Sunday, August 8, 2010

From 1950: Middletown Takes Action on Hoarding

This article is from exactly 60 years ago today, published in the Hartford Courant on August 8th, 1950. The comic is from the day earlier, also published in The Courant.

Council Resolution Condemns Buying Up Of Desirable Goods
Hoarding of war scarce items came in for official attention by the city Monday night when the Common Council adopted resolutions urging residents not to hoard “goods of any kind” and also to support the Civilian Defense program.

As in other cities, merchants here have experienced a buying spree by residents in items that were scarce in World War II. Tires, sugar, nylon stockings, etc., have been among the leaders but there has been some slackening in the buying, reports indicate.

Text of Resolution
The resolution adopted by the Council was: “Whereas, all the things which we hold dear are at stake in the present worldwide struggle between communism and the defenders of God-given rights, and
“Whereas, Americans are laying down their lives and undergoing the utmost hardship in Korea on behalf of all of us, and all freedom-loving people of the world,
“Be it resolved by the Common Council of the city of Middletown that the Mayor urge all citizens of Middletown to give the Federal Government the greatest possible support in the existing crisis, in particular by not hoarding goods of any kind, and in signing up with the Police and Fire departments as auxiliaries who may be needed in the protection of our own community.”
Just 5 years after the end of World War II, the Soviet Union and China loomed as powerful enemies bent on destroying the United States. When North Korea attacked South Korea on June 25th of 1950, people throughout the world prepared for another period in which food and other supplies would be in short supply. President Truman did his best to reassure Americans that there was no prospect of shortages, even touting the size of the 1950 corn harvest at a press conference. He was only partly successful, and there were some shortages and price rises in part due to hoarding.

The notion that the Common Council of a small city in Connecticut would urge its citizens to support the Federal Government seems somewhat quaint this century. I find it hard to imagine the Common Council eight years ago urging its residents to support the president or other branches of the Federal Government in the invasion of Iraq or the Council today in the implementation of health care or immigration reforms. The link to party, the fear of aiding a political opponent, and a general reduction in the unity of opinion seem to make such resolutions less likely to be passed now.

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