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The Great Depression began on October 29, 1929 a day
forever after as “Black Thursday”, when the American
stock market, which had been roaring steadily upward
for almost a decade, crashed, plunging the country
into its most severe economic down run yet.

Large manufacturing companies had been growing even
larger. The company owners were getting richer and
richer, but the workers were not getting matching
pay rises.

The rich were holding on to their money, instead of
putting the money back into the economy, while the
middle class had been buying cars and home
appliances paid for using credit.

The middle class were "borrowing" money from banks
which were not regulating how they lent their money.
As well as buying products on credit, people were
borrowing money from banks to gamble on the stock
market. Interest rates for the borrowed money was high.

On October 24, 1929, "Black Tuesday" people tried to
sell their stocks, but no one wanted to buy them, so
their value went down.

By October 29, 1929, “Black Thursday”, the stock market
crashed. The people who once were rich with high value
stocks now had lost all their money.

The banks, who had lent the money, couldn't get their
money back. Even the money they had from working middle
class families savings was lost. People rushed to remove
their money and banks began to close.

President Herbert Hoover urged
patience and self-reliance: He thought the
crisis was just “a passing incident in
our national lives”

In March 1933, President Roosevelt announced a 3 day
"Bank Holiday" to try stopping people removing all
their money. The Depression continued and more and
more banks closed, casuing more families to lose
their life savings.

The new President acted swiftly to try and
stabilize the economy and provide jobs and relief
to those who were suffering. Over the next eight
years, the government instituted a series of
experimental projects and programs, known
collectively as the New Deal, that aimed to
restore some measure of dignity and prosperity
to many Americans.

As Europe struggled to recover from war, they bought less
products made in America. Companies closed, laying of their
workers. Unemployment increased.People did what they
could to get jobs or grow their own food.

In 1862 thousands of settlers grew crops and farmed
cattle in the Great Plains after Congress passed the
Homestead Act, which killed most of the prairie grasses.

By the 1930's the land was over farmed and over grazed.
These conditions, and the drought of 1930, caused
the land to be dried out and unfarmable.
The soil was blown around as dust. There was no food,
and the homes couldn't be lived in due to dust.
This period was known as "The Dust Bowl".

When the Great Depression began, the United
States was the only industrialized country
in the world without some form of unemployment
insurance or social security. In 1935,
Congress passed the Social Security-
Act, which for the first time provided
Americans with unemployment, disability
and pensions for old age.​
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