Monday, October 15, 2012

Underhanded Practices of the Farm Association / Hooverville

In chapter 22, After the Joad's arrive at the goverment camp they begin to show signs of hope, they start to believe they can survive in California as things begin to look up. Tom wakes to a nice breakfast, and heads up the road with Timothy and Wilkie. After they turn up Mr. Thomas' drive, Mr. Thomas steps out onto the porch and tells the men that he can only pay 25 cents instead of the 30 cents they had been getting. By doing this he is testing how trust worthy the men are because he understands how harsh life can be. Once he feels comfortable he informs Timothy and the men about his meeting with the farmers association, feeling the guilt of decreasing the wages due to threats of forclosure on his own farm from the bank he felt he should tell the men of a plan to cause trouble at the weekly dance that would allow the deputies in to cause trouble for the migrating workers. Mr. Thomas Knew he would loose everything maybe even his life for telling but he knew he could just as easily loose everything as the Joads and thousands like them.
While researching for this blog I found this. President Hoover was known for his humanitarian involvement and this was a large part in his election to office in March of 1929, but according to

    Another desperate group was composed of World War I veterans. In 1924 Congress had promised veterans a bonus for their service (to be paid in 1945), but with the onset of the Great Depression many veterans decided that they needed and deserved the bonuses right away. In the spring of 1932, thousands of them converged on Washington, D.C. from all over the country. They became known as the Bonus Army, and they camped out in vacant government buildings and in a shanty town on the Anacostia Flats, hoping that their presence would convince Congress to pay out the bonuses. The House agreed to pay the bonuses, but the Senate rejected the idea, at which point thousands of disappointed veterans returned home. But thousands remained in Washington and were a great source of anxiety for Hoover, who feared that they might become violent and threaten the government. When local police attempted to clear veterans out of the abandoned buildings, fighting broke out and two veterans were killed. The U.S. Army was called in to take control, under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur defied Hoover’s orders (which were that the Army simply seal off the Anacostia Flats and keep the veterans away from town) and used teargas and heavily armed troops to rout the veterans out of their shanty town, after which their shacks were burned. One baby – who had been born in the veterans’ camp – was accidentally killed in the process. The spectacle of troops violently dispersing unarmed American veterans was deeply disturbing to many Americans and did still further damage to Hooover’s rapidly sinking reputation.

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