Learn About the Great Depression and the Stock Market Crash of 1929

On October 29th, 1929, the United States stock market crashed which led to an unprecedented level of bank failure, unemployment and ultimately, global poverty. The effects of the Great Depression—a term some argue then-president Herbert Hoover coined—resonate today through powerful photographs of poverty-stricken migrants, survivors who hoard money and belongings and ultimately the fear of future economic collapse. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff—a measure implemented by Hoover’s administration—sought to improve economic conditions in the United States; it only worsened the situation. The United States was not the only country affected by the stock market crash; economies around the world struggled to regain financial confidence until the end of World War II. Scholars, economists and financial experts continue to debate the factors that caused the Great Depression.

Economists and scholars still study the Great Depression and disagree on how it began, although the stock market crash—called Black Tuesday—abolished people’s wealth and instilled fear, which led to less consumer spending. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff substantially increased the cost of imported goods to encourage spending on American made products; other countries retaliated and increased the cost to import American goods. Essentially, by the 1930s, much of the world was struggling to regain financial footing and many economies did not recover until the 1940s. The Great Depression illustrated a number of important concepts that affect people globally. The economic downturn of one country played a significant role in the economic ruin of others. Today, economists, scholars, politicians and regular people seek to understand how the Great Depression occurred. Teaching the legacy of the Great Depression establishes an understanding of how the economy operates and how changing the role of government can improve financial footing for people, businesses and the world economy.

General and Historical Information

What Caused and Ended the Great Depression

The Great Depression and Efforts to Remedy the Crisis

Lesson Plans

Legacy of the Great Depression

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