The Great Depression-Sara Morin

Dear Abby,

In the 1930’s the United States went through a period called the Great Depression. This means that the economy was really bad. When the economy is bad, it means that the country is not able to make enough money to supply everything they need, such as jobs and shelter. People were very poor and life was not very good. Do you remember watching the movie Kit Kittredge? That movie took place in the 1930’s and remember how a lot of her friends parents were losing their jobs? All of that happened because of this time period, the Great Depression.

Before the 1930’s, in the 1920’s, life was really good! They even called this time period the Roaring 20’s. The United States became a very rich country because we had just won a war. This new thing called credit was invented in the 1920’s so people could buy almost anything you wanted. You know how Mom has a credit card? Well, when she uses it, she is buying something without having the money. She says she will pay it back later. A lot of people were doing this in the 1920’s, but they weren’t paying it back like mom does. Since people kept buying things with money they didn’t have, they became poorer and poorer and so did the economy.

Also, farmers were not being needed as much as anymore because there were many new inventions that made it easier. One machine could do twice as much work as one man could. Machines were also cheaper to make and use than people, and people want to use whatever costs less, so machines replaced people. It’s kind of like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when the Grandpa had to twist the tops onto the toothpaste bottles. Well, in the 1920’s they built machines to do the work instead. This was a major problem out west. The government was buying farms from people in the Great Plains and forcing them to move to California to find new jobs.

Leading up to the Great Depression, there was a large gap between the rich and the poor. This means there was no middle class like most people are in nowadays. People back then were either REALLY rich or REALLY poor. There were more poor people though. 50% of all of the country’s money belonged to 1% of Americans, meaning the really rich people made up 1% of Americans and poor people made up 99% of Americans.

Lastly, the most important thing that contributed to the cause of the Great Depression was the Stock Market Crash of 1929. In case you don’t know, a stock is a share of business ownership, so if you really like McDonalds, you can buy a stock of McDonalds and if they are getting rich then you start to make a little bit of money. Back in the 1920’s people were buying these stocks on their credit cards. This doesn’t seem that bad, except for on October 24th, 1929 all of the stocks started to lose value and people were losing money. This made everybody sell their stocks and the whole thing just crashed! Thousands of banks went bankrupt, which means they lost all their money along with people. They had lost everything.

The 1930’s were not a very bright part of America’s history. It took a whole 10 years (that’s your whole lifetime!) to get out of the depression. It taught all of us American’s the dangers of buying things on credit and how bad our economy can turn. I hope I was able to explain this to you in a way you can understand, because I don’t understand some of it myself!

 

Your Sister,

Sara

images      American_union_bank