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The Depression

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Imagine for a moment, waking up one day to find yourself on a dirty floor, a pile of rags, or maybe even the street. You look down at yourself to find you're wearing the same clothes you wore yesterday, except they are completely filthy and have lots of holes in places like the knees and elbows. You have no access to a mirror to show you what you look like so you go to touch you hair with your hand and find it to be a pile of grease and dirt that obviously hasn't been washed in days, maybe even weeks.

You get up and start to head for work, or school, only to realize you have no place to go. The pain of hunger eats away at you, but you just ignore it knowing that there is nothing for you to eat and you have no money to buy any food. You have no job, no money, no family, no hope. Welcome to the Depression.

The 1920's was a time of great prosperity in the lives of most Americans and our natural human ignorance made us think it would stay that way forever. We had just come out of the Great War and business was booming, along with agriculture and the stock m arket. The outlook for the future was great, but people failed to understand that economies can't be on the upswing forever, it has to come down sometime. All of the signs of a depression were there; the farmers were producing too much, the uneven distr ibution of income, easy credit/huge debts, imbalance of foreign trade; people just didn't notice them. Not until October 29, 1929--BLACK TUESDAY--anyway, when the bottom of the stock market fell out, taking millions of American lives with it. Even thoug h any didn't admit it, they knew what was on the way. People who had been buying stocks on margin (10 0own) suddenly found themselves penniless and in bigger debt than they could imagine. America went into a panic, pulling money out of banks in a frenz y causing many to close their doors.

President Hoover tried hard to make the times better for the unemployed first by setting aside almost $800 million for public works like the now Hoover Dam. Conditions, however, failed to improve. His other policies, the Reconstruction Finance Corporat ion (RFC) and the Home Loan Bank Act, also didn't make much difference. The election of 1932 made it clear that the American people were unhappy with Hoover. Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the election on the Democratic ticket by a landslide. His promis e of "a new deal" gave Americans hope for what he could do for them. Two days after his inauguration he ordered a ‘bank holiday' for all the banks in



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