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This is a short primer on the Great Depression and Today’s Great Recession. For a comprehensive comparison go to my blog Ten Differences between the Great Recession and Today’s Great Recession.
Great Recession is upon us, and while the situation seems to be slightly improving (fingers crossed), it’s the perfect time to take a look back at the Great Depression, that pivotal time in US history. People losing their jobs left and right, giant companies folding – now that doesn’t sound familiar at all, does it?
Let’s start with President Franklin D. Roosevelt (good old FDR). He was the defining figure of the Great Depression, holding the presidency from 1933 to 1945. That’s four terms, which only came to an end with his death – the two-term limit hadn’t yet been enacted. This period of history was quite a time to be president. The stock market’s famously gigantic crash in 1929, nicknamed Black Thursday, had signaled the start of difficult times, and while America was dealing with painfully high unemployment, World War II was brewing.
Which of FDR’s messages might be helpful today? We’ve all heard his famous assertion that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” a tidbit from his first inaugural address in 1933. In other words, the best way to fight something scary is to simply stop being afraid of it. That goes for worrying about finding a new job just as much as it does for the monster under your bed or a military adversary overseas. That doesn’t mean it will be easy. Franklin D. Roosevelt also tried to frame the struggle heroically: “To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is asked. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny,” he intoned to the Democratic National Convention of 1936.
Destiny is a tricky thing, though, and has to do entirely with how you frame the story. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and it’s easy to let memories of hard times become distorted and glorified. We’re not trying to say that FDR was an old windbag – rather, it’s an interesting way to think about the present time. Are future generations going to remember the present time as a story of ordinary Americans overcoming obstacles, or as a mere blip in history – or, worse, as jumbled mess of a downward spiral? It’s impossible to say, but there’s no doubt that taking a positive outlook simply can’t hurt. We’re going to be the ones telling the story, and whether we plan to frame it as failure or resourcefulness just might make a difference in how we carry ourselves today.
In the time of today’s recession, we also have a president whose message of hope has gotten some rave reviews. The election of Barack Obama was a turning point in US history, any way you look at it, but whether or not he’s lived up to his message of reform and progress is something you can decide for yourself. We can only hope that the hard times of today make a turnaround soon and avoid the infamy of the Great Depression, and whether Obama’s destined to be remembered as the kind of noble, powerful figure that we see in FDR remains to be seen.
Shmoop is an online study guide for US History, events like the Great Depression and biographies like Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its content is written by Ph.D. and Masters students from top universities, like Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard, and Yale who have also taught at the high school and college levels. Teachers and students should feel confident to cite Shmoop.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Paul_Thomson
- Lead Like FDR (blogs.forbes.com)
- Great Depression, Great Recession – Other Views – NewsObserver.com (wealthvest.com)
- How a Different America Responded to the Great Depression (wealthvest.com)
- Great Depression (1929-1933) vs. Great Recession (2007-2009) (wealthvest.com)
- The Great Depression and the Great Recession – Thinking Back to Franklin D Roosevelt (wealthvest.com)
- The Great Depression – More Government or Less for Today’s Great Recession (wealthvest.com)
- Great Depression, Great Recession: What 1929 can teach us about 2009 (wealthvest.com)
- Great Depression vs Great Recession: American Perspectives (wealthvest.com)
- Ten Key Differences between the Current Recession and the Great Depression (wealthvest.com)
- Great Depression vs. ‘Great Recession’ (wealthvest.com)
- Christina Romer’s Comparison of the Great Depression vs. Today’s Great Recession (wealthvest.com)
- Great Recession Unemployment vs Great Depression Unemployment (wealthvest.com)
- Great Depression vs Great Recession: Bruce Bartlett (wealthvest.com)