Their complexity and variety are testimony to a conflict whose causes and meaning still defy conclusive analysis. Some broad contours of development can be traced in the elegies and monuments erected by local communities, however.
Its effects were felt in virtually all corners of the world, and it is one of the great economic calamities in history.
In previous depressions, such as those of the s and s, real per capita gross domestic product GDP —the sum of all goods and services produced, weighted by market prices and adjusted for inflation—had returned to its original level within five years.
Economic activity began to decline in the summer ofand by real GDP fell more than 25 percent, erasing all of the economic growth of the previous quarter century. Industrial production was especially hard hit, falling some 50 percent. By comparison, industrial production had fallen 7 percent in the s and 13 percent in the s.
From the depths of depression inthe economy recovered until This expansion was followed by a brief but severe recession, and then another period of economic growth.
It was not until the s that previous levels of output were surpassed. This led some to wonder how long the depression would have continued without the advent of World War II.
In the absence of government statistics, scholars have had to estimate unemployment rates for the s. The sharp drop in GDP and the anecdotal evidence of millions of people standing in soup lines or wandering the land as hoboes suggest that these rates were unusually high. It is widely accepted that the unemployment rate peaked above 25 percent in and remained above 14 percent into the s.
Yet these figures may underestimate the true hardship of the times: Likewise, those who moved from the cities to the countryside in order to feed their families would not have been counted.
Even those who had jobs tended to see their hours of work fall: The banking system witnessed a number of "panics" during which depositors rushed to take their money out of banks rumored to be in trouble.
Many banks failed under this pressure, while others were forced to merge: While the Great Depression affected some sectors of the economy more than others, and thus some regions of the country more than others, all sectors and regions experienced a serious decline in output and a sharp rise in unemployment.
The hardship of unemployment, though concentrated in the working class, affected millions in the middle class as well. Farmers suffered too, as the average price of their output fell by half whereas the aggregate price level fell by only a third. The Great Depression followed almost a decade of spectacular economic growth.
Between andoutput per worker grew about 5. Unemployment and inflation were both very low throughout this period as well. One troublesome characteristic of the s, however, was that income distribution became significantly less equal.
Also, a boom in housing construction, associated in part with an automobile-induced rush to the suburbs, collapsed in the late s. And automakers themselves worried throughout the late s that they had saturated their market fighting for market share; auto sales began to slide in the spring of Technological advances in production processes notably electrification, the assembly lineand continuous processing of homogenous goods such as chemicals were largely responsible for the advances in productivity in the s.
These advances induced the vast bulk of firms to invest in new plants and equipment In the early s, there were also innovative new products, such as radio, but the decade after was the worst in the twentieth century for new product innovation.
Causes of the Great Depression In the standard economic theory suggested that a calamity such as the Great Depression could not happen: For example, high levels of unemployment should put downward pressure on wages, thereby encouraging firms to increase employment.
Before the Great Depression, most economists urged governments to concentrate on maintaining a balanced budget. Since tax receipts inevitably fell during a downturn, governments often increased tax rates and reduced spending.
By taking money out of the economy, such policies tended to accelerate the downturn, though the effect was likely small. As the depression continued, many economists advised the federal government to increase spending, in order to provide employment. Economists also searched for theoretical justifications for such policies.
Some thought the depression was caused by overproduction: These analysts often attributed overproduction to the increased disparity in income that developed in the s, for the poor spend a greater percentage of their income than do the rich.
Others worried about a drop in the number of profitable investment opportunities. Often, these arguments were couched in apocalyptic terms: Others, notably Joseph Schumpeter, pointed the finger at technology and suggested that the Great Depression reflected the failure of entrepreneurs to bring forth new products.
He felt the depression was only temporary and a recovery would eventually occur.Initially neutral during World War I, the United States declared war on Germany in and funded the Allied victory the following year. Women obtained the right to vote in , with Native Americans obtaining citizenship and the right to vote in Consequently, the list of countries that has overtaken the United States with respect to life expectancy at birth has been growing, and the gap between the United States and the countries with the highest achieved life expectancies has been widening (see Figures and ).
High School United States History November - December Featured Standards and Benchmarks This document is intended to provide teachers with information and resources to support the teaching and learning of high school.
During this period, the United States set up a national quota system through the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which passed over the veto of President Truman. The New Woman and the Politics of the s Lynn Dumenil T in-depth analysis, however, that includes changes in the family and sexual mores, women’s “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” Under the leadership of.
After the Great Depression the United States experienced a number of recessions, but all were shorter and less severe. There were also financial crises. For example, on Monday, October 19, , the stock market fell by nearly 23 percent.