great depression

In the 1930’s the entire world economy was in a slump. It was one of the worst depressions the world had known. America, a world leader, was suffering right along with everywhere else. The depression had devastating effects on the country. The stock market was in shambles. Banks everywhere went under. Businesses couldn’t continue to operate. Farmers fell into bankruptcy. A quarter of the working force, or 13 million people, were unemployed in 1932, and this was only the beginning.
During the previous decade, the nation had enjoyed a seemingly endless period of prosperity. The Great War ended in 1918 and then, following a brief post-war depression in 1920-21, the economy took off. Under the “bloviating” leadership of President Harding, taxes were cut and so was federal spending. The President then retreated to his closet with his mistress, leaving the economy to its own devices. Unfortunately for Harding, the strain of keeping his wife, “the Duchess,” away from his mistresses became too much for him. Harding died in 1923 and his Vice President Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge took the wheel.
Coolidge was a tight-lipped but popular president. And it was a good thing, too, for, unfortunately for Coolidge, there was a lot more going on behind the scene besides Harding’s shenanigans. The scandals of the Harding administration, such as Teapot Dome, became public and the job of restoring faith in government rested on his shoulders. The economy continued to grow like Topsy, however, and Coolidge was easily reelected in 1924.
In his second term, Coolidge continued to be sympathetic to business. He appointed William Humphrey to the Federal Trade Commission, who systematically refused to investigate various monopolies. Cool Cal also passed the Revenue Act in 1926. This act chopped taxes on high incomes with very little cuts for middle incomes. In 1924, after a decline in business, the Reserve banks created over $500 million in new money. Bec…


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