Black Tuesday Essay

768 words - 3 pages

On Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the United States stock market suddenly and completely collapsed. This event is known as Black Tuesday and is attributed by many historians to be the start of the worst financial crisis in U.S. history, The Great Depression. The Great Crash itself had a devastating impact. Hundreds of banks failed, and because bank deposits were uninsured, their depositors lost some or all of their money. “Frightened customers drew their savings from solvent banks, forcing them to close.”1 And that was just the beginning. Government’s response to the Great Depression changed the lives of non-elite members of society. It changed them negatively at first. Herbert Hoover’s strategies for fixing the economy failed and drove these working class people even farther into debt and poverty. The unemployment rate was so high that some out of work people were so poor that they resorted to living in boxes, and packing crates, and the only meals they ate were obtained courtesy of a local soup kitchen. Things began to look up when FDR took over as president. His plans for stimulating the economy worked, and in a big way. The federal agencies that he instituted provided millions of jobs, and poured mass amounts of money back into the nation’s economy.

1 James A. Henretta, America A Concise History. (New York: Bedford/ St. Martin’s 2010) 692

Working class people, also known as the non-elite members of society, were extremely worried during the Great Depression. They were worried not only about their future, but about their present. This was due to the fact that President Herbert Hoover’s strategies for making the economy better, and improving the lives of the American people were failing. An example of this was the Revenue Plan of 1932. This plan raised taxes to balance the budget, but all it did was choke consumption and investment. On top of this people were losing their jobs very rapidly. The national unemployment rate was nearly twenty five percent. This forced many families out of their homes and onto the streets. “By 1930 homeless people had built shantytowns in most of the nation’s cities. In New York City, squatters camped out along the Hudson River railroad tracks, built makeshift homes in Central Park, or lived at the city dump.”2 Many citizens began to call these shantytowns “Hoovervilles.” Another...

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