Recessions and Depressions Essay

Recessions and Depressions Essay

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America has experienced several recessions and depressions in the past. Most recently, the housing crisis sparked a recession which has led to rising unemployment. The largest recession so far has been the Great Depression of the 1930s. A stock market crash in 1929 caused loss of savings which led to unemployment, lower wages, and a distrust of the banking system. The affects of it lasted into the 1940s. Franklin Roosevelt was elected president during this period; legislation he passed tried to alleviate the suffering of the public. As a result of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps to employ jobless young men and improve government land.
The decade directly preceding the Great Depression was prosperous and lucrative. Many factors led to this era, often called the roaring twenties. The use of labor-saving machinery affected several industries. Henry Ford’s Model T suddenly was much cheaper, which enabled more families to purchase one. Less than seven million cars were on US highways in 1919. That number leaped to 23 million in 1929. This increase of cars and travel led to the expansion of gas stations, roadside restaurants, and service and repair stations. The use of machinery decreased the amount of labor needed on farms while increasing the yield per acre. Prohibition was still being enforced so the need for moonshine created an economic niche for those entrepreneurs not afraid of the law. Radio sales also increased rapidly. Total radio sales in 1922 were at $60 million while 1929 had radio sales totaling $850 million. This increase of radios also enabled more commercials to reach the ears of consumers. For the first time, marketing messages were being sent direct...


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... always conservation. As the depression slowly lessened and the program drew to a close, critics began to wonder if the Corps was conserving public lands, or over-developing it (“New Deal for Parks” 8).
The looming threat of World War II redirected the efforts of the CCC. While the Corps still worked on government land, it was mainly on military bases to build or refurbish airfields and artillery ranges. When the United States officially joined World War II, funding for the Corps was cut. Even if funding had been continued, the program would’ve shrunk drastically as many of the enlistees joined the Army and were sent overseas to fight the war. The Civilian Conservation Corps is widely viewed as one of the more successful programs of the New Deal. It employed half a million young men while improving thousands of acres of public land (New Deal for Parks 8).

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