By: Elizabeth Lampley

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Fore more pictures from the Great Depression, click here:

The Great Depression was a time in the the United States where there was little money and many people were poor and in poverty. It was a time when the stock market crashed and the economy was terrible. This time lasted from about 1929 through 1941, when the U.S. entered World War II. This page will give you information on how the depression started, life during the depression, money and statistics during the depression, how the depression ended, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and what he did to stop The Great Depression.


There are said to be 5 reasons why the Great Depression happened:

1. On October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed. This day is now known as "Black Tuesday". Two months after this crash, stockholders lost over 40 billion dollars.
2. During the 1930's, 9,000 banks failed. Bank deposits were uninsured and people lost their savings. Then, banks that were scared about people not paying them back their loans, were less willing to loan out money.
3. As this went on, purchasing became less and less frequent. People wanted to save money, so they bought less. This put stores out of business which made people lose their jobs. Which of course led to less spending. The unemployment rate rose to 25 percent.
4. While this was happening, the government formed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930. This raised the taxes for imports which caused America to be less involved in trade with other countries.
5. There was also a drought during this time. It was so large that some people culd not pay their taxes or pay their debts so they had to sale their farmland for no profit.

This information is from: http://americanhistory.about.com/od/greatdepression/tp/greatdepression.htm

This is a graph of the Dow Industrial average in 1929.
This is a graph of the Dow Industrial average in 1929.

Dow Industrial Average in 1929.


Life as a common person during the Depression was difficult. Even the successful people with jobs before the Depression became unemployed and broke during the Depression. Many people would stand outside in a line everyday for government handouts. The cities became very crowded because hoboes and other homeless people would travel to the cities during the winter to be in a warmer enviroment. The farms were often desroyed by weather or bugs that would eat the crops which made the farmers even worse off.

Homes were often crowded because relatives and extended family would come from all over to the relative's home who actually had a house. There wasn't much furniture and people used boxes as chairs, tables, and dressers. Many people were put out on the streets. Seventeen thousand families were put out on the streets each month at the strongest point of the Depression. Many people held off marriages to save money and many people also held off on having children. Many men who were ashamed of not being able to support their families, left them. Men during the Depression, had a hard time mentally and emotionally. Many thought that it was their fault that they couldn't provide for themselves or their family. They were embarrassed to stand in a food line and would wander around everywhere trying to find jobs that many men were already in line for. During the Depression, children and teenagers had to step it up and do things that they wouldn't usually do. Teenagers often had to find jobs when their parents couldn't. Children had to become more independent and more responsible and there wasn't as much playtime.

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When the Depression first started, Herbert Hoover was the president of the U.S. and many people blamed the economic crisis on him. Hoover did try to solve the problem though, and did many things to try to help. The accusations against him probably weren't very fair and were misjudged. Since he was blamed for the homeless people who wandered the streets, people called the newspapers that hoboes used for blankets, "Hoover blankets". They also called animals like rabbits and gophers who were killed to eat by hoboes, "Hoover hogs" because they replaced the meat of the ham. "Hoovervillas" were public restrooms that hoboes would use for shelter at night and "Hoover flags" were empty pockeys turned inside out.

During the Depression, people and neighbors came together to help out, but they were also torn apart. Almost everyone was going through the same thing and would help others when they could. But at the same, time people would fight alot more over things that they needed. Churches would help others and many soup lunches were formed and very crowded. There was also alot of stealing going on. So the Depression was a positive and a negative to the togetherness of America.

This information is from:


Here are the numbers of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product for the years 1929-1941.

1929: $103.6 billion
1930: $91.2
1931: $76.5
1932: $58.7
1933: $56.4
1934: $66
1935: $73.3
1936: $83.8
1937: $91.9
1938: $86.1
1939: $92.2
1940: $101.4
1941: $126.7

As you can see, the numbers dropped drastically from 1929 to 1933 when the stock market crash happened and then began to rise after 1934. As for banks, 9000 failed over the time of the Depression. Below is the percents of unemployed people in America during the Depression.

1929: 3.2%
1930: 8.9%
1931: 16.3%
1932: 24.1%
1933: 24.9%
1934: 21.7%
1935: 20.1%
1936: 16.9%
1937: 14.3%
1938: 19.0%
1939: 17.2%

These statistics are from http://www.shmoop.com/great-depression/statistics.html
Here are more statistics of the Great Depression.

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This chart compares money and gross domestic product of the Great Depression time to the money and gross domestic product since October 2007.


The two major contributors to the end of the Depression were President Franklin D. Roosevelt and World War II.

Roosevelt devised a plan that really helped the U.S. get back on it's feet called the "New Deal". The New Deal banked reform laws, emergency relief programs, work relief programs, and agricultural programs. It also union protection programs, the social security act, and programs to help tenant farmers and migrant workers. This New Deal made the lives of the American people much better and was an important part in shaping the economical and political affairs of the nation, today.

World War II also helped alot with the end of the Depression. Some people believe that it was the main reason the Depression ended. When the United States entered the war, many men and women left to serve the army. Ten million people enlisted in the army. The U.S. had to make weapons and other things to provide the soldiers with what they need. This opened up many job oppurtunities for many people. So alot of the people who didn't enlist in the army, got jobs. This made the U.S. economy shoot up which helped end the Great Depression.

This information is from:

This is a poster encouraging women to help during World War II.
This is a poster encouraging women to help during World War II.

This is a poster encouraging women to help during World War II.


"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Roosevelt was born in 1882, in Hyde Park, New York. In 1905, he married Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1910, he was elected to the senate of New York. He was also appointed as the Assisstant Secretary of the Navy and the Democratic nominee for vice president. In 1921, he caught a bad case of polio that made it difficult to use his legs. But he was determined, and swam alot to try to regain strength in his legs. In 1928, Roosevelt became the governor of New York. In November, 1932 he was elected president of the United States. This was the first of four terms that he served as president. In his first 100 days in office, he made and put into action a plan that would help to end the depression. He also tried to stay out of War World II as much as possible. He sent non-military aid and help to countries that got attacked by the Germans. He did not declare that the U.S. eould enter the war until Dec. 7, the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed. On April 12, 1945, towards the end of the war, Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

This information is from: http://memory.loc.gov/learn//features/timeline/depwwii/newdeal/newdeal.html


- Egendorf, Laura K. Greenhaven Press. "Prosperity, Depression, and War: 1920-1945." 2003.
- City Life During The Great Depression. Dec. 6, 2009. http://middle.usm.k12.wi.us/faculty/taft/Unit7/citylife.htm
- Everyday Life During the Great Depression. The 1930's. ComAcad. Dec. 6, 2009. http://drake.marin.k12.ca.us/academics/comacad/decades%2000/1930's/The%20Great%20Depression.html
- The Great Depression Statistics. Shmoop. Dec. 6, 2009. http://www.shmoop.com/great-depression/statistics.html
- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1933-1945. Great Depression and World War Two 1929-1945. updated Feb. 2, 2004. The Learning Page. Dec. 6, 2009. http://memory.loc.gov/learn//features/timeline/depwwii/newdeal/newdeal.html
- The End of the Great Depression. Southern Illnois University Museum. Dec. 6, 2009. http://www.museum.siu.edu/museum_classroom_grant/Museum_Explorers/school_pages/bourbonnais/page6.htm
- Franklin D. Roosevelt. the White House. Dec. 6, 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/franklindroosevelt