Bibliography Week

The last few weeks I’ve been piecing together my research sources, which has proved to be an unknowingly difficult task. I’ve centered my project on the question as to why countries go to extreme political ends in times of economic distress, with a focus on fascism during the Great Depression. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt initially took office in 1932 he brought his ideas for a government that would help the Americans affected by the Great Depression. While he’s remembered for the great things his New Deal legislation brought to the United States, his ideas brought criticism. Those afraid of the continuation of the post World War I economy that caused the stock market to crash in 1929, rejected the seemingly fascist policies that were rising around the world.

Primary Source Article:

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Fascism and the New Deal 

 

Primary Source Article Notes: Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 7.53.53 AM.png

Week 4 Reading: 

In Meg Jacobs, scholarly work ‘”How About Some Meat?”: The Office of Price Administration, Consumption Politics, and State Building from the Bottom Up, 1941-1946’ she examined the importance of local politics in the upheaval of a war economy in the midst and directly after the conflict ended. Her writing explores the programs that remained intact through the war after being presented to the nation in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Below is my outline of how Jacobs chose to map her article out:

Introduction ·      Strong start with a great thesis statement –> establishing the importance of the agency in the New Deal legislature without giving away too many details until further in the paragraph

·      Introduction of Richard Nixon (a name everyone knows) to keep readers interested –> establish his dislike for the program and how it affected his own politics when he ran for president

·      3rd paragraph OPA is presented as one of the “strongest manifestations” –> great language

·      Jacobs set importance outside of WWII context à the agency helped with a debate over wages and prices –>  foreshadowing that the administration stayed intact after the war ended

·      Consumption helps the economy grow à weaved in very nicely –> propaganda during the war was set on trying to get the typical “American life” back and OPA helped with keeping prices and wages at a level where they were equally distributed

·      Notes on that the population couldn’t change the market to suit their needs exactly or forever –> OPA worked best when we were in the war and political needs were more reflective

·      OPA –> radical model of state management (government working with laborers and consumers = new social-liberal coalition)

·      Argument at end of introduction –> OPA was the reason OPA failed –> they tried to help too many people and cater to too many needs –> ended with 1946 meat packers strike –> “beefsteak elections” cost the Democrats in Congress and it went Republican for the first time since 1930

Office Price Administration ·      Created 1941 –> technical expertise and faith in the state allowed the office to run

·      Two main sources: 1) recalling experiences from WWI –> inflation threat when the unemployment rate was way too low and economy remained in a war production economy 2) came from policymakers that were convinced that pushing the government into American lives would be a way to promote a perfect vision of a political economy

·      Causes of the Great Depression –> underconsumption

·      Jacobs begins working the “characters” into her article –> Leon Henderson, OPA first administrator –> focused on consumer relationships with New Deal legislation

·      Henderson –> a fan of income distribution –> 1942 Keynesian economist work together to figure out General Maximum Price Regulation (Gen. Max.) and sent it out to merchants to approve –> they approved and it was working –> each product would pay its own way

·      Gen. Max. eventually led to issues with increasing inflation

·      Use of pictures/primary sources

·      OPA used women volunteers to form grassroots organizations and teach others how to shop in a savvy way

·      1943 Chester Bowles new administration –> volunteers increase –> formed women into unions

·      Women were seen as stabilizers at home and for the community at this time

·      Perfect blend of consumption and patriotism

·      As the article continues Jacobs breaks down each group that benefitted or were involved in some way with the OPA, each with a person spearheading the paragraph and how it impacted each group

End of OPA ·      United Steel Worker Strikes –> 30 cent wage increase –> offered steel price increase

·      Truman vetoed the end of OPA and food and living prices soared

·      Public wanted OPA and rejected higher prices without higher wages

·      Public left OPA behind when they couldn’t get any meat without the prices being ridiculously high

·      The people that supported the big government ideals and the intervention were now calling for the end of OPA

·      Because of the meat riots, Democrats lost control of Congress again

Conclusion ·      OPA gave consumers a sense of entitlement that they didn’t need

·      Many voters stayed home –> OPA once mobilized the public, but it now almost discouraged them from voting altogether

·      OPA represented the strength in the states and how public policy can make or break a society

·      OPA –> high standards of living that workers still rightfully demand and expect

·      Moving local politics into familial areas can cause great waves of political momentum

 

After reading through Meg Jacob’s fascinating article on OPA, I’ve picked up some interesting things she used in her writing. In her introduction, she didn’t saturate the opening paragraphs with lengthy facts or long winded statistics. Instead, she brought up the importance of the administration and why it came to be, which naturally flowed into the fuller description of the agency and how it helped the American people. When Jacobs expanded into her paragraphs, or should I say “meat” of the article, she cited the reasoning behind the formation with an emphasis on events that happened a decade prior to the formation to bring the reader into the correct mindset. Additionally, while building OPA up, Jacobs mentioned their flaws and hinted towards many of their issues leading to the administration’s demise after WWII. Before bringing the reader into the final months of OPA’s life, she brought up many minority groups and major contributors from each to expand upon her idea that OPA affected everyone in the United States. Additionally, her placement of primary sources, which mostly consisted of government-run propaganda and instruction sheets, highlighted each point she made in a previous paragraph rather than making the article feel clunky. Finally, the fall of OPA and her conclusion tied together the entire journey the article took the reader on, from before the US was involved in WWII until the essential end of the New Deal Era. From Jacob’s article, I feel much more prepared for writing my own research analysis. I liked the way she structured her research and how she thoughtfully presented each piece of evidence without mashing historical facts together. I plan on looking back on Jacobs research and other articles we’ve been provided from last semester throughout my own writing process.

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