The 1920’s may have been prosperous for some Americans, but the growing prosperity was actually weakening the economy. Many US citizens were never participating in the boom from the start. There were some wealthy individuals, but 60% of people were living below the poverty line. The coal mining industry had expanded greatly, creating many jobs, but with the introduction of oil and gas, the production of coal was decreased along with the amount of jobs. The United Mine Workers Union’s membership fell from 500,000 in 1920 to 75,000 in 1928 (Temin, 33).
This caused a huge scare for Americans. Between 1929 and 1933 many people lost their jobs at a rapid rate and the “gross national product fell by 29%” (Who Built America? 392). All of these events led to the decline of some cities. In an act to try and aid Americans, the Federal Reserve Board kept interest rates low.
The Stock Market crash happened on October 29, 1929 and the Great Depression started in 1929 and ended in 1939. In the end of September and the beginning of October stock prices began to decrease. The crash was caused by the nervous investors which sold 16.9 million stocks on the New York Stock Exchange in one day. Many businesses invest most of their money in the stock market to make more money, but when the stock market crashed, so then businesses had to shut down because they have no money. Most of the nation’s banks also failed because they had to put the depositors money in the stock market to increase but when it crashed people lost most of their money.
Another cause to the Great Depression was this newly invented idea of buying on margin, otherwise known as buying on credit. Banks were lending massive amounts of money to people who could not pay the money back. This eventually caused the banks to run out of money and simply fail. Many Americans that bought on credit were forced into foreclosures and repossessions. By 1932, almost 6 million Americans were unemployed and having a hard time finding work.
The Depression was a period of time after the economic boom of the 1920's in America, when the economy went downhill. People lost money, jobs, shares, businusses went bankrupt and the farming industry suffered greatly. The Republic Government at the time lead by Hoover was still following policies of Lassez Faire so business was not getting the support it needed to get it back on track. The Republic Governments Protectionist policies were one of the causes of the great depression. There were trade problems associated with their protectionist policies.
“The result was drastically falling output and drastically rising unemployment; ... ... middle of paper ... ...its were contracting it; The Fed's inaction was the reason why the initial recession turned into a prolonged depression; The economy continually sank throughout Hoover's entire term. Under Roosevelt's New Deal, it rose five out of seven years. Attempts to blame Big Government for the Depression do not withstand serious scrutiny; The Smoot-Hawley Tariff had a minor impact because trade formed only 6 percent of the U.S. economy, and reducing trade gave Americans only that much more money to spend domestically. Hoover's other attempts at government intervention came mostly during his last year in office, when the Depression was already at its depth; The first nations to come out of the Great Depression were Sweden, Germany, Great Britain, and then everyone else did so after they adopted the Keynesian solution of heavy deficit government spending and the Keynesian economic policies have eliminated the depression from the world's economies in the six decades that have followed. Works Cited WWW.huppi.com WWW.english.uiuc.edu Nelson Cary Kennedy, David Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War Oxford, New York 1999 Oxford University Press
Major businesses increased profits through most of the decade while wages remained low and workers were unable to buy the goods they had helped to produce. The financial and banking systems were very unregulated and a number of banks had failed during the 1920s. The construction and automotive industries, whose booming business had been made possible by the prosperity earlier in the decade, slowed. Declining sales resulted in higher rates of unemployment. America was witnessing a breakdown of the Democratic and free enterprise system as the US fell into the worst depression in history.
As business failures increased and unemployment soared--and as people with dwindling incomes nonetheless had to pay their creditors--it was apparent that the United States was in the grip of economic breakdown. Most European countries were hit even harder, because they had not yet fully recovered from the ravages of World War I.) The deepening depression essentially coincided with the term in office (1929-33) of President Herbert HOOVER. The stark statistics scarcely convey the distress of the millions of people who lost jobs, savings, and homes. From 1930 to 1933 industrial stocks lost 80% of their value.
This led to the concentration of wealth the top two percent of the US owned sixty percent of the money and the rest of the people were poor. Mechanization caused massive over production which put the US in a strain because of it’s lack of consumers. So they cut production and raised prices which was still ineffective. With food being too expensive work, and housing was scarce the poor were forced to make housing. With a combination of mechanization, conservative presidents, concentration of the wealth because of the trickle down theory, and higher taxes on the poor, the poor worked harder and steadily got poorer.
But when banks started to crash that is when people started to panic and was trying to get their money back, millions of Americans lost fortunes. This caused companies to lose their values and no longer be able to afford to stay in business. William C. Durant joined the Rockefeller family and other financial giants to buy big stocks to prove to the people their assurance in the market but they failed to stop decline in prices. According to the website Globalyceum, US gross domestic product, in 1929 $103.6 billion, in 1930 $91.2, in 1931 $76.5, in 1932 $58.7, in 1933 $56.4. The total size of the American economy, restrained by gross local product, suddenly dropped following the crash on Wall Street from $103.6 billion to $66