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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Great Depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the 1930s. The depression originated in the United States, where it began in August 1929, when the country's economy first went into recession.

The Great Depression became worldwide news with the Wall Street Crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday). It was then that the effects of a declining economy were felt, and a major worldwide economic downturn ensued.

Crowd gathering at the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street after the 1929 crash

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest point of the Great Depression on July 8, 1932, closing at 41.22, down 89 percent from its peak in 1929.

In a State of the Union message on December 2, 1929, U.S. President Herbert Hoover proposed a $150 million public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.

Worldwide GDP fell by 15% from 1929 to 1932.

During the Great Depression, John Deere refused to repossess their farm equipment from farmers in debt.

Canada had zero bank failures in the Great Depression, compared to over 9,000 failed banks in the USA.

During the Great Depression people often made clothes out of feed sacks. Seeing this, distributors started to print their feed sacks with different colors and patterns to help people remain at least somewhat fashionable.

Because of the great economic slump, many Americans found themselves without work and had no money to buy food. Consequently kitchens distributing free soup to the needy started springing up in most large cities in the United States. For the most part it was churches and charity organisations like the Salvation Army, which  provided food for the poorest.

An impoverished American family living in a shanty, 1936

Al Capone started one of the first free soup kitchens during the Great Depression.

Popcorn at 5 or 10 cents was one of the few luxuries down-and-out families affected by the American Depression could afford. While other businesses was failing, the popcorn business thrived.

For anyone with a few dimes, depression America was a shopper's paradise. A man's suit cost about $10, a shirt less than 50 cents, and a pair of shoes about $4.

During the Great Depression, the U.S. deported around 1 million Mexicans—an estimated 60% of them were U.S. citizens.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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