Great Depressions

  • Stock Market Crashes

    Stock Market Crashes
    Stock market crash begins October 24. Investors call October 29 Black Tuesday. Losses for the month will total $16 billion, an astronomical sum in those days.
  • Period: to

    Great Depressions

    The Great Depressions
  • Smooth-Hawley Tariff

    The Smoot-Hawley Tariff passes on June 17. With imports forming only 6 percent of the GNP, the 40 percent tariffs work out to an effective tax of only 2.4 percent per citizen. Even this is compensated for by the fact that American businesses are no longer investing in Europe, but keeping their money stateside. The consensus of modern economists is that the tariff made only a minor contribution to the Great Depression in the U.S., but a major one in Europe.
  • 1931 Events

    No major legislation is passed addressing the Depression. A second banking panic occurs in the spring. The GNP falls another 8.5 percent; unemployment rises to 15.9 percent.
  • 1932

    This and the next year are the worst years of the Great Depression. For 1932, GNP falls a record 13.4 percent; unemployment rises to 23.6 percent. Industrial stocks have lost 80 percent of their value since 1930. 10,000 banks have failed since 1929, or 40 percent of the 1929 total. About $2 billion in deposits have been lost since 1929. Money supply has contracted 31 percent since 1929. GNP has also fallen 31 percent since 1929. Over 13 million Americans have lo
  • 1933 Events

    Roosevelt inaugurated; begins "First 100 Days" of intensive legislative activity. (More) A third banking panic occurs in March. Roosevelt declares a Bank Holiday; closes financial institutions to stop a run on banks. Alarmed by Roosevelt's plan to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, a group of millionaire businessmen, led by the Du Pont and J.P. Morgan empires, plans to overthrow Roosevelt with a military coup and install a fascist government. The businessmen try to recr
  • 1934 Events

    Congress authorizes creation of the Federal Communications Commission, the National Mediation Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission. (More) Congress passes the Securities and Exchange Act and the Trade Agreement Act. (More) The economy turns around: GNP rises 7.7 percent, and unemployment falls to 21.7 percent. A long road to recovery begins. Sweden becomes the first nation to recover fully from the Great Depression. It has followed a policy of Keynesian deficit spe
  • 1935 Events

    The Supreme Court declares the National Recovery Administration to be unconstitutional. Congress authorizes creation of the Works Progress Administration, the National Labor Relations Board and the Rural Electrification Administration. (More) Congress passes the Banking Act of 1935, the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Social Security Act. (More) Economic recovery continues: the GNP grows another 8.1 percent, and unemployment falls
  • 1936

    The Supreme Court declares part of the Agricultural Adjustment Act to be unconstitutional. In response, Congress passes the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act. (More) Top tax rate raised to 79 percent. Economic recovery continues: GNP grows a record 14.1 percent; unemployment falls to 16.9 percent. Germany becomes the second nation to recover fully from the Great Depression, through heavy deficit spending in preparation for war.
  • 1937 Events

    The Supreme Court declares the National Labor Relations Board to be unconstitutional. Roosevelt seeks to enlarge and therefore liberalize the Supreme Court. This attempt not only fails, but outrages the public. Economists attribute economic growth so far to heavy government spending that is somewhat deficit. Roosevelt, however, fears an unbalanced budget and cuts spending for 1937. That summer, the nation plunges into another recession. Despite this, the yearly GNP rises 5.0 percen
  • 1938

    Congress passes the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 and the Fair Labor Standards Act. (More) No major New Deal legislation is passed after this date, due to Roosevelt's weakened political power. The year-long recession makes itself felt: the GNP falls 4.5 percent, and unemployment rises to 19.0 percent. Britain becomes the third nation to recover as it begins deficit spending in preparation for war.