The Great Depression

The Great Depression of the 1930s has remained the most severe and long lasting depressions of all time. The stock market crash on October 27, 1929 was the day that would forever change millions of Americans lives. With nearly a third of America’s workforce unemployed, this economic collapse left millions of Americans poor, hungry, and completely hopeless. No one knew how best to respond to the crisis, including the US government. For years, Americans who had formerly been able to earn a living and take care of their family lived in extreme poverty.
Americans who were hit the hardest by the crisis were left devastated financially and emotionally. As the nation that was just coming out of the thriving Coolidge Era, people were accustomed to a philosophy of working hard and reaping the benefits of making an honest living. The nation, as well as the people, was no longer able to rely on a self-esteem that was based off of working hard and prospering. Individuals and families had to contend not only with an existence that pushed people close to suicide and starvation, but a total loss of self-worth. Families who were desperate for money were often split apart as they would set off in search of work that would enable them to buy food and provide shelter for their families.   Americans desperately looked to the government for help navigating through this difficult time.
President Hoover’s response for a potential solution to the depression was based largely on voluntarism. Hoover believed that doling out government money would do more harm than good and that local governments and private charities should provide relief to the unemployed and homeless. Many states did begin to offer aid to local communities but this was only helpful to a very small proportion of the people in need. By 1932, only 1.5 percent of all government funds were spent on relief and averaged about $1.67 per citizen; the nation continued to suffer.
By the end of 1932, Roosevelt had been elected...