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Depression Impression: Lessons Learned Once 1929.

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Few seniors forget the day it happened. After hitting a yearly peak of 381 points in September the Dow Jones plummeted to a dismal 198 within 2 months. (Wigmore 3) On October 28, 1929 the [then] largest ever recorded single-day drop of 38 points initiated another 30pt. calamity 24 hours later. (Wigmore 4) The dramatic Black Tuesday. Trading was tripled at 12.9 million shares and widespread panic induced the most catastrophic economic event in American History. The cause may have been solely economic; however its effects were of everything. The social impact was enormous. (Wigmore 23) Millionaires turned beggars, middle-class suicides, and citizens meandered the streets waiting days in line for a single loaf of paltry bread. Most everyone witnessed one way or another, these previously unseen horrors. For many who experienced them, change was inevitable. The standard of living declined sharply and in few short years, entire family lifestyles permanently altered. Exactly what and how did we change?

Perhaps the first big instance was Roosevelt's New Deal. Although Hoover had instituted a 4% tax cut immediately following the crash, it was just one among numerous proposals designed as a temporary solution until a more steadfast plan became available. (The Great Depression) The program did relieve suffering throughout the nation, although critics argued the Gold policy was the sole beneficiary factor responsible. (The Great Depression) "The New Deal accustomed people to look to government, rather than to private charity, for help." (The Great Depression) Social Security was a very important introduction, which to this day, Americans greatly rely on. People's attitudes and opinions drastically changed. Recycling services were started, along with increased federal spending in environmental research. It has increased awareness of natural preservation and other issues arising such as global warming. Following WWII, the government sought ways to prevent such a scenario. "The political inclination was to act sooner, rather than later, to halt a slump." (The Great Depression) "Economic policies became more active and, as a practical matter, more inflationary." (The Great Depression) "Likewise, the protectionism of the thirties prompted postwar efforts to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers." (The Great Depression) After the gold standard was abandoned, international exchange rates went completely haywire. The Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates addressed the issue in 1944. (The Great Depression) All international money maintained an equivalent conversion factor to the US dollar. Although this broke down in the early 70's, the US dollar gained immense popularity and eventually became the elite standard. Today this is clearly evident, as the USD is accepted globally.

In my opinion, the impact of the Great Depression on American society is startling, to say the least. As aforementioned, the spending towards scientific research spurred awareness in environmental issues. I think that the Great Depression was an indirect cause of this, as well as a shift from a politically focused to an economically centered nation. After the scientific revolution of the baby boom generation, there was a major shift into technological lifestyles. The economy remained a primary subject in the American life as well as a requirement in US high schools. The stock fall in 1987, awakened the government



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