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Essay: The Great Depression

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So, what led to this dark era? A combination of factors led to the Great Depression. A look at the series of events that took place between and , it is evident that politics and leadership contributed significantly.

From to , the United States had four presidents: Each had their own policies and agenda that contributed to the Great Depression. Leaders have the responsibility of guiding the society to survival, success, happiness and overall fulfillment of life. Therefore, they will each create policies that will enable them to be in a position to do so. President Harding came to power in and passed on unexpectedly in He was replaced by President Coolidge. They both shared similar conservatism principles economically and politically.

The result was that big businesses became successful once again. However, corruption became a problem, especially during Harding's presidency. It was during President Herbert Hoover's leadership that the stock market crashed in what came to be known as "Black Tuesday" in October of This was the beginning of the Great Depression.

A lot of people lost their savings in the banks. It was an economic crisis that saw many struggles for survival. Popular during this era were "Hoverflies", shanty towns that sprang up across the country when people lost their homes and sources of income. He was blamed by many for the Depression. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt offered some relief with his policies, but this was not to last eventually leading to what came to be called "Roosevelt Recession".

He was responsible for helping banks restore customer faith in them. The New Deal offered some economic relief. A look at the four presidents reveals that in one way or another, their leadership had a hand in the Great Depression.

The roaring 20s was an era characterized by economic success and social change. It was a period that saw new innovations such as motion picture, cars, airplanes and radios.

It was the start of suburban America. However, this revolution was not without its downsides. This new lifestyle went against their conservatism and they felt it was affecting their heritage.

Therefore, many people were persecuted for this in what came to be known as the Red Scare. This was in to They also adopted anti-immigration policies that saw foreigners convicted for crimes not committed. Changes in culture had an impact on the Great Depression. In order to maximize their ability to exploit farm workers, California employers recruited from China, Japan, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the American south, and Europe. Source Roadside stand near Birmingham, Alabama, Source Farmer and sons, dust storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, The drought that helped cripple agriculture in the Great Depression was the worst in the climatological history of the country.

Vast dust storms swept the region. Source Migrant pea pickers camp in the rain. Source In one of the largest pea camps in California. Source The photograph that has become known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made in February or March of in Nipomo, California.

Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. In , Lange gave this account of the experience: I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet.

I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history.

She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food.

There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it. Popular Photography , Feb. The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange just after the crash of On Black Tuesday, October twenty-ninth, the market collapsed. In a single day, sixteen million shares were traded--a record--and thirty billion dollars vanished into thin air.

Westinghouse lost two thirds of its September value. DuPont dropped seventy points. The "Era of Get Rich Quick" was over. Cynical New York hotel clerks asked incoming guests, "You want a room for sleeping or jumping? Not only did bank failures wipe out people's savings, they also undermined the ideology of thrift. In the summer of , in the midst of the Great Depression, World War I veterans seeking early payment of a bonus scheduled for assembled in Washington to pressure Congress and the White House.

Hoover resisted the demand for an early bonus. Even so, as the Bonus Expeditionary Force swelled to 60, men, the president secretly ordered that its members be given tents, cots, army rations and medical care. Source Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother," destitute in a pea picker's camp, because of the failure of the early pea crop. These people had just sold their tent in order to buy food. Most of the 2, people in this camp were destitute.

By the end of the decade there were still 4 million migrants on the road. Source Freight car converted into house in "Little Oklahoma," California. Dorothea Lange Source Gellert, Hugo, During the s the American Communist Party was often a victim at once of government oppression and of its own sectarian struggles, but in the mids it adopted a "popular front" policy of alliances with liberal organizations.

Its membership tripled, but more important still were the thousands of sympathizers who endorsed party-supported causes. Source Demonstration of unemployed, Columbus, Kansas. The marginal and oppresive economy of sharecropping largely collapsed during the great Depression. Source Part of an impoverished family of nine on a New Mexico highway. Depression refugees from Iowa. Left Iowa in because of father's ill health. Father an auto mechanic laborer, painter by trade, tubercular.

