Politic Science Essay

Thursday October 24 1929 is a Day that was later known as “Black Thursday”.

“Black Thursday” was the day a small crash occurred at the New York stock
exchange. However “Black Thursday” Would turn out to be nothing compared to
what awaited America and its economy on the following Tuesday. America was about
to enter her darkest days the Great Depression. Sena Peterson my great
grandmother was just an eighteen-year-old young lady living on her fathers corn
farm in Iowa. Far away from New York and the economic problems on Wall Street.

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Nevertheless, the depression and the falling prices of her farms product would
soon affect her in drastic ways the depression would be a hard time for
Americans. Monday October 28, 1929. Was a very dark and gloomy day. Thousands of
Black Birds landed on Wall Street. The thousand plus birds began to devour any
thing they could find to eat. Nearly half of the birds never took flight again.

Many of the birds died of exhaustion. This was an ominous sign of the dark and
desperate times ahead. America was about to enter its lowest and darkest point
in its short history. My great grandma lived on her farm in Iowa oblivious to
the fact that her life would soon be changing in drastic ways. She had know idea
of what was going on at Wall Street. She had no idea that she was going to have
to move. Her family would soon have to start all over in a new place. Tuesday
October 29, 1929. This dark day would soon be remembered as “Black Tuesday”.

The day Americas economy would crumble. The day some investors lost everything
even there will to live and jumped out the windows of high rise buildings. Many
people believe that the stock market crash was the cause of the depression but
that is not entirely true. Although the two events where closely related. By
Americans attitude during the 1920’s also known as the jazz age. Americans
emphasis on having the newest thing or being at the height of fashion was enough
to keep the economy going for most of the 20’s but that would no last. During
the First World War my great grand mothers expanded to keep up with the demand
the war created. To do this they got a loan from the bank to purchase the need
supplies; machines and the land needed to expand. After the war ended the demand
for corn drastically dropped. Consequently, the farm produced an excess product
so the price dropped. My great grandfather now had problems paying the bill and
making ends meat but he managed for a while. Nevertheless, the lack of money
would soon take its toll. The problem with the way America was heading was that
income was distributed very unevenly and the portion going to the rich got
larger and larger as the 20’s progressed. Corporations started to make bigger
and bigger profits yet the profits were not passed on to the workers. In
addition, in 1926, The Revenue act was passed and it cut taxes by 2/63 for those
who made over 1 million dollars a year. Because of these trends in 1929, the top
.1 percent of American families had a total income equal to the bottom 42
percent. That meant that the people who paid attention to the ads couldn’t
afford the new products they wanted. This is when credit was invented. People
liked the idea that they didn’t have to pay for the product but they still got
to keep it and pay later. Credit only put of they day when consumers accumulated
so much debt that they couldn’t buy new products. My Great Great grandfather
had tried his best to make ends meat but he couldn’t make a profit. He could
no longer pay back his loan to the bank so they foreclosed on his farm. My great
grandmother’s family now had no source of income and no where to live for them
this was the lowest point of the depression and her life. However, this where
about get a lot worse for the Peterson family. Because people could no longer
afford to buy things there was an over supply and no demand, so prices began to
fall like a rock. So they economy became weak because nobody was making money.

This is when stocks began to crash and eventually the whole market crashed.

Things began to look a lot worse for the Peterson’s my great grandmother’s
father came down with tuberculoses. The whole Peterson family had to move to
Colorado so he could get treatment. My great grandmother ended up working in a
Levi’s factory to help pay medical bills as well as her mother. Her brothers
worked in other various factories. These events all lead up to the depression
the stock market crash was the straw that broke the horses back. After the crash
for the next three years things just got worse and worse. Americans attitudes
changed from their happy party like attitudes to a defeat and despair. Stock
prices continued to fall, by 1932 they where 20 percent what they where before
the crash. With little demand many mills and plants closed. They plants that
here still open in 1932 produced only half what they did in 1929. There was no
end in sight America looked as if it where in a never-ending downward spiral.

The Peterson’s continued to work in factories to pay for the medical bills.

Until her father died. She continued to work in the factory but some of here
brothers joined the Navy. She worked in the factory until she got married in
1932 and she started to do housekeeping to make a living while her husband
worked for a chemical company called Dow Chemicals. From 1929 to 1932,
unemployment went from 3.2 percent to 24.9 percent. This mean there where 15
million unemployed Americans. People who had a job where earning very little
money. My great grandmother husband worked for the chemical plant he didn’t
make enough to support his family wick included there two suns and doughtier.

Buster and Glen where the names of there sons. Buster was born in 1930, Glen was
born in 1933, and their doughtier Janice was born in 1936. Many other families
where not as lucky. As people lost their money and their savings, they could no
longer pay their loans and mortgages. Banks began to foreclose on them they lost
everything there houses and all. These unemployed homeless people lived in
shantytowns in houses made from old crates. These towns would soon be called
Hoovervilles because Americans where bitter towards there president. The people
of America where upset at President Hoover because he refused to give aid to the
unemployed Americans. The way my Great Grandmother was living was a sharp
contrast to the way it was just a few years. Yet it was still a tuff time they
could pay the bills and she didn’t have to do hard work in factories. They way
the government responded to the depression initially did not help to fix the
problem. President Hoover insisted that prosperity would soon return to America.

Hoover was convinced that all he needed to do was to restore people’s
confidence so that companies would invest and start production again. He
believed that this would create more jobs and give people incomes and restore
the economy. Nevertheless, business owners saw no reason to increase production
because there shelves where full of unsold items. By 1932, production was less
that what it had been in 1929. President Hoover also believed that a balanced
budget was the key to restoring the economy. Hoover decided to cut government
spending and increase taxes. All Hoover’s plan did was reduced demand to an
all time low. Eventually Hoover provide emergency loans to banks and industrial
companies. President Hoover also expanded public works and helped states offer
relief. However, his efforts where too little, too late. President Hoover was a
self made man and as such he strongly believed in individualism and
self-reliance. More and more Americans began to loose their jobs Hoover said
that “mutual self help through voluntary giving” was the way to meets
peoples needs. Charities began to be overwhelmed at the number of people that
needed help. To most people government assistance was the only way to help fix
Americas economic problems. Hoover thought that giving government help would
undermine recipient’s self-reliance and he refused to do it the entire time he
was in office. In 1932, there was an election and democrat Franklin Delano
Roosevelt would run against the very unpopular and somewhat hatted President
Hoover. Many people believed that Roosevelt would win by a landslide and he did
in the fall of 1932. Roosevelt was a very confident person unlike Hoover. In his
inauguration speech, he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself
“. Soon Americans spirits would be lifted. Days after his inauguration
Roosevelt called special sessions with congress where there where several
emergency legislation was passed. These new legislation where called The New
Deal The basic idea of the new deal was to lower the supply of goods to the
current depressed level. The New Deal also tried to increase demand by putting
large amounts of money into the economy through the Public Works program. The
Public Works program provided jobs and it built schools dams and roads. The new
deal was not a cure for the depression it acted like a painkiller lessening the
burden on Americans and making condition bearable. Unemployment was reduced and
framers could now sell their crops for a profit. However, the depression was not
over. The depression is thought to be over around the time the Second World War
started. The demand the war created helped fix the economy companiese could sell
their products there was now the demand was equal to the supply. The economy was
fixed. America was once more a prospering country.


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