The Great Depression

By: Bailey Carr

The Causes of the Great Depression

      The stock prices were rising and falling in the early 1920's. The stock market crashed when people made margin calls and sold their stock. Black Thursday was when the market plummeted and Black Tuesday was when prices dropped the lowest they had ever gone. The crash also sent Europe further into debt and they lost their economic gains. The crash of the stock market wasn't really the cause of the Great Depression but it was a factor.

Bank Foreclosure

    The foreclosure of banks was one major cause. Most of the banks had to close because the stock market had crashed and because everyone pulled their money out of the banks to keep their money safe, this is called a bank run.  The banks that did survive were so worried about surviving that they did not want to give out as many loans and that caused a problem because people couldn't buy as much "stuff".


    Overproduction was also a cause. Overproduction was a problem because people weren't making enough money and they had little to no disposable income. Because the radio stopped selling as much, the copper industry started to fail which then caused unemployment. The Hawley-Smoot Tariff raised the average tariff rate to the highest level in the American industry.

Low Rates

    The low rates caused companies to borrow more money because they thought economy was expanding but in reality it was failing which caused more overproduction and then the Depression finally hit and the economy continued to spiral.

Life During the Depression

      Life during The Great Depression was awful. There was so much unemployment during this time, not only in the United States but all around the world and especially in Germany. People went hungry and couldn't pay their rent and ended up losing their homes and caused them to become hobos.

The Dust Bowl

    The Dust Bowl was a time when crop prices dropped and farmers didn't really work and then the drought began. The drought caused a lot of animals to die and also caused many dust storms. The Emergency Farm Mortgage Act tried to help farmers with their foreclosure because when the drought came there was nothing for farmers to do and they had to close. And also because of the drought, many people decided to move toward California in hope for a better life. The drought was the worst it had ever been in 1934 because by then it was affecting 27 states. In 1935 on April 14, Black Sunday, they called it the worst "black blizzard" to ever hit. It caused a lot of damage. The Dust Bowl continued to 1939 until it finally started to rain in the fall bringing and end to the drought and that's when World War II started.

Entertainment and Art

     Even though life wasn't good during the Great Depression, movies became more popular and comic books came out and made people a little happier in the 1930s. Walt Disney produced the first animated film. Many new movies made their debut at this time. Radio comedy was also very popular at this time. Literature and art became more popular during this time as well, and photography and pictures became more powerful.

Painting by Grant Wood in the 1930s.

Hoover Responds to the Depression

      Hoover tried to downplay the economy so that people would be more rational about their decisions but he failed and the economy continued to spiral. Hoover thought at this time that individualism would be best for the country but it made it hard for him to propose policies to keep government in control.  Hoover was really worried about the economy so he held conferences to try to fix everything. Public works were creating jobs for some people but not enough. Public works were government financed building projects. Hoover refused to spend money to make more jobs and he couldn't tax the people because they would have less spending money. They thought they would try to run a deficit budget but Hoover feared that may delay an economic recovery. He decided to create the NCC which created a pool of money to help the banks be able to lend out money again. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was set up to make loans to businesses. But it was not able to meet the requirements and the economy still continued to spiral. Relief was money given directly to impoverished families. Hoover didn't want the federal government to provide relief. Emergency Relief and Construction Act was passed. It was the first time the federal government provided relief funds but the new program still collapsed.

    There was also the issue with the "Bonus Army". The "Bonus Army" were veterans that marched and sang old war songs. They were jobless and hungry and they wanted their bonuses now rather than later. The government would not give it to them. When the government didn't give them their bonuses then they resided to communities called Hoovervilles. The people in Hoovervilles were removed by MacArthur because Hoover was annoyed with them. Hoover was blamed and lost a lot of political support that he had. The depression didn't finally end until we sent 6 million soldiers including women and African Americans to World War II.


First Section

  • "Great Depression." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.
  • Appleby, Joyce Oldham., Alan Brinkley, Albert S. Broussard, James M. McPherson, and Donald A. Ritchie. The American Vision: Modern times. New York, NY: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2006. Print.
  • "Top 5 Causes of the Great Depression." American History. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
  • Google Images

Second Section

  • Appleby, Joyce Oldham., Alan Brinkley, Albert S. Broussard, James M. McPherson, and Donald A. Ritchie. The American Vision: Modern times. New York, NY: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2006. Print.
  • "About The Dust Bowl." About The Dust Bowl. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
  • "The Great Depression." N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. .
  • Google Images

Third Section

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