'Roaring Twenties' to the Despair of the 30s By Ali Castro

People in the great depression faced great hardships in many aspects of society. The economy during the time definitely went through a great struggle which affected many. During the 1920s, industry boomed and became the country consumer oriented. During the 20s, the stock economy boomed and everyone started investing in the stock market. When there were complications and the stock market crashed, everyone lost their investments and many people went broke. In the 1920s, farmers struggled. Farmers could not sell off their surplus crops, and therefore the crops price dropped lower than the initial value. Therefore in the 1930s, the farmers had to lower the prices of their crops even lower than how much they were in the 1920s. Farmers had to lower the prices because many people lost all of their money when the stock market crashed, and then could not afford to buy much food. The rural economy struggled because there was not as much rain as there was in the 1920s. Also, farmers ways tore up the grasses that had the roots to hold together the soil. Therefore, because there were no roots holding the soil together, the soil became very loose and the loose soil would fly up in the strong winds. The winds were so strong because the plains were so vast without many trees, so strong winds would build up and blow very far. The winds would carry all of this dust and would bury homes and farms in feet of dust. These big storms were called dust storms and were soon to be called the dust bowl. In the 30s, businesses failed, big and small, and either laid off workers or completely closed down. Smaller companies would just close their doors, but companies like US Steel just laid off workers. Because businesses were closing, the unemployment rate rose to 25%. In the 1920s, the unemployment rate never went over 5%. Over 5,000 banks closed down between 1930-1933. The closed because banks invested in the stock market, and when the market crashed, the money was lost and unrestorable. Herbert Hoover opposed direct paychecks for the unemployed and only believed in Laissez-Faire policy. Franklin Roosevelt helped re-oped all of the banks and fixed everything that Hoover caused. At the end of the 1920s, World War II started which gave people jobs and it was what got the United States out of the depression.

The stock market was in great shape during the 1920s, but then on October 29, 1929, the market crashed and the economy was hurdling into one of the greatest economic downturns of all time.
People outside a bank trying to take out their life savings.
Farms were lost due to foreclosure. This farm is for sale because someone most likely could not pay off their bills to keep the place.
The unemployment rates grew up to 25% during the Great Depression.
People waiting in very long lines for jobs.
An abandoned bank that ran out of money and was forced to close down..

Another aspect of society that was affected during the 1930s was the home life. During the 1920s, at home, there was great tension between parents and children. Some women became flappers and went against traditional values. Throughout homes, there was great prosperity and great optimism. People had the newest models of everything from toasters to cars. But when the stock market crashed in 1929, families were soon in desperate need of money; people were forced to sell their cars, home belongings, and even their homes. The homeless lived in Hoovervilles. Hoovervilles were neighborhoods, usually on the water, with homes made of cardboard, scrap metal, and scrap wood. The homeless and unemployed would go to soup kitchens to get free food. People that were in need for work would be given jobs and paid money. Some of the people that lived in Hoovervilles, ate at soup kitchens, and worked at work camps were migrants. Also, some people would ride the rails of trains out west to find work and search of a new beginning. Farmers in the 1920s struggles with surplus crops and losing their farms to foreclosure. Farmers during Great Depression were struggling; but not struggling as much as the people in cities. Farmers could produce their own food, but farmers still had an issue with surplus crops. While the poor and faced great struggles, the middle working-class learned how to make-do and cut-corners. Women's roles in the household enhanced in the 1930s because they held the house together. They made simple meals from food scraps and sewed their families clothes. The upper class we barely affected or not affected at all. They would live their normal lives and act like there was not a severe economic crisis going on outside their doors.

Hooverville in the 1930s; a place where people that were either homeless or couldn't afford homes would live.
A soup kitchen in the 1930s; a place where people that could not afford food would go for a free meal.
A migrant single mother with 3 children seeking for work.
Farms getting smothered in dust in the great plains region.
Women working at home during the great depression while father/husband is working making money.
People "riding the rails" to get out west away from all of the despair in the east and great plains.
A work camp where people would be given simple jobs like planting trees, creating trails, roads, and highways, and creating even hospitals for money.

People’s leisure time in the 1930s did not change much from the 1920s. In the 1920s, people would go to the movies, which were fairly new and quickly became popular. Also in the 1920s, many people would go to speakeasies and enjoy the taste of illegal alcohol. Prohibition did not do much to stop people for making alcohol. People still made alcohol and sold it to the illegal bars, speakeasies, where people would drink it. In the 1930s, people still saw movies to escape their despair, and also listened to the radio frequently as well. Shirley Temple, a famous actress of the time, and Mickey Mouse were popular types of entertainment. The only difference was that people really did not go to speakeasies and clubs as much. Women of the period would sew clothes in their free time or went to the movies with their friends or families. African Americans still created music in their free time. The music business almost came to a complete collapse in the period but eventually regained its balance and was soon standing up straight again.

A busy movie theater; a place where people would go to escape the despair of the great depression.
The book cover to "Grapes of Wrath" a book by John Steinbeck. A book that portrayed great culture of the great depression.
Shirley Temple was a popular actress during the time which provided great entertainment; still very famous today.
Mickey Mouse was a very famous type of entertainment during the 1930s; grew and grew and is very famous today.
Duke Ellington was a famous jazz musician making jazz music for people to listen to. Started becoming popular in the 1920s, and is still listened to today.
Swing dance was a popular type of dancing created in the 1930s, and usually danced to jazz music.

The role of government changed drastically during the time. In the 1920s, the three presidents were Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. They believed strongly in the Laissez-Faire policy which was a policy where government stayed completely out of business and let them do their own thing. The bonus army were the veterans that fought in World War I and wanted the money that they deserved for fighting. They caused violence to get what they deserved. When Hoover was still in office, the United States still obeyed the Laissez-Faire policy; which when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected, so much damage was done people thought it was too late. The first thing Roosevelt did was a Bank Holiday; which closed every bank in America to re-establish the banks to make them steady once again. Roosevelt was such a powerful president which completely abandoned Laissez-Faire and helped the country regain its confidence. Farmers in the period were granted bills to plant less crops to decrease surplus. Also, Eleanor Roosevelt helped women regain some of their rights and gave helped give women more spots and say in government. Overall, the depression was a very winding and bumpy road the Franklin Delano Roosevelt guided the United States to the end safely without completely falling over.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the president that got the United States through and out of the Great Depression. The president that widened the role of Government very far.
Roosevelt creates a 4-day bank holiday to stop all of the hassle in banks, and give banks enough money to re-open.
Surplus crops that could not be sold were eliminated with government help. Farmers were paid to grow less crops and surplus were burned or discarded.
The women who helped get women more spots in government and helped women gain rights, Eleanor Roosevelt.

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