BC: For: American Explorations By: Melanie Byler 1/15/2013
FC: The Great Depression 1929 - 1939
1: The Great Depression (1929-1939) was a drop in America. Businesses shut down and many American people lost their jobs. People ran out of money and couldn't find jobs. They couldn't find homes, so they became homeless, and resorted to living on the street sides.
2: What Caused the Great Depression? The great depression can not be pinned on one thing. Its like the moment when many things collide. You can see it coming and you hope that something will change. But it doesn't. The objects collide and you are left with the mess. I think the greatest cause of the Great Depression was the Roaring Twenties. The Roaring Twenties gave people a false sense of prosper and wealth.
3: Before the roaring twenties if you wanted something and couldn't afford it you simply didn't buy it. That changed with the roaring twenties. You could now get a loan for money. So if you wanted to buy a new car or house and you didn't have the money, then you could get the bank to loan you the money, which you would have to pay back with interest. This was all fine and dandy until the stock market had a panic attack and they plummeted. In a nutshell the value of business went way down. People and businesses counting on income from the stocks no longer got that income.
4: Because of businesses losing their income, they were no longer able to pay their workers. They had to fire their workers leaving many without work and money. The unemployment went from around 9% to about 25%. Over the course of the next years it left nearly 15 million people jobless. Another factor for the great depression was the bank runs. A bank run would happen and people would flock to the banks to withdraw their money. Well the banks were soon out of money and could no longer meet the demand. As a result a large number of banks had to close. Now even if a man had a good amount of money in the bank he could not get it out of the bank and it was lost. Because of the loss of money people were struggling to survive, in return they didn't put money into the economy. Which made the economy suffer more. Which in return made the people suffer more. Another factor which paid into the Great Depression was the dust storms. The dust storms swept across the west and made farming nearly impossible. People in the west started to migrate to find better jobs and lives. Sadly there were hardly any jobs that were still open.
6: How Long Did the Great Depression Last? The Great Depression started in 1929. Although many saw it coming way before that. Many think that the Great Depression happened over night. Although the stock market did practically crash over night the actual depression came in slowly. Many still had their jobs after the stock market crash. When the effect of the stock market started to show, thats when people started to see trouble. The people lost their jobs, houses, and their confidence in the government.
7: President Hoover didn't realize the danger. He thought it was just the rises and falls of business. In all reality it was just a fall in the business industry. However, because an initial step was not taken at the beginning to stop this depression it continued. It lasted for around 10 years. It was a constant battle for people to survive. Some of the people lost everything. From their houses to their hope. One of the reasons the depression lasted so long was because the people weren't just in a physical state of depression but emotionally and mentally they were depressed too.
9: What was life like during the Great Depression? For many life during the great depression was miserable. They struggled to find food, work, and money. Many resorted to stealing. Or they would stand in bread lines for hours just to get enough bread to last for that meal. It was a cycle of looking and hardly ever finding. Things did get better though. When President Roosevelt got into office, he introduced some new deals that provided men with work. Since the men were making money again they could support their families. With the money they also could support the economy.
11: The struggle to find a steady, good paying job was still there though. Men and women alike looked for ways to work. Anything from selling apples on the street corner, to mopping floors. They would be willing to do just to get something to eat. Many children ran around also trying to find food. Many didn't have a second pair of clothes. Or even a full set of clothes. If you were in the cities then you could find help in the shelters. The urban lifestyle was harder since there were not as many relief shelters.
13: Who was affected by the Depression? Not everyone was affected by the depression. In fact the wealthier people hardly felt the depression at all. However, the ones which the depression hit the hardest were the lowly, hard working middle and poor class. The poor were affected much too. If they thought they were doing good and finally making some profit when the depression hit all that was lost. Most of the rich were almost oblivious to the people that were crying out for help. The small business owners where also affected. Any business that was not directly attached to a bigger company struggled. With people not having money to buy their products how were they suppose to support themselves. The ones affected the most were the middle and lower class.
14: How did the Great Depression end? The great depression ended when some of the prices and wages were regulated. When America entered War World 2 the economy really begin to take off. Also Roosevelt's New Deals gave men ways to work and provide for their families.World War 2 really got America back on its feet. Because of the war America sent its men off to war. By this they gave the men jobs and now the jobs that the men usually filled were now filled with the women and other men who were also looking for jobs. With the demand for goods the economy spiked. Making many jobs for the people.
17: Although unemployment did not end it was greatly diminished. Many were able to find jobs that needed to be done since more jobs were open with the men leaving for the war. Also more jobs were opened because the need for more supplies to send to the war. However, America still struggled from the debt. In many ways we still are struggling. However, when we realize that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" we can rise above all challenges and win this battle.