Cause and Effects of the Great Depression Essay

4223 Words Apr 24th, 2010 17 Pages
The Causes and Effects of

The Great Depression In America

Few Americans in the first months of 1929 saw any reason to question the strength and stability of the nation's economy. Most agreed with their new president that the booming prosperity of the years just past would not only continue but increase, and that dramatic social progress would follow in its wake. "We in America today," Herbert Hoover had proclaimed in August 1928, "are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land. The poorhouse is vanishing from among us."1 In mid-October, 1929, the average middle-class American saw ahead of him an illimitable vista of prosperity. The newly inaugurated president, Herbert Hoover, had
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There was, in short, a widespread speculative fever that grew steadily more intense. A few economists warned that the boom could not continue, that the prices of stocks had ceased to bear any relation to the earning power of the corporations that were issuing them. But most Americans refused to listen.6 The depression of the stock market impressed the general public with the idea that it would depress general business. Because of a psychological consequence, it did, but it should not have. There are 120,000,000 persons in the country and at the maximum not more than 10,000,000 were involved in stock market transactions. The remaining 110,000,000 persons suffered no loss. The bulk of the population may not have suffered the loss of stock investments, but there were plenty of other ways to calculate loss, and by the end of 1929, with unemployment rising, with shops and factories ornamented by closed or out of business signs, and, perhaps most terrifying of all, the closing of the nations banks, taking with them millions of dollars in deposits.7 More than 9,000 American banks either went bankrupt or closed their doors to avoid bankruptcy between 1930 and 1933. Depositors lost more than $2.5 billion in deposits.8 Two-hundred and fifty six banks failed in the single month of November 1930, and further yet on December 11, when the United States Bank, with deposits of more than $200 million, went under. It was the largest single bank failure in America

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