Free Essay: Causes of the Great Depression

Published: 2023-08-23
Free Essay: Causes of the Great Depression
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Feminism The Great Depression Social change
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1485 words
13 min read

The great depression lasted for ten years to 1939 and was one of the most significant depressions in American history. Most people refer to the 1929 stock-market collapse as the start of the crisis, but the Great Depression has had numerous factors. It was not a single occurrence. The 1929 stock market crashes, financial institution failures, buying power drop across the country, American trade plan with Europe, and severe drought were all significant causes for the Great Depression. On October 24, 1929, the stock plummeted first thing in the day and, in return, sparked panic across shareholders and investors' crowds (Ritterhouse, 2019). Five days later, there was a twelve percent fall in the stock market, and millions of dollars were flushed out of the capital expenditure. It deeply affected the economy, and this is how America entered into the Great Depression.

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The consequences of the collapse of the stock market had enormous impacts on the economy. In 1929, there were 700 financial institutions and over 3000 banks in 1930, which failed during this period. The banking industry lost its money when the banks fell. The populace is thus in panic, and in turn, more financial institutions were forced to shut down. More than 9,000 banking institutions had collapsed entirely at the end of the decade (Temin, 2019). Amid the shutdowns of the financial institution, consumer expenditure stopped. People started losing their jobs, which implied chastising on payment plans and installment plans, bad debts, and foreclosures. The unemployment rate increased, and the expenditure became even lower. Ultimately, the government was forced to intervene.

Congress passed the 1930 Tariff Act, and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff was also established. Both U.S. goods were subject to tariffs. With environmental degradation, the Great Depression worsened. The so-called Dust Bowl was built from drought conditions and poor farming techniques. The crops and livestock that were destroyed and people became hungry and sick, which caused millions in damages (Ritterhouse, 2019). Thousands of people managed to flee the region as the economy crashed, and the environment took a very long time to recover. The Great Depression has many other causative factors, but these are some of the most important factors in American history.

New Deal and the Great Depression

The agriculture sector surplus had also contributed to reducing crop prices, and as a consequence, The Agricultural Adjustment Act was introduced. This was intended to help increase the excess by having to pay farmers to cultivate less of certain goods. In the case of crop surplus, the Agriculture Adjustment Act contributed to pushing for low prices. Also, this act was designed to help solve the above problem by reducing the excess capacity by paying farmers to plant fewer crops (Walker, 2018). The regulations provided farmers with entitlements and tax reliefs in exchange for lowering their cultivation of certain crops. The incentives were designed to restrict excessive production to boost crop prices.

One major problem was that job opportunities were challenging to find during the depression. Jobs were limited, and individuals were faced with tough moments, so this concern needed to be resolved. In an attempt to solve their problems, the Civil Conservation Corps offered government jobs to young people. The Civilian Conservation Corps provided jobs for young people who were doing things like restoration and erosion management (Temin, 2016). Also, the CCC cultivated more than 4 million tree seedlings and constructed country roads and shelters in more than one thousand parks countrywide during its years of existence. The CCC had also played a part in the shaping of today's regional and federal parks systems.

The third issue was that there was not sufficient money to be used by people. It was challenging for the American people to spend that money that they did not have at all. It was almost impossible to rebuild an economy when the people living in that economy do not have money to replenish it (Ritterhouse, 2019`). The Public Works Administration decided to invest about 3 billion dollars to help and support people in finding jobs and attempt to improve the country's economy in assuming the right direction.

Part B

Question One: Effects of the Arms Race

The quest for nuclear weapons was an arms race rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, and their allies during the Cold War to achieve dominance in the nuclear war. The start of the arms race between the two dominant world superpower was a significant concern for the advancement of the Cold War, which helped keep the two European states hostile (Temin, 2016). The countries had to seek for alternative approaches and strategic methods to outsmart the other in the arms race

Both the United States and the Soviet Union were more and more concerned about the atomic and nuclear power activity of each other. They are generally thought to have significant implications for the public safety of states. One side of the argument on their impact is that arms races increased the likelihood of conflict by weakening strategic unity and undermining the stability of the military (Temin, 2016).

Question Two: Differing Ideologies

This ideological difference was a significant source of disputes between the two countries because the Soviet Union attempted to spread communism to many other areas during the Cold War, and the USA pursued to prevent the containment policy. The US was based on free-market capitalism and the Soviet Union on communism and dictatorial regime during the Cold War. In the early phases of the Cold War, this was a massive milestone (Brands, 2018). Conclusively, there were numerous tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, which were based on extreme dislike and distrust of one another.

In the United States, the property was privately owned by people, and when the Marshall Plan was created, Stalin decided to campaign against it, and he made sure it failed. The Marshall Plan would provide European operations with financial assistance. The American government sought to halt the rapid spread of the free market and totalitarian views and hence established the Security Council to spearhead its agendas (Brands, 2018). Peace and stability were dealt with by the Security Council. While there were also four other nations, who were stakeholders, the bulk of its participants were from the United States.

Question Three: Effects of Cold War Tensions

The National Security Act of July 1947 formed the Department of Defense and merged the military forces and National Security Council. The aim of each of these divisions was to provide the President with information on national security issues, including the CIA (Deery, 2018). The North Atlantic Trade Organization (NATO), established as a peace treaty to safeguard one another against the Soviets, was agreed on between the United States and other countries.

The HUAC Committee (House Un-American Activities Committee) also investigated unusual behaviors deemed as non-American. Every person was so frightened of communist influence that the HUAC was castigating everyone of being totalitarian and harmless individuals were imprisoned, and the description changed regularly of alleged victims (Deery, 2018).

Part C: Examining Changes

The Feminist Movement

Women are required to be homemakers and were only permitted to do the small tasks that women were obligated to do, such as giving birth to lots of children and take good care of them, and that was enough. Women believed to be able to do much more with the women's liberation movement. Jane Roe was a voice of women's power to manage their bodies and sexuality (Walker, 2018). She argued at the highest tier of the Supreme Court to grant women rights to choose whether they can abort or not and also in what circumstances to do the abortion.

The lawsuit was determined and ruled in her favor. The Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to deny a woman a chance and right to choose what she does with her femininity and her body in general. The Supreme Court so argued that a woman had a right to decide which things to nurture inside of her body. The other outcome was that women could work freely as men (Pearson, 2018). They founded the National Women's Organization, an agency for women's sexual empowerment. These female rights activists were brilliant and campaigned for women's empowerment and rights and grew significantly to the moment in which women can work in the labor market.


Brands, H. (2018). Democracy vs Authoritarianism: How Ideology Shapes Great-Power Conflict. Survival, 60(5), 61-114.

Deery, P. (2018). Post-Cold War Conflict: Historians, Espionage and American Communism. In Seeking Meaning, Seeking Justice in a Post-Cold War World (pp. 43-61). Brill.

Ritterhouse, J. (2019). Anders Walker. The Burning House: Jim Crow and the Making of Modern America.

F , F. S. (2018). The Global Spread of Arms: Political Economy of International Security. Routledge.

Temin, P. (2016). Great Depression. In Banking Crises (pp. 144-153). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Walker, A. (2018). The Burning House: Jim Crow and the Making of Modern America. Yale University Press.

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