How the Great Depression Affected a Generation

Topics: Great Depression, New Deal, Franklin D. Roosevelt Pages: 6 (2390 words) Published: May 4, 2013
Final Draft

Case Study on How the Great Depression Mentality Affected a Generation.

The Great Depression was one of the worst hardships that the United states have ever been through. On October 29th, 1929, the Stock Market crashed causing the Great Depression. Throughout the 1930s, the Great Depression, caused massive unemployment, many banks to fail, and left a strong impression on the people who survived it. As the United States’ economy plummeted the government made a New Deal with the public to try to get them out of the slump. The New Deal was able to keep things going until World War 2 lifted the economy back up out of its slump. Until this happened, an entire generation experienced many hardships during the Great Depression and learned many lessons from them. These lessons, like saving money and being competitive would shape the way these people lived for the rest of their lives. Due to banks failing, people losing their jobs, and stocks dropping, people all over the United States of America were thrown into horrible poverty. Nearly 30% of the work force was out of their jobs, which slowed the economy even more. The people in the working class were not the only people losing their jobs, many people who went to good colleges and were economically stable before the Great Depression had their jobs taken away from them and were forced to find any way they could to provide for their families. Wanda Bridgeforth witnessed her father struggling for a job first-hand during the early 1930s. “In the Depression, the men could not get jobs, especially the black men. Here was my father with a degree in chemistry, and he could not get a job.”-1 Losing their jobs forced people to do everything they could to make money. When people did get jobs it was usually tough work like mining coal or cutting wood into lumber. These jobs would be very hard work and not pay very much. Apart from jobs being scarce, people also found themselves without food. There were many droughts in the United States all throughout the 1930s. This led to a scarcity in crops and made it much harder to get food. In a letter from Mrs. Ida Deer to Gov. Parnell (Governor of Arkansas 1930) Deer writes, “I want to have a confidential heart to heart talk with you about the condition here. There is a number of people here who follows public activities for a living good honest upright people the most of them are [.] they have had no work to mention for months [.] they are suffering. they have children who are crying for bread. I have given til I havn’t one thing more to give (I lost all the money I had.) my bro. [brother] who is practically an invalid has opened the doors of his office and is feeding and housing hungry men” -4 Without money, jobs and food, people were forced to go into uncomfortable living conditions. Sometimes, people were even forced to fight over trash scraps to get food to feed their families. Because of droughts many farmers were also forced to move into the city to try to make money. The farmers and other city folk who didn’t have enough money to own a home had to move into cramped apartments with large amounts of other people, usually extended family. My grandfather remembers living in a packed apartment with his parents, brother and grandparents. Many cases were much worse than how my grandfather lived; in some cases people had larger extended families. Mrs. Wanda Bridgeforth said in her interview, "One house we lived in — there were 19 of us in a six-room house,” -1 Because people would try to fit in such a small space, these apartments would become very unsanitary and many inhabitants would get sick from being inside them. Many people like Mrs. Wanda Bridgeforth and my grandfathers suffered through horrible conditions and were in need of relief from them. Many people looked towards the government to fix the problems of the great depression. The government did what it could by making many programs to try to help...

Bibliography: -1 Bridgeforth, Wanda. Interview by Neenah Ellis. Survivors of the Great Depression Tell Their Stories. National Public Radio, 2008. Web. Nov. 2008.
-3 Library of Congress. "The New Deal." - Primary Source Set. Library of Congress, 15 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
-4 West, George, and Jeff Lewellen. "“Hard Times Come Again No More”*: Letters from Arkansas Families in the Great Depression." “Hard Times Come Again No More”*: Letters from Arkansas Families in the Great Depression. Arkansas School for Math and Science, 2007. Web. 9 Dec. 2012. .
-5 "About the Great Depression." About the Great Depression. University of Illinoise, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.
-6 "Was the New Deal a Success." Was the New Deal a Success. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.
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