The Plight Of Ordinary People During The Great Depression

978 words - 4 pages

The Great Depression touched people at every race and income level. It seemed no one was exempt from the emotional and economic toll of the downturn. Lives were turned upside down, and many did not know how to cope. With the financial collapse, kids lost their college funds, and families lost their homes. Families had to resort to making shelter any way they could. Communities were erected in almost every state that consisted of shelters made of crates and metal sheets; these communities were known as “Hoovervilles” (Leuchtenburg, pg. 251). Others would seek refuge in caves, subways, and under bridges (Leuchtenburg, pg. 252). The life savings of many were lost before anyone could comprehend what was happening.
Many businesses also felt the impact of the depression, as funding dried up businesses closed their doors (Kennedy, pg. 163). Iron and Steel production slowed to levels never before seen (Kennedy, pg. 163). Industries like construction and automobile were hit hard, as well as the companies that supplied them (Kennedy, pg. 163). Farmers in rural America were displaced by drought and falling crop prices. Things were so difficult that the only alternative was to pack up their belongings and move to other states in search for work (FDR and the Depression video).
Men and women suffered from unemployment and reduced wages (Kennedy, pg. 163). The average demographic of the person on relief were white males in their thirties usually unskilled and uneducated (Kennedy, pg. 166). Job loss for many lasted for two years or more, which resulted in emotional stress and a loss of self-respect (Kennedy, pg. 166). They felt their wives and children did not revere them as they once did as they loss their place as provider and heads of the household (Kennedy, pg. 166).
In 1933 more than 25% of the workforce was out of work, of these four hundred thousand were women (Kennedy, pg. 163). Thing were tough for women all over, the Federal Government made it a priority to hire heads of household; however, this resulted in the firing of women who were mostly secondary household earners (Kennedy, pg. 164). Women who worked as teachers, clerks, and switchboard operators were more fortunate than most, these fields often experienced wage cuts instead of job losses (Kennedy, pg. 164).
Coal miners were hit hard by the depression (Kennedy, pg. 169). Their wages were cut drastically; they survived the best that they could often living on a diet of “bulldog gravy” (water, flour and lard) (Kennedy, pg. 169). The diet of many did not even meet animal standards, many babies starved to death after going days without food (Kennedy, pg. 169). Disease and malnutrition were widespread, especially among children, the elderly, and the unskilled (Kennedy, pg. 169).
Some children of the Virginia miners were so poor that they never tasted milk and went without...

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