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I.Economy Appears Healthy a. The Election of 1928 aa. Republican Herbert Hoover defeated Democrat Al Smith ab. Hoover had been Secretary of Commerce under Harding and Coolidge ac. Hoover predicted that "poverty will be banished from this nation" b. in 1928 alone, stock values rose by almost $ 11.4 billion c. the New York Times described the year as one “of unprecedented advance, of wonderful prosperity” d. since 1914, the value of workers’ wages had risen more than 40 percent e. for some, business success became almost a religion ea. one of the decade’s best-selling books was The Man Nobody Knows (1925), by Bruce Barton, that told the biblical story of Jesus’ life in business terms eb. portrayed Jesus as a managerial genius who " picked up twelve men from the bottom ranks of business and forged them into an organization that conquered the world" f. John Raskob in 1929 wrote an article, “Everybody Ought to Be Rich,” he encouraged people to invest their money fa. said that savings of only $15 a week over 20 years could bring a $400-a-month income from investments g. the three Republican Presidents of the 1920s equated the interests of the nation with the interests of business i. welfare capitalism ia. employers provided benefits such as paid vacations, health plans, and English classes for recent immigrants in an effort to prevent unions from organizing II. Economic Danger Signs a. the rich mainly got richer aa. the wealthiest .1% controlled most of the country's wealth ab. large corporations rather than small businesses dominated industry ac. in 1929, 200 large companies controlled 49 percent of American industry b. personal debt increased significantly in the 1920s ba. traditionally, Americans feared debt and postponed buying goods until they had the cash to pay for them bb. in the 1920s, however, the availability of easy credit and the proliferation of new consumer products encouraged people to borrow money freely c. an increase in stock prices encouraged widespread speculation (the practice of making high-risk investments in hopes of getting a high gain) d. stockbrokers encouraged a practice called buying on margin da. the practice of purchasing stock for a small percentage of its price and promising to pay the balance a later date, in essence borrowing the money e. overproduction caused some industries to slow in the late 1920s f. the automobile industry, which had helped create American prosperity, slumped after 1925 fa. industries that depended on it - steel, rubber, and glass - also declined g. rural America did not experience the prosperity of the cities ea. during the 1920s, farmers suffered an economic downturn eb. when the wartime demand ended, prices, especially for wheat and cotton, plummeted ec. the depressed situation of United States agriculture was largely caused by mechanization, rising production costs and overproduction ed. rural banks suffered when loans were not repaid and about 6,000 banks went out of business ee. the McNary-Haugen farm relief was intended to increased the price farmers received for their crops eea. President Coolidge vetoed it I. The Market Crashes a. in early 1928 the Dow Jones Industrial Average had climbed to 191 aa. the Dow Jones is the average of stock prices of major industries b. by Hoover’s inauguration day, March 4, 1929, it had risen another 122 points c. prices for many stocks soared far above the real value in terms of the company’s earnings and assets d. after the peak in September, stock prices fell slowly. e. when the stock market closed on Wednesday October 23, the Dow Jones average had dropped 21 points in an hour ea. October 24, worried investors began to sell, and stock prices fell eb. to stop the panic, a group of bankers pooled their money to buy stock f. on October 29, known as black Tuesday, a record 16.4 million shares were sold fa. the stock market collapsed fb. known as the Great Crash g. by November 13, the Dow Jones average had fallen from its September high of 381 to 198.7 ga. many people lost all of their money h. the Great Crash was part of the nation’s business cycle (periods in which the economy grows then contracts) II. The Crash Affects Millions a. by 1929, about 4 million people out of a population of 120 million had invested in the stock market b. the Crash triggered a much wider, long-term crisis called the Great Depression, a severe economic decline that lasted from 1929 until the Unites States’ entry into World War II in 1941 ba. a depression is characterized by few jobs and low demand for products c. American factories began to close d. farm prices fell even more, bringing final disaster to many families e. after the stock marker crash, people with loans to repay as well as nervous depositors rushed to withdraw their money III. Causes of the Depression a. unequal distribution of wealth aa. a small proportion of families held most of the nation’s personal wealth aab. 71 percent of individuals and families earned less that $ 2,500 a year b. large personal debt ba. people borrowed more than they could repay c. speculation in the stock market ca. during the 1920’s, speculators bought stocks with borrowed money, then pledged those stocks as collateral to buy more stocks d. government money policy da. the Federal Reserve system cut