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The Great Depression

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The great depression essay in front of you offers a detailed summary of what caused the Great Depression that took place between 1920 and 1949 - a period of worldwide economic crisis that began in the United States of America. From 1900 to around the 1950s, a lot transpired across the globe. It was a dark period, which for many is better not remembered. Our great grandparents and grandparents talk about this era and you can automatically feel the pain in their voices. It was not all dark though, there were moments of fun and happiness such as the roaring 20s even if it was short lived. Colonialism in Africa, the massacre of Jews by Hitler, racism, across the globe, the World War I and II, and the Great Depression are among the highlights of this Dark Age.

It is difficult to understand why so much hate prevailed, however, a closer look reveals a common factor, politics and superiority. Humans are megalomaniac by nature, there's no doubt about that - who wouldn't want some power for themselves. And so, when we submit to our instincts without any consideration for the consequences, the results are often disastrous. The Great Depression just like the other occurrences of that period in history are a result of politics, selfishness and greed. There are numerous angles from which one can analyze the Great Depression, and therefore you will often come across a variety of essay about the great depression . Examples include:

  • Causes of the great depression essay
  • What caused the great depression essay
  • Causes and effects of the great depression essay
  • The great depression key people
  • The great depression in Canada essay
  • The great depression 1929 essay
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The Great Depression key events/summary of events

These are just but to mention a few. Note from the above list, there's a mention of Canada. This was because it was among countries that were terribly affected by the economic crisis. After the US when into recession in 1929, Canada followed suit immediately. This is probably because her main trading partners were Britain and the United States who were already in a crisis. Unemployment was at 27%, when the gross domestic product (GDP) went down by 37% in the US, in Canada it was down 40%. The economic struggles faced in this country were dire at households had to struggle to barely survive. Food lines were a common thing as a significant percentage of the population relied on the government for support. From the above, it is explanatory why you will also come across "the great depression in Canada essay".

The Great Depression in Summary

In 1929, the prosperous United States was faced with a worst economic crisis. In the years leading to the Great Depression, America was a glamorous and blooming nation, a period commonly referred to as the roaring 20s. That was not to last, the Great Depression came, and it became nothing but desperation and starvation. For a society that valued success to the extent that it was a measure of self-worth, a lot of people got depressed and felt humiliated. Not being able to provide for your family is a bummer even at this age which would explain why most people felt shame.

The United stated was not the only country affected by the turn of events. It was a worldwide economic depression that saw industrialized economies such as those of France, Japan, Italy, Germany and Britain brought to their knees. Germany, in particular, was already in a crisis as they were experiencing hyperinflation. To make the situation worse than it already was for Germany, France and Britain demanded that they pay them World War I reparations which were exorbitantly large.

The period from 1920 to 1940, saw the United States have four different sitting presidents before relief could come. It was during President Franklin Delano Roosevelt era that relief came. The New deal saw Americans faith in the banks restored, and laws passed to restore the economy back to where it was. Although the New Deal worked for some time and reforms done on it to make it even better, it eventually collapsed. It led to what came to be known as "Roosevelt Recession", this was in 1937. What really brought America back to its knees was World War II. It is almost ironical that what saved a starving and desperate nation was war. This was in December of 1941. Things took a better turn, and America began its economic recovery to the beaming success it is now. So, what led to this dark era?

What Caused The Great Depression?

A combination of factors led to the Great Depression. A look at the series of events that took place between 1920 and 1940, it is evident that politics and leadership contributed significantly.


From 1920 to 1940, the United States had four presidents: Presidents Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Each had their own policies and agenda that contributed to the Great Depression. Leaders have the responsibility of guiding the society to survival, success, happiness and overall fulfillment of life. Therefore, they will each create policies that will enable them to be in a position to do so.

President Harding came to power in 1920 and passed on unexpectedly in 1923. He was replaced by President Coolidge. They both shared similar conservatism principles economically and politically. The result was that big businesses became successful once again. However, corruption became a problem, especially during Harding's presidency.

It was during President Herbert Hoover's leadership that the stock market crashed in what came to be known as "Black Tuesday" in October of 1929. This was the beginning of the Great Depression. A lot of people lost their savings in the banks. It was an economic crisis that saw many struggles for survival. Popular during this era were "Hoverflies", shanty towns that sprang up across the country when people lost their homes and sources of income. He was blamed by many for the Depression.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt offered some relief with his policies, but this was not to last eventually leading to what came to be called "Roosevelt Recession". He was responsible for helping banks restore customer faith in them. The New Deal offered some economic relief. A look at the four presidents reveals that in one way or another, their leadership had a hand in the Great Depression.

The Social Revolution

The roaring 20s was an era characterized by economic success and social change. It was a period that saw new innovations such as motion picture, cars, airplanes and radios. It was the start of suburban America. However, this revolution was not without its downsides. This new lifestyle went against their conservatism and they felt it was affecting their heritage. Therefore, many people were persecuted for this in what came to be known as the Red Scare. This was in 1919 to 1920. They also adopted anti-immigration policies that saw foreigners convicted for crimes not committed. Changes in culture had an impact on the Great Depression.


Fundamentalism and prohibitory laws passed between 1920 and 1930 negatively affected society. The prohibition of sale and consumption of alcohol, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, and the church preaching hate.

Black Tuesday

The stock market collapsed in October of 1929. This was during President Hoover leadership. It marked the start of the great depression. He, however, tried to reassure the people that all was going to be well. Instead, he passed policies and raised tariffs that made the situation worse.

The New Deal and Its Failure

When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to power he passed a number of laws targeted at helping financial institutions. Commonly referred to as "the New Deal". Although people started having faith in banks, he eventually lost popularity. His court packing system saw the end of the New Deal. The creation of agencies helped various sectors of the economy recover. It did not last though, as the recession began once again in 1937.


Eventually, in December of 1941 when America finally joined in World War II, the Great Depression finally come to an end. Despite President Harding's and Coolidge's stance on interference with other nations, they went to war and it brought the depression to an end.


The great depression essay helps us appreciate the society we are in today. If it were not for the efforts of the leadership and the people in general of that era, America may not be what is today. The 1920 to 1940 period saw the country at highest on the success ladder and go to its lowest within a short span of time. However, the suffering and depression lasted way longer. The great depression essay serves a reminder of what poor choices and leadership can lead the society to. The great depression essay paper reveals what every society must "do" or "not do" if they are to attain success.

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