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The Great Depression: America’s Dark Hour
The Great Depression, spanning the decade from 1929 to 1939, wasn’t merely an economic downturn; it was an era that shook the very core of American society. Its impact and the lessons we’ve drawn from it still reverberate today.

The crash of the stock market in 1929 is often cited as the spark that lit the fire, obliterating billions of dollars in mere days and plunging the nation into economic uncertainty. But the fuel for this blaze had been accumulating. Over 9,000 banks crumbled, leading to public mistrust in the financial system. Meanwhile, the Dust Bowl, a catastrophic drought, displaced thousands from their farmlands. On the global front, policies like the Smoot-Hawley Tariff choked international trade.

At the Depression’s peak, one in every four Americans found themselves jobless. Families crumbled under financial strain, traditional roles were upended, and nationwide, the mood was somber. The arts bore witness to this dark period: John Steinbeck penned “The Grapes of Wrath,” capturing the heart-wrenching migration of Dust Bowl victims, while blues and folk tunes echoed tales of struggle.

In the face of crisis, the government took an unprecedented role. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal aimed to provide relief, recovery, and reform. It birthed institutions like the Social Security Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, stalwarts of American financial stability today.

Further reading

    • history.com
    • This website provides articles, videos, and photographs to help users understand the causes, major events, and aftermath of the Great Depression.

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