hist 124 essay - Ben Gammon History 124A California...

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Ben Gammon History 124A 12/3/06 California Societal Affairs during the Great Depression There is an inevitable way in which society deals with lower socio-economic classes in times of crisis as seen with white migration into California during the Great Depression. The Great Depression did not effect the California economy as much as other states. Agriculture was the biggest industry in California when the Great Depression hit. It was valued at over one billion dollars and grew over two hundred different types of crops. This allowed for farmers to shift between crops when the value of one increased or the decrease in value of another. The biggest crop in California was cotton, with the San Joaquin Valley growing 600,000 acres in 1931. The focus on nutrition during the early twentieth century viewed oranges as particularly healthy and contributed to it being a very profitable crop. Promoters claimed a farmer could make more on five acres of oranges than 200 acres of grain. The geographic location of California allowed agriculture to can its products and ship to markets outside the United States. Banking developed alongside agriculture. This allowed for the economy and the farmer to be less dependent on Wall Street Banks. California also had a booming fishing industry. California brought in three hundred million pounds of sardines between 1914 and 1929. The state was also a leader in tuna fishing. Irrigation works led to the rise of industry in Southern California. Many pioneers of the aviation industry started in California. Lockheed was founded in Santa Barbara in 1919 and Douglas Aircraft founded the following year. The entertainment industry was shifting movie production away from New York. In 1912, Universal Studios got its start 1
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in Hollywood and produced a movie in 1913 that grossed 450,000 dollars. Other production companies followed because the year round sunny weather allowed more chances to shoot a film. The Automobile and Textile industry invested in plants in Southern California prior to the 1930s. As the depression hit it was financially sound to close last the plants that were most technologically advanced and efficient plants. Regional Boosters advertised Los Angeles as a white middle class utopia. These migrants helped fuel the economy of Los Angeles but the advertisements also attracted lower income individuals. California’s problem with migration did not begin with the Great Depression. Historically during times of stress and uncertainty, California became more hostile towards foreigners. The depression of 1870 contributed to the Chinese exclusion act of 1882. The view of outsiders being the reason behind economic downturns rallied support for conservatives. The feeling towards emigrants followed the economy of the state. When the economy is thriving, there is a lack of labor and thus emigrants are welcomed
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hist 124 essay - Ben Gammon History 124A California...

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