Boom to Bust Visual essay

Home Life

In the 1920's life was much easier and worry free. They had the time for everybody to come together for family meals and gatherings. Also, Americans had the money to purchase new home devices such as vacuums and washing machines. They bought these goods off of credit which makes it easier to afford. This helped them do their work easier. Families didn't have the money or support to have children (mostly when husbands abandoned the family or loss of a job), therefore birth rates fell sharply. Due to the pay-cuts for people's jobs, many families were forced to sell their homes and were forced to move into dirty and unsanitary Hoovervilles. In the South, the Dust Bowl caused farmers and regular southerners to migrate to California. Many farmers would hop on trains to California which was known as "riding the rails." It was the cheapest way to get there because it was free. However it was still illegal. Many were caught by security and were thrown off the train. The jump from the 1920s to the 1930s was a dramatic change. While life in the 20's was stress free and easy, the 30's faced many challenges.

Families Came Together

This photograph depicts a happy family bonding together. Husband's rarely abandoned their families, and the divorce rate was low. Families were able to bond and stay together (family dinners, games, etc.)

Families Fell Apart

The mom and son in this picture lost their home and were forced to move into a Hooverville. The dad abandoned them and the mom lost her job. The struggles got worse throughout the thirties.

Housewives At Work

This picture shows a lady at home working hard for the family. This is a result of what was needed in the 1930's. While the husband was at work, the wives stayed home to take care of the house and family. In the 20's, women were able to find jobs that paid them. They had products that made household chores easier and quicker. It benefited the family. Once the depression hit, the men hoped they were able to keep their job, while the women stayed home taking the role of a housewife. They lost items such as vacuum cleaners and irons. Women without a husband had to find a job to help support themselves and their children. Housewives learned to "cut corners" and "make do" (baking bread, sewing clothes, etc.) in order to make their work house-work easier.

Farmers without Farms

This family lost their farm because they couldn't afford the higher cost of living. They had no shelter. They had to work on other farms to maintain their living status. After World War 1, agriculture struggled. Even in the booming twenties, farmers struggled to make ends meet. There was a decrease in demand for farm products. In the 30's, the prices dropped and families lost their farms. However, they learned how to get by with little money. A small percent of farmers went on strike to demand a better living. When the dust bowl hit, they migrated to California by taking the risk of riding the rails. It was the cheapest and easiest way to escape.


Even though the twenties were filled with excitement and happiness, the thirties was a complete downfall. It went from having everything to having nothing. It's amazing how times could change so quickly.

Leisure Time

There were many activities to do in the twenties. People went to places such as speakeasies, clubs, movie theaters, musicals, and parties. Listening to music and radio became two of the very common activities to do at home. Americans decided to live in the moment and make the most of their lives. There was a rise in the creation for everyday convenience items. They took part in fun activities during their free time. There was so much to do because people had more free time and lived worry free. The 30's changed it all. The market crashed and most everything was gone. People didn't have the time to go the places they went in the twenties. All they had left was movies, radio, and music. Movies such as "Gone With the Wind" and "King Kong" would have a special meaning to them that had to do with the current economic crisis America was going through. Their lifestyle changed dramatically once the Depression hit.

Clubs joined for Enetertainment

The Cotton Club was a popular club in the twenties. It was part of the many places to go. It was fun for many people.

Great Depression Movies

As the depression continued, Americans felt a strong need to use cinema and art as means to escape the harshness of daily struggles. Two out of five Americans saw at least one movie per week.

Downfall for Blacks

This picture shows African Americans enjoying their time at the Harlem Renaissance. When the depression began, these fun activities for them diminished. The Renaissance was one of the few escapes from discrimination. They could no longer express their talents.

Change of Life on Stcokbrokers

Stockbrokers and bankers had a busy and successful life in the twenties. Most every American was investing in stock, which meant more money for them. They had the money to do or go wherever they wanted. When the market crashed, people lost all of their stock. Bankers and Stockbrokers couldn't hold their job.


As you can see, there were many things to do in the twenties that were not available in the thirties. The crash gave Americans limited options. There was not much left for them to have.


