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The Great Depression Essay

714 words - 3 pages

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The Great Depression
Causes of the Great Depression Many factors played a role in bringing about the
depression; however, the main cause for the Great Depression was the combination of
the greatly unequal distribution of wealth throughout the 1920's and 30's, and the
extensive stock market speculation that took place during the 1930's. These were not
only the factors of the great depression, structural weaknesses and the fact that most of
the other countries were affected just kept the depression going were also played a
part. The resulting period ranked as the longest and worst period of high unemployment
and low business activity in modern times. The Great Depression was the worst
economic slump ever in U.S. history, and one that spread to virtually the entire
industrialized world. Banks, stores, and factories were closed and left millions of
Americans jobless, homeless, and penniless. Many people came to depend on the
government or charity to provide them with food. It led to a sharp decrease in world
trade as each country tried to protect their own industries and products by raising tariffs
on imported goods. The economy continued to fall almost every month. At first the stock
market was an important but not the dominant influence. But however, by 1929 the
market became the symbol of the nation's prosperity and an icon of American business
culture. Everything was going great; the stock prices reached what looked to be a
permanently high plateau. In September of that year the market began to slide, but
people ignored the sign. But on October 29, 1929, "Black Tuesday", the stock market
took a huge fall. More than 16 million shares changed hands in frantic trading. Investors
soon realized they were heavily in debt so they started to sell their stocks, which led to
others doing the same. That was the start of all the panic, everyone started selling but

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most of them couldn't find buyers. The impact of "Black Tuesday" led to bank failures
because speculators who had borrowed from banks to buy their stocks could not repay
the loans because they could not sell their stocks. This was the main start of the
depression, because it not only wiped out the savings of thousands of Americans, it hurt
commercial banks that had invested in the corporate stocks. Many of the middle class
people lost their life savings and had no other way...

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