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HIST 102 Survey of American History II Essay Three- The Great Depression

What is The Great Depression?

Between 1929 and 1933, the Great depression was a worldwide economic collapse and depression that began in the United States of America.In all countries around the world, rich and poor, the stock market crash led in major losses in personal income, tax revenue, product prices, and business profits. In addition, worldwide trade fell by nearly fifty seven percent, and global unemployment rose to more than fifty percent.

The photographs give a wealth of information about the era and the event itself. Edwin F. Gay introduces the phenomenon in another related article, stating that the United States of America was now facing a situation far worse than the previous war because the event had brought an evil of calamitous drops in the prices of valuable commodities, massive and widespread unemployment, and an economic turmoil that harmed national esteem.

Firstly, it shows a photograph taken in 1936, of a migrant woman who looks really depressed. The woman looks like she did not know what was next in her life; she was simply affected by the situation.The second image shows dust bowl, these dust caused so many people to move out of their homes in search of better and safe grounds.

Third image shows farms for sale, the owners were selling their farms because of bank loans and other debts while others were greatly affected by the dust bowl. Furthermore, American banks had utterly undermined and abandoned the nation's thrift mentality, resulting in strikes and unrest among their erstwhile consumers. The fourth image shows people on transit, this was as a result of the dust bowl. They had abandoned their farms, others had sold them.

The following image shows a group of unemployed people looking for help and others standing in line empty-handed at all, all these were caused by the crashing of international market which occurred on September 1929, what was dubbed "Black Tuesday," After nearly sixteen million shares were traded, the market completely collapsed, resulting in a loss of approximately thirty billion dollars. Gay responds to the photo's information by stating that, while WWI had a major economic impact on America and the world as a whole, but the rates of unemployment caused by the Great Depression were unrivaled. The sixth image depicts soup kitchens and breadlines this was to feed the hungry people affected by the event; this was amid the height of the Great Depression.

The following images depict the bad economic situation of people in America as well as poverty around the world. This includes, among other places, New York and California, which were all affected by the Great Depression. In states such as California, residents recruited immigrants from other countries and some from their own country especially those from the affected regions such as Oklahoma, they came to labor in their fields in order to complete their work in a short amount of time. Gay corroborates with the observation that refugees faced difficult work environment, such as being forced to work in the storms and in filthy areas of California.

In a broader sense, Gay's article and photographs attempt to depict the effects of the Great Depression on the USA and the rest of the world's economies. It demonstrated that a country cannot survive solely on its own resources. This is due to the fact that governments, such as the USA began seeking economic asylum in other countries around this time.. In addition, other countries were fleeing to the United States of America.


- Rosenberg, J. (n.d.). The Story of the Great Depression in Photos. ThoughtCo.

- Gay, E. (1932, July). Edwin Gay Great Depression-1.pdf - FOREIGN AFFAIRS Vol 10

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