The Tragedies and Struggles of the Great Depression
The Great Depression was one of the most tragic events to happen in America’s history. The day it happened was referred to as “Black Tuesday”. Black Tuesday was the day the stock market crashed. It was an economic downturn. This was the longest and most severe depression of the Western world. During the nation’s financial disaster, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president and made great changes to America’s political structure. The effects of the Great Depression had lasting consequences that are still being felt to this day. The Great Depression started in 1929 through 1939. The stock market was the beginning of the Great Depression. The people whose money was already in the markets for investments were very unfavorable, as this is who it affected most. Since the banks lost its money, it lost it clients, making all banks be forced to close.
Industries and businesses were highly affected too because they’re savings and capital were lost. Thus, having to cut employees, also affecting working employees wage. The customers who usually bought expensive things, couldn’t anymore, making expensive stores have no more value, and almost every store went out of business. Farmers were affected in an adverse way. Most farmers were situated at the Great Plains before this all took place. The biggest problems they had were bad dust storms and droughts. They called this The Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl was dust from the top soil got mixed with the wind. This left farmers without crops or food because nothing could grow. The Farmers found that they could not pay of their mortgage debts and got evicted from their residences and farms.York County farm families didn’t have heat, light or indoor bathrooms like people who lived in town. Their other food producers such as animals died out from lack of grass and water. The small scaled farmers had it worse than larger scaled farmers. They asked for tractors but had to pay the government somehow. They couldn’t. People relied so heavily on farmers and because of this it was a loop of destruction for everyone and everything.
Thousands of people were out of jobs during this time. Families were going hungry and even had to sell their apartments or homes. People couldn’t even divorce if they wanted to due to money. More women had to step up and work and even children in certain cases. It got to a point of people being on the side of the road asking for a job. The International economy was still recovering from war. The Depression of Germany which was Europe’s largest economy had an impact on the economy of the United States. To Kill a Mockingbird was based on The Great Depression. “Are we poor, Atticus?”
Atticus nodded. “We are indeed.” (Lee 27) This novel, shows the poverty and unemployment of the time. In Maycomb, Alabama, there was nothing to buy as there was no money. Another example of the Great Depression affecting people in the book is when Atticus explains to Scout that the Cunninghams pay him with farm goods instead of money. This connects to the Great Depression as there were other incidents where people had to pay with goods instead of money since they of course, didn’t have any money at all. Many were unemployed during the time of the Great Depression, and in the novel so was: Bob Ewell, Nathan Radley, Boo Radley, Mr. Cunningham, etc. “The courthouse sagged in the square.” (Lee 2) This quote is talking about how the courthouse “sagged” because of how the laws and the government were in despair at the time. Whites were more likely to be employed than blacks. They lost their jobs first before any of the whites. Black people had all of the dirty jobs as white people didn’t like dirty jobs. When Scout and Jem went to the church with Calpurnia he was collecting money and Helen Robinson couldn’t find a job. This is a great example of the Great Depression as life for blacks was even harder, as if it wasn’t hard enough already.
If the Great Depression were to happen again today statistics show that one out of four people will be unemployed. Though it is least likely to happen again, it still could. It would just take a long time. Investors who lost their money in the Great Depression are still alarmed to this day. The 2008 financial crisis weakened our economies structure. Many homeowners couldn’t sell their houses due to low interest rates. The Great Depression could occur again because the stock market could completely wipe out investors savings again. Secondly, it could occur again because business credit is needed. Without this, businesses can’t run and small businesses can’t grow. Another main way the Great Depression could be recreated is due to deflation. This makes it difficult for businesses to raise wages. This is very close to what happened during the Great Depression.
In conclusion, though America has had it rough, that does not stop the American people from prevailing. Racism is still alive and will most likely always be in our not so perfect world. Still, all races and genders have a chance in America to be someone and as equals. Tons of people, companies, and businesses suffered from this dreadful economic crisis. Everyone and everything were touched by losses. Though there was so many more historical downturns and hardships of America, the Great Depression will be one of the worst as it still affects us to this day.
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