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The Great Depression

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The Great Depression - Page Text Content

FC: The Great Depression

1: What caused The Great Depression? That is a question that's been asked by many, and there's no terribly obvious answer. As it is most widely believed, a stock market crash on October 29th 1929, Black Tuesday, is to blame. The crash itself cannot be single handedly held responsible, however.

2: In the two months after the original crash, people fearfully started pulling there money out of the stock market and limited their overall consumer spending to very little. In turn, stocks went down even more, and businesses began to fail. As businesses failed, employees were getting fired, and as employees got fired, they had a lot less money to pay off their frivolous loans.

3: But it was not only the consumers at fault, but also the federal government for passing laws that ultimately caused the banks to fail (taking all the money left in them with them). The first law prohibited banks from growing out of their original state; this was called The McFadden Act. They also gave frivolous loans to people unwilling and unable to pay off their debts. There was also an act that raised taxes 50% to anyone trading to or from the United States. This discouraged aid from other countries, driving us deeper into the depression.

4: The Great Depression was often marked as beginning October 1929, although the economy only truly failed two months after that. Similarly, the end of the Depression was often marked as ending simultaneously to our involvement in World War II - around December 1941. However, it was a few months prior that the economy had stabilized itself again. Throughout the Depression, families found themselves unable to pay off housing loans and got most of their lives repossessed. Mothers were unable to feed their children, fathers were unable to work to provide a home for their families, as many workers preferred hiring immigrants. Thousands were forced to live in Squatter Camps, where people would build shacks which they used as homes.

5: As if the Depression hadn't been hard enough on families in families in the agricultural region, Oklahoma was hit with an incredible dust storm which completely buried some homes. | A severe drought immediately followed. This made things increasingly more difficult for families from the Great Plains, North Dakota, to Texas. Also from the Mississippi River Valley to the Rockies.

6: Though the Depression was hard on all, people found ways to assist one another. President Hoover pushed the idea of volunteer work, and some were able to eat from the Soup Kitchen. | However, no single soup kitchen was able to feed the entire US population. Most everyone was affected by the Depression, and everyone was in need of assistance. Some were left to (more often then not) plant or CATCH their own meals.

7: The economy slowly began climbing up again come 1938, but in reality the US encountered what is called "wartime posterity" in 1941. The US became involved in World War II... And wars are expensive. However, the wars are mostly expensive for government and not consumer. Military uniforms need to be made, rations need to be stored, soldiers need to be drafted. As our involvement increased, so did our need for supplies. And as the need for supplies increased, so did our employment levels. More people needed more workers, and bank accounts slowly began to rebuild themselves. The end of the Great Depression was very much single handedly on the posterity brought on by the tragedy of World War II.

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  • By: Braelin A.
  • Joined: about 8 years ago
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  • Title: The Great Depression
  • For Ms. SH's American History class.
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  • Published: about 8 years ago