The ROARING 20s to the TERRIBLE 30s By Elena mihaly

From the 1920s to the 1930s, there was dramatic change and some continuity in many aspects of society. Throughout the 20s, the nation was doing great, but towards the end transitioning into the 30s, the country was at its worst. The United States was in the worst economic downturn ever. Things were terrible for everyone, and only few got away not affected.

Segregation in the 1920s

Two African Americans separated from the whites. The whites face away from the blacks because they do not like them, but it is an unfair life for the African Americans

Race Riots in the 1920s

One black man being targeted by a group of white men in the 20s. Whites despise them even though they often do not do anything wrong.

Dust Storm 1930s

One of the many severe dust storms that occurred in the 1930s in the Great Plains. A family struggles to get through and does not know what to.

Farming Difficulties in the 20s

A family working very hard to produce successful crops. It takes a lot of work and is how they earn a living, yet no one is buying the crops causing prices to drop very low.

The Move to CA in the 1930s

A farming family leaving for California looking for better life. After experiencing huge difficulty farming on the Plains, this family has decided to leave for a better life.

Somewhere To Live in the 30s

One of the many hoovervilles that many people lived in during the depression. These places were unsanitary, not safe and overall a bad living environment for people.

Home life in the 1920s and 1930s affected almost everybody living during the era. In the 20s most people were buying new things that upgraded their standards of living. This was all because of buying on credit, or margin. Most people could not afford what they bought and when they were not able to pay the money they owed, they went into huge debt. In the 1930s, people were not buying as often. Farmers did not do well in the 20s or the 30s. Due to the high demand for products during WWI, farmers bought new land with a loan to accommodate for the larger amount they needed to supply. When the demand stopped, farmers weren’t making money and too much produce. Prices dropped super low and in the 30s they got even lower, people losing more farms than before. In the 1920s, blacks were not treated right and this continued into the 30s. In the 20s blacks were segregated, discriminated, and there were riots and fights. When the 30s came and it was the depression, blacks were the “last hired and first fired” . They lost more jobs, had less financial aid, were turned away from kitchens, and there was a lot of racial tension. Life was not good for anyone except for the wealthy. The wealthy was hardly affected. The middle and working class had to “make do.” The middle class “cut corners” to preserve. The poor lived in hoovervilles or on the streets and had a very rough life. Fortunately there were soup kitchens and working camps for people to go to. The people farming on the Plains mostly ended up moving towards California in search of a better life. Some people even rode the rails searching for jobs.

Speakeasy Fun in the 1920s!

Both blacks and whites enjoy the jazz music performed by African Americans. It is enjoyable and exciting for people to do and dance to in their free time.

Harlem Renaissance

One of the many black jazz musicians in the 1920s who enjoyed playing music. Music gives him a way to express himself in a way he enjoys.

Radio Free Time in the 1930s

A white family listening to the radio during the Depression. They were most likely listening to music, or FDR talking to them.

Drinking Fun!

In a 1920s speakeasy. Many people found it fun to go out and have a good time among friends while drinking alcohol.

Leisure time changed for some people during the era. In the 20s, many people went out for fun, but in the 30s, there was not enough money for that. In the 20s, African Americans experienced the Harlem Renaissance. They played jazz for people and enjoyed it. In the 30s, blacks had another reason to play. They played to escape problems, and even lift spirits. In the 20s, business owners and industrialists were used to going out to speakeasies, dinner, movies, clubs, and to dance. People loved drinking, and prohibition did not stop them. When the depression came, they had to cut back. Often people still saw movies once a week to escape problems, but nothing more. A very popular thing to do was listen to the radio. Here they could listen to music and FDR’s reassuring fireside chats.

Foreclosure in the 30s

A sign showing the sale of a farm. A family went out of business due to no sale of goods and debt they couldn't pay off.

Overproduce at Farms

A farm owning family who seems to have too many goods. After WWI the demand for products declined leaving surplus amounts of good in farmers hands.

Invest in the Stock Market Advice

An ad in a newspaper advising people to buy stock. At this time in 20s, the stock market was only getting better and was never going to go down.

People Want their Money Back!

A huge amount of people waiting outside the bank during the Depression for their money in the bank. Banks were unable to pay people their money due to so many un-payed debts.

Bank Statistics

This chart shows the increase in debt failure from 1925 to 1933.

The economy in the 20s and 30s are basically the complete opposite. In the 1920s, the economy could not be better, giving it the title of The Roaring 20s. During the 1930s, it was terrible and could not be worst. Businesses closed, and a huge amount of people lost jobs. On the Plains in the 1920s, there as an unusual amount of rain making it okay to farm there, but in the 30s, the rain stopped and the soil was dry. This caused huge dust storms that destroyed crops, and killed animals and people. Farmers prices were horrible in the 1920s, and they had a surplus amount of goods that were not being bought. Foreclosure was common for farmers. They were making no money, therefore when the 30s came, life got even worse. Prices dropped even lower than they had before and more farms were shut down. This was the opposite of what was happening in the urban areas. People were buying more causing the industry to grow and flourish throughout the 20s. Stockbrokers were making millions due to everyone investing in the stock market and banks were doing well because of all the money everyone was spending. When the market crashed in 1929, stockbrokers lost huge amounts of money, and banks began closing. The 30s was an obvious downturn for these people. President Hoover failed to help anyone and let private charities such as churches support individual people. Fortunately, when FDR took office he began to help stockbrokers and banks, and farmers too. Finally, when WWII occurred, it brought the U.S. out of the depression.

Bank Holiday by FDR

FDR proposed a 4 day bank holiday to fix banks up and gain peoples trust in banks. All of this was so people would keep their money in the banks.

A Bank in the 1920s

A bank prospering in the 1920s. A bank had little government intervention during this time.


One of the most powerful presidents the United States has ever had.

Last but not least, the role of government changed. While it used to be laissez faire and hands off to promote business, in the 30s the president and government became extremely powerful. Once again, farmers were affected. In the 20s, they received little help, while in the 30s they got all the help they could from FDR. He passed bills like the CCC and the AAA to make their lives better in any way. The change in role of government also affected banks and stockbrokers. In the 20s, stockbrokers could lie to clients about stock amounts, and make money. But in the 30s there were new laws that protected that. Also in the 30s the government gave banks a lot of help by infusing money and creating the 4- day bank holiday. In the 20s, there were 3 republican presidents who all supported the pro business hands off policy. President Hoover did not do much at all to help anyone during his presidency. After the republicans failed the United States elected a democrat. FDR created the New Deal which helped the country a lot, but did not end the depression.

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