Depression means a sustained long lasting downturn in economic deeds in either one or many economies. It is usually characterized by its long-term rise in unemployment, unavailability of credits among other problems. This essay critically describes how depression impacted Michigan in 1930s, and how certain events pulled and changed Michigan as conditions got better. It also includes key personalities and events that occurred in that period.
Before 1930, in 1928 senator Couzens of Michigan gave a proposal explaining that economic depression time, the federal government need to provide public works programs that helps in the provision of jobs. However, his suggestion fell on deaf ears. One year after, the stock market crushed, that welcomed the great depression which resulted to devastating impacts upon states that that were heavily industrialized for instance Michigan. This was later followed by economic collapse cycle. Many employees lost jobs due to industrial retrenchments, as companies could not sustain and hire large number of workers as there was no market for their produced goods and services. Many banks, stores and factories closed down, many remained homeless, as many individuals depended on government for charity. This was due to unemployment that resulted to the state of no money, hence to purchase, so no markets, (Annette & Larry, 2010).
Amongst the most affected were the automobile industries. This is because, throughout the 1920s, automobile grew, clocking around 5 million vehicles by the year 1929. This number showed a downturn trend to 1932; Auto production: 1921 (5.1 million), 1930 (3 million) while in 1932 (1.3 million) vehicles. This industry recorded a reduction in sales due to unemployment figures that really escalated in Michigan. However, the number of gangsters in Michigan went up as in night clubs, the sale of liquor was under the control of gangs.
At these times, unemployment rate in Michigan was very high. After opening registration places for these who were unemployed in September 1930, the records showed that unemployment was jus a worsening condition that never went away. The rates were just increasing year after year. For instance, unemployment rates in 1930, 1931, 1932 and 1933 were, 20%, 29%, 43%, and 50% respectively. Even after president Hoover’s claim that prosperity was not far from being reached, none of his proposed deals like the reconstruction of Finance Corporation – a trickle-down solution, ever controlled the economic depression.
It was at this time that that Detroit mayor came up with the idea of unemployed people selling apples; eligible men having dependants were involved in these business. Apples although were produced from Washington. This project did not last for a long time since at one time apple vendors were 700, while at the clock of 1934, there were only 50 aged people engaged in business. There were demonstrations allover the state as there were many rioters organized by John Schemes a mayor candidate , chase Dearborn police up in a clash, which left four people dead. As the depression continued to hit the Michigan state in the third year, a growing minority of the unemployed workers in Michigan advocated for a revolution. Demagogues in addition grew very popular, most probably the Reverend Charles Coughlin of Royal Oak, Michigan. Reverend Charles Coughlin was a controversial priest who was amongst first political leaders to use radio for a mass audience, as over 30 million people tuned to listen to his broadcast, (SearchBeat, 1997).
It was at this atmosphere that, the nation held anew presidential election in November 1932. In history due to demand for revolution, the Michigan voters casted their vote in favor of the Democrat, Franklin D. Roosevelt from New York City. Among the many New deal schemes that were advocated by FDR in the process of relieving many emergencies that the nation was facing were the civilian conversation corps and the works progress administration. In which young men were let to leave in camps to do forest work. Michigan was among the state which provided many of such workers hence received many benefits from the program. Military men ran the camps, mostly the reserve officers from the army. The participants in the program got US $ 30 in every month. Out of this money, between $ 22 to $ 25 were sent to their homes to help their families. In the first 6 month, there were a round 61 camps. Despite all of these efforts, the New deal was not able to end the depression, (The Detroit News, 2008). Finally, economic prosperity returned to the state, as the nation turned its attention to reaming World War II.
One of key to President Roosevelt’s new deal was giving employees the power to bargain with their bosses. This led to the coming up of unions especially these that represented the non-skilled workers. In Michigan, the main union was United Auto Workers found in 1935 and challenged GM immediately. This led to what was later called flint sit down strike. In which, the strategy was just to sit down and not leaving the company which later succeeded. LABOR IN Michigan started with high hopes in 1937 but with few victories. However by the end of that year, in Detroit labor was firmly entrenched, making it very powerful in the Auto industry and in the nation as a whole.
In late 1930s, people in Detroiter were also happy about their teams. The Tigers who won the World Series against the clubs, the Lions who won NFL championship, and the Red Wings Who won the Stanley cup. Also Gar Wood, Tolan and Joe were already champions.
Other celebrity in the area was Edsel Ford who was the only son of Henry Ford. He was also the president of Ford motor company from 1919 to his death. During his rein, it was the time that Michigan was hit by depression and Ford was one of the companies that survived the depression.
Among other good things in Michigan at that time of the depression was the house of David, which was a religious colony in Benton Harbor IN Michigan. The colony was founded by King Ben, who claimed to be the seventh message sent from God and that he was Jesus’ brother. To join, one had to give out his possessions, to him, and take an oath of living without meat, alcohol, sex among other things, though Ben himself had sex with his wife and follower’s wives.