interest rates to spur economic growth, then in 1929, worried about over speculation, they abruptly changed their policy and limited the money supply to discourage lending e. overproduction eb. the country’s warehouses held large amounts of unbought consumer goods f. stock market crash fa. companies whose stock at plummeted cut production and laid off workers IV. Effects of the Depression a. unemployment aa. thousands of workers lost their jobs or had their pay cut ab. in some European countries, workers had government unemployment insurance, but the United States had no such program ac. by 1932, more than 12 million people were unemployed about a quarter of the labor force b. worldwide economic decline ba. the American stock market crash started a downward cycle in the global economy baa. American banks demanded repayment of loans form European countries bab. American companies stopped investing in European countries bac. European economies suffered because they could not sell goods in the American market c. bank failure ca. thousands of banks closed their doors when they could not return their depositors’ money cb. in just a few years, more than 5,500 banks failed d. decline in Gross National Product da. in 1929, the Gross National Product was $103 billion daa. by 1933 it was only $56 billion e. long term cultural changes ea. no one who lived through the Depression would ever be the same f. poverty, health, and social problems I. Poverty Spreads a. at first, people thought the Depression would be short b. people at all levels of society were affected ba. lost jobs, savings, homes, etc. c. in the country, people grew food and ate berries and other wild plants d. in cities, they sold apples and pencils, begged for money to buy food e. President Hoover did very little to provide relief ea. he opposed federal welfare programs to give relief directly to the poor eb. thought relief programs would destroy individual initiative ec. opposed deficit spending ed Republicans thought the Depression would end on its own f. some unemployed laborers, unable to pay their rent, moved in with relatives fa. others drifted fb. in 1931, the homeless alone in New York City was at 15,000 fc. homeless people built shanty towns and tent cities fca. named them “Hoovervilles” because they blamed Hoover for not helping them fcb. old newspapers used by the homeless to keep warm were called "Hoover blankets" fcc. pockets turned inside out were “Hoover flags” g. farm families suffered as low food prices cut their income ga. the depression for farmers had begun before the stock market crash gb. they could not pay their mortgages, and they lost their farms to the banks gc. in protest against low farm prices, some farmers dumped thousands of gallons of milk and destroyed other crops h. drought made farming more difficult in the Plains region during the 1930s ha. the affected area included parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado hb. exposed soil was blown away in dust storms hc. during what became known as the "Dust Bowl," thousands of families in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and other southwestern Plains states migrated to California hd. so many of these migrants were from Oklahoma that all Dust Bowl migrants were called "Okies" i. low farm prices and terrible weather caused many families to sell their farms or see them taken away III. Poverty Strains Society a. the Depression took a serious physical and psychological toll on the entire nation b. children suffered most from the long-term effects of poor diet and inadequate medical care c. in the country, people grew food and ate berries and other wild plants ca. in cities, they sold apples and pencils, begged for money to buy food, and fought over the contents of restaurant garbage cans cb. families who had land planted “relief gardens” to feed themselves or to barter food for other items d. men who had lost jobs or investments often felt like failures da. many were embarrassed to be seen at home during normal work hours e. working women were accused of taking jobs away from men ea. most school districts would not hire married women teachers, and many fired those who got married f. unemployment led to great anxiety and fear g. hard economic times put groups of Americans in competition with one another for a shrinking number of jobs ga. this produced a general rise is suspicion and hostilities against minorities gb. black unemployment soared—about 56% of black Americans were out of work in 1932 gc. relief programs discriminated against African Americans, black churches and organizations like the National Urban League gave private help gd. followers of a Harlem evangelist known as Father Divine opened soup kitchens that fed thousands everyday h. discrimination increased for African Americans in the South ha. some white southerners declared openly that blacks had no right to a job if whites were out of work hb. African Americans were denied civil rights such as access to education, voting, and health care hc. lynching increased i. in March 1931, near Scottsboro, Alabama, nine black youths who had been riding the rails were arrested and accused of raping two white women on the train ia. the nine became known as the “Scottsboro Boys” ib. eventually five were convicted, though there was very little