Reasons For The Great Depression Essay

The depression was caused by a number of serious weaknesses in the economy. Although the 1920s appeared on the surface to be a prosperous time, income was unevenly distributed. The wealthy made large profits, but more and more Americans spent more than they earned, and farmers faced low prices and heavy debt. The lingering effects of World War I (1914-1918) caused economic problems in many countries, as Europe struggled to pay war debts and reparations. These problems contributed to the crisis that began the Great Depression.

America's "Great Depression" began with the dramatic crash of the stock market on "Black Thursday", October 24, 1929 when 16 million shares of stock were quickly sold by panicking investors who had lost faith in the American economy. At the height of the Depression in 1933, nearly 25% of the Nation's total work force, 12,830,000 people, were unemployed.

Wage income for workers who were lucky enough to have kept their jobs fell almost 43% between 1929 and 1933. It was the worst economic disaster in American history. Farm prices fell so drastically that many farmers lost their homes and land. Many went hungry.

Faced with this disaster, families split up or migrated from their homes in search of work. 'Hoovervilles' (named after President Hoover, as an insult), shanty towns constructed of packing crates, abandoned cars and other cast off scraps sprung up across the Nation. Gangs of youths, whose families could no longer support them, rode the rails in box cars like so many hoboes, hoping to find a job. 'Okies', victims of the drought and dust storms in the Great Plains, left their farms and headed for California, the new land of "milk and honey" where they believed all one had to do was reach out and pluck food from the trees. America's unemployed were on the move, but there was really nowhere to go. Industry was badly shaken by the Depression. Factories closed; mills and mines were abandoned; fortunes were lost. American business and labor were both in serious trouble.

Unable to help themselves the American public looked to the Federal Government. Dissatisfied with President Herbert Hoover's economic programs, the people elected Franklin D. Roosevelt as their president in 1932. Roosevelt was a bold experimenter and a man of action. Early on in his administration he assembled the best minds in the country to advise him. This group of men were known as the 'Brain Trust.' Within one hundred days the President, his advisors and the U.S. Congress passed into law a package of legislation designed to help lift the troubled Nation out of the Depression.

Roosevelt's program was called the 'New Deal.' The words 'New Deal' signified a new relationship between the American people and their government. This new relationship included the creation of several new federal agencies, called 'alphabet agencies' because of their use of acronyms. A few of the more significant of these New Deal programs was the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) which gave jobs to unemployed youths and to improve the environment, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) gave jobs to thousands of unemployed in everything from construction to the arts, and the NRA (National Recovery Administration) drew up regulations and codes to help revitalize industry. Later on came the creation of the Social Security System, unemployment insurance and more agencies and programs designed to help Americans during times of economic hardship. Under President Roosevelt the federal government took on many new responsibilities for the welfare of the people. The new relationship forged in the New Deal was one of closeness between the government and the people: a closeness which had never existed to such a degree before.

Although Roosevelt and the New Deal were criticized by many both in and out of government, and seriously challenged by the U.S. Supreme Court, they received the overwhelming support of the people. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only president in U.S. history to be elected for four terms of office.

Despite all the President's efforts and the courage of the American people, the Depression hung on until 1941, when America's involvement in the Second World War resulted in the drafting of young men into military service, and the creation of millions of jobs in defense and war industries.

Causes of the Great depression of USA:

  • Unequal distribution of wealth

  • High Tariffs and war debts

  • Over production in industry and agriculture

  • Stock market crash and financial panic

Effects of the Great depression

  • Widespread hunger, poverty, and unemployment

  • Worldwide economic crisis

  • Democratic victory in 1932 election

  • FDR's New Deal

All the sources that contain information about the Great Depression claim that it was the most dynamic, deepest, and longest depression. In most countries it began in 1929 and lasted until 1939. It was the most uncompromising Depression. Economic slump in North America ruined multiple lives, destroyed families and individuals.

Any essay of the Great Depression would be full of tragic facts. This one will reveal some historic true. Maybe you need some help to write a paper on this topic, or, for example, your teacher asked you to write a narrative essay about life, contact us so we will assist you.


The impact of the Great Depression on society was huge. It affected people from coast to coast, the young and the old, both rich and poor countries. For the greater number of people economic crisis became permanent reality. The Great Depression started with the Stock Market Crash in 1929. History called it Black Thursday because it happened on October 24 which was Thursday. The birth of the crash gave the start to ten-year Depression.

