The Great Depression

  • Stock market expansion

    While Ameri- cans generally were feeling good about the economy in the 1920s, those who invested in the stock market were overjoyed. The stock market is a place where stocks are bought and sold. Stock is ownership in a company, and it is sold in shares. In other words, by buying shares of stock, a person is able to buy a piece of a cor- poration. If the corporation succeeds, its value may rise. This means that the value of its stock also rises. If the corporation does not do well, it may lose va
  • wealth distribution

    One troubling aspect of the American economy was the vastly uneven distribution of the new wealth that was being created. Despite the boom in business in the 1920s, a surprisingly small number of people had truly prospered. As a group, the wealthiest 1 percent of the population had seen their share of the national income grow 60 percent between 1920 and 1929. Most workers, however, expe- rienced much smaller pay increases—about 8 percent for most job categories.
  • The election of 1928

    Coolidge decided not to run for reelection in 1928, so the Republi- cans chose Herbert Hoover as their candidate. Hoover had never held elective office, but he had an impressive record of public service. He had overseen America’s food production during World War I and later directed relief efforts in Europe. He also served as the secretary of com- merce under Harding and Coolidge.
  • The stock market crashes

    The stock market crashes
    On Thursday, October 24, 1929, some ner- vous investors began selling stocks. As oth- ers noticed the increased activity, they joined in the selling, afraid to be left behind. A huge sell-off had begun. With few people willing to buy the millions of stocks flooding the market,