evidence and one of the women had recanted her testimony a. no one who lived through the Great Depression ever forgot it aa. long after the Depression, the “Depression generation,” even those who recovered enough to live a very comfortable life, would continue to pinch pennies as if financial ruin were just around the corner ab. many Americans avoided buying on credit, instead saving for years to pay cash for needed items ac. others even stuffed money under their mattresses rather than trust their life savings to banks I. Hoover’s Limited Strategy a. Hoover blamed the Great Depression on “world wide economic conditions beyond our control," not on problems in the United States b. Hoover believed that voluntary controls by United States businesses were the best way to end the economic crisis ba. taking Hoover’s advice, business and government leaders tried to maintain public confidence in the economy c. Hoover and the Republicans began to be blamed for the crisis d. as the Depression worsened, Hoover began to accept the idea of public works projects da. to create jobs, the government spent more on new public buildings, roads, park, and dams db. Boulder Dam (later renamed Hoover Dam) was begun in 1930 e. 1930 Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act to protect domestic industries from foreign imports, the highest import tax in history ea. the tariff backfired - European countries raised their own tariffs, bringing a sudden slowdown in international trade f. 1932, Hoover set up the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) fa. Reconstruction Finance Corporation offered emergency loans to banks, farm mortgage associations, building and loan societies, and other such businesses to prevent bankruptcies fb. the RFC reflected the theory that aid given to banks and businesses would eventually help ordinary people g. Hoover wanted state and local governments to handle relief, but their programs never had enough money ga. throughout his administration, Hoover opposed federal welfare programs to give relief directly to the poor gb. Hoover argued that direct federal relief would destroy people’s self-respect and create a large bureaucracy h. although his World War I relief work had made him the “Great Humanitarian,” Hoover’s attitude made him seem cold and hard-hearted i. 1932, Hoover broke with tradition and let the RFC lend the states money for unemployment and relief j. as the Depression deepened, some economists backed the ideas of British economist John Maynard Keynes ja. he argued that massive government spending could help a collapsing economy and encourage more private spending k. in the summer of 1932, 20,000 jobless World War I veterans and their families encamped in Washington D.C. ka. called the "Bonus Army" kb. wanted immediate payment of a pension bonus that had been promised for 1945 kc. the House of Representatives agreed, but they Senate said no kd. General Douglas MacArthur ordered to disperse the marchers kda. decided to use force toe drive the marchers out of Washington ke. public relations disaster for Hoover II. A “New Deal” for America a. “I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people,” announced presidential candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he accepted the Democratic Party’s nominations at its Chicago convention in July 1932 aa. the Republicans had named Hoover in June b. the New Deal was similar to the earlier Progressive movement in that both sought to reform the economic system a. Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) elected in 1932 aa. promised a “New Deal” b. New Deal had three main goals: 1. provide relief for the unemployed 2. bring about economic recovery 3. create reforms which would prevent another depression from occurring c. the New Deal, like the earlier Progressive movement, attempted to reform the economic system I.Restoring the Nation's Hope a. after FDR took office, WWI veterans staged a second Bonus March on Washington aa. this time, the new administration provided campsites for the veterans b. in FDR’s Inaugural Address of March 4, 1933, he told Americans: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. c. the first Sunday after taking office, Roosevelt spoke to the nation over the radio in the first of what became regular “fireside chats” d. The First Hundred Days da. from his inauguration in March through June 1933, a period known as the hundred days, FDR pushed program after program and stimulate economic recovery e. because many banks were in trouble and in danger of failing, FDR’s first step was to restore public confidence in the nation’s banks ea. on March 5, 1933, he ordered all backs to close for the next four days eaa. “bank holiday” eb. he then pushed Congress to pass the Emergency Backing Act eba. the act authorized the government to inspect the financial health of all backs ec. in June Congress increased confidence further by establishing a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to insure bank deposits up to $5,000 f. persuaded Congress in May to establish a Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) fa. sent funds to local relief administrations fb. Harry Hopkins was the director fc. FERA also put federal money into public works programs - government-funded projects to build public facilities g. November 