Canada: 1920's and 1930's

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How Canadian Men Stayed Clean During the “Dirty” Thirties
The twenties were a time of flappers, bobs, and jazz with nothing but buying exorbitant goods in between. However, these careless times were short- lived and the “dirty” thirties began a few years later. Society was affected on a large economic scale which in turn put a strain on the familial bonds of those trying to survive the drastic transition between these two decades as men went to drastic lengths to support their families, as seen in the film Cinderella Man.

Canadian citizens of the 1920s lived in a hazy dream where money was as easily gained as it was spent. Canadians were facing a time of prosperity, where wages were high and unemployment was low. Such prosperity created a sense of monetary and economic security within Canada and the more Canadians earned, the more they wanted to gain. Canadians were willing to make risky decisions and so, many saw excitement and a quick- rise to wealth in the stock markets. Companies would sell stocks, or shares, in their business to investors. In return, investors were entitled to a share of any profits a company earned. In order to increase profit, many began to buy on margin. To elaborate, they would purchase a stock with a small down payment and borrow the rest based on the value of the stock as collateral from banks. Most citizens thought that the prosperity of the twenties would last far into the future and would allow for a luxurious and care- free life where no one would have to pay attention to possible future issues.

In contrast, the 1930s saw the end of prosperity as depression quickly set in. On October 29, 1929, better known as Black Tuesday, the stock market had reached its peak. Those with many shares and an excess of cash began to sell their stocks. Thus, the “cattle heard” effect began and those at the bottom of the stock market pyramid began to follow the precedent and quickly sold their stocks all at once. In a single day,...