Lesson Plan - Get It!
Fearful, depressed, sad, hungry, and desparate. What feelings and images do those words provoke for you? Do you know what period of history these words represent?
This was a time in the United States’ history referred to as the Great Depression.
Depression refers to a period of sadness or melancholy.
- Why was this time period referred to in such a way?
Watch Fallen Dreams: Images from the Great Depression, from Charles Cochran, to get a deeper feeling of the time period:
The Great Depression was a very hard time in the history of the United States.
The 10 years before the Great Depression were a wonderful time, when many new inventions were being made. Our economy, or money system, was slowly getting worse as people overused credit cards to buy all the new products coming out in the stores.
When people use credit cards, they are not using real money, but promising companies they will pay them later. Too many people were using credit cards rather than paying with actual currency.
Many people thought they could get rich by putting their money into the stock market, but when the stock market crashed in 1929, they lost all the financial resources they had. Historians call the day the stock market crashed "Black Tuesday."
The scare of the crash caused people to run to the bank to take out all of their money until eventually all of the money in the bank was gone and people weren't able to get their money back. Many families lost all of the money they had in savings.
The Great Depression lasted over 10 years and deeply affected the United States. People, businesses, and farms all went bankrupt, meaning they did not have enough money to pay for all the things they needed to buy or had already bought.
The fun of the 1920s was cut short, and people had to learn to survive on little or no money.
Here are two videos that explain the Great Depression in more depth:
- Hoovervilles from the History Channel:
- The Great Depression: Causes and Effects from Joe Buchholz:
- What caused such a terrible time in history?
Continue on to the Got It? section to further examine the causes and effects.