1933, was the Civil Works Administration (CWA) established ga. provided jobs building or improving roads, parks, airports, and other facilities h. March 1933, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established ha. provided jobs to young men ages 18-25 planting trees, building dams, and creating firebreaks i. public works programs also helped Native Americans ia. John Collier, FDR’s commissioner of Indian Affairs, used New Deal funds and hospitals, and irrigation systems ib. Reorganization Act of 1934 ended the sale of tribal lands begun under the Dawes Act (1887) and restored ownership of some lands to Indian groups j. National Industrial Recovery act (NIRA) of June 1933 sought to support industrial prices ja. established the National Recovery Administration (NRA) jb. established industry-wide codes to insure fair practices jba. the codes regulated wages, working conditions, production, and even prices jbb. set minimum wage jbc. protected the rights of workers to form unions and gave organized labor collective bargaining rights jc. Public Works Administration (PWA) was set up by the NRA to provide jobs through government spending jca. $3.3 billion in spending provided through the PWA jcb. PWA directed by Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes jcc. the PWA launched projects ranging from the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in the state of Washington, to the causeway connecting Key West to the Florida mainland, to New York City’s Triborough Bridge k. Federal Securities Act, passed in May 1933, required companies to provide information about their finances if they offered stock for sale l. Congress set up the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to regulate the stock market m. Congress also gave the Federal Reserve Board power to regulate the purchase of stock on margin n. the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) refinanced, or reshaped the terms of, mortgages to make the payments more manageable o. May 1933, Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), set up oa. it ried to raise farm prices through subsidies or government financial assistance ob. AAA used proceeds from a new tax to pay farmers not to raise certain crops and animals oba. under this program some farmers plowed under growing crops oc. lower production, it was hoped, would raise prices od. AAA left tenants and sharecroppers to fend for themselves p. May 1933, Tennessee valley Authority (TVA) created pa. TVA provided cheap electric power, flood control, assistance to farmers, and recreational opportunities to the he Tennessee Valley q. many of FDR’s programs directly benefited the South qa. Roosevelt's experiences in Warm Springs, Massachusetts left him with a deep feeling of sympathy for the South II.New Deal Personnel a. for the first time a woman held a cabinet post aa. Frances Perkins became Secretary of Labor, a job she held until 1945 b. FDR hired African Americans to more that a hundred policy-making posts c. Mary McLeod Bethune, held the highest position of an African American woman ca. appointed director of the Division of ***** Affairs of the National Youth Administration in 1936 cb. Bethune advised FDR on programs that aided African Americans cc. she forged a united stand among black officeholders by organizing a Federal Council of ***** Affairs cca. this unofficial group, know as the "black cabinet", met weekly and advised FDR IV.The New Deal Falters a. when the programs failed to end the Depression they came under attack and many parts were declared unconstitutional b. many worried about the increasing power that New Deal agencies were giving to the federal government ba. former President Hoover warned against “a state-controlled of state-directed social or economic system . . . That is not liberalism; it is tyranny” c. in 1935, the Court declared the NIRA unconstitutional because it gave the President lawmaking powers and regulated local rather that interstate commerce ca. 1936, the Court ruled that the tax that funded AAA subsidies to farmers was also unconstitutional V.A Second New Deal a. 1935, FDR launched a new, even bolder burst of legislative activity aa. this period is often called the "Second New Deal" b. the Second New Deal included more social welfare benefits, stricter controls over business, stronger support for unions, and higher taxes on the rich c. the Works Progress Administration (WPA), an agency set up in 1935 and lasting eight years, provided work for more than 8 million citizens ca. WPA - put people to work in their home towns building roads, bridges, schools, airports, playgrounds, etc. cb. created the National Youth Administration to give part-time jobs to students 16-25 cc. gave jobs to artists, writers, and scholars d. May 1935, Rexford Tugwell set up a Resettlement Administration that loaned money to owners of small farms and helped resettle tenants and sharecroppers who had been hurt by AAA subsidies f. 1937, a Farm Security Administration (FSA) replaced Tugwell’s agency fa. loaned more that $1 billion to farmers and set up camps for migrant workers g. July 1935, Congress passed a National Labor Relations Act (aka the Wagner Act) ga. the Wagner Act legalized practices like collective bargaining and closer shops (work places open only to union members) gb. outlawed