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The Great Depression In America Essay

820 words - 3 pages

The Great Depression

Irving Fisher, an economist at Yale University in 1929, confidently

stated, “The nation is marching along a permanently high plateau of

prosperity.” Less than a week later, the bottom dropped out of the stock

market sending the American economy toward its worst downfall in

history. The Great Depression was not only responsible for a dramatic

change in the structure of American politics, but also for a change in

Americans’ expectations about government. The Depression affected all

Americans, rich or poor, and was responsible for ushering numerous

social problems into the lives of citizens.

Herbert Hoover was elected president in 1928. Prior to his election,

during his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination, he stated,

“We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than

ever before in the history of any land. The poorhouse is vanishing from

among us.” Many Americans shared Hoover’s optimism in the

beginning of 1929. On January 1, 1929, The New York Times printed an

editorial reading, “It has been twelve months of unprecedented

advance, of wonderful prosperity. If there is any way of judging the

future by the past, this new year will be one of felicitation and


Later that year, on Tuesday, October 29, the market crashed. This

day is known as “Black Tuesday” and is considered the single most

devastating financial day in the history of the New York Stock

Exchange (NYSE). Prices fell so far in the first few hours that day,

profits from the year before were completely wiped out. America spent

nearly thirty million dollars on WWI. A comparable amount was lost

from the American economy in the two weeks between October 29, and

November 13, 1929.

High school dropout rates soared to nearly three million following

The Crash. Unemployment and homelessness were widespread. Many

homeless across America built cardboard and tar-paper shacks, called

“Hoovervilles” in sarcastic reference to President Hoover. Organized

protests took place around the country. Farmers, in hopes of preventing

foreclosures, marched at local banks armed with guns and pitchforks.

Farmers were hit especially hard by the Depression. Many of them

could no longer make the payments on their land and machinery they

had placed themselves in debt to buy. As if that was not bad enough,

much of the Midwest and South was turned into a dust bowl when a

great drought took place in 1931-32.

As Americans searched for a way to escape, some industries...

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