By Matthew Gates, VI Form
A Looming, Dreary Cloud to a Calamitous Crash: Roosevelt, Keynes, and Their Responses to the World’s Greatest Economic Catastrophe
During the “Roaring Twenties,” the United States’ economy boomed; by 1923, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to an unprecedented 2.4%. In fact, at the end of the decade, the U.S. boasted the largest economy in the world. The laissez-faire economic policies of Republican Presidents Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover were extremely popular among business owners and Americans during the 1920s, as lowering taxes granted businesses more money to grow and put more money in the pockets of ordinary American citizens. Additionally, Harding’s signing of the Fordney-McCumber Tariff Act, which imposed a tax on foreign goods, caused imported products to be far more expensive than domestic goods. As a result, the tariff incentivized citizens to buy American goods, increasing the profits of American businesses and resulting in an overwhelming expansion in production and jobs. These Republican Presidents believed that government intervention not only hindered personal economic freedom, but they also believed it was wrong and a danger to freedom.
Matthew Gates is a VI Form student from Natick, MA. He plays golf and ultimate frisbee, enjoys public speaking, and loves traveling.