Life for Americans Who Lived Through the Great Depression - Analysis Essay Sample

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In recent years, America has faced hard economic times which some economists tend to think that it may lead to events similar to those of the Great Depression that lasted from 1929 to 1939.The economists describes it as the longest, deepest and most pervasive economic blow to the American and world economy. The magnitude of the events send us to ask the question what was life like for Americans who lived through the Great Depression? and the answers are sort by literature review.

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Literature About Great Depression

Oscar Ameringer sheds some light on the way of life in 1932 by way of testimony to the United States Court. It is an account of what he had seen and seen at that time. Unemployment dotted the scenes, this is illustrated by the bankrupt farmers and timber workers who wanted to make legit money, and in the process, the fire kept raging in the forest. Hunger was also a problem, and the narrator says he saw women in Seattle searching for scraps. Low wages to the workers was also problematic leading to the wheat not being harvested and apples rotting. Poor prices that the produce faced in the market mad, the farmers lose morale.

Poverty was a typical scene in the land, and the market prices for animals like sheep brought only loss to the farmers. Cotton market was just in the same sinking boat as other produce. The supply demand chain was imbalanced with the request being so small while there was production being in surplus. Failure in the farming system precipitated a situation where farmers were unable to pay their accumulation mortgages and the mortgage companies also counted loss regarding tax sales. Poverty seemed to bother the farmer as a result of the industrial population while the industrial population suffers from the poverty of the farms. It is like there existed a case of overproduction and under consumption at the same time.

The Boston Globe's publication titled "The Last Word: Beyond the Bread Lines" talks about the Great Depression and dissect the current situation to know whether Americans stand the risk of reoccurrence of the events of the 1930s at the Wall Street. The crisis was extreme to an extent where people lined up at the soup kitchen and banks to receive handouts, stoke brokers in their fancy suits went to the streets to sell apples, and families put their property in jalopies. Perhaps such a crisis will be different today.

Unemployment was a problem that served to shape places like California. The Great Depression triggered the movement of masses to settle elsewhere. Food and clothing were a great challenge during the Great Depression, something that is different today. The prices of clothing have dropped. During the depression, the middle-class workers were seen with shabby clothes lining up for free food. The crisis period shaped the shoppers choices and preference. Specialty and organic food were preferred in the depression times leading to the success of enterprises like Whole Foods. In case the crisis occurred today, people will have to adapt to new foods due to skyrocketing cost of foods.

Huey Long's Share our wealth mainly addresses the inequality that existed in the division and allocation of the national resources. While other American were looking forward to being fed, the wealthy citizens were getting richer every day. At this time, Roosevelt still enjoyed the loyalty of Huey and had drummed up support for him to secure the presidential seat. The politicians of that time just like most of today did not keep the promises of thing that they used to ascend to power with. The wealth sat with the few rich individuals. Statistics showed that 4% of the population owned the 87% of the national wealth while the majority 96% lived below the poverty line. There were problems in society which included lack of payment for war veterans, no pension scheme, no taxation for the wealthy, imbalance of production in agriculture, no homestead allowance, No limit to working hours causing overproduction and low per capita income.

Stud Turkel's Hard Times is another book that offers an exact description of life during the Great Depression. A theme that recurs throughout the narrative from the interviewees, from unions to farmers movements, artistic communities to government development is that out of the depression of a crisis, society emerges. The community that features prominently is the labor union whose 1936 Flint Sit-Down was outstanding. To point out their grievances to the Michigan government and Chrysler leadership, Frank Murphy and the strikers formed a movement ensuring no damage to property. The local population show support by the encouragement of the autoworkers and supplying food.

Stud also focusses on the farmers and coal miners and how the unions helped. The issue of Veterans' bonuses is discussed, traveling culture of hojos and their survival. Work Progress Administration, National Recovery Administration, and The Bonus March are also addressed in the book.


The Great Depression had an adverse impact on the United States and Its economy. The Americans confidence, as well as confidence in the leaders, was broken. The crisis meant uncertain future for the economy and indefinite strategies were employed to save it. After the depressions, a total change in systems was made, and America had to decide what to keep and what to dispose of.

Work Cited

Terkel, Studs. Hard Times. An Illustrated Oral History of the Great Depression. New York, NY: New, 2012. Print.

Zirakzadeh, Cyrus Ernesto. Social and Political Movements. Theorizing about Movements after World War II. London: SAGE, 2011. Print.

Bennett, Drake. "Beyond the Breadlines." The Last Word 8.390 (2008): 48-49. Print.

"Pearson Prentice Hall: Primary Sources. Wikispaces. N.P., Retrieved from 07 Apr. 2017

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