Social Unrest Essay

Social Unrest Essay.

What Factors Contributed to the Social Unrest of the 1930’s and the 1940’s?What factors contributed to the social unrest of the 1930’s and the 1940’s? “As a consequence of the riot, the first awakenings of a new political awareness began to be felt in the hearts of black people, time and the remarkable foresight, courage and initiative of a few dedicated members of the majority were all that were required to crystallize this awareness into a mighty political force.” – Doris Johnson, the Quiet Revolution in the Bahamas: Family Islanders Press Limited -1972.

Numerous factors or elements contributed to the social issues of the 1930s and the 1940s. From social factors such as: crime, racism, lack of education and poverty to economic factors like: Unemployment, the 1929 Stock Market Crash, The Great Depression and underemployment. To think about it there were even political factors such as: the residents didn’t like who was in charge of the country, and they didn’t have a say or a vote.

The first economic issue that I am going to talk about is the 1929 stock Market crash which then leads into the Great Depression.

The world was in crisis when the stock market crashed in October, 1929 in New York on Wall Street. The stock market was one of the largest institutions in America. “While business tycoons were getting richer, the workers in their factories were poorly paid, the farmers were not receiving fair prices for their crops and therefore masses of people didn’t have enough money to buy what the factories were producing. Soon the factories came to a standstill and the workers were laid off their jobs. That was when panic hit Wall Street.” This is when investors rushed to sell shares which held in failing companies, and people rushed to the bank to withdraw their savings. While this happened, many companies were closing over night and banks were closing slowly but shortly. The effects of the Wall Street Crash caused a worldwide fall in commerce that would be remembered throughout History. Recently, the Stock Market fell in 2008 and caused a recession.

Many countries are still recovering from the down fall of the stocks. The second economic distress that the people were concerned about was unemployment. This came about when the Stock Market Crashed. This happened because Jobs were shut down; they had no wages coming into the household, so they had to line for the social services. “The factories which imported crops and raw materials from Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean could not afford to pay profitable prices and this was how the Depression affected West Indian sugar estates”. – A Cry from the Workplace. “In his testimony, Clifford Holbert a stone mason who was protecting a shop that he owned with his father relays the incident that took place at about 10 am on June 2. I was sitting on the counter and the leader who is called Johnson held his hand up and made a sign to the man. Johnson had a carpenter’s hammer in his hand. He made a sign to the men and said, “Come on, boys lets go in. I said to them. “Why don’t you behave yourselves, aren’t we all colored? They still came in. the others besides the leader had sticks, bottles and stones and some of them had empty sacs as if to put my property in. I was sitting on the counter with a shotgun on my knees.

They flocked around me and as they flocked around me the gun went off. The leader was taken up to the hospital as was dead.”- Account of a fatality by the proprietor of Bain Town store.(Source C) This then leads me into the distresses in the social factors of the 1930’s and 1940’s as crime was on the increase. This happened because people didn’t have any money to provide for their families, and they had to find ways in which they could provide for their families. Crime caused many people to live in fear, and this state or fear contributed greatly to the social unrest of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Also, they were racism and discrimination towards each other, the color bar a perfect example of racism and discrimination. “Only a small percentage of the population enjoyed secondary education and the elementary schools were controlled by the Government. Teaching was limited to the three R’s, very basic reading, writing and arithmetic”. – A Cry from the workplace. In the 1930’s and 1940’s many immigrants were returning home. Anti- immigration laws went into effect in the U.S.A and Britain. This cause many immigrants to return home.

This increase in population put a strain on the social services. Because of overpopulation the schools only could impart a little knowledge onto the children. Over population now contributes to some of the Government schools in The Bahamas. With the amount of children in one class a teacher could only teach little by little in the class time. If there is 36 children in a class, and the period is about half an hour. How much of the class time do you think the teacher could teach all 36 of the children. This problem would lead into people being distracted and not grasping the knowledge imparted to them, because they are not getting the attention needed for that class. This is when the lack of education plays an important role. Because people were uneducated they couldn’t get the jobs they wanted.

Therefore, underemployment as well as unemployment was high. This situation caused social unrest. Not allowing citizens to vote or from voicing their opinions also contributed to the social unrest in the 1930s and the 1940s. These are the two political factors that caused rioting in the little ole Nassau. The people felt that if they had a chance to vote, maybe they could vote for someone who cared about their problems. Many people felt they were in a hopeless place with no way of ever getting out. This is why there was social unrest. All in all there were many social, economic and political factors that contributed to the unrest of the citizens in the 1930’s and 1940’s.


Doris Johnson, the Quiet Revolution in the Bahamas: Family Islanders Press Limited -1972. A Cry from the Workplace- West Indian History Book II
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Social Unrest Essay

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