3. Prepare a short (one paged, typed, single-spaced) paper to turn in and a two minute presentation for the class on one of the following items. (Be sure to include references to the specific resources you used, including urls for anything from the Internet.)
(Some guidance: Not all sources are reliable, and on the Internet the problem unreliable and biased sources is ever present. Any loonie can set up a web site and broadcast his point of view. Always try to figure out what the point of view of the source is before you use it.)
a. Search the Internet for Hoovervilles. Find something interesting to tell the class. (Make sure you include your sources in your paper. Also, can you determine who wrote the material in your source, and what point of view they bring to their writing?)
b. Search the Internet for "Bonus Army March" in 1932. What happened?
c. Search the Internet for "Banking Holiday" 1933. What can you tell the class about what you find?
d. Search the Internet for "Black Thursday" 1929. What can you tell the class about what you find?
e. The U.S. banking system collapsed in March of 1933. All banks were shut down from March 6 through March 13. What did the press at the time say about this? Go back to old issues of the New York Times or Time magazine and see what the people of the time were reading.
f. The stock market crash on October 24, 1929 seems to be important to many people looking back at the early part of the Great Depression. What did the press at the time say about it? Go back to old issues of the New York Times or Time magazine and see what the people of the time were reading.
g. (If you have access to a library with this resource) Pick a date between 1931 and 1935. Go to the library and find the New York Times for that date. (It may be on microfilmthe librarians will be happy to help youhardly anyone ever uses microfilm, and it makes their day when someone actually does use it.) Find three stories that are in the headlines on that date and summarize them in a paragraph each. Then write one paragraph telling what you found most different from the 1930s and today.
h. In the years since the Great Depression, many explanations have been put forward to explain this economic disaster. The dominant view of banking in the 1920 was the Commercial Loan Theory of Banking which is also called the Real Bills Doctrine. It argued that as long as banks made only sound business loans, the right amount of money would be in circulation and the economy would run smoothly. Loans made for the wrong purposes, such as stock market speculation, would cause problems. People who stress the importance of the stock market crash as a cause of the Great Depression probably do not realize the origin of their view, but without the Real Bills Doctrine, the concern over the stock market crash would never have existed.
Search for Google.com for "causes of the Great Depression." Can you find sites that stress the stock market crash as a cause of the Great Depression? Summarize what they say and provide urls.
i. In the years since the Great Depression, many explanations have been put forward to explain this economic disaster. The underconsumptionist view, that production outran the ability of people to buy, was once very popular and is still alive, though it is more likely to be held by noneconomists than economists. The extreme form of the underconsumptionist view was the secular-stagnation view. It argued that the forces of production had permanently outrun the ability of people to purchase output, so depression was inevitable. (The Leninist view of imperialism, popular with 20th century Marxists, developed from the secular-stagnation view but made major changes.) You can find these views in some of the interpretations of the Great Depression that are available on the Internet. It is not quite as popular as the stock-market speculation arguments, but it is at the heart of the arguments that stress the unequal distribution of wealth and the rapid technological progress of the 1920s.
Search the Internet for causes of the Great Depression and see if you can find examples of the underconsumptionist view. (CautionThere is very little good economics on these sites. Do not take their explanations as truerather consider them interesting as examples of a way of thinking.)
j. In recent years, economic historians have come to believe that Federal Reserve policy and/or the gold standard played important roles in causing the Great Depression. Search the Internet for causes of the Great Depression and see if you can find examples of the explanations that stress either monetary policy or the gold standard as causes of the Depression.