Great Depression_Braia

Dear Alaina,

I’m so glad you’ve asked me about the Great Depression, that’s what we’re learning about right now in my 20th Century VA and U.S. history class. I’m sure you’ve heard things here and there about the Great Depression but I’m going to share with you my insight into the causes of the Great Depression.

Well first off, I’m sure you have a rough idea of what the Great Depression is, but I want to explain more before I tell you about the causes. The Great Depression was a time period from 1929 through the mid 1930’s that the economy of the United States was in poor shape. Many people lost a lot of money in stocks and also lost their jobs, so because of that a lot of families were poor and had to go to soup kitchens for food.

Next, I want to talk about the stock market crash. Many people, as well as myself before learning about it this year, believe the cause of the depression is simply the stock market crash but it is much more than that. The stock market crash is a cause though, it was kind of the spark that started it all, and so let me explain that. On October 29, 1929 was the day of the big stock market crash. This day is called Black Tuesday because it was a very dark day and it was the start of the Depression. The stock market was a new thing and a lot of people had invested all their savings in it hoping the companies they invested in would make money so they would too but unfortunately that did not happen. On Black Tuesday, when the stock market crash a lot of people lost all their life savings.

One of the other causes of the great depression is the over-extension of credit and spending. You know how Mom and Dad have credit? Well credit is when you can buy stuff with money you don’t have and pay for it at the end of the month when the bill comes. When credit was first created many people were buying things they could afford like luxury items and houses. It got so bad that people were getting kicked out of or left their homes and having to move in with their other family members.

Another cause of the depression was farm and industries were depressed because more goods were being produced than people were buying. A reason for that and also another cause of the depression was the decline of foreign trade. That means other countries like the U.K. and China were not buying American goods that much. Because of that the government made it more expensive for the United States to buy goods from other countries by putting tariffs, which are taxes, on the goods. They did this so people would buy American goods.

On a different note, many jobs in the 1930’s were becoming mechanized so many middle class families were losing their main source of income. This lead to a growing gap between the rich and the poor, this caused many people to default on their mortgages. This made the banking industry weak. People were very desperate and panicked when the depression so the government cut taxes on the business and wealthy to get them spending again but that backfired and there were just a lot of problems with money.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about a common mistake although it is called the Great Depression it wasn’t referring to peoples’ feelings; it was talking about the state of our economy. Even though many people felt desperate, panicked and scared. The Great Depression was a hard time in United States history and it is important we learn about it so something like that doesn’t happen again. I have included two pictures in this letter that I think are good representations of the Great Depression.

I’m glad we talked about this, let me know if you have more questions!

 

Love,

Ari

American_union_bank732px-Unemployed_men_queued_outside_a_depression_soup_kitchen_opened_in_Chicago_by_Al_Capone,_02-1931_-_NARA_-_541927