The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic recession that started in 1930.
It was a very complex event, but I have a few main points that we want to highlight.
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The transcript is for your convenience
During practically all of the 1920s, the U.S. economy had grown. Many people had invested all of their money. They had bought stocks in American companies. A stock is actually a tiny part of that company. The stock’s value may go if that company is doing well and the value of that stock may go down if a company performs poorly. In that case, the stock owners will lose money.
By the late 1920s, the American economy had begun to slow down and by 1929, much of the stock’s value had quickly dropped. The U.S. stock market had crashed and many owners of stock were very frightened as most stocks had become worthless. Tens of thousands of Americans had lost all their money.
The U.S. economy, and also the world economy, became weaker and weaker as factories didn’t need a lot of workers and many businesses closed their doors. Numerous people were losing their jobs and unemployment skyrocketed and there were many families who were forced to quit their homes. Every day, more and more hungry people were waiting for free food at an increasing number of community kitchens.
Many farmers couldn’t survive as well because the money they made wouldn’t cover the cost of their businesses and at the beginning of the 1930s, there fell practically no rain at all across the Great Plains so the lives of the American farmers became even harder as the soil they worked on had turned into dust. We call this area the Dust Bowl. We know this period of extreme hardship as the “Great Depression”. It was actually the worst depression the United States has experienced in its entire history.
In the year 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States. Roosevelt was decided to stop the Great Depression and he initiated new programs to support Americans. He was called this set of programs the “New Deal”. Congress was very quick to pass these new programs into law and there were programs that gave shelter and food to people.
The U.S. Public Works Administration, PWA, was hiring workers for the construction of dams and for improving roads and parks. In fact, Roosevelt’s New Deal was not ending the Great Depression, but it offered new hope to many people.