Essay On Causes Of The Great Depression

Essay On Causes Of The Great Depression-40
Even those horrendous numbers could not begin to take the full measure of the human misery that unemployment entailed.

Even those horrendous numbers could not begin to take the full measure of the human misery that unemployment entailed.

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A ramshackle, woefully under-regulated private banking system, a legacy of Andrew Jackson’s long-ago war on central banking, had managed to wobble its dysfunctional way into the modern era.

Some twenty-five thousand banks, most of them highly fragile "unitary" institutions with tiny service areas, little or no diversification of clients or assets, and microscopic capitalization, constituted the astonishingly vulnerable foundation of the national credit.

Yet for most of the 1920s the mood of much of the country, impervious to news of accumulating international dangers and buoyed by wildly ascending stock prices as well as the congenital optimism long claimed as every American’s birthright, remained remarkably upbeat. The Great Crash in October sent stock prices plummeting and all but froze the international flow of credit. Herbert Hoover, elected just months earlier amid lavish testimonials to his peerless competence, saw his presidency shattered and his reputation forever shredded because of his inability to tame the depression monster—though, again contrary to legend, he toiled valiantly, using what tools he had and even inventing some new ones, as he struggled to get the upper hand.

By 1932, some thirteen million Americans were out of work, one out of every four able and willing workers in the country.

Washington also insisted that the Europeans repay the entirety of the loans extended to them by the US Treasury during the war.

And in 1924 the republic for the first time in its history imposed a strict limit on the number of immigrants who could annually enter the country.

To a much greater degree than in the earlier cases, the changes set in motion by the Great Depression and World War II had their origins outside the United States—a reminder of the increasing interdependency among nations that was such a salient feature of the twentieth century.

The Great Depression was a worldwide catastrophe whose causes and consequences alike were global in character.

To those abundant physical and institutional ills might be added a rigidly doctrinaire faith in laissez-faire, balanced national budgets, and the gold standard.

All of this added up to a witches’ brew of economic illness, ideological paralysis, and consequent political incapacity as the Depression relentlessly enveloped the globe.

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