Family has been on relief in Arizona but refused entry on relief roles in Iowa to which state they wish to return. Nine children including a sick four-month-old baby. The actions of federal authorities in response to the recession only led to its aggravation Higgs , p.

It was a complement to the Fordney-McCumber Tariff of , which led the American agriculture to a crisis in the previous decade. Smoot-Hawley Tariff, the most protectionist bill in the U. Officials from the administration and Congress were convinced that putting trade barriers would make the Americans buy more domestic commodities and this would finally solve the unemployment problem. But they apparently did not know an important principle of international trade: In general, the distortions in the economy caused by the FRS monetary policy led the country to the path of recession, but the further steps of the state turned a recession into a full scale disaster.

Thus while the quotes were collapsing, Congress was playing with fire: In turn, Roosevelt, indeed, made some changes, but they were apparently not the changes the country hoped for. In his first hundred days he took severe measures to limit profits. Instead of removing the barriers to the growth of wealth erected by his predecessor, he created his own ones.

He weakened the U. Almost all the bankrupted banks had worked in the states with branchless system laws these laws prohibited banks to open branches and thereby diversify their portfolios and reduce risks. In , Roosevelt persuaded the Congress to establish a Social Security system, and in to introduce the minimum wage for the first time in the history of the country. Although the general public still puts these measures to his credit, many economists have another point of view. As a result of the introduction of the minimum wage, many inexperienced, young, unskilled and vulnerable workers became too expensive for the employer according to some estimates, the provisions on minimum wage adopted in under another law, left unemployed about , African Americans Smiley , p.

And current researches and evaluations show that the Social Security system has evolved in such a nightmare that it will be necessary either to privatize it, or raise the already high taxes to keep it afloat Edsforth , p.

In general, as a result of his efforts, the economy was depressed till the end of the decade. The Great Depression had important consequences both for the U. The actions of the government led not only to the limitation of free international trade, but also to the significant decrease in the inside free entrepreneurship activity: But, undoubtedly, the greatest burden of the economic crisis objectively rested on the shoulders of ordinary citizens. The massive decline in industrial production, the closure of tens of thousands of factories, mines and huge underemployment of production facilities — all this led to a tremendous increase in unemployment.

If we add the fact that the U. Many people faced a real threat of starvation. People lost the faith in themselves, their power and for a long time were in a state of psychological depression, which was much worse than the economic one McElvaine , p. However, the situation of people who kept their job was not much better. The constant oppressive feeling of insecurity and fear of losing their jobs was supplemented with the constantly lowering wages. In addition, despite the fact that carrying out economic reforms newdealers were guided primarily by pragmatic considerations a certain objectively historical pattern loomed in their actions: Thus, the reforms proved to be a tool to strengthen the state-monopolistic nature of American capitalism.

In general, the inefficiency of the financial and economic measures of the New Deal brought the advent of the new economic collapse in Bordo , p. The depression immediately spread to the European economies, but Europe really felt the whole force of the impact in It was an especially hard time for Germany depending on the depleting American loans and investments.

Unemployment in the country reached 6 million people Gates , p. Within weeks, the crisis followed in Britain; it also impacted less industrialized nations such as France and Italy.


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The Great Depression was horrendous, no other panic or depression that taken place before can add up to the economic and social devastation that The Great Depression inflicted. However before the Great Depression even happened there was a Bull Market boom.

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The great depression is an immense tragedy that took millions of people in the United States from work. It marked the beginning of involvement from the government to the country’s economy and also the society as a whole. After almost a decade of prosperity and optimism, the .

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“The Great Depression of the ’s was a worldwide phenomenon composed an infinite number of separate but related events.” The Great Depression was . This essay on the great depression highlights the events that led to this period in history. It offers an insight into the key individuals that played a role, and an analysis of causes and effects of this era.

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The drought that helped cripple agriculture in the Great Depression was the worst in the climatological history of the country. By it had dessicated the Great Plains, from North Dakota to Texas, from the Mississippi River Valley to the Rockies. The Great Depression was the worst and longest economic downturn in the history of the world economy. The Depression began in and lasted until This economic meltdown affected Western industrialized economies but its effects spread across other nations.