spying on union activities and blacklisting (a practice in which employers agreed not to hire union leaders) gc. set up a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to enforce its provisions h. 1938, a Fair Labor Standards Act banned child labor and established a minimum wage for all workers covered under the act i. 1935 Congress also passed the Social Security Act ia. established a Social Security system to provide security, in the form of regular payments, to people who could not support themselves ib. the Social Security program would be paid for by taxes on employees ic. this system offered three types of insurance: (1) Old-age pensions and survivors’ benefits. (2) Unemployment insurance (3) Aid for dependent children, the blind, and the physically disabled id. FDR called Social Security The New Deal's "cornerstone" and "supreme achievement" VI.The 1936 Election a. Republicans nominated Kansas governor Alfred M. Landon b. FDR carried every state except Maine and Vermont, winning 523-8 in the electoral college I.The Limits of the New Deal a. New Deal fell short of many people’s expectations aa. the Fair Labor Standards Act, for example, covered fewer than one quarter of all gainfully employed workers ab. set the minimum wage at 25 cents, which was below what most laborers already made b. New Deal agencies also were generally less helpful to women and minority groups that they were to white men c. many aspects of New Deal legislature put woman at disadvantage ca. for example, the NRA codes permitted lower wages for women’s work in almost a quarter of all cases d. Federal relief programs in the South, including public works projects, reinforced racial segregation da. skilled jobs went to whites e. Social Security Act excluded both farmers and domestic workers f. New Deal did nothing to end discriminatory practices in the North g. the early Depression had seen an increase in the number of lynchings. ga. 1935 and 1938 bills to make lynching a federal crime went down to narrow defeat gb. FDR refused to support anti lynching because Southern legislators in Congress held so many key positions he was afraid to anger them II.Political Critics a. many critics believed the New Deal went too far from its proper role, made government too big, and made government too intrusive aa. many wealthy people thought New Deal programs as socialistic ab. many critics thought New Deal programs made people dependent on the federal government ac. some claimed Social Security penalized successful, hard working people aca. others saw the assignment of Social Security numbers as the first step toward militaristic, regimented society ad. a group called the American Liberty League , founded in 1934, spearheaded much of the opposition to the New Deal ada. charged the New Deal with limiting individual freedom in an unconstitutional, "un-American" manner adb. led by former Democratic presidential candidate Alfred E. Smith, the National Association of Manufacturers, and business figures such as John J. Raskob and the Du Pont family b. many critics believed the New Deal did not do enough ba. New Deal had only limited success in eliminating poverty bb. Progressives and Socialists attacked the New Deal bc. 1934 muckraking novelist and Socialist Upton Sinclair ran for governor of California on the Democratic ticket bca. his platform, "End Poverty in California" (EPIC), called for a new economic system in which the state would take over factories and farms bd. running for the United States Senate, Wisconsin Progressive Robert La Follette, Jr., argued that "devices which seek to preserve the unequal distribution of wealth…will retard or prevent recovery" bda. his brother Philip called for redistribution of income IV.The Court-Packing Scheme a. Roosevelt received criticism not only for his programs, but also for his actions b. Supreme Couth had caused FDR his greatest frustration ba. the Court had invalidated the NIRA, the AAA, and many state laws from the Progressive Era c. February 1937, FDR proposed a major court reform bill ca. the legislation would have enabled him to appoint as many as six additional justices, one for each justice over 70 years of age d. he was forced to withdraw his reform bill e. some thought if FDR was allowed to get his way, all the time, the Presidents that follow might use the power to become dictators f. many Republicans and Southern Democrats united against further New Deal legislation g. FDR did wind up with a Court that tended to side with him I.The Recession of 1937 a. the New Deal gave the economy a boost, but did not put an end to the Depression b. the economy collapsed again in August 1937 ba. industrial production fell, as did employment levels c. the new Social Security tax was partly to blame for the 1937 recession d. FDR also cut spending on programs out of worry over the National Debt e. after 1937 Harry Hopkins and others persuaded FDR to expand the WPA and other programs II. Unions Triumph a. the New Deal changed the way most Americans thought about labor unions b. union membership rose from about 3 million in 1933 to 10.5 million by 1941 c. activism by powerful union leaders helped increase membership d. 1935, United Mine Workers president John L. Lewis joined with representatives of seven other AFL unions to try to organize unskilled workers