The Great Depression by samiya Robinson

Economic Boom

The economy was great people were making money, they were selling consumer goods not only to America but to Europe as well, which helped the economy grow. New inventions made life more convenient such as the vacuum, washer machine, dishwasher , cars etc. And because of these inventions more and more businesses had developed. Advertisement played a HUGE role in the economy. Everyone came out with ways to promote their business or any new product that came out.


Advertisement told you what you HAD to have and why. They “pulled” you in and made you buy the product. Weather you really needed the product you still bought it just you had it. A Lot of people had the “bandwagon” mentality. If your next door neighbor had it or even the family down the block had it you wanted it, so you can be like them. But they also had a negative affect, it got into people’s head and made them buy it, even if they can’t afford it.


People viewed buying goods as good for the economy, and a source of personal happiness. Even though many consumers were not able to afford the goods they wanted and thought they needed, people still started to see it as a source of happiness. Businesses even went out of there way to hire psychiatrists so that there ads appealed more to people. They developed this new idea of changing styles and tried to keep up with the trends. Now, since people were unable to afford what they wanted or what they thought they needed they bought on credit. Which often put people into debt, since they couldn't pay for it at all.

"Buy Now, Pay Later"

Purchasers put down a small payment and paid the rest of the products later on, they were usually billed monthly. Around that time 70% of home appliances were bought on credit, people were paying for what they couldn't afford which did have a negative impact. They gradually lost money,they got into debt which they wouldn’t be able to pay back. But people just put that in the back of the mind, and thought about how they finally got what they wanted and the economy was good because people were buying stuff.

Stock Market Crash

Now the economy In the 1930s changed tremendously. The stock market crashing started the worst depression in the history of United States. Factories closed, people were losing their jobs, banks were failing, and businesses were collapsing. Not only was the Great Depression in the U.S. it spreaded worldwide. The Great depression hit America like a bomb. People lost their savings, their homes, and jobs. Countless people didn’t have homes, they weren’t able to pay their rent or house payments. People blamed themselves for this happening, they felt ashamed.

Effect on Farmers

Farmers with tremendously affected by the economy of the 1920s. The 1920s wasn't so much of a positive time for the farmers and they honestly struggled. Farmers went into debt because they needed more land, and so much of that land they couldn't afford. Farm prices dropped and many Farmers we're not able to pay their bills. Since the soldiers needed food, they need more land, and when Europe didn't need them anymore farmers ended up with a surplus of land. So they had a lower there prices to get rid of it. In 1930s nothing really changed for them, it only got worse. Farmers lost their farms to foreclosure, and had no support. Although they did have a advance from the city people, since they were able to grown their own food. A dry decade began for them, their was very little rainfall and a drought hit the Great Plains. Because of no rainfall topsoil dried and dust storms started to occur which then came to be know as the Dust Bowl. They were sometimes severe they killed animals, covered farms and killed people. But farmers decided to leave and head to California.

Effect on African-Americans

A lot of people were affected by the economy of the 1920s. African Americans moved to the Northern cities for better opportunities. But once they got their the whites didn't want to live near them, so African Americans lived in ghettos. Ghetto were predominantly made up of African Americans, it was kind of like they're own little world. They were search of jobs, economic opportunities, and social acceptance. During the Great Depression the economy worsened for the African Americans. They were laid off from their jobs, their unemployment rate was higher than the white employees. They competed with the white people for factory and industrial jobs. Black business failed, and six out of every ten African Americans lost their jobs. When the government finally decided to do something, they still received less financial aid than whites.

Effect on African-Americans pt.2

However FDR hired one-hundred African Americans to government jobs, and a “Black Cabinet” was established.

Leisure Time -1920s

Leisure time was something that everyone did, it made people forget about their worries. Whether it was simply taking a Sunday drive or hanging with friends it made people fulfilled. Leisure time in the 1920s was everything, it was fun, adventurous, and wild. Sometimes having too much fun lead to breaking traditions. People would typically just listen to Jazz, go to Jazz clubs and Speakeasies and just have fun and dance the night away. Now attending movies and theaters was a huge free time event. It made people forget their worries and the enjoyed the movies that came out. Nothing really changed when the Great depression hit, I mean people didn't have as much money to have fun a lot but they made the best of it. People stilled used art and the cinema to escape the harsh reality of life. Two-fifths of every American saw a movie at least once a week. And music was still enjoyed by everyone, music was never “shut down” in the 1930s.

Leisure Time for Women 1920s

Women were very controversial when it came to having fun. People weren’t really fond of them breaking tradition, it wasn’t “ladylike”, it was a clash between Youth and Adult. During the 1920s young women became flappers, they wore skimpy dresses, wore makeup, and showed off their body more. To them it was a transition from traditional to modernism. They felt like the old ways were repressive and they should have more fun. But the parents thought their new way of thinking and living was ridiculous, and immoral.

End of the "New Women"

In the 1930s the age of the “New Women” was over. There came a belief that women should be at home, and not working. If women were to work they would be stealing jobs from the men, and portrayed as money grubbers. The women soon lived in insignificant gains and struggled for equality. When president Roosevelt was elected, his wife Eleanor was a big help for women. She helped advance women’s rights, and she urged her husband to put more women in government positions. Women played roles that helped the country throughout the depression, but that wasn’t recognized.

"New Negro"

African Americans still faced discrimination. But they didn’t let that stop them, it only made the stronger. In 1920 Harlem was filled with so much talent. There were black writers, musicians, actors, painters, and other artists. They created music, paintings, poetry. With them coming together they created the Harlem Renaissance. Instead of being sad and upset about the racial discrimination, they came together and expressed pride in their achievements. African American culture was created. Jazz shaped Harlem, jazz broke the barrier of what “normal music” was supposed to be. Even white people couldn’t resist enjoying it. In the 1930s, people escaped the harsh life and turned to music. Jazz symbolized American freedom, it lifted spirits, and didn’t separate Americans.

Modern vs. Traditional

Home life was different for everyone, it was never the same for everyone. Home life in the 1920s was different, people that believed in modern values had more freedom and fun than traditionalist. Modernists lived a face paced life, they embraced new ideas, offered new and exciting entertainment opportunities. Such as going to theaters, jazz clubs, shopping more, going to speakeasies, and loved jazz.

Modern vs. Traditional

Traditionalist didn’t embrace new modern values respected the old cultural values.

No more Happiness

But in the 1930s all the fun ended and no one was in good shape. People were unemployed and caused them to sell their homes, cars and other belongings to get money. They would visit soup kitchens, people even were seen on the street selling anything to make money. People lived in Hoovervilles because of homelessness, they used “make-shift” homes.

Unfair for Women

Women were affected as well, it wasn’t easy for them. In the 1920s women were out having fun and did any and everything they can to fulfill their happiness. But once the great depression hit all the ended and they were struggling. Their husband was still be employed , but not making enough to get by. Women’s role was in the home, as they juggled to make ends meet. They “cut corners” to get by.

Stockbrokers and Bankers-1920s

Stockbrokers and Bankers were hit the hardest. In the 1920s they had poured a lot of money in the stock market. Brokers from all over the world would call into Wall Street to sell or buy stock. But soon they were irresponsible with their money. They lived luxury in the millions they made they weren’t worried they thought everything was fine.

All Gone

In 1930 When the stock crashed, they lost millions in which they invested in the stock. They went into debt and soon had to file for bankruptcy. They were too standing outside of soup kitchens looking for a free meal.

Role of Government-1920s

The role of the government changed for the better compared to the 1920s to the 1930s. In the 1920s the laissez-faire was highly favored. The government really didn’t interfere with business, they just let them be.

Laissez-Faire Abandoned

But once FDR was elected things started looking up. He created the “New Deal” the was supposed to help the people, he made people hopeful. He created something for everyone, from African Americans, to Native a Americans. He was a president that actually helped HIS people.

New Deal-Farners

Since farmers received little to no help, once the New Deals were established they felt better. Their was a bill passed to help farmers. There were acts such as the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), which prevented surplus of land. Farmers were given government checks if they signed up, in which a lot did. And then their was the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) which gave young boys a chance to help the farmers recover from the disaster, they were paid thirty-dollars per month.

New deal-Women

Women were also helped by Eleanor Roosevelt, his wife. In the 1920s women were treated unequally and had very little right. In the 1930s Eleanor had stepped in to help the women. Because of her women gained a new status in the government. She and other women developed informal networks.

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