The Great Depression in the United States


The period that lasted from 1929 to 1939 is considered to be the years of the Great Depression in the United States. Moreover, this global depression is named as a world economic crisis. The depression touched upon not only the US, but also Canada, Germany, Great Britain and France. Thus, it is interesting to find out in what way the depression occurred in two continents. Obviously, this great crisis was caused by some serious reasons. First of all, strong deflation provoked financial unsteadiness, business interruption of many enterprises, credit defaults. As the result, unemployment rates rose tremendously. Industrial production dropped to the level of the beginning of the XX century. There were about 30 million of people out of work in the industrialized countries with developed market economies (Beaudreau, 2014). Nearly a hundred years ago Emerson asked, “Can anybody remember when the times were not hard and money not scarce?” As the rule, nobody knows the answer to this question. Besides, economists have not reached a consensus on the causes of the Great Depression. Thus, were there any differences between European and American Depression? Can it be considered a kind of regular process in the world?

The Analysis of the Period of the Great Depression

To begin with, it is necessary to clarify what exactly the Great Depression meant for American nation. As it was already mentioned, this crisis had a huge impact on people’s lives. During 1929-1939, deteriorated farmers, small traders and the middle class were below the poverty line. From 25 to 90 % of children suffered from malnutrition throughout the country. Nevertheless, one should not forget that this period was not the only one during which the state faced such difficulties. R. Duffers (1932) mentioned in his article that “hard times” dated back to the years 1837, 1873, 1893, perhaps, 1907 and 1921, and of course 1929. It can, thus, be suggested that the phenomenon of the Great Depression is a kind of a regular process.

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This global panic might even be described as artificial one. According to Streit (1934), it is possible to find some obvious proofs of such a claim. For example, hard times in Kansas could not be denied by anybody. Crops were ruined; cattle were gaunt and dying. Nevertheless, there were still the fields, houses, barns, roads, and tools; thus, both men and women seemed dauntless and determined to survive this blow as they had survived the previous ones. Through prosperity and depression, the United States has gained a certain success and stability today. Surely, there was much fuss about it, and there were many unreliable sources that portrayed the situation outside America. Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Obviously, people in the US kept on living wastefully with another kind of extravagance.

This way, it is also possible to compare the situation on the two continents during the depression. The dominant structures in towns or villages in most European countries did not bear a sign of prosperity at that time. However, one might hypothesize that these conditions were not really true in America. As for the US, one was able to find great modern brick school buildings in almost every town; most of them were beautiful in terms of architecture and dwarfed the churches. Progress in the United States undoubtedly moved more quickly than in Europe. Even despite the fact that the Great Depression was on a large scale when one refers to the US, Americans seemed have suffered less.


To sum up, the Great Depression was definitely not artificial. The series of independent events happened causing a huge crisis. The highest ever rate of unemployment led to the hunger, deficiency of food and everyday objects. Nevertheless, some people kept on living wastefully. The general level of living and living standards were not lower compared to those that existed previously.

Anyway, different social classes will exist forever. Poverty will coexist with wealth at any times. All in all, it brings further prosperity. The phenomenon of the Great Depression is an ambiguous question. What one cannot object to is that, sooner or later, there will be general improvement which will make the pessimism of the worst days seem like a bad dream. As a result, one can make a conclusion that it was a kind of a regular process. In other words, the depression was a display of human unreadiness to rapid changes in the world. Of course, it coincided with unconducive natural and political events. Thus, something epochal can always be unexpected and bring shocking results. The Great Depression which concerned both American and European continents is a specific example. The findings one can observe in the following study mirror those of the previous researches that have examined the effect of the crisis in the two regions and have shown some obvious differences.

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