Boom to Bust Raphael Oliveira

The Great Depression was time of great economic downturn that lasted up to ten years. It is the worst economic disaster in American history, and had a great impact on life in America. It impacted the economy, the role of the government, home life for Americans, and their leisure time. Many different groups of Americans were affected by it, in some ways good, but mostly bad. The Great Depression impacted life in America in many different ways. It impacted many different people, and many different aspects of society.

Compilation of issues during the Great Depression

One impact of the Great Depression was its impact on the economy. With the stock market crash, the booming economy of the 1920s had come to an end. During the depression, the economy was in great distress, with unemployment hitting its peak at 25%, with nearly 16 million Americans unemployed. Businesses closed or laid off workers, families didn’t even have enough money to buy food or consumer products, and factories and stores shut down. Two groups affected by this were farmers and business owners/industrialists. For farmers, crop prices fell even lower than they already were. For the business owners/industrialists, they suffered substantial financial losses, and were forced to close doors.

Unemployment during the Great Depression
Newspaper of the stock market crash

Another impact of the Great Depression was its impact on home life. The Great Depression brought a rise in poverty. As people entered severe poverty, they had to sell their homes, cars, and belongings for money. Many people went to soup kitchens for free food, since many could not afford food themselves. Families who lost their made makeshift homes in "hoovervilles", named after Herbert Hoover. These homes were made from cardboard, scrap wood, scrap metal, etc. Two groups affected by this were farmers and Mexican immigrants. For farmers, they were actually better off than many other people in more urban areas because they were able to produce much of their own food and were able to feed themselves. Though one quarters of farmers had to leave their homes because of dust storms. For Mexicans, they were at risk of deportation and they struggled to survive in the desperate conditions they were put in. They were able to find relief in migrant work camps, where they got housing, food and medicine.

Home Life during the 1930s

Hooverville during the Great Depression
Hooverville during the Great Depression

Another impact of the Great Depression was its impact on the role of government. During the depression, the government assumed responsibility for the economy and the people. They had a much more active role in social issues. Also, when FDR proposed the New Deal, it gave many people new hope. All of this created a new trust between the Americans and their government. Two groups affected by this were farmers and Mexican immigrants. For farmers, bills were passed which helped farmers and gave them relief. Some of these bills were the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). For the Mexicans, many found temporary stability in migrant work camps established by the Farm Security Administration (FSA). The FSA provided housing, food, and medicine to the Mexicans.

WPA (Works Progress Administration) Drawing
New Deal Relief

Another impact of the Great Depression was its impact on the Americans leisure time. During the depression, families barely had enough money to eat, so enjoying an evening out on the town should have been out of the question. But Americans felt a strong need to use cinema and art as a means of escaping their harsh reality. They would spend money they didn't have to be entertained. This shows how desperate Americans were to escape reality. One group affected by this were African Americans. Africans Americans would use jazz to lift their spirits and raise their morale during hard times. They found and escape from reality and their struggles with music.

Family around a radio in the 1930s
Theater 1930s

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