da. they created a Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) within the AFL db. the AFL suspended the CIO unions in 1936 e. November 1938, this coalition changed its name to the Congress of Industrial Organizations ea. John L. Lewis became its first president eb. had 2 million members ec. the main weapon of the CIO was the strike f. the Wagner Act legalized collective bargaining and told management it had to bargain in good faith with certified union representatives fa. contributed to union growth fb. by 1936, 36% of non-agricultural workers were unionized fc. led to a wave of spectacular strikes g. unions used sit-down-strikes ga. workers stopped work, but refused to leave the workplace; supporters outside then organized picket lines gb. together, the strikers and the picket lines prevented the company from bringing in scabs, or substitute workers h. the first sit-down strikes took place in early 1936 at three huge rubber-tire plants in Akron, Ohio ha. the success of the sit-downs led to similar strikes later in the year at several General Motors (GM) auto plants i. 1939, the Supreme Court outlawed sit down strikes III.New Deal’s Effects on Culture a. several works of classic literature emerged from the Depression Era aa. Pearl Buck’s novel The Good Earth (1931) ab. folklorist Zora Neale Hurston published Their Eyes Are Watching God (1937) ac. John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (1939) b. 1936, Tennessee writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans lived for a few weeks with sharecropper families in Alabama ba. wrote Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941) about the experience c. radio became a major source of entertainment. ca. comedy shows peaked in the 1930’s, producing stars such as Jack Benny, Fred Allen, George Burns, and Gracie Allen cb. the first daytime dramas, called soap operas emerged in this period d. by 1933, the movies had recovered from the initial setback caused by the early Depression Americans needed as escape from hard times, and the movies gave it to them da. Monkey Business (1931) and Duck Soup (1933) were comedies db. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) became a classic cartoon dc. several movie classics were released in 1939 dca. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) dcb. The Wizard of Oz (1939) dcc. Gone With The Wind (1939) dcd. Stagecoach (1939) e. FDR earmarked WPA funds to support unemployed artists, musicians, historians, theater people and writers ea. the Federal Writers’ Project, established in 1935, assisted more than 6,000 writers’ including Richard Wright, Saul Bellow, Margaret Walker, and Ralph Ellison eb. WPA also created the Federal Music Project, the Federal Art Project, and the Federal theater Project IV.Lasting New Deal Achievements a. New Deal did not end the nation’s suffering, but did lead to some profound changes in American life b. New Deal parks, roads, bridges, dams, tunnels, public buildings, and hospitals stand to this day c. Tennessee Valley Authority supplies jobs and electricity d. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation still guarantees bank deposits e. Securities and Exchange Commission continues to monitor the workings of the stock exchange f. Social Security remains an important part of American life g. the New Deal changed American political thinking because it advanced the principle that the federal government should become more involved in the social and economic life of the people ga. as a result, voters began to expect a President to formulate programs and solve problems gb. people accepted more government intervention in their lives, and laborers demanded more changes in the workplace
I think it is important to remember that the Great Depression wasn't an event like a war other specific incident, but rather a span of many years that affected an entire nation in many different ways. I am assuming that you have to write a report or something similar for school, so I am not going to just give you the answers, but will give you clues to help you figure out what you need to know. First, start with how it began ... in this way it is similar to a war, that it does have a difinitive day that many consider the start of the great depression ... this day will be in 1929. Explain what it was that caused the depression. Next, figure out who was president when it started, and see if he remained president, or was someone new elected? Did the president start any new programs or pass any major laws or ammendements? A major event also happened in the mid-west during the 1930's. Find out what this was...and here's a hint, it was not connected to the stock market, but made life harder for the people who lived out there. Lastly, find out how it ended....there was something that snapped us out of the depression. Also, if you are finding that there is too much information, try maybe looking up the story of just one family, or a town (maybe even the town that you lived in). Ask some older relatives that you may have that lived through the depression or who may know stories from ones that did. I'd also look up some statistics from the depression, such as average monthly income for the span of years that the depression did occur from. I hope this helps!
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