The 20's was a time where the economy thrived and got stronger. The stock market was soaring, there was a high demand for goods, and the government was not needed to interfere with the people and businesses. People bought goods off credit, making it easier to afford. They never thought about the money they'd have to pay in the future. This was not a smart strategy. The stock market crashed in 1929. It sent many Americans into debt. They lost everything. Some went to jail because they couldn't pay back their debt. Everything changed. The people were miserable, thinking their life was over. Roosevelt created the CCC, which hired teenage boys and young men to assist in disaster relief, plant trees, create parks and preserve natural areas. They were given food and clothing. It gave these men something to keep them from struggles of the depression. However, it wasn't like everybody could join. Life was still hard for the majority of Americans. The Great Depression is the biggest economic crisis in American history.

American Stock Market very Popular

During the twenties, the American Stock market was soaring. It was practically invincible. Americans believed they would have a bright future starting with the success of the Stock Market

Market crash of Great Depression

From the once booming stock market came an end. America lost billions in stock. The headlines of newspapers everywhere were mentioning it, since America was doomed. A lot of men lost their jobs. There was a tremendous rise in poverty and unemployment. In fact, almost one-fourth of the US population was unemployed in the 1930s. The country was thought to be destroyed. The people were scared, and they had nothing left.

Farmers on Strike

This picture depicts how farmers started protests out of their bitterness. They committed acts of violence as part of the protest. They started violence in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Farmers stopped trucks bound for the market and destroyed their loads of fruit, vegetables, eggs and milk. The struggles they faced during the depression got the worst of them.

Threats to Mrxcicans

In this picture, you can see a Mexican family living an impoverish lifestyle. In the 20s, Mexicans filled the demand for low-wage, unskilled workers in the grown US economy. When the market crashed, they were considered part of the economic problem, blamed for taking jobs away from white Americans. They decided to these Mexicans them with deportation.


As I said before, everything was going smoothly in the 20's. The poor, middle class, and the upper class were happy with their lives. They purchased anything they wanted. The market was soaring. Everything was perfection. The Great Depression changed it all. The market crashed, stocks were gone, and nobody was making the money they once made. It was a complete downfall that ruined the country's economy.

Role of Government

The role of government changed greatly from the 20's to 30's. In the 20's, there was a commitment to the laissez faire policy. It was abandoned as the optimism of the 20's was given away to fear and desperation. President Hoover was in office for seven months at the time of the crash and could not solve anything. He wanted little government involvement and opposed direct relief payments to individuals. Everybody was unhappy. There was no support for the people. FDR changed that. He promised a "New Deal" for the people. He gave Americans hope. They believed he would take action to improve their lives. He wanted the government to get very involved with the people, believing they would be helped. Americans felt secure. They were optimistic towards our new president, hoping we would be pulled out of the depression.

Hoovers Failure

This picture represents anger towards the way Hoover was running the country during the Great Depression. Before the crash, the economy was doing very well. Hoover's failures as president caused the Bonus Army to march in the white house and demand payment from WWI service. They were unsuccessful, but it raised the awareness of how terribly Hoover was running the country.

Roosevelt's Words Giving People Hope

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office, he showed confidence that gave people hope. He created the New Deal, which held many promises to the people. It was supposed to take America out of the depression.

Pro-Business Policies giving Business too much freedom?

During the 20s, big businesses were given free rein, raised protective tariffs, and cut taxes for the rich. In some ways, business owners had more control then the government. People were getting scared with how much control corporations were given during the 20s.

FDR's New Deal making life harder for blacks?

This picture represents a poor black family living away from white civilization. FDR's New Deal was made to help, but it did not benefit African Americans. Federal Housing Agencies stopped black people from moving into white neighborhoods, and some public works refused to hire black people. While others were optimistic of the new president, blacks were continuing their lives with little assistance.


As you can see, in order to help our country, there had to be a change in the role of our government. What worked in the twenties wasn't going to help in the thirties. Hoover believed otherwise, but it caused lots of hatred towards him. FDR wanted change. He had a lot of support. Americans believed he would pull them out of the depression. His work was admired by many. The Great Depression might have ruined lives, but Roosevelt gave them hope for a change. The 30's would've been much worse if it wasn't for Roosevelt.

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