The Great Depression

By: Morgan Greene

My page will cover 5 main topics on The Great Depression and those are as follows:
  1. The start of The Great Depression
  2. The causes
  3. The effects
  4. The recovery and turning point
  5. Life during The Great Depression

This video will give you a brief overview of The Great Depression.

Where this video is from
The Start of The Great Depression

Jobless Men.
Jobless Men.
This wasn't the first depression the United States had experienced, but it was the largest, most far reaching depression the world has ever seen. The depression is recognized to have hit on the day the stock market crashed in 1929. This day is now called "Black Tuesday". The economists and leaders thought that it was just a small bump in the road or just a correction, no more severe than the country recently suffered after World War I. The numbers soon proved them wrong. The depression worsened each and every day. The depression devastated the rich and the poor. The unemployment rate in the Untited States rose at least 25%. In some countries it actually hit 33%, as it reached its highest point. Every city in the world was hit hard, but the cities that relied on heavy industry were affected the greatest. Personal income, taxes, profit, and prices were hit very hard and dropped tremendously. Also, decreased by one half to over two thirds was trade. Farmers suffered from crop prices plunging at least 60%. With jobs being scarce, people looked toward cash crops, mining, and logging to try to make a little money to live off of.

The Causes
There are many causes believed to have led to The Great Depression.
Selling everything they have.
Selling everything they have.

According to here are the top 5 causes:
  • Stock Market Crash of 1929-This happened on October 29, 1929, "Black Tuesday". A few months after the crash the stock market lost up to $40 billion dollars and the United States went into depression.
  • Bank Failures-In the 1930s over 9,000 banks failed. This means most people completley lost their saving accounts. The surviving banks became less willing to open new accounts or give loans.
  • Reduction in Purchasing Across the Board-With the stock market crashing, this left questions about economical struggle and individuals stopped purchasing items. This made the industries not produce as many products and this required less workforce. Many people loss their jobs and many industries went down hill. This didn't help the economic struggle and many people were left poor.
  • American Economic Policy with Europe-When business began to fail, the government created something to help protect American companies called Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930. This raised the taxes of imports and America traded less with foreign countries.
  • Drought Conditions-There was a drought in the Mississippi Valley in 1930 and people not being able to pay thier taxes and debts, led to farmers selling their farms for barely any profit from the sales.
For a book on The Great Depression click here

A mother and her 2 children during the depression.
A mother and her 2 children during the depression.
The Effects
Industry in the United States suffered from lack of demand for products. People just didn't want to spend what money they had on unnecessary items. Food was one of the few essential items that was still being being imported and exported. Prices had to be lowered because people did not have the money they used to, therefore companies did not make as much profit from sales. Many businesses and factories had to close, which caused unemployment rates to rise. As unemployment began to rise, banks became afraid of lending money, because people couldn't repay loans. Many families were left at a dead end, homeless, hungry and poor. Families were broken up because parents could no longer care for their children. The government did not have the great amounts of resources necessary to help the needy families. This led to American citizens losing faith in their government. Without food banks and government programs to assist families, they were left on their own to survive. Deaths rose from hunger and illness. However, some positive results came from the struggles that Americans faced. People learned how to manage money and finances. They learned to be careful with investments and do the best with what they have. The children who grew up during this time learned to be creative. They did not have money to buy entertainment, so they used their imaginations

This video will show you some of the effects during The Great Depression.

**Where this video is from**

The Recovery and Turning Point
President Franklin D. Roosevelt developed a plan for recovery from the depression. Known as "The New Deal", the plan aimed to fix the economic problems that gripped the country during the depression.
"I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people" FDR
"I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people" FDR

Upon his election as president, it was obvious that drastic action had to be taken. Below are some of the programs and plans that were put into effect and brought aid to our country:

The economy was raising and making a recovery from the depression
The economy was raising and making a recovery from the depression

  • The Federal Emergency Relief Administration was established by Harry Hopkins. This was for relief of people's wages, this ended up paying out arounf $3 billion dollars.
  • The Civilian Conservation Corps was established, which employed at least three million men to work on roads, flood control, and foresty labor.
  • An administration was formed called the Works Progress Administration (1939)Focusing on employing citizens to carry out pulic works, such as buildings roads and public buildings, this was the largest New Deal administration.
  • The Public Works Administration allowed large amounts of government money to be invested in large construction projects, which in turn provided job opportunities and put Americans back to work.
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) provided laws about minimum wages and laws regarding work hours, which protected American workers.
  • There was a law established to insure bank deposits up to $5 thousand dollars. Then later on that money value rose to $10 thousand dollars.
  • To help people get their homes back or to get a new one the Home Owners Loan Corporation program was established.
For a timeline on events during The Great Depression click here

Life During The Great Depression

In today’s world, it is nearly impossible to really understand what life during The Great Depression was like. Today’s adults, who were children during The Great Depression, are now in the 80’s and 90’s and are able to give us vivid first hand accounts of life during that time. Most of these children have grown up to be strong, self sufficient adults. They learned as children that tomorrow is a gift that you cannot always count on. They learned to save money, not to spend money unnecessarily and to prepare for an uncertain future.
As unemployment rose and families became desperate, children left school in order to work for low wages. Travis (who was 12 years old during this time) recalls: "(He) found his father behind their Massachusetts house, crying and heartbroken. My dad was the strongest man I knew, but the Depression brought him to his knees.” “ Other children remember playing a game of “eviction” where they would imitate what they were seeing happen to families. As one child said, “We ain’t got no money for rent, so we move. Then we get the sheriff on us, so we move again.”

One child, who was somewhat more fortunate during this time, Alice (10 yrs), remembers her grandparents taking her to see the Hooverville huts. These were huts constructed by homeless families in a little “town” by the river. She remembers, “Grandma and Grandpa would squeeze all of us kids in a car and drive us down to a Hooverville by the river. It made our hearts ache to see how bad off other kids were. Even if we only got sweets or fruit once a month, it made us think how lucky we were.”

Listen to this first hand account from a survivor of The Great Depression:

Where this video is from

This is a video of 4 Bay Area seniors telling their experinces during The Great Depression.

This tragic time in our country’s history, has produced strong adults, who are mainly focused on family and religion instead of material possessions. They are self sufficient adults who take care of themselves, their families and their futures. They are strong individuals from whom we can all learn lessons from.

Work Cited