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The different personalities that made an impact during the great depression

The trigger for the Great Depression was the Wall Street Crash of October 1929; this led to a collapse in confidence, bank losses and an unprecedented fall in output, spending and a rise in unemployment. The crash originated in the US, but soon spread to all major economies. The economic disaster and mass unemployment caused political upheaval across the globe. He had the misfortune to witness the start of the Great Depression in the first year of his presidency. However, as output fell and unemployment rose, he appeared unsure of what, if anything he could do to rectify the situation.

He raised taxes and reluctantly approved the Smoot-Hawley tariffs — both policies reduced spending and trade, exacerbating the initial downturn. He expanded the role of the Federal Government and increased spending on public works to try and provide unemployment.

  • His policies were a factor in the 1920s boom;
  • Higher education remained out of reach for most Americans as the nation's universities saw their student bodies shrink during the first half of the decade.

John Maynard Keynes 1883 — 1946 Keynes was one of the most influential economists of the Twentieth Century. The Great Depression left classical economists stumped as faith in free markets appeared to be misplaced. Keynes saw the Great Depression as a trigger to create a new way of economic thinking.

What was the Great Depression and what impact did it make on the lives of Americans?

Keynes advocated government intervention to kickstart economies in a slump. He was mostly ignored in the 1930s, but his General Theory 1936 laid the foundations of Keynesian economics and a new branch of macroeconomics. Along with Ludwig Von Mises, Hayek took an opposite view to Keynes arguing that government intervention in the economy only aggravated the problem.

Irving Fisher 1867 — 1947 American neo-classical economist. Fisher worked on a model of debt deflation for explaining the great depression and the bursting of a credit bubble. Mellon was a key figure in the US economy during the 1920s. He reformed the tax system, cutting income and corporation tax and seeking to reduce the federal debt.

His policies were a factor in the 1920s boom.

Famous people of the Great Depression

After the crash of 1929, his measures to halt the Great Depression were ineffective and only exacerbated the economic downturn. Eleanor Roosevelt 1884—1962 Wife and political aide of American president F. Roosevelt was an active First Lady, giving speeches, writing a column and meeting with the unemployed. She helped to reassure workers that the Roosevelt administration was committed to trying to solve their plight. In 1933, she defused a situation with the Bonus Army — a situation Hoover had responded to by sending in the army.

Roosevelt was also sympathetic to civil rights for African-Americans and other minorities. His radio broadcasts were widely listened to.

  • He expressed support for Hitler and on an anti-semitic, anticommunist, nationalist platform sought to attract followers in a similar style to Hitler;
  • Cigar smoking became too expensive, so many Americans switched to cheaper cigarettes;
  • Mellon was a key figure in the US economy during the 1920s;
  • His radio broadcasts were widely listened to;
  • Fewer Americans could afford this luxury after the stock market crashed—so more than one-third of the cinemas in America closed between 1929 and 1934.

He was fiercely anti-communist and increasingly supportive of nationalism — expressing sympathy for aspects of Hitler and Mussolini. His perceived anti-semitism and sympathy for extreme nationalism caused national broadcasters to drop him, but he continued with a self-funding radio station.

An outspoken character, Long was effective in increasing state spending on education, healthcare and raising rates of voter registration through eliminating the Poll tax.

He was assassinated in 1935.

  1. In some towns, local newspapers published the names of welfare recipients.
  2. Some people would get caught in the dust storms and were killed because they could not breathe.
  3. A family of migrant workers in Blythe, California, 1936.
  4. These towns of shacks became known as Hoovervilles because the homeless believed it was the Presidents fault for the crisis. Marriages became strained, though many couples could not afford to separate.
  5. However, his rallies attracted violent protests, and he was investigated for tax fraud.

He expressed support for Hitler and on an anti-semitic, anticommunist, nationalist platform sought to attract followers in a similar style to Hitler. His outreach peaked in 1939 when he attracted 20,000 people to a rally in Madison Square, New York.

  1. The Dust Bowl sent thousands of "Okies" and "Arkies" looking to make a better life. The Great Plains lost population to states such as California and Arizona.
  2. An outspoken character, Long was effective in increasing state spending on education, healthcare and raising rates of voter registration through eliminating the Poll tax.
  3. While many undesirable vices associated with hopelessness were on the rise, many family units were also strengthened through the crisis.

However, his rallies attracted violent protests, and he was investigated for tax fraud. John Steinbeck 1902—1968 American writer who captured the social change experienced in the US around the time of the Great Depression.

These books captured the grim economic realities of the Great Depression and vividly captured the harsh economic realities faced by low-income workers. Dorothy Lange 1895 — 1965 Lange was a documentary photographer who is best known for her work during the Great Depression to document the effects on workers and the unemployed.

Working for the FSA, she documented the plight of migrant workers. Babe Ruth 1895-1948 In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Babe Ruth, was at the height of his powers. He transformed the sport of baseball struggling from the Black Sox scandaland set numerous baseball records for big hitting. His sporting prowess and cheerful character gave hope to millions of fans during the Great Depression.

Life for the Average Family During the Great Depression

New styles of music, dance and dress. Inter-war era 1918 to 1939 A period of peace in between the two world wars. Characterised by an economic boom and bust, and the growth of polarising ideologies. People of the Twentieth Century 1901—2000 Famous people of the turbulent century.