The Great Depression Cause

The Great Depression
USHC Standard 6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the
conflict between traditionalism and progressivism in the 1920s and the
economic collapse and the political response to the economic crisis in the
USHC Standard 6.3: Explain the causes and consequences of the Great
Depression, including the disparities in income and wealth distribution; the
collapse of the farm economy and the effects of the Dust Bowl; limited
governmental regulation; taxes, investment; and stock market speculation;
policies of the federal government and the Federal Reserve System; and the
effects of the Depression on the people.
The Great Depression
• Republican Herbert Hoover became
president in 1929
• Like Coolidge, Hoover opposed
government intervention in business
• Unfortunately for Hoover, he took office at
a time when the U.S. economy was about
to collapse
• Much of the nation blamed Hoover for the
economic crisis in the U.S. and for the
Great Depression
The Great Depression
• Following the stock market crash in 1929,
the economy spiraled deep into a
depression intensified by:
– Decisions of individual companies
– Consumers and investors
– Policies of the Federal Reserve
The Great Depression
The Federal Reserve
• Established in 1913 as the nation’s
central bank
• Had the capacity to regulate the money
supply by making loans to banks
– Banks then loaned money to businesses
• Businesses used the loans to hire and pay
– Workers would buy products
The Great Depression
The Federal Reserve
• The Federal Reserve charged low interest
rates at first, to encourage lending
• After the stock market crash, the Federal
Reserve charged high interest rates, in
order to curb the stock market speculation
– this discouraged lending
• If the Federal Reserve had cut interest
rates and expanded the money supply, the
Depression may not have been as intense
or long
The Great Depression
• Government policies during the
Depression did very little to halt the
downward spiral
• In 1930, Congress passed a high tariff (tax
on imports) in order to protect American
industries from foreign competition
• Foreigners were unable to sell their
products to the U.S.
– This meant they were unable to buy from the
U.S. as well
The Great Depression
• President Hoover encouraged companies
to voluntarily maintain wages and hours
– This was impossible because of low
consumer demand
– Companies laid off employees and cut hours
or wages instead
• Hoover advocated for the American value
of “rugged individualism” and urged
confidence, announcing that “prosperity is
just around the corner”
The Great Depression
• The Depression impacted the lives of
many people
– Unemployment reached 25%
– Wealthy families suddenly found themselves
to be poor
– People lost their homes, and took to the
streets, wandering from town to town looking
for work, or selling apples and pencils door to
The Great Depression
• Wages and hours of those who were lucky
enough to still have jobs were cut
– Those with jobs stopped buying anything but
the most essential goods; prices fell further
The Great Depression
• “Runs” on the banks took place when
people tried to withdraw their savings
– People were afraid the banks would close,
taking their savings with them
– This panicked rush of withdrawals is actually
what often caused the banks to collapse
• Many investors lost their savings as a result
The Great Depression
• Schools closed, because many communities
could not afford to pay their teachers
– Many teachers worked for nothing
• Marriages were delayed, and the birth rate fell
• Divorce declined; however, many men
abandoned their families
• Unemployed men lost status
– Women and children were forced into the
workforce to feed their families
Soup Kitchens
Bread Lines
The Great Depression
The Dust Bowl
• Affected the environment of the western plains
and also produced additional human tragedy
• The fragile environment of the plains had been
damaged by overgrazing, and by wheat
production, that had destroyed the sod that held
the soil
– When drought and winds came in the ’30’s
the top soil blew away
• Tenant farmers were evicted from the land and
became migrant workers
– They roamed the country in search of
Dust Bowl
The Great Depression
• Okies: any poverty stricken migrant from
the Southwest
• During the Depression, Oklahoma lost
people to migration
– Most migrants from Oklahoma, and
surrounding areas went to Arizona and
– This was a result of the Dust Bowl, and the
collapse of the farm economy
Okies fleeing to California
The Great Depression
• States and private charities could not
alleviate the suffering created by the Great
• In the election of 1933, Americans
demanded help from the government
The Great
and low demand
leads to
employee lay-offs
Low wages
reduce consumer
buying power
High tariffs
restricted foreign
demand for
American goods
reduces buying
power further
Which led to
Lower wages
Which led to
Which led to
Which led to
Cause: less
demand for
textiles, oil,
steel and
The "Dust Bowl" was an ecological situation
associated with
A) World War I.
B) World War II.
C) The Cold War.
D) The Great Depression.
D. The Great Depression
18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
“After one year from the ratification of this article
the manufacture, sale, or transportation of
intoxicating liquors within, the importation
thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the
United States and all territory subject to the
jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is
hereby prohibited."
This passage began what era in the United
A) Red Scare
B) Prohibition Era
C) Civil Rights Era
D) Women’s Rights Movement
B. Prohibition Era
In the 1920s, the United States experienced an
economic boom due to, among other things,
A) the mobilization of the economy for war.
B) increased government restrictions on big
C) installment buying and an unregulated stock
D) the expansion of civil rights to women and
C. Installment buying and an unregulated stock
Following World War I, why did Congress limit
immigration from countries in southern and
eastern Europe?
A) After World War I, the nation's population
was at capacity.
B) Americans were concerned about the
spread of the flu epidemic.
C) Congress was responding to the nativists'
calls to "Keep America for Americans."
D) Congress wanted to protect African
Americans from competition for unskilled labor
C. Congress was responding to the nativists’ calls
to “Keep America for Americans”
The 1920s saw immense changes in
popular culture because of the two new
technologies of
A) telephones & telegraphs.
B) motion pictures & radios.
C) microphones and antennas.
D) phonographs and televisions
B. Motion pictures and radios
My People"
by Langston Hughes, 1923
The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.
The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people
Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.
The people of this poem are the
A) Beat Poets.
B) Lost Generation.
C) Harlem Renaissance.
D) Black Panther Movement.
C. Harlem Renaissance
The trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti
of the early-1920s
A) was the first trial heard in the Supreme
Court regarding political appointees.
B) was the first criminal hearing held in the U.S.
Supreme Court that involved murder.
C) showed that religious fundamentalists were
losing political power after World War I.
D) proved that there was severe social and
judicial bias against immigrants in the United
D. Proved that there were severe social and
judicial bias against immigrants in the United
"The wind came back with triple fury, and put out
the light for the last time. They sat in
company with the others in the shanties, their
eyes straining against crude walls and their
asking if He meant to measure their puny might
against His. They seemed to be staring at the
dark, but their eyes were watching God.“
This passage is from the final chapter of a 1937
book written by which Harlem Renaissance-era
A) Langston Hughes
B) Jacob Lawrence
C) Zora Neale Hurston
D) Jessie Redmon Fauset
C. Zora Neale Hurston
Much of the post-World War I economic boom was
due to the Federal government’s policy of
A) increasing import tariffs.
B) increased military spending.
C) laissez-faire economic policies.
D) involvement with the League of Nations.
C. Laissez-faire economic policies
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