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The Not-So-Great Depression
A devastating event began in the late 1920s. It brought unemployment and money troubles to everyone in America. There was no event of its kind that was as severe. This event is called the Great Depression. The Great Depression dramatically impacted people in America because many were left unemployed, stock prices decline to a great extent, and many families broke up.
Many Americans during the late 20s to 30s were unemployed. "Unemployment jumped from less than 3 million in 1929 to 4 million in 1930, 8 million in 1931, and 12 ½ million in 1932." ("Digital History") This meant that medical costs were much higher than they were before. In result, injured or sick people who couldn't afford the higher medical costs stayed in the current condition they were in, and the unlucky people died. "Social Security Act of 1935 provided 'insurance' instead of relief." It was the origin for welfare legislation in America. In order to help, there were unemployment compensation laws that assisted the elderly and unemployed. Each American who qualified was issued a small amount of money to sustain themselves and their families. People debate whether the start of The Great Depression began when the stock market crashed, bringing an end to what people called a gambling business.
The stock market crashed on the date of October 27, 2009. "People were making fortunes on the stock market and then, all of a sudden, 'poof' it went." ("WGBH American Experience - The Crash of 1929") John Steele Gordon was saying that people relied on making tons of money off of the stock market. Everyone living in the city was thriving. "Besides ruining many thousands of individual investors, this precipitous decline in the value of assets greatly strained banks and other financial institutes. Particularly those holding stocks in their portfolios." Stocks had dropped to about twenty percent of the value that they held in 1929. People lost money because they were not able to sell the stocks they owned for any profit.
Many families broke up due to The Great Depression. "More than 200,000 vagrant children wandered the country as a result of the breakup of their families." (Mintz) Couples couldn't afford to live in separate homes if they wanted a divorce, but many women lived separate from their husbands anyways. In that process, many parents abandoned their children. "It made our hearts ache to see how bad off other kids were." ("All About History") Children were affected the greatest because they did not have a source of income to support themselves. But some children were lucky, and had it better than others like Alice, who was ten at the time of The Great Depression. This shows how everyday life was changed too.
The Great Depression took a toll on everyone, young and old. It was because of this event learned that many morals were learned during that time, such as "credit mentality instead of paying cash." ("All About History") The Great Depression was one of the biggest declines in the United States' history.
- Mintz, S. "Explorations - Children and the Great Depression." Digital History - using new technologies to enhance teaching and research. 2007. Digital History, Web. 14 Dec 2009. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_history/children_depression/depression_children_menu.cfm.
- Nelson, Cary. "About The Great Depression." Modern American Poetry. 2000. Oxford University Press, Web. 15 Dec 2009. http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/depression/about.htm.
- "Life During The Great Depression." All About History. 2002. allabouthistory.org, Web. 14 Dec 2009. http://www.allabouthistory.org/life-during-the-great-depression.htm.
- "WGBH American Experience - The Crash Of 1929." Web. 14 Dec 2009. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/crash/.
- "The Human Toll Period: 1930s." Digital History - using new technologies to enhance teaching and research. Digital History, Web. 15 Dec 2009. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=463.