbitror of industrial relations in labor disputes.
This model was first developed by Mussolini and is called
Through this model, workers received minimum wages and
health/safety protections in exchange for a lack of genuine voice.
“The Estado Novo does not recognize the
rights of the individual against the collective.
Individuals do not have rights; they have
duties. Rights belong to the collective.
Vargas Racial Policy
Vargas promoted the idea that racial distinctions
were contrary to the unified vision of the Estado
All discussions of racism were banned. Eugenicists
were arrested. Brazilians were taught nobody was
one race, but all Brazilians were a mixture of races
(usually White, Black, and Indian).
A racial class system still existed in many ways,
but he indoctrinated Brazilians to believe in a color-
Vargas finally held elections in 1945 and lost them
to Gaspar Dutra.
In 1951, Vargas ran again and won.
In 1954, after an attempted assassination of one
of Vargas‟ rivals (Carlos Lacerda) was traced back
to Vargas, the military asked Vargas to resign.
Instead, Vargas committed suicide.
I was a slave to the Brazilian people, and
today I am freeing myself for eternal life. But
this people, whose slaves I was, will no longer
be slave to anyone. My sacrifices will forever
remain forever in their souls and my blood will
always be the price for their ransom. I fought
against the exploitation of Brazil…I have
fought with my whole heart…Now I offer you
my death. I fear nothing. Serenely I take my
first step towards eternity and leave life to
During the 1960s-1980s period, he was seen as a
precursor to the military dictatorship that then
consumed the country.
After 1985, historians have given him a kinder look,
focusing on his merits as an effective and charismatic
politician compared to the brutality of the military‟s
Degler: Sees Brazil‟s embrace of Vargas‟ racial policy
as evidence of its inherent muliticulturalism.
Hanchard (Orpheus in Power): Vargas‟ policy removed
discussions of racial inequalities, but not racism from
V. Effect of Depression on
Minority Groups: Women, Mexican-Americans,
African-Americans, Native Americans
1930s saw the end of the 1920s Flapper ideal.
New job opportunities available to women in the 1920s
vanished in the 30s.
Depression became stress on family life. Rise in
Husbands became insecure about losing their
Few New Deal programs dealt with women‟s issues as
these were overshadowed by the mass number of men
who were unemployed.
Mexican-Americans that were economically
encouraged to come to America and California
suffered the reverse when the Depression hit.
White migrants from the Midwest pushed out
Mexican agricultural workers in California and
in the Southwest.
Blacks that experienced new opportunities in the 1920s saw those
opportunities vanish in the 1920s.
Despite voting for Roosevelt, not much in the New Deal helped
AAA did not help sharecroppers.
Early work programs were run through the states so often
discriminated against African-Americans.
Later national organizations (WPA, CCC) actively sought to employ
NAACP charged that Social Security discriminated against African-
CIO recruited African-Americans, which the AFL did not. (Both
D. Native Americans
John Collier oversaw radical changes in the treatment of
Native Americans through the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Indian Reorganization Act undid the Dawes Act (which had
made assimilation and individualism the goal of Federal
Native American cultural practices were collected,
breaking up of communal lands was halted, and power
was returned to tribal councils.
Orthodox: Radical shift in policy for the benefit of Native
Revisionist: Policy still was paternalistic and Native
Americans remained rightfully suspicious.
New Deal transformed the lives of minorities,
which is why they overwhelmingly voted for
New Deal failed to deliver its promise to its
minority constitutients. Its limited reforms
purposely or unpurposely left out minority groups.
VI. Effect of Depression on Arts,
Literature, and Film
Art: Community Murals
Government supported mural projects through
Murals reflected a type of populist art---from
the people, by the people.
Emphasized work, community, and realism.
Novelist focused on the realistic deprivations
caused by the Depression
Plight of Migrant Workers (John Steinbeck—
Grapes of Wrath, etc.)
Racism (Richard Wright—Native Son)
Southern Backwardness and Poverty (William
Faulkner—As I Lay Dying, etc.)
Comic Books (Superman) with escapist
fantasies also became popular.
Film: Escapism and Realism
Three different types of film became prevalent:
Gangster Movies: Glorified the rebel individualist.
Escapist Movies: Made people forget the burdens
of their own life. (The Thin Man, The Wizard of
Realist Movies: Showed people living through the
Depression and overcoming life‟s obstacles.
(“Grapes of Wrath,” “I‟m a Fugitive From a Chain
1. Crisis in the Farm Sector
New inventions (mechanized cotton picker,
tractor) corresponded with new demand
from Europe for food
Farms began to overproduce
Caused a drop in prices farmers produce
more to make the same profitmore
Farmers couldn‟t pay back loans they had
taken out during World War I
Foreclosures, Dust Storms, Environmental
2. Uneven Distribution of
The wealthy prospered during the
A middle class emerged, but was very
In 1929, the top 5% of America owned
33% of the wealth
Wealthy have proportionally less
demand for “durable” goods
When everyone who could buy a car
bought one, there was nobody left to
3. Industrial Overproduction
1920s Businesses assumed they would be able to sell everything
New technologies of the 1920s (like the assembly line) allowed
production on an unprecedented scale
Consumers could not keep up with production
Warehouses began to pile up with inventory.
Businesses fired workers to slow down production.
4. Trade Tariffs
Tariff is a tax on imports (imports are goods
that enter the country).
During the 1920s, America had high
tariffsEurope retaliated with high tariffs
Meant that overproduction of American goods
could not be sold to Europe
For the first time, ordinary
middle class Americans began
investing in the Stock Market
This created a bubble where
people assumed it would grow
Investors began taking out
short-term loans to invest in
the Stock Market
Called “buying on margin”
Eventually, bubbles burst!
. Availability of Easy Credit
Banks assumed the booms would
Began getting high returns from
lending money for everything on
Installment Plan=Paying for
something over several months
or years instead of all at once
System worked fine until loans
became so large that people
couldn‟t even pay their
6. The Crash
The bubble burst in late October 1929
“Black Tuesday” October 29, 1929
Stock prices dropped rapidly
Investors began to liquidate (sell) their
stocks while they still could
In September of 1929, the Dow Jones
was at 381. By July 1932, it had fallen to
Billions of dollars in assets evaporated.
People that had bought on margin
couldn‟t pay their loans back. Banks and
businesses started running out of money
7. Depositor Panic
As people defaulted (couldn‟t
pay back) on their loans, banks‟
reserves became depleted
Nervous depositors scrambled
to the bank to withdraw their
funds before the Bank‟s
reserves ran out
This panic caused banks‟
8. Business Response
Businesses needed loans to
continue to expand. Banks had
no more money to lend.
Businesses continue to
accumulate inventory until they
More unemployment means even
less people can buy more
unemployment less people to
9. Hoover‟s Stubbornness
Hoover subscribed to the economic theories of his
day: Protectionism, Laissez Faire, and Fiscal
Believed that the reason for the depression was that
too much money was leaving the country
Congress Raised tariffs (Smoot-Hawley Tariff)
Made it more difficult for businesses to sell abroad,
creating more unemployment
Hoover also felt it necessary to cut spending and
raise taxes to make up for the deficit caused by the
Further decreased consumer spending and business
10. The Federal Reserve
The difference between the Great Depression
(1929-1939) and the Great Recession (2008-
present) was the actions of the Federal Reserve
Some economists blame the entire Great
on mismanagement by the Federal Reserve
Instead of expanding the money supply during the
banking crisis, the federal reserve drastically
Banks not given emergency loans
Interest Rate policies contributed to the deflation
CCC, PWA, CWA, WPA
All had one goal: Give people jobs.
Why give people jobs and not money?
CCC (young men) plant trees, make trails,
clean the environment
PWA/CWA States employ people to build
schools and libraries
WPA (biggest jobs program in American
Built airports, roads, public buildings, sewage
systems, electricity systems.
Painted Murals, collected histories, put on plays
Specifically directed to employ women and
Wagner Act (National Labor
Relations Act) Finally gave unions the legal right to
exist and protections from attacks by
Made it illegal for anyone to prevent
Created an arbitration panel that helped
to fairly settle collective bargaining
Fair Labor Standards Act Established
Began as a grassroots movement (from
California) to give seniors a stable
Had 3 components
1. Fixed income for retired people over 65
2. Unemployment payments
3. Welfare for those with children (AFDC)
and the disabled.
AFDC: Aid to Families with Dependent
Agricultural Adjustment Act
Purpose was to help farmers
Paid farmers to not grow food.
Resulted in food shortages, unemployment,
and worked against the purpose of the rest of
the New Deal
National Recovery Administration (National Industrial
Failure in multiple ways:
Based on the assumption that the cause of the Great
Depression was too much competition, resulting in
Attempted to limit competition by creating regulated
Each industry created a set of competition standards,
Consumers were encouraged to only buy from businesses
that flew the NRA logo
Difficult to administer
Not clear that it had any economic benefit
Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional in 1935