Great Depression

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Wikipedia.
Related to Great Depression: World War 2

Great Depression,

in U.S. history, the severe economic crisis generally considered to have been precipitated by the U.S. stock-market crash of 1929. Although it shared the basic characteristics of other such crises (see depressiondepression,
in economics, period of economic crisis in commerce, finance, and industry, characterized by falling prices, restriction of credit, low output and investment, numerous bankruptcies, and a high level of unemployment.
..... Click the link for more information.
), the Great Depression was unprecedented in its length and in the wholesale poverty and tragedy it inflicted on society. Economists have disagreed over its causes, but certain causative factors are generally accepted. The prosperity of the 1920s was unevenly distributed among the various parts of the American economy—farmers and unskilled workers were notably excluded—with the result that the nation's productive capacity was greater than its capacity to consume. In addition, the tariff and war-debt policies of the Republican administrations of the 1920s had cut down the foreign market for American goods. Finally, easy-money policies led to an inordinate expansion of credit and installment buying and fantastic speculation in the stock market.

The American depression produced severe effects abroad, especially in Europe, where many countries had not fully recovered from the aftermath of World War I; in Germany, the economic disaster and resulting social dislocation contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler. In the United States, at the depth (1932–33) of the depression, there were 16 million unemployed—about one third of the available labor force. The gross national product declined from the 1929 figure of $103,828,000,000 to $55,760,000,000 in 1933, and in two years more than 5,000 banks failed. As a social consequence of the depression, the birthrate fell precipitously, for the first time in American history falling below the replacement rate. The economic, agricultural, and relief policies of the New DealNew Deal,
in U.S. history, term for the domestic reform program of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; it was first used by Roosevelt in his speech accepting the Democratic party nomination for President in 1932.
..... Click the link for more information.
 administration under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did a great deal to mitigate the effects of the depression and, most importantly, to restore a sense of confidence to the American people. Yet it is generally agreed that complete business recovery was not achieved and unemployment ended until the early 1940s, when as a result of World War II the government began to spend heavily for defense.


See R. R. and H. M. Lynd, Middletown in Transition (1937, repr. 1982); F. L. Allen, Since Yesterday: The 1930s in America (1940); D. Wecter, The Age of the Great Depression (1948, repr. 1956); A. M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Crisis of the Old Order (1957); D. A. Shannon, ed., The Great Depression (1960); C. Bird, The Invisible Scar: The Great Depression, and What It Did to American Life … (1966); A. U. Romasco, The Poverty of Abundance (1965); G. Rees, The Great Slump (1970); S. Terkel, Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970, repr. 2000); C. P. Kindleberger, The World in Depression (1973); G. H. Elder, Jr., Children of the Great Depression (1974, upd. ed. 1998); B. Eichengreen, Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919–1939 (1996); D. M. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear (1999); T. H. Watkins, The Hungry Years (1999); L. Ahamed, Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World (2009); M. Dickstein, Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression (2009); C. R. Morris, A Rabble of Dead Money (2017).

Great Depression

economic crisis of 1929–1939, unprecedented in length and widespread poverty. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1132]
See: Poverty
References in periodicals archive ?
The Great Depression was a period of great turmoil caused by many factors and not just beggar- thy- neighbour policies, the RBI statement points out.
The characters, many of whom are children, give voice to the harsh daily realities of the Great Depression that dig deeper than financial disaster, such as the brother and sister in "The Dog That Wasn't a Dog" who "woke up every morning and She was gone," and who fight for independence and self-sufficiency in the face of their childhood vulnerability.
More than eighty years after the start of the Great Depression, when politicians have called for similar programs to quell the current mortgage crisis, this accessible account of the HOLC holds invaluable lessons for our own time.
In this note, we extend Buchanan and Wagner by showing how the Great Depression and Keynesian ideology changed the generation of Americans' coming-of-age during the Great Depression.
Few doubt, however, that Britain is on the verge of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and, as in the 1930s, Wales is likely to feel the full force of the downturn.
The good news is that Curtis, Ebel, and Greene all forward fascinating research and energetic sophistication in rethinking religion in the Great Depression.
The largest increase in the overall suicide rate occurred in the Great Depression (1929-1933)-it surged from 18 in 1928 to 22.
But this interpretation of the Great Depression, common though it is, is misguided.
1) Unfortunately, Friedman believed the Federal Reserve caused the Great Depression by not creating enough inflation in the 1930s.
The Great Depression (from the "crash" of the New York Stock Exchange in October 1929 until the Second World War) is a matter of great interest and great debate in economics.
Vibrant illustrations of lush vegetation and wildlife complement the text as the author takes readers through Beebe's adventurous life as a naturalist and explorer during the Great Depression.
The magazine said that Mr Bernanke had helped steer the US economy through its darkest days since the Great Depression.