Although many people say that the Great Depression started with the Wall Street Crash, some insist that the Depression happened not because of that bang. The economic conditions of the United States were less than satisfactory. The agricultural sector suffered greatly. Several facts explain it plainly: American farms had to expand because of the World War I to provide food for all soldiers; the second reason is that farmers mechanized their operations since the growth of work’s volume. Tractors were expensive, so farmers were into debt to finance their expansions.

One more point of view says that the Great Depression was caused by overproduction. Unsold goods piled up because people did not consume all that was produced. All these are different views, and you pick the one you like most. The facts and factors which are written above explain clearly why the Great Depression took place in the history. It happened. Nobody can change it.

Some experts call the period before the Depression (1920s) the period of prosperity. That was the age of jazz and the days of first Miss America elections, and first Oskar ceremony. People got electric washing machines, electric refrigerators, and record players. In 1937 people started watch sound movies. Even though everything looked like a new age, people faced Depression.

Money takes an important place in one’s life. People used it not carefully during the time before the Depression. Essay about money analyzes this issue clearly. This is a good question to ponder.

Once John D.Rockfeller said that depression makes people discouraged, but it is the matter that once appears and then goes away; prosperity always comes back.  Despite his words, the Wall Street was swept by panic. Each bank closed its doors. Factories began to slow down productions. An abundance number of workers were fired. Those people who were employed got small wages. Crowds of people were gathering at the Wall Street and outside the banks that failed.

The unemployment rate was super high. People stood in soup lines outside soup-kitchens. Many fired workers were wandering about the country to find any job. Some people moved from the cities to countryside. Thus, they were able to feed their families. Both the working and middle class suffered from unemployment. People were looking for new places to work. Poverty snaked into homes. This topic is rather touching. More about this theme read in poverty essay.

Many farmers lost their farms. A lot of them were evicted. Some farmers rented their land or owned land, but could not keep up the payments. It was hard time. Imagine the situation when you have no place to go. Farmers destroyed their crops. They could not afford to take it to the market for the price they got there. People stayed without food and cloth.

Some kind of agitation took place in the country. One could see shocking scenes.  Strikes and demonstrations were going on. There were picket lines. When people went on strike the police opened fire on them. Communist party was leading a struggle on workers behalf. This matter during that time made people believe that it was the only organization that was doing something about Depression.

A sort of relief brought Franklin D. Roosevelt. He became the president and a central figure of the Great Depression events. Roosevelt himself was rich, and he knew not much about lives of the poor. His wife Eleanor went to poor districts and knew how people lived. She saw the conditions of the poor. For these reasons, the understanding how people suffer came to Roosevelt through his wife. Some say that Eleanor was his eyes and ears. People were waiting for Roosevelt to do something during that severe time. This aspect is vital. Any essay about The Great Depression should mention it.

In 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt for the first time pronounced words New Deal. Roosevelt promised to curb the dynamic effects of 1929’s crash. His New Deal was in response to the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt focused on the relief for poor and unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the financial system. Even though many politicians were critical for Roosevelt’s New Deal, it made a significant shift in American politics and domestic policy. The New Deal caused the beginning of numerous social programs.

The Great Depression started in the USA but affected many countries. Australia was dependent on agricultural export as well as on industrial. Falling export caused unemployment which reached 29% in 1932. The wages were pressed by increased product prices. Despite all the hardships, gradual recovery started after 1932.

Canada was harshly affected by Depression. The industrial production fall to 58%, and unemployment reached 27% in 1933.

The Depression hit France only in 1931. Its impact was not severe. The unemployment rated no more than 5%. There was no banking crisis in France. The fall in commodity was at 20%.

The Great Depression almost did not influence China but greatly affected Greece in 1932. All attempts of the Bank of Greece to overcome the Depression failed. However, the Greek government managed to strengthen economy of the country up to the Second World War.

The economy of Latin America was highly invested by the USA. The Depression crashed it harshly. Latin America was a big product exporter to the world. It developed its economy by British and USA investments. Thus, its export industry suffered immediately and greatly. The New Deal’s example in the USA served the basis for making steps toward improved life in Latin America.

Those people who remember the time of Depression say that it was a hard time for everybody, and everyone had to compete with others.

0 thoughts on “Reasons For The Great Depression Essay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *