Families rest of the money a little bit

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Families who once lived luxurious lives now sat homeless and hungry because of the Great Depression. In 1929, America fell into a depression and lost not only their money but also their trust in the banking system and the government. While the Great Depression cannot be pinpointed to a single cause, unemployment, buying on a margin and the breaking of the business cycle were all causes of the economic slump that started in 1929.To begin, the breaking the business cycle was a cause of the Great Depression. In Document 10, Elmer Davis says, “In past times…(w) hen people had bought all they could afford they stopped buying;” “We, it seems, have abolished the business cycle; when people have bought all they can afford they go on buying, a little down and the rest in easy payments.” (Elmer Davis, If Hoover Fails, March 1929) In this document, Elmer Davis is pointing out how Americans have nearly spiraled out of control with their spending practices. When Americans continue to spend their money, even when they have no money left, was breaking the business cycle that was once kept the economy in a stable place. This source is vital to understanding how the Great Depression was caused. The business cycle was a constant flow of ups and downs in the economy and when that ended, there was no way to keep the economy under control and a depression was bound to occur. Americans would not have been able to continue buying goods when they were out of money if it weren’t for buying on a margin, a way people could pay a small down payment on an item, then pay off the rest of the money a little bit at a time.Additionally, buying on a margin was another cause of the Great Depression. Document 6 explains, “In other words, consumers bought goods on installment at a rate faster than their income was expanding, but it was inevitable that a time would come when they would have to reduce purchases, and the cutback in buying would sap the whole economy.” (William E. Leuchtenburg, The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932, 1958) In this book, Leuchtenburg explains that Americans bought nearly everything on a margin, and these actions would later have consequences. While no Americans predicted the Great Depression, the process of buying on a margin caused a great deal of trouble for the economy. This excerpt is noteworthy in understanding how America’s habits negatively affected the economy and caused many complications for the lives of everyday people in the long run. Americans suffered from the effects of buying on a margin, however, other troubles, such as unemployment, also brought a large number of problems to the economy.Furthermore, unemployment was another cause of the Great Depression. As demonstrated in Document 4, in 1926, civilian labor force workers had a 1.8% unemployment rate while nonfarm employees had a 2.9% rate. As the years went on and time progressed, unemployment percentages increased. In 1935, the civilian labor force had risen to 20.3% and nonfarm workers rose to 30.2%. (Historical Statistics of the United States, 1975) This document is proof that unemployment was one cause of the Great Depression because as more people became unemployed, the Great Depression continued. In other words, if there would have been a way to keep people employed, or lower the percentages of unemployment during the Great Depression, the Great Depression could probably have ended sooner. This source is significant in understanding the Great Depression because it proves that society and the economy were both at an all-time low. Unemployment was one of the many causes of the Great Depression.The Great Depression was caused by the breaking of the business cycle, buying on a margin, and unemployment of civilian labor force workers and nonfarm workers. The dissolved business cycle, buying on installment and unemployment caused a lot of suffering and hardships for many Americans. While there could always be another large economic slump in America again, what society has learned from the Great Depression will be very helpful for keeping the United States economically stable and preventing another depression.

Categories: United States


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