The Stock Market Crash Of 1929

915 words - 4 pages

"Wall Street Lays an Egg!" That's what the front page of Variety Newspaper said on the morning of October 30, 1929, as it summed up the biggest stock market crash in American history. Let me tell you a little about that... First of all, how many of you own stock or shares on Wall Street?(Pause.) All, or most of you, probably don't. Well, work with me and picture for a minute that you do. Picture that you've invested your entire life savings into shares of stock. Now, imagine for a moment that you're standing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange waiting to find out if you've made some money from your shares. You're watching the ticker, or the board that shows how much money the stocks have gained or lost. The past few weeks have been pretty hectic with all the stocks fluctuating up and down. You're not really sure what's going to happen or how everything is going to turn out. You're watching. Waiting. The next few minutes could make the difference between financial survival and utter ruin. Everything you have depends on the next few seconds, which seem like eternities. You're scared. (Eyes wide with anticipation.) The name of your stock pops up onto the ticker. You're devastated to realize that the worst thing that could possibly happen has happened. Your worst nightmare has come true. The value of your stock has plummeted, along with all the other stocks. Panic sweeps over the New York Stock Exchange floor. Investors and brokers are frantically trying to sell and exchange stocks. You've lost everything. You have nothing left. How would you feel if this happened to you? Take what you would feel like and multiply that by about 2,000. That's how most of the people on the stock exchange floor felt the morning of October 23, 1929; the day it all began; the day the crash started.

It all started in the 1920's, after World War I. During the twenties, one of the biggest changes in American society was the way that people thought about money. They wanted more of it. More products were being manufactured in hopes to make more money. Farmers were buying new machinery, such as tractors and milking machines, which sped up the farming process a great deal. As a result, farmers were producing more than they could sell, just as manufactures were. Fifteen (15) to thirty (30) percent more items were being made than could be sold. These extra goods piled up in warehouses. At the same time, the prices that farmers could get for their crops and livestock were falling. Prices for American farm products dropped by almost thirty (30) percent. As all this happened, people were becoming more interested in the stock market and the buying, selling,...

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