The Great Depression

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Though the U.S. economy entered a depression six months prior, the proverbial start of the "Great Depression" is considered to be October 29, 1929. On that day, known as "Black Tuesday," the New York Stock Exchange crashed and continued to lose value over the next three years. Between 1929 and 1932, stocks lost 20% of their value, manufacturing was down 54%, and unemployment soared to 25-30%.

The economic upheaval ushered in the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR introduced many changes to the relationship between the Federal government and the people within its borders, including increased public works programs. Thus began an economic and political debate that continues to this day: How large of a role does the federal government have in an economic recession, and which policies are more effective at stimulating the economy?

Unit 3 - The Great Depression Overview (PDF)

Unit 3 - The Great Depression PowerPoint Slides (PDF)



Video Clips

Suggested/Selected Resources: Books & Films

  • The Great Depression: America 1929-1941 (Robert S. McElvaine)
  • The Great Depression: America in the 1930s (T.H. Watkins)
  • The Great Crash 1929 (John Kenneth Galbraith)
  • Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel)
  • Essays on the Great Depression (Ben Bernanke)
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal: 1932-1940 (William Leuchtenburg)
  • The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (Amity Shlaes)
  • The Coming of the New Deal (Arthur M. Schlesinger)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
  • Film: Cinderella Man
  • Film: The Great Depression (History Channel)
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