Boom to Bust By joe gregory

The Great Depression majorly impacted lives in America. It created a diversion to many groups of people in all aspects of society. It changed American homes, leisure time, economy, and the role of the government. Specifically, the depression affected groups such as farmers, Mexican immigrants, African Americans, women, bankers/stockbrokers, and business owners/industrialists.

Home Life

The first aspect of society that the depression influenced was home life. People went from living comfortable and carefree to barely being able to survive. The city and social classes were affected differently. While the wealthy were barely affected, the middle working class had to make adjustments due to pay cuts and job loss. People needed to find a way to make money even if it meant selling apples on the street. The poor were majorly affected. Most poor people lost their homes and were forced to live in shanty towns called Hoovervilles and their only source of food was from soup kitchens. Unable to deal with these issues, many men ran away from their marriages tearing families apart. Many people rode the rails or illegally jumped on trains to get away. Farmers had already been struggling since after the first World War and the Great Depression period was no exception. Due to irresponsible farming, dust storms started to arise in the Great Plains, killing cattle, crops, and even people as a result of dust pneumonia. These conditions forced farmers to evacuate and move to California. The farmers were not welcome and were forced to work on work camps to stay alive. Mexican immigrant’s were also greatly affected. If an immigrant held a job, society saw it as one less job for an American. This resulted in hostility towards Mexican immigrants and many of them were deported.

A man that is unemployed selling apples for 5 cents on the side of a street.
“Hoovervilles” made from anything people could find to try to stay alive.
Dust storms in the Great Plains.
Mexican Immigrants being deported by train.

Leisure Time

Another aspect of society the depression affected was leisure time. In the 1920’s, many new appliances like washing machines and automobiles were created which made people’s lives easier giving them free time for leisure activities like dancing and going to the city for parties. Despite Prohibition during the 1920’s, people found access to alcohol in illegal bars called Speakeasies. During and after the Depression, people still needed a way to occupy their minds and relax. Those who could spare money attended movies and bought radios. It became a routine for families to crowd around the radio and listen to broadcasts or music. African Americans continued to play jazz just as they did throughout the 1920’s. This uprising brought entertainment to many people. Women were no different and needed to take their minds off of the depression by enjoying radio stories and listening to jazz music when they were not taking care of their children.

New automobiles in the 1920's the made life easier
People dancing to swing dance Jazz to try to escape the reality of the Great Depression.
Movie theaters people went to for entertainment during the Great Depression.
A family huddled around the radio for entertainment.
A stay at home women taking care of the children.


A chart of the stock market from 1920 to 1932 which shows the major drop in the stock market during 1929.
Stockbrokers trying to get their money from stocks after the stock market crashed.
A bank that was shut down because it did not have enough money.
Broke people lined up to receive food from a soup kitchen.
A rich business owner named Andrew Carnegie that was barely affected by the Great Depression.
The beginning of World War 2 which provided new jobs for Americans and brought them out of the Great Depression.

Role of Government

The role of government was the last aspect of society that was affected by the depression. Government’s role was significantly increased during the Great Depression with the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In the 1920’s era, there were three Republican Presidents; Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. They all supported pro-business policies or the laissez faire policy. When depression hit, Hoovers philosophies and efforts were not doing much. He was still doing nothing to regulate business even though the economy was in desperate need. People were starting to agree with the government regulating businesses and protecting the well being of its people. There was a march held by World War One Veterans known as the Bonus Army that demanded money they were owed from the war. Hoover did not give the Veterans their money and sent soldiers to break up the march. All this led up to the election of FDR who was elected unanimously due to the fact that no one still supported Hoover. FDR created a new series of programs called the New Deal. This helped government directly affect its people and help them recover from the depression. Mexican immigrants received support and protection from government through these programs and were even deported for free. Government supported farmers as it created a new plan called the AAA to set limits on the size of crops and herds allowed to prevent another dust bowl. Migrant workers from the dust bowl were given support under the FSA program. It also made a plan called the CCC to hire teenage boys to plant trees and help with disaster relief.

Three republican presidents of the 1920's.
Bonus army marching on Washington during the depression demanding for their money guaranteed from World War 1.
A picture of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the president that would create New Deal programs to help provide relief, recovery, and reform for the Great Depression.
Migrant farm workers being supported by the FSA New Deal program.
AAA farmers took land out of production to limit the size of crops and herbs that farmers were allowed to have.
CCC men are hard at work preserving natural areas.

The Great Depression had an enormous impact on America as it turned the boom of the 1920's in the bust of the 1930's which affected Americans in every aspect of society.

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