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The Great Depression - The Hardships of the early 1900s.

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FC: The Great Depression - The Hardships of the early 1900's

1: The year is 1929. The war has ended, and most people believe that the good times are here to stay. They spend money heedlessly, borrowing it from banks and then investing it in the stock market, which has no sure guarantee of any pay. Jazz music has been introduced, and people are concerned not with the future, but with the present; music, money, and dancing.

2: On October 24, 1929, everything changed.

3: On the day that came to be known as "Black Thursday", the prices on the stock market crashed. Investors were made nervous by the rising interest rates, and suddenly sold their shares. This jolted investor confidence, and caused prices to plunge abruptly. This was the beginning of the Depression. On the following Tuesday, October 29, prices sank even farther. Sixteen million shares were dumped on the market as investors grew panicked.

4: Things such as "playing the market" and nargin n buying were part of the push that created the Depression. People had "more" money because the war had ended, and therefore spent more money. Prices were skyrocketing, and so were business costs.Businesses were struggling to remain competitive but profitable at the same time.

5: Another influence was the bank failures. As banks disappeared, so did the money. Three reasons for this were the McFadden Act, loans made by citizens, and panic. Because of the money they lost in the stock market, people would be unable to pay banks back their loan. Banks would lose money, and other people would be affected as well. | After the crash, people spent less and saved more, which cause less production, less jobs, and more unemployed people.

6: Everyone from schoolteachers to farmers to children was affected.

7: Families had a hard time keeping their children in school as they failed in finding new jobs. Farmers struggled with both the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Their crops were worthless as a drought hit the Midwest. As incomes fell, farmers were unable to pay their mortgage, and their farms began to foreclose. President Hoover continually reassured Americans that the worst was in the past, and it could only get better. However, it seemed directly the opposite.

8: People who were forced from the homes lived in shacks on empty lots. Unemployed workers sold apples on the street for a nickel per apple, hoping for just a bit of money to make it through the day. Many blamed the Depression on President Herbert Hoover, nicknaming their shantytowns "Hoovervilles".

9: During the Great Depression, food was scarce, education was a faint possibility, and money was simply a wild dream.

10: People would go each day to a breadline, desperate for just a bowl of soup and a piece of bread. Poor diets caused people to have health problems for years after the end of the Depression. Immigrant workers were forced to return to their homeland by the United States, who believed that removing immigrants would ease the strain of the Depression.

11: Mothers struggled to provide for their children as their husbands searched for jobs.

12: Affected by the mood of the Great Depression, more than 20,000 Americans committed suicide. Shame hit family after family, who had great pride in their jobs and education, only to realize that none of it mattered as they sold apples on the streets. | Books, movies, and radio programs offered cheap entertainment; a way for people to escape reality.

13: As the election of 1932 came around, three years after the crash, people were desperate for a change. | President Hoover had suggested simply "waiting it out." But after three years, the American people thought that they had waited long enough. Hoover tried to boost the economy with the "Reconstruction Finance Corporation", and the "Agricultural Marketing Act". Neither worked, and as the Republicans reluctantly renominated Hoover as their presidential candidate, Democrats choose Franklin D. Roosevelt, governor of New York.

14: FDR was a skillful politician who was born into a wealthy family. Even with polio, he successfully became the governor of NY in 1928. Trusting in FDR's promise of a "new deal", America voted him for President.

15: Roosevelt's enthusiasm greatly encouraged Americans, as did his promise. After taking office in March 1933, FDR called Congress into a special session to approve the fifteen measures that made up the New Deal.

16: FDR first focused on the banking system, issuing a bank holiday to stop withdrawals. Banks began to reopen, and by the end of the month around one billion dollars in deposits had entered the system. Congress passed the FDIC in June 1933, which insured each bank deposit up to 5000 dollars.

17: Congress also established the FERA, created to distribute 500 million dollars in to state and local agencies. | Other acts such as the Federal Securities Act, and the National Industrial Recovery Act, regulated companies that sell stocks and bonds and stabilized prices, raised wages, limited work hours, and provided jobs.

18: Though some criticized the New Deal, it effectively did its job. Eventually, the Second New Deal was passed, which had more public-works programs, a social-security plan, and wage and hour improvements for laborers.

19: After the beginning of WWII, people began to have jobs both in the factories and on the battlefield. Finally, in 1941, the Great Depression, which had haunted and shamed millions of people, lasting twelve years, ended.

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  • By: Emma W.
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  • Title: The Great Depression - The Hardships of the early 1900s.
  • Tags: great depression, 1900s, herbert hoover, fdr, franklin roosevelt, stock market crash, black tuesday
  • Started: about 7 years ago
  • Updated: about 7 years ago