Oct. 29, 1929, the New York Stock Exchange crashed. Panic ensued as Wall Street sold 16,410,030 shares in a single day. Billions of dollars were lost and America plunged into the Great Depression. An estimated 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of all banks failed.
The Great Depression began with a rapid contraction of credit. This occurred despite the existence of the Federal Reserve which was created with promises that it would prevent financial panics.
Democrat Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan had stated (Hearst’s Magazine, Nov 1923): “The Federal Reserve Bank that should have been the farmer’s greatest protection has become his greatest foe.”
The president at the start of the Great Depression was Herbert Hoover, who had only been in office seven months. Herbert Hoover had previously coordinated the feeding of millions who were starving in Europe and Russia after World War I. When the Mississippi River flooded in 1927, Herbert Hoover orchestrated the relief of some 630,000 people who were affected, 200,000 of which were African-American.
President Herbert Hoover led a drive to mobilize private relief agencies, Oct. 18, 1931: “Time and again the American people have demonstrated a spiritual quality of generosity. … This is the occasion when we must arouse that idealism, that spirit, from which there can be no failure in this primary obligation of every man to his neighbor. …”
Hoover continued: “Our country and the world are today involved in more than a financial crisis. … This great complex, which we call American life, is builded and can alone survive upon the translation into individual action of that fundamental philosophy announced by the Savior nineteen centuries ago. … Our national suffering today is from failure to observe these primary yet inexorable laws of human relationship. … Modern society cannot survive with the defense of Cain, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?'”
Herbert Hoover told the National Drive Committee for Voluntary Relief Agencies, Sept. 15, 1932: “Our tasks are definite … that we maintain the spiritual impulses in our people for generous giving … in the spirit that each is his brother’s keeper. … Many a family today is carrying a neighbor family over the trough of this depression not alone with material aid but with that encouragement which maintains courage and faith.”
President Herbert Hoover stated at the Gridiron Club, April 27, 1931: “If, by the grace of God, we have passed the worst of this storm, the future months will be easy. If we shall be called upon to endure more of this period, we must gird ourselves for even greater effort. If we can maintain this courage and resolution we shall have written this new chapter in national life in terms to which our whole idealism has aspired. May God grant to us the spirit and strength to carry through to the end.”
Herbert Hoover stated at Valley Forge, May 30, 1931: “If those few thousand men endured that long winter of privation … held their countrymen to the faith, and by that holding held fast the freedom of America, what right have we to be of little faith?”
Numerous economists hold the opinion that Herbert Hoover’s efforts would have eventually resulted in recovery had it not been for resistance from political opponents who favored big government intervention.
The Great Depression spread to countries around the globe, including:
- Great Britain
- Latin America
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Soviet Union
President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in his first inaugural address, March 4, 1933: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. … We face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. … Where there is no vision the people perish (Pr. 29:18). … We face arduous days that lie before us … with … old and precious moral values. … In this dedication of a nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us!”
The severity of the crisis caused citizens to demand the government respond, resulting in President Roosevelt issuing dozens of unprecedented Executive Orders creating large numbers of new federal agencies. During this time, enormous power was consolidated in Washington D.C., usurping control over vast areas of American life.
Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102 authorizing the federal government to confiscated all the gold in the country, making it a crime for a private citizen to own gold.
In his Christmas Message, Dec. 24, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt stated: “This year marks a greater national understanding of the significance in our modern lives of the teachings of Him whose birth we celebrate. To more and more of us the words ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself’ have taken on a meaning that is showing itself and proving itself in our purposes and daily lives. May the practice of that high ideal grow in us all in the year to come. I give you and send you one and all, old and young, a Merry Christmas and a truly Happy New Year. And so, for now and for always ‘God Bless Us Every One.'”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated on the 400th anniversary of the printing of the English Bible, Oct. 6, 1935: “We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a Nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. Its teaching, as has been wisely suggested, is ploughed into the very heart of the race. Where we have been truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity.”
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