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The Great Depression began on “Black Thursday,” October 24th, 1929, when the stock market crashed, due to 12.9 million shares being traded. The Great Depression was ten years of economic decline, which greatly affected the United States and other countries. Over the next four days, the stock market declined by 22%. The Great Depression affected industrial production, prices, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and every other aspect of society. The great depression was a great step that changed the economic policy making and the economic thoughts. It was not only an economic situation, but it was also a miserable time in history.
The society was frightened from losing money, work and stability. In America the housing market was the main factor of the great depression. A crisis of liquidity appeared in the banks, forming a credit crunch. This period was influenced by over extended stock market shortage of water in the south and over trusting. The American government established some regulations, so they could control the productions, which were essential for the war. The Great Depression was a time of economic recession, lasting 10 years in the United States, forever changing the country, and making it stronger.
The stock market crash of 1929, is initially what started the Great Depression, but there were other factors involved. When the stock market crashed, The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped from around 350 points to 200 points. The cause for the crash was, because many people thought that the stock market would continue to rise forever, and it would basically be free money. They thought this, because it had consistently been going up for the last ten years, because the war was over, and it was the roaring twenties, but eventually it crashed when widespread speculation started occurring. People started selling off their stocks and when they did this, other people sold them too, because they thought it was going to crash. Due to the demand of the stocks not being as high as the available quantity was, they started selling for less. This caused a lot of people to lose a lot of money, much of which they had to pay back, because they were loans from banks.
Banking panics during the 1930’s caused banks to fail, which then decreased the pool of money that was available for loans. The Gold Standard and the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act also impacted the Great Depression. The Gold Standard demanded foreign central banks to increase their interests rates, in order to counteract trade imbalances. Doing this, depressed the spending and investments of other countries. The Smoot Hawley Tariff Act placed tariffs on agriculture and industrial goods, which lowered output and caused global trade to decrease.
Before the Great Depression, many people tried to withdraw their money from their banks and even got loans because they were putting it in the stock market because people believed it would continue to increase forever. This caused the banks to not have much money left in them. They were no longer getting any money back from the people that had invested in the stock market, because the stock market crashed. They had given a huge amount of loans to these people. They gave so many loans that when people tried to withdraw their savings, because they were laid off from their jobs, the banks didn’t have any money to give the people. This caused people to lose their homes and not be able to afford food and other necessities. By the time The Great Depression was over, 11,000 of the 25,000 banks were out of business. This massive amount of bank failures caused people to have a distrust in banks, even after the FDIC was established to protect the people in the case this happened again. This caused a stifling of the economy and made it so that it took longer for the economy to recover.
The Great Depression had affected every aspect of the economy, but one that isn’t often talked about is how it affected women and men. The economy of the period relied heavily on so-called “sex-typed” work, or work that employers typically assigned to one sex or the other. And the work most directly associated with males, especially manufacturing in heavy industries like steel production, faced the deepest levels of lay-offs during the Great Depression. Women primarily worked in service industries, and these jobs tended to continue during the 1930s. Clerical workers, teachers, nurses, telephone operators, and domestics largely found work. In many instances, employers lowered pay scales for women workers, or even, in the case of teachers, failed to pay their workers on time. But women’s wages remained a necessary component in family survival. In many Great Depression families, women were the only breadwinners.
American women found the task of homemaking increasingly challenging in the face of the sharp cuts in the family budget due to the nation’s economic crisis. Women continued to supervise the feeding and clothing of their families during the period but needed increased creativity to complete these tasks. A common saying of the time explained how to stretch one’s household dollar: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Although the 1920s had introduced more convenience goods into the mainstream kitchen, housewives in the Great Depression returned to money-saving techniques like canning fruits and vegetables. Women sewed more of the family’s clothes. “Outwork,” or performing labor for wages at home, became a popular way to add to the family income. For instance, many women opted to take in the laundry of others for a fee. Even with these creative choices, malnutrition and disease became the results of extended poverty for some families.
Relations between husbands and wives grew strained because of financial insecurity. The financial downturn disrupted the husband’s traditional role as breadwinner added space for the family, leading to increasingly rancorous marriages. Tight budgets in families led to the end of simple pleasures like leisure-time activities and further added to stress. The rate of husbands deserting their families rose during the period. Couples delayed marriages or even decided not to marry at all due to the financial constraints of setting up new households. Childbearing rates decreased, and more couples utilized contraception to limit family size. Extended families, including multiple generations, also decided to share housing to cut costs.In the face of a collective mood that championed women’s domestic ties and disparaged working women, the feminist ideals that had grown during earlier periods lost momentum.
In 1933 Franklin Roosevelt was elected the President of America. He delivered his first inaugural address in March 4,1993 on Washington’s Capitol Plaza. “First of all,” he said, “let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He promised that he would act swiftly to face the “dark realities of the moment” and assured Americans that he would “wage a war against the emergency” just as though “we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” His speech gave many people confidence that they’d elected a man who was not afraid to take bold steps to solve the nation’s problems. The next day, Roosevelt declared a four-day bank holiday to stop people from withdrawing their money from shaky banks.
On March 9, Congress passed Roosevelt’s Emergency Banking Act, which reorganized the banks and closed the ones that were insolvent. In his first “fireside chat” three days later, the president urged Americans to put their savings back in the banks, and by the end of the month almost three quarters of them had reopened.The increasing pressures of the Great Depression caused President Roosevelt to back a new set of economic and social measures Prominent among these were measures to fight poverty, to counter unemployment with work and to provide a social safety net.The Works Progress Administration (WPA), the principal relief agency of the second New Deal, was an attempt to provide work rather than welfare. Under the WPA, buildings, roads, airports and schools were constructed. Actors, painters, musicians and writers were employed through the Federal Theater Project, the Federal Art Project and the Federal Writers Project. In addition, the National Youth Administration gave part-time employment to students, established training programs and provided aid to unemployed youth. Although the WPA only included about three million jobless at a time, it had helped a total of 9 million people when it was abandoned in 1943.
The Great Depression was a time of economic recession, lasting 10 years in the United States, which allowed the country to learn and become stronger. The Great Depression started in 1929 and went on throughout the 1930’s. It occurred in multiple countries, but it was the worst in the United States. In the United States, millions of people were affected by it, including the rich. During the Depression, the rich were still okay, but many of the poor and middle class families lost their jobs, homes, and money. The Great Depression was the worst economic disaster to ever take place in the United States. The Great Depression affected industrial production, prices, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and every other aspect of society. The worldwide GDP fell by 15%. In the 2008 recession, the GDP went down by 1%, and people today thought that was terrible. The Great Depression was caused initially by the stock market crashing in 1929, from overproduction and underconsumption, and from the banks lending out too much money. These three things combined led to the worst economic disaster in history.
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