The Great Depression and the Stock Market Crash of 1929
The beginning of the Great Depression is usually attributed to the “crash” of the New York Stock Market on Tuesday, October 29, 1929. This date is known as “Black Tuesday,” and it was caused by many factors, the primary factor being the inflation of stock prices due to speculation. On that Tuesday, stock prices fell lower than any other time in the United States, and they did not rise until the September peak in 1954. Many people had taken loans to buy stock, because the market was high, and there was much optimism that prices would continue to raise. Therefore, not only did they lose money on the stocks they had bought, but also they were required to pay back loans in a declining economy.
The Great Depression lasted from 1929 until the late 1930’s, even into the early 1940’s. It was the lowest and longest economic downturn of the 20th century. It began in the United States but spread worldwide. Unemployment rose to 25% as factories slowed production and tried to recover some of their own losses due to the stock market crash. Unemployed people are unable to purchases commodities and manufactured goods; therefore, the factories slowed production down farther and laid even more people off. Those who worked in farming, logging, and mining also suffered as the demand for goods and supplies diminished. Banks began to collapse as people withdrew their money, fearing that the banks would find necessity to use the funds to accommodate the losses they had incurred during the crash. Many who did manage to acquire jobs were severely under-employed, and wages were far under what they should have been. Businesses collapsed, farms went under, and foreclosures of homes were prominent. People were unable to pay their taxes, and the government didn’t have the necessary capital to drive the country out of Depression. Many took to the roads to become migrant farm workers in order to feed their families. Many were still unable to do so. Poverty was everywhere, and the photographs of the time showed a people that were tired, dirty, poor, and desperate to take care of their families.
Between 1933 and 1936, many legislative actions began to take place, coined by Franklin D. Roosevelt as “The New Deal.” These actions focused on relief, recovery, and reform. As these measures began to heal an ailing country, unrest began to build about Europe, and the first pangs of World War II began. Production and manufacturing began to rise, as the country prepared for the upcoming war, and the economy began to rise.
Today, the Great Depression is referred to as the most devastating of times in the United States. Economists and financiers seek to learn from the mistakes of that time to lessen the possibility of it occurring again during these economically trying times. Following is a list of education resources on the Great Depression. Information on the stock market crash and the life and times of the depression are given, as well as educational resources for those who wish to foster more learning on the subject.
Great Depression Information
Great Depression Education
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