The Great Dust Bowl

The Great Depression Part 8 – The Dust Bowl

But, like all Ferris wheel rides, it came to an end and to a crashing end for many evils crept into this great country and overtook all so many Americans and stripped them down to nothing in the coming years.

Good day to each of you reading this column on the Great Depression and its effects here in the United States.

You must agree that the roaring 20’s in America was a very exciting time as the United States was in the midst of a momentous economic and industrial explosion. Growth was phenomenal in all sectors and people were “having a gay ole time.”

But, like all Ferris wheel rides, it came to an end and to a crashing end for many evils crept into this great country and overtook all so many Americans and stripped them down to nothing in the coming years.

Turn to Deuteronomy 28 and read along beginning in verse 15—I will use the NIV reference—However, or none the less, still, yet, never the less, though to name a few synonyms and using the Merriam-Webster dictionary, however is used when you are saying something that is different from or contrasts with a previous statement.

God had previously given the Israelites the Blessings part of the equation and here God gives us the start of the Curses for disobedience. When analyzing verse 15, God says if you do not obey him and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.

God gives the criteria to the Israelite people of what will happen when they disobey—I use the Israelite people as an analogy to the American people at that time for we can draw many parallels to both people.

One must agree that when the great depression began, people were cursed in the city and in the country—cursed, used an adjective, according to Merriam-Webster is affected by a curse that causes bad things to happen or affected by something bad.

Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed—a kneading trough is a vessel in which the dough, after being mixed and leavened, was left to swell or ferment. Food, during the depression, was not to be found and then came the “great Dust Bowl, in the Midwest.

The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds, and the lambs of your flocks. Again, between the soup kitchens, no money, no jobs, out in the streets, and the oncoming dust bowl in the Midwest, there was no food for man or for animal.

As we pick up on verse 20, The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil that you have done in forsaking him. The violation of the first commandment was forsaking God, the one who gave these men and women the riches that they were currently enjoying. Those same riches, whether it be in the stock market, the government, the banking system, the industrial sector, or the farming sector would be cursed to the point of confusion, suicide, and rebuke for God had been forsaken.

In verse 22, The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. Diseases were rampant during the Great Depression, for the medical field had little money for healthcare, people had no money and had to go without any healthcare, thus making health diseases such as polio, syphilis, venereal disease and pneumonia catastrophic.

Verse 23 and 24 says, The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. The Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed.

Is this not what verses 23 and 24 are saying?

The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent the aeolian processes (wind erosion) caused the phenomenon. The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940, but some regions of the High Plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.

With insufficient understanding of the ecology of the plains, farmers had conducted extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains during the previous decade; this had displaced the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. The rapid mechanization of farm equipment, especially small gasoline tractors, and widespread use of the combine harvester contributed to farmers’ decisions to convert arid grassland (much of which received no more than 10 inches (~250 mm) of precipitation per year) to cultivated cropland. During the drought of the 1930s, the unanchored soil turned to dust, which the prevailing winds blew away in huge clouds that sometimes blackened the sky. These choking billows of dust – named “black blizzards” or “black rollers” – traveled cross country, reaching as far as the East Coast and striking such cities as New York City and Washington, D.C. On the plains, they often reduced visibility to 3 feet (1 m) or less. Associated Press reporter Robert E. Geiger happened to be in Boise City, Oklahoma, to witness the “Black Sunday” black blizzards of April 14, 1935; Edward Stanley, the Kansas City news editor of the Associated Press, coined the term “Dust Bowl” while rewriting Geiger’s news story.

While the term “the Dust Bowl” was originally a reference to the geographical area affected by the dust, today it usually refers to the event itself (the term “Dirty Thirties” is also sometimes used). The drought and erosion of the Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres (400,000 km2) that centered on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma and touched adjacent sections of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. The Dust Bowl forced tens of thousands of poverty-stricken families, who were unable to pay mortgages or grow crops, to abandon their farms, and losses reached $25 million per day by 1936 (equivalent to $460,000,000 in 2019). Many of these families, who were often known as “Okies” because so many of them came from Oklahoma, migrated to California and other states to find that the Great Depression had rendered economic conditions there little better than those they had left.

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_Bowl

America was in the grips of the curses for America forsake God and his very first commandment. The Lord afflicted this country with diseases, madness, continual oppression, frustration, and the influence of other religions seeping into the Christian foundation.

As one reads in verse 36, instead of a king, I would insert the Federal Reserve as the one set over our nation. When you read the circumstances of how the Federal Reserve came into existence and the major part that it played in the Great Depression, then you will agree that this was not known to many fathers at that time. Look back at the previous columns for more depth on the inception, growth and role the Federal Reserve played in the Great Depression.

Verse 37 says, You will become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the Lord will drive you. According to the Business Insider: An ill-timed tariff

As demand declined, big business and agriculture, feeling the effect of cheap goods from abroad, lobbied for protection. Congress obliged with the United States Tariff Act of 1930, aka the Smoot-Hawley bill, which raised tariffs on foreign products by about 20%. 

Multiple countries retaliated with their own tariffs on US goods. The inevitable result was a trade melt-down. In the next two years, US imports fell 40%. 

No markets abroad. No demand at home. Small wonder that economic activity ground to a standstill. 

And from the ThoughtCo. — American Economic Policy With Europe– As the Great Depression tightened its grip on the nation, the government was forced to act. Vowing to protect U.S. industry from overseas competitors, Congress passed the Tariff Act of 1930, better known as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. The measure imposed near-record tax rates on a wide range of imported goods. A number of American trading partners retaliated by imposing tariffs on U.S.-made goods. As a result, world trade fell by two-thirds between 1929 and 1934. By then, Franklin Roosevelt and a Democrat-controlled Congress passed new legislation allowing the president to negotiate significantly lower tariff rates with other nations.

And from Britannica.com– Decreased international lending and tariffs. In the late 1920s, while the U.S. economy was still expanding, lending by U.S. banks to foreign countries fell, partly because of relatively high U.S. interest rates. The drop-off contributed to contractionary effects in some borrower countries, particularly Germany, Argentina, and Brazil, whose economies entered a downturn even before the beginning of the Great Depression in the United States. Meanwhile, American agricultural interests, suffering because of overproduction and increased competition from European and other agricultural producers, lobbied Congress for passage of new tariffs on agricultural imports. Congress eventually adopted broad legislation, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act (1930), that imposed steep tariffs (averaging 20 percent) on a wide range of agricultural and industrial products. The legislation naturally provoked retaliatory measures by several other countries, the cumulative effect of which was declining output in several countries and a reduction in global trade.

The handwriting is on the wall and distinctions are very clear—The American people were now under the curses for they disobeyed God’s law and must be punished.

I will close asking you to read the correlations between the Israelites and the Americans during the depression. You may or may not agree, but what you are reading is God’s word and the impact on a country so blessed and yet so stiff-necked thus testing God.

We will pick up on Deuteronomy 28—38-66 and put together a few more correlations and observations.