General Information about the Great Depression
By : Carolina and Sam


The Great Depression was by far, one of the most devastating hardships in American history. The many causes triggered the other in a chain reaction. Each devastating event worsened things for everyone nationwide. Imagine your home being foreclosed and losing the only job you had to support your family. Imagine a student in school in fifth or sixth grade going home and having no option but to quit his or her academic career in order to put his or her family first.

You may be asking yourself, what caused the Great Depression? Well, it was not just one factor, but many that had a huge impact on this event. The first cause was the Stock Market Crash of 1929 that occurred on Black Tuesday, October 29. America lost ove
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Unfinished Hotel; Dorothea Lange; FSA OWI
r 40 billion dollars, leading to the second cause which was the many number of banks that failed; everyone lost their jobs and ended up losing all their savings. The few banks that survived stopped providing loans to people. The third cause was the reduction in purchasing across United States. With the stock market crash and the fears of the economy becoming even worse, individuals from all classes stopped purchasing items and many lost their jobs. The fourth cause was the drought conditions. The drought that occurred in the Mississippi Valley in 1930 was of such proportions that many could not even pay their taxes or other debts and had to sell their farms for no profit to themselves. These are the top causes of the Great Depression that impacted America the most. These events started out small, but gained even more power as years went by. The Great Depression affected every family, from farmers and their crops, to bankers with their banks failing. So pretty much, it affected every single American.


Life during the Great Depression was desperate, poor, and the small things we take for granted today were fought over. Many people became so desperate that they roamed around the country looking for food, shelter, clothing, and jobs. Millions of Americans became sick due to a lack of proper living conditions. Food and jobs were nearly impossible to find and many people stood in lines for government hand-outs. A lot of people lived on powdered milk, dried beans, and potatoes. Times were so tough that in Chicago, riots between families broke out over barrels of garbage, with the everyone trying to find food scraps for their families. In 1930, 2.25 million boys and girls ages 10–18 worked in factories, canneries, mines, and on farms. Children left school to support their families. Shacks and shanties, Hoovervilles, started to appear everywhere. Take a look at your surroundings, and you will notice how many nice things you have. Learn to appreciate every single detail. Our nation is blessed today, but this was certainly not the case back in the days of the Great Depression.
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Dorothea Lange, FSA-OWI "Son of depression refugee"


So when and how did the Great Depression actually end? On the surface, World War II seems to mark the end of the Great Depression. During the war more than 12 million Americans were drafted and sent into the military, and a similar number worked in defense-related jobs. Those war jobs seemingly took care of the 17 million unemployed folks in 1939. Most historians have therefore cited the massive spending during war time as the even
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The only home of a depression family; Dorothea Lange; FSA OWI
t that ended the Great Depression. In addition to World War II, Roosevelt’s New Deal program helped promote economic recovery by putting Americans back to work. The Federal Government stepped in and took control of the jobs as well as the agricultural production. The Works Progress Administration (WPA), an ambitious New Deal program, put 8,500,000 jobless to work, mostly on projects that required manual labor. Thanks to both the World War II as well as the New Deal, and after close to 10 years, United States recovered from the Great Depression.


In conclusion, the Great Depression was a very demoralizing event in American culture. The economy failed due to banks closing and the Stock Market crashing. The farmland dried up due to droughts, and people lost everything they had. Life during the Great Depression was difficult on the people, making it harder for them to get any food, shelter, or jobs. The Great Depression ended by Roosevelt putting Americans back to work. Those that lived through the Great Depression learned to value even the most insignifcant things we take for granted today. It also taught us a valuable lesson of how a nation can recover from such a devastating situation, by working hard, planning ahead and taking advantage of the circumstances. The people, America, and the rest of the world will never forget the misery, suffering and hardship that was endured during the Great Depression.




Sources:
Folsom, Burton. "What Ended the Great Depression?" The Freeman Ideas on Liberty.Foundation for Economic Education. March 2010. Web. 20 February 2012. http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/what-ended-the-great-depression/
Grolier Educational. The American Scene. Sherman Turnpike, Danbury: Grolier Educational, CT 1999. Print
N.p. "Life During the Great Depression- The Voices of the Children." Life During the Great Depression. All About History. 10 March 2002.Web. 18 February 2012 http://allabouthistory.org/life-during-the-great-depression.com/
Mitchener, Kris James."The Great Depression." World Book .N.p. 8 February 12 .Web. 19 February,2012.http://www.worldbookonline.com/
Weisman, JoAnne. The Great Depression. Carlisle, MA: Discovery Enterprises, Ltd, 2000. Print.
Winter,Park. "The Great Depression Causes." The Great Depression. N.p. 26 January 12. Web. 20 February 2012.http://www.thegreatdepressioncauses.com/