The Great Depression

The Great Depression began in the U.S. in 1929 and continued through most of the 1930s. Set off by a stock market crash in October of 1929, it had a domino effect that translated into huge financial losses and eventually affected all classes of society and economies around the world. The rich lost their wealth and had to shut down or reduce work at their factories and shops, so laborers lost their jobs and couldn’t find employment elsewhere.

People overwhelmed with their financial predicaments committed suicide, and panicked masses withdrew their money creating a shortage at banks around the country. For close to a decade, unemployment, low profits, low prices, high poverty and stagnant trade meant families lived in deprivation. Some migrated to areas with crops where they could work as migrant workers, picking fruit or cotton just to survive.

President Franklin Roosevelt enacted numerous policies during his four terms as president in an attempt to stimulate employment through the government. He proposed the New Deal which involved large-scale federal relief and aid programs, and he also created the Social Security Administration to help stabilize the economy. Finally, by the early 1940s, the U.S. along with the rest of the world began to come out of the slump known